With Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa set to begin a three-day visit to India from Tuesday, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi has deputed DMK MPs to ask him to speed up rehabilitation of Tamils displaced by the war with the LTTE.
Karunanidhi has also written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, saying nearly 80,000 Tamils are still living in transit camps in the island nation awaiting rehabilitation. He has reminded New Delhi that the Rajapaksa government had promised to rehabilitate all Tamils by December 2009.
Though the Tamil issue failed to make an impact in the Lok Sabha elections last year, Karunanidhi is not taking chances in the run-up to the state polls due in May next year. Accused by Opposition parties of remaining silent when the Tamils were subject to “humiliating war”, Karunanidhi wishes to show that he and his party are doing everything they can to help the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The 26-year-old war got over after the Sri Lankan troops claimed elusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed. Since then, Tamil groups have trying to whip up charges of war crimes against Colombo.
“Those families and who have been rehabilitated and settled elsewhere need to be provided with economic development and justice-based reconciliation to work towards a permanent political settlement,’’ Karunanidhi said in his letter to the prime minister.
After crushing the Tamil Tigers in May 2009, Rajapaksa had promised economic uplift as well as devolution of powers for the Tamils. Even as he won decisive victories in the presidential and parliamentary elections in January and April this year, his government is yet move forward on rehabilitation and devolution of powers.