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HindustanTimes Fri,29 Aug 2014

It's politics: TN parties compete to slam Sri Lanka

Shekhar Iyer , Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 13, 2013
First Published: 01:27 IST(13/11/2013) | Last Updated: 11:34 IST(13/11/2013)

Four-and-a-half years may have elapsed since the end of the 27-year-long civil war in Sri Lanka, but its political reverberations have never ceased in Tamil Nadu.

The DMK pulled out of the UPA in March, when the UNHRC was in session. The reason: India did not appear ready to back a strongly worded resolution to condemn Sri Lanka for war excesses.

The source was a video shown by Channel 4 in February amid claims that Balachandran, 12-year-old son of LTTE head Vellupillai Prabhakaran, might have been summarily executed.

This time, with Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse hosting the CHOGM from November 17, another video has surfaced.

It shows Tigers TV host Isaipriya being raped and killed by Lankan soldiers in the “no-fire zone”, allegedly created by Colombo to herd the civilians together and then decimate them as the war was being wrapped up.

Now, the Indian Tamil parties are forced to vie with one another again — even if they appear to be on the same side — to showcase their “sense of justice” over the plight of Lankan Tamils.

Coming as it does, the CHOGM is close to the Lok Sabha polls. At stake is 40 seats from TN and Pondicherry. And the AIADMK and the Left are expecting a large haul in what they hope to be a four-cornered contest.

On the other hand, a rather mauled DMK, which took quite a hit in the 2011 state polls, and the Congress are expecting a profitable alliance with actor Vijaykanth-led DMDK.

Last week, the DMK forced PM Manmohan Singh to cancel his Colombo visit with veiled threats and help from the Congress ministers, who convinced the party that it was necessary for an alliance in Tamil Nadu.

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But, the announcement that foreign minister Salman Khurshid would represent India at the CHOGM provided fresh fodder to the TN parties.

A few days ago, the Tamil Nadu assembly unanimously passed a resolution that India must boycott the meet. Jayalalithaa wrote to the PM, explaining the rationale behind the boycott demand.

Also, Jayalalithaa’s move to get the assembly pass a second resolution on the same demand added to the political heat. She is even said to be thinking of making 9 AIADMK MPs resign if Khurshid goes to Colombo.

READ: Jaya, Karunanidhi unite to demand CHOGM boycott

But although neither the UPA nor the Congress can stop Khurshid’s trip, Jayalalithaa’s strategy, say AIADMK officials, is to prevent the DMK and the DMDK from aligning with the Congress. If they align with the Congress, the AIADMK would paint them as “anti-Tamil”. If they don’t, a multi-cornered contest would suit the AIADMK.

Neither can Karunanidhi be seen “compromising” on the “Eelam Tamils”. During the thick of the war, Karunanidhi, then Tamil Nadu  chief minister, went on a sudden fast on April 27, 2009, demanding a ceasefire. But he called it off after six hours when Union minister P Chidambaram informed him that the war was over.


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