Backing the Centre's stand on Sri Lankan issue, ruling DMK on Tuesday called for steps to resolve the ethnic conflict in "a democratic way" through autonomy and devolution while washing its hands off the ceasefire demand saying the state government had no right to interfere in the internal affairs of a foreign country.
"As a first step, the Centre should immediately take steps to work out a permanent solution which will ensure full devolution of powers and autonomy to Tamils living in northern and eastern parts of Sri Lanka within a timeframe. Sri Lankan Government should extend its full cooperation to this effort," said a resolution passed at an emergent meeting of the party's executive committee here.
Spelling out its stand on the issue, the meeting wanted a solution to the issue in "a democratic way", effectively distancing the party from the armed struggle of the LTTE.
DMK President and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi briefly came out of hospital, where he has been undergoing treatment for backache, to preside over the meeting.
It is for the first time that the DMK had openly backed autonomy and devolution of powers as a solution to end the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. The party had earlier rejected the 1987 Indo-Lanka accord which envisaged the concept of devolution of powers. The LTTE had rejected the accord.
Briefing reporters on resolutions adopted today, Karunanidhi said "We do not have any right or strength to enforce a ceasefire in Sri Lanka. That is why we are asking the Centre to make efforts for a ceasefire."
Asked about failure of successive agreements, he said a "new agreement could be signed and Sri Lankan government should work out ways for this and India should help them."