In a significant development, the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu on Friday wanted the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to cooperate with the Sri Lankan Government’s 48-hour ceasefire in the war zone in Northern Sri Lanka to enable the trapped Tamil civilians there to move out into designated No-fire zones.
Backing the senior Congress leaders led by Mr. Peter Alphonse’s appeal in the State Assembly that the LTTE should accept the “ceasefire” ordered by the Sri Lankan President after the External Affairs Minister, Mr. Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Colombo, senior-most DMK leader and Finance Minister, Prof. K. Anbazhagan, said the LTTE should reciprocate the gesture and declare its readiness for cessation of hostilities.
Prof. Anbazhagan categorically stated that the DMK’s prime objective was to save and protect the lives of the innocent Tamil civilians caught in the Island’s battle-zone. Though there were opposing claims on the people being allegedly used as “human shields” by the LTTE there, Prof. Anbazhagan said, it was not possible to know the correct factual position in the wake of the very limited access to the war zone.
However, the brief ceasefire period should be positively responded to by the LTTE, Prof. Anbazhagan urged, in a marked departure from the DMK’s earlier reticence on this issue. Efforts should be made to find an amicable political settlement to the Tamils ethnic conflict based on the Rajiv-Jayawardene accord, he said adding, some “constructive steps” could be taken there to restore normalcy through the Centre.
Meanwhile, sections of students and lawyers in different parts of the State continued their protests to express solidarity with the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils and to stop the killing of Tamils in Northern Sri Lanka. Leaders of various political parties including the PMK founder, Dr. S. Ramadoss and the MDMK General Secretary, Mr. Vaiko paid homage to the body of the Tamil youth Muthukumar who killed himself yesterday by setting himself ablaze. EOM.