A 35-year-old man creating a flutter last night at a meeting of some NGOs’ addressed by the Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram in Karaikudi, part of his home-constituency Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu, was yet again graciously put aside by the senior Congress leader, but has raised security concerns.
Sayal Ram, apparently in an inebriated condition, walked up to near the dais as Chidambaram rose to speak, thumped its wooden base with his hand and demanded in the heat of the moment that he first answer some questions on the plight of the Tamils getting killed in Sri Lanka before going ahead with his speech.
However, Sayal Ram, son of one Karuppiah of Karaikudi, shouting slogans praising the LTTE Chief, V. Prabhakaran, was quickly removed form the scene by the Police personnel posted on ‘bandobust’ duty at Mr. Chidambaram’s meeting, Police sources in Sivaganga said over phone on Monday.
The 63-years-old Senior Congress leader from Tamil Nadu to re-contest the Sivaganga seat again this time, like in the New Delhi shoe-hurling incident, did not prefer any complaint and hence no case has been registered so far, sources said.
Nonetheless, the incident has raised both security and political concerns in the run-up to the May 13 Lok Sabha polls in the State, coming barely hours after the Rajapakshe regime directed a two-day halt to the military offensive against the Tamils in the Island’s North.
This episode per se may seem minor. But sources told HT here today that the underlying pro-Tamil sentiments being sought to be whipped up by the opposition parties, notably the Vaiko-led MDMK, Dr Ramadoss-headed PMK and the Tamils Nationalist Movement leader, P Nedumaran, since the Sri Lankan Army closing in on the last stretch of Tigers-held territory in the Island’s North-Eastern Mullaitivu, shows to what extent the Tamil Nationalist question was deepening the political divide in Tamil Nadu.
Of particular concern was Vaiko’s latest remarks that “rivers of blood will flow in Tamil Nadu” if the slightest harm came to Prabhakaran, sources said.
This is despite the fact that Vaiko, at the MDMK’s General Council the next day sought to play down his earlier speech, as a mere “warning given in good faith” to the Central Government and that Tamil Nadu youths would “lose faith in the system”, if Centre did not at once “stop the war on the Tamils in Sri Lanka fought with arms and radars supplied by India.”
Police are consulting legal experts on whether NSA can be slammed on Vaiko. The MDMK and PMK being part of the rainbow alliance built by the AIADMK for the Lok Sabha polls, has forced even the 61-years-old Ms. Jayalalithaa, a bold and uncompromising critic of the LTTE, to walk the extra mile recently when she observed a day’s fast in Chennai expressing solidarity with the suffering Sri Lankan Tamils.
The DMK and its key ally, the Congress, are equally firm not to concede ground to the opposition on this issue in the run-up to the polls.
In fact, the DMK President and Chief Minister, Mr. M. Karunanidhi’s latest plea to Mr. Rajapakshe to “treat Prabhakaran with honour and dignity” irrespective of whether the LTTE was defeated or not, like Alexander the Great treated King Porus, drew loud protests from the opposition here.
Yet, the 84-year-old DMK patriarch is unrelenting. While a moderate Sri Lankan Tamil leader, Mr. S. Chandrahasan attributed the latest two-day ceasefire by the Island Government partly to the DMK-organized rally on this issue on April 9 when Karunanidhi made that “diplomatic” plea, the DMK Chief himself took pot-shots at parties like MDMK.
“The LTTE getting misled by the wrong advice of such parties in Tamil Nadu has only left the ethnic crisis unresolved for years,” he declared candidly.
If the war of words over the Tamils issue hots up in Tamil Nadu’s electoral arena in the days to come, despite the ruling DMK not wanting to make it a poll issue in its Manifesto, it is the security agencies who will be pushed to the wall, sources added.