As the Sri Lankan government's 24-hour deadline to LTTE chief Prabhakaran to surrender comes to an end today, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi asked the Centre to issue an ultimatum to Colombo to declare an "immediate and permanent ceasefire."
In telegrams sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, he said the "war situation in Sri Lanka is alarming and the predicament of the Tamils very critical."
"All nations including the UN pressurises the Sri Lankan government to announce ceasefire immediately. I insist the Prime Minister, UPA Chairperson and External Affairs Minister give an ultimatum to the Sri Lankan government for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka and save lakhs of Tamils in Sri Lanka," he said in the telegram.
Karunanidhi's strong statement came as the Lankan government deadline for Prabhakaran and LTTE militants holed up in a small stretch of territory in the island's north is scheduled to end today after which the island's army was expected to launch a final assault.
Last week, Karunanidhi had sent telegrams to the three leaders, urging New Delhi to snap all diplomatic ties with Colombo if it does not honour India's call for a ceasefire.
Two days ago, Karunanidhi created a flutter, saying in a TV interview that he did not see Prabhakaran as a terrorist. But he appeared to have soft-pedalled his remarks yesterday stating the "LTTE was not started as an extremist organisation like the Naxalite movement. It was started as a liberation movement but down the road it became an extremist organisation."