Joining issue with a senior Malaysian minister who asked him to "lay off" from the happenings in his country, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Thursday said it was his "duty" to "defend" Tamils and he was prepared to accept any "punishment" for doing so.
Karunanidhi when asked for his response to comments by Nazri Aziz, a minister in the Malaysian Prime Minister's department, said he had done his duty as Chief Minister to request Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take action to mitigate the "sufferings of Tamils in Malaysia."
"If there is any punishment for doing the duty, I am prepared to accept it," he said.
The DMK supremo also made it clear he did not criticise the Malaysian government.
Asked if he had to say anything to Aziz for the harsh comments that he should mind his business , Karunanidhi said "I don't want to reply to his (Aziz) remarks. I don't want to get into a tit-for-tat. It is my duty to defend Tamils."
On Tuesday, Karunanidhi wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking the Centre to take appropriate action to end the "sufferings" of Tamils in Malaysia.
He said he was very much pained at the way in which Tamils in Kuala Lumpur were treated by Malaysian police on November 25 when they had organised a protest rally there.
Aziz was quoted by the Malaysian media as saying:"His (Karunanidhi) place is in Tamil Nadu, not Malaysia. He should worry about his own state. His own state has got problems."
"This has got nothing to do with him ... Lay off," he said.
Karunanidhi's daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi said the recent events involving ethnic Tamils in Kuala Lumpur caused a "lot of conern" because they have been treated "very badly."