DMK-Congress alliance in Tamil Nadu heaved a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh assured DMK leader M Karunanidhi of a very positive movement to ease the humanitarian and political crisis facing the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Dispelling impressions drummed in by the opposition parties in the state that the UPA Government has 'done nothing' to ameliorate the plight of the suffering Tamils in northern Sri Lanka, Singh has disclosed for the first time in recent months that Lankan President Rajapakshe has "very recently reaffirmed his commitment to a devolution package."
In a letter to Karunanidhi, copies of which was released to the media in Chennai on Wednesday evening, Singh, quoting the Sri Lankan president, said that the political package of devolution of powers to the Tamils there 'would fully satisfy the Tamils.'
"He (Rajapakshe) has also said that steps in this direction are being initiated immediately; we may wait and see what steps are actually taken," Singh said in his letter to the DMK leader.
Stating that India has "consistently proposed a temporary cessation of hostilities, which could be utilised to facilitate movement of the Tamil population out of the war effected areas to the safety zones," Singh said the Sri Lankan side has responded enthusiastically to one of the most important offer made by India recently to set up field medial units/hospitals to cater to civilians and internally displaced persons moved out of war zone.
The Field Hospital has been set up and functioning well, Singh added.
The human tragedy in Sri Lanka "has affected me deeply," the prime minister said, adding, "We are in constant touch with the Authorities in Sri Lanka." "Contacts are being maintained at several levels including at the very highest level," he said. These are telling words that should help DMK refute criticisms of the UPA's inaction during the campaign on this issue.
India has also been urging Sri Lanka to come up with a 'proper devolution of powers to the provinces', and this should include assurances of equality and equal rights for the Tamils," Singh added in his letter.