New Delhi must help Sri Lankan Tamils: Vijayakanth | Hindustan Times
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New Delhi must help Sri Lankan Tamils: Vijayakanth

The actor and first-time legislator's plea came soon after several leaders like Vaiko asked the Centre to help Tamils in Sri Lanka.

india Updated: Jun 19, 2006 13:56 IST

Tamil actor and first-time legislator Vijayakanth has urged New Delhi to move Sri Lankan Tamils to safety in India on humanitarian grounds.

"The Sri Lankan Tamils are orphans," Vijayakanth said in a statement, adding that his Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam would resort to an agitation if the government did not come to their aid.

He said India was duty-bound to tell Sri Lanka to stop killing its own people.

Vijayakanth's plea comes soon after several Tamil Nadu leaders like Vaiko of the MDMK and Thirumavalavan of the Dalit Panthers of India asked the central government to help the Tamils in northern Lanka, under attack from Sri Lankan forces as the conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) escalates.

Vijayakanth recalled in his statement that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who in 1958 sent Indian ships to Sri Lanka to help move Tamils from Colombo to the Jaffna area, when the language policy created the first rifts between the two ethnic groups in the island nation.

Again, in 1983, "during the genocide of Tamils" India had sent ships to help move Tamil refugees to safety, Vijayakanth said.

"The aerial bombings of Tamil areas without any concern for people living there is an act no civilised state resorts to," the actor-turned-politician said, urging India to again send rescue ships to Sri Lanka "for safe passage of Tamils".

He compared the incessant flow of Lankan Tamil refugees to Tamil Nadu's coast to those who came to India from Bangladesh.

The Bangladesh refugees walked in, but "the Tamil refugees have to undertake hazardous sea crossings, and facing possible death if they are caught between the navies of the two countries", the statement said.

"If India has strengthened coastal security, it should be able to filter out the terrorists," he said, adding that the "state should not support an inhuman policy that allows women and children to die at sea".