The Viduthalai Sirtuhaigal Katchi (VCK), an ally of the ruling DMK, recently sought to put up a giant cutout of LTTE chief Prabhakaran at the venue of its meeting in Chennai.
The meeting itself had been organised in support of the LTTE. It took a team of police officials more than two hours to dissuade VCK cadres from putting up the cutout pointing out that the LTTE was a banned organisation in India and putting up the cutout could lead to criminal proceedings.
After much pleading on part of the cops, the cadres finally gave up.
That the cops had to implore a bunch of lawbreakers rather than crack down on them explains the political dilemma of the Karunanidhi government in dealing with pro-LTTE elements in the state.
On the one hand the cops have been rounding up LTTE cadres and suppliers of materials to them from across the state but on the other they're constrained from acting against political parties that drum up support for the group.
Two of DMK’s allies – the PMK and VCK – openly support the LTTE organizing meetings and processions in its support. The leaders of these two parties
Dr Ramadoss and Thol Thirumavlavan, have in the last two years visited Malaysia, Canada and Europe several times to address meetings organised by Tamil groups, which are known front organisations for the Tigers.
“These leaders are used by LTTE sympathisers to present a picture that there was great support for the Eelam cause in Tamil Nadu when the opposite is true. For these leaders too the trips turn out to be profitable,” pointed out a senior police officer.
By taking up the LTTE’s Eelam cause the PMK and VCK want to emerge as the champions of Tamils the world over, a spot hitherto claimed only by Karunanidhi.
Since the DMK Chief, after his bitter experience with the Tigers in the past, has chosen to toe Delhi’s line on the Lankan ethnic issue, these two along with a few other fringe parties have hijacked the extreme posturing.
Acting against them would portray Karunanidhi as a betrayer of the Tamil cause, but being too soft could anger the Congress.
So the DMK Chief is compelled to prove his Tamil credentials occasionally like when he wrote that elegy for LTTE's slain Political Chief SP Thamilchelvan.
At Friday’s meeting Thirumavalvan, a Dalit leader who even modeled himself after Prabhkaran in a Tamil movie, demanded that India and the rest of the world revoke the ban on the LTTE as it was only fighting for the rights of its people.
"Rajiv Gandhi died in 1991. Have the Congressmen stopped eating or sleeping?" he asked, questioning the logic behind the ban.
The police claim that they are also hamstrung by the Supreme Court verdict in the famous Vaiko case, when he was arrested under POTA for speaking in support of the Tigers, that expressing moral support to a banned outfit was not a crime.
“So we can only watch and record when such pro-LTTE speeches are made,” said a Joint Commissioner.