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Sri Lankan party looks up to India

The pro-LTTE party said Tamils have lost faith in the Govt's ability to protect them, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: May 24, 2006 17:59 IST

The pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Wednesday asked India and the international community to protect Tamil civilians in the North East against attacks by the Sri Lankan armed forces and their paramilitary organisations.

"We will have to take the case before the international community, particularly to India. We will ask that our people be protected," said R Sampanthan, leader of the 22-member TNA group in the Sri Lankan Parliament.

"India is a great country. It must realise that the Tamil community cannot be treated in this way," the TNA leader said briefing the media on the plight of the Tamil civilians in the Tamil-speaking North East.

Sampanthan pointed out that because of the killings, over a thousand Tamil civilians had crossed the sea to India or gone to other parts of the island, seeking refuge.

"Several persons had drowned in the high seas. Two days ago, some were rescued, but these were arrested and thrown into a remand prison," he pointed out.

He demanded their immediate release.

Sampanthan ran through the cases of violence against Tamil civilians since the first round of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE in February 2006 and said the Tamil community in the North East had lost faith in the ability of the government to protect them.

He recalled that a fact finding commission composed entirely of eminent Sinhalas, which went into the violence in Trincomalee had reported that the police were looking the other way when Sinhala mobs were torching Tamil properties.

The government itself had held the Special Task Force (STF) responsible for the killing of five Tamil students on the Trincomalee beach. But no action was taken in this case too, the TNA MP alleged.

Every time a major incident was brought to the notice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he would promise action. But till date, no action had been taken in any case, Sampanthan complained.

He said that the Tamils here were convinced that they could never get justice from a mono-ethnic Sri Lankan security apparatus.

"The Security Forces are 99.99 per cent Sinhalese, and the police are 95 per cent Sinhalese. How can the security of the Tamil community be ensured by such a mono-ethnic force. This is the simple question that the Tamils are asking," he pointed out.

"Government is engaged in deliberate misinformation on the attacks on Tamil civilians," he alleged.

Asked if he was not being one sided when he ignored the regular killing of armed forces personnel by the LTTE, Sampanthan said that he was highlighting only the attacks on civilians.

Welcomes DMK victory in TN

Asked to comment on the victory of the DMK in the recent Tamil Nadu assembly elections from the point of view of the TNA, Sampanthan said that the results were "very welcome".

"Mr Karunanidhi is a senior statesman, with long experience and knowledge of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka," he said.

TULF's request to Karunanidhi

Meanwhile, the anti-LTTE Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) has invited the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M Karunanidhi, to visit Sri Lanka and help solve the Tamil problem.

In a letter to Karunanidhi dated May 21, the President of the TULF, V Anandasangaree, had said that Karunanidhi was best suited to solve the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka.

He pointed out that Karunanidhi was acceptable not only to the Tamils, but also to the majority Sinhalas.

Anandasangaree said that Karunanidhi should be able to solve the problem with the help of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the chairperson of the ruling United Peoples' Alliance (UPA) Sonia Gandhi.

The TULF leader said that Karunanidhi should be able to finish the task, which her husband Rajiv Gandhi had left unfinished through the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.