AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa tonight came out in the open in favour of a separate "Tamil Eelam" (homeland for Tamils) in Sri Lanka, saying it alone would solve the decades long ethnic strife in the island nation.
"Separate Tamil Eelam is the only solution. Sri Lanka will not ensure equal status to Tamils. If the AIADMK-led alliance is elected in all the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, we will work for formation of separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka," she told an election meeting in Salem.
She dismissed as a "drama" and an "eyewash" the visit of National Security Adviser MK Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon to Colombo as India's special envoys to press for cessation of hostilities, saying "nothing has happened since their visit."
Jayalithaa, who devoted a better part of her campaign speech to the ethnic strife, charged that Sri Lankan Tamils were being treated as "prisoners and slaves forcing them to think that death is better than living like this."
She described as "false" and "deceit" the claims by Sri Lankan government that it was taking steps to protect the Tamils. "In fact, the Sri Lankan army is ordering all the Tamils to move out of their living areas and such people were being forced to stay in camps set up by them in Vavuniya."
Neither were they allowed to move out of the camps nor their relatives permitted to meet them. The camps had been fenced with barbed wires and they were being treated as prisoners, she claimed and added it "all reminded me of Hitler's concentration camps where Jews were persecuted."
By doing all this, "Sri Lankan government was planning to annhilate the entire Tamil race," she alleged.
She said "this being the reality", talks about devolution of powers to Tamils and finding a democratic solution appears to be an "eyewash".
"The Lankan government has no intention of giving equal status to Tamils on par with Sinhalese", the AIADMK supremo alleged.
Jayalalithaa said she came to know about the sufferings and plight Sri Lankan Tamils after seeing the video footage provided to her by Art Of Living Foundation founder and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravishankar a few days back.