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Tamil leader seeks Indian delegation for SL

india Updated: Jan 17, 2007 12:23 IST
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A leading Tamil politician has urged the Indian and Tamil Nadu governments to send an all-party delegation to Sri Lanka "to directly see what is happening in this country".

But Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) president V Anandasangaree said in a statement that the Indian leaders should also visit areas held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), calling the Tiger territory an "iron curtain".

"I am strongly of the belief that Tamil Nadu will play a positive and constructive role in finding an acceptable solution for the ethnic problem within a united Sri Lanka and help restore democracy and peace in Sri Lanka and the Tamil areas in particular," Anandasangaree said in an open letter to the leaders and people of the Indian state.

"I urge Tamil Nadu to act without giving room for anybody to damage the Tamil cause and before the present enthusiasm of the people and of the international community disappears.

"The Tamils of Sri Lanka expect Tamil Nadu to agitate for powers to be devolved on various regions in Sri Lanka, to be equal to that of the powers presently enjoyed by the chief minister of Tamil Nadu," he added.

The TULF leader said more and more people in Sri Lanka were coming to accept that the Indian model of governance was best suited to the strife-torn island.

"My supporting the Indian model has been appreciated by many Sri Lankans from all walks of life, within and outside the country," he said. "It is being widely discussed at various levels as my proposal to solve the ethnic issue."

He added that it was "very unfortunate" that the word "federal" had become allergic to many Sinhalese leaders "due to fear and suspicion in their minds that federalism will lead to separation".

Anandasangaree, who bitterly opposes the LTTE, said the concerns the people and leaders of Tamil Nadu voice for Sri Lankan Tamils was understandable.

"That is why Tamil Nadu should act with care and caution in its dealings with the Sri Lankan ethnic problem and also should not get swayed by the emotional speeches made by some Tamil Nadu politicians who make speeches to incite the crowd, without bothering about the negative reflections in Sri Lanka."

The TULF leader was severely critical of the LTTE, accusing it of stifling freedom of expression in the areas it controls in the island's northeast and of killing stifling human rights.

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