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Pro-LTTE MPs to meet Karunanidhi

The meet comes in the wake of recent developments in Lanka affecting the Tamils, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Dec 20, 2006 15:45 IST

A group of Sri Lankan Tamil MPs belonging to the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are currently in Chennai for a meeting with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Informed sources said that the meeting was expected to take place on Wednesday.

The MPs are also hoping to go to New Delhi to meet India's Central leaders.

TNA sources said that the MPs led by R Sampanthan had received an intimation that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was keen on seeing them following the recent developments in the Sri Lankan North East, where thousands of Tamils had been rendered homeless and driven out of their habitations because of the intensification of the hostilities between the Sri Lankan Security Forces and the LTTE.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was also very concerned about the plight of the 600,000 people of Jaffna who were faced with a severe food shortage and sky rocketing prices as a result of the closure of the A9 highway at Muhamalai, the gateway to Jaffna, since August.

Under pressure from the MDMK leader Vaiko, Dr S Ramadoss of the PMK, T Thirumavalavan of the Dalit Panthers, and even AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister Karunanidhi had repeatedly expressed his concern over the plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

He had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about it and taken up the matter with the Congress and UPA Chief Sonia Gandhi.

Gandhi wrote a letter to Karunanidhi stating that she was deeply concerned about the plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, especially their women and children.

Gandhi's letter was given wide publicity in Tamil Nadu in an effort to blunt criticism that the Tamil Nadu government and the Centre had turned a blind eye to the happenings in Sri Lanka.

The TNA delegation comprises Mavai Senathirajah, Selvam Adaikalanathan, Suresh Premachandran, and possibly Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, apart from R Sampanthan.

Grim situation in Vaharai

Meanwhile, a TNA MP from the East, who did not want to be named, told Hindustan Times that the people of Trincomalee and Batticaloa did not want to be part of the war between the Security Forces and the LTTE.

"These two groups can fight because they are armed. But why should the people be dragged in and harassed? The harassment will only widen the gulf between the Tamils and the Sinhalas," the MP said.

"Thousands of people are being made to walk for 30 to 40 km at night on an empty stomach, to reach places of relative safety near Welikanda," he said.

The rains make movement very unpleasant.

"There have been cases of pregnant women giving birth at check points," he pointed out.

"About 16,000 people had fled from the Verugal and Eechchilampattu area to join the 70,000 refugees already present in Batticaloa and Amparai."

"The 18,000 people who fled from Sampur after the Security Forces took it over nearly seven months ago, are still to go back," he said.

According to the MP, no food lorries had gone to the Vaharai/Verugal area after November 29.

The sick were being left to die because of the restrictions on the movement of people, he said. Desperate people try to leave by boat braving the choppy sea.

Recently, three boats capsized, killing seven people. And on Tuesday, one boat capsized killing two of the occupants, the MP said.

First Published: Dec 20, 2006 15:45 IST