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All for the cause of Tamils

According to Lankan papers, DMK had told that Tamil Nadu would not be a 'silent spectator' when the Tamils of Sri Lanka were being persecuted, writes PK Balachandran.

world Updated: Jan 07, 2006 17:11 IST

With the ceasefire in Sri Lanka in danger of being broken, the government and the LTTE are seriously looking for support from overseas for their respective cases.

While the Rajapaksa regime seems to have the backing of the United States, the LTTE is counting on increasing support across the Palk Strait in Tamil Nadu.

The LTTE is also reasonably sure that New Delhi will remain neutral thanks to the influence of Tamil Nadu. This was stated recently by the LTTE's ideologue, KV Balakumaran, in an interview to the Voice of Tigers radio.

Rice's assurance to Lanka

According to the State Department spokesman Sean MacCormack, the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Washington on Friday, that the United States "remained committed to working with Sri Lanka to defeat terrorism and to promote peace."

"She also lauded the Sri Lankan government for its restraint in the face of the Tamil Tigers' provocations," MacCormack said.

The Tamil Tigers were listed as a foreign terrorist organisation in the US and the Bush administration "viewed them as such," he added.

The US spokesman however added that the Secretary of State reiterated to the Sri Lankan minister, Washington's hope that talks with the LTTE on strengthening the ceasefire could resume "soon".

Samaraweera told an interviewer that Rice had promised to do "whatever possible" to kick start the peace process in Sri Lanka.

"War is not an option," the Lankan minister assured.

DMK commits itself to Lankan Tamil cause

The Sri Lankan Tamil papers reported on Saturday that the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief, M Karunanidhi, told the visiting Sri Lankan Tamil leader, P Chandrasekharan, that the people of Tamil Nadu would not be "silent spectators" when the Tamils of Sri Lanka were being persecuted.

Chandrasekharan is the head of the Malayaga Munntra Munnani (MMM) a radical pro-LTTE party of Indian Origin Tamil plantation workers.

Karunanidhi said that he associated himself "fully" with the resolution passed at a public meeting in Chennai on December 30, 2005, which warned New Delhi against rendering any military assistance to the "Sinhala chauvinist" Mahinda Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka.

The DMK chief, whose party is a member of the ruling coalition in the Central government in New Delhi, assured Chandrasekharan that he would urge the Central government to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to shed its extremist posture and take a moderate stand on the Tamil issue.

The senior-most Tamil Nadu leader further said that he approved of the recent move by all the Tamil groups in Sri Lanka, including the LTTE, to work together in view of the common challenges they were facing.

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is viewed in Tamil Nadu as a Sinhala hardliner, whose government is also depending for its survival on Sinhala extremist elements who decry any political concessions to the Tamil minority.

Kilinochchi thanks TN for support

Meanwhile, the Union of Peoples' Organisations in Kilinochchi, the headquarters of the LTTE, said in a letter to the leaders of Tamil Nadu that they were very happy to see that there was so much support for them in their "Mother land".

The letter, addressed to MDMK leader Vaiko, PMK leader Dr Ramadoss, Dravida Kazhagam leader K Veeramani, and Tamil National Movement leader P Nedumaran, thanked them for lending support to the cause of a separate "Tamil Eelam".

The pro-LTTE civil society group said that the Sri Lankan government was trying to sideline the Western countries and inveigle India into the conflict to set the Tamils of Sri Lanka against the Tamils of Tamil Nadu and break the umbilical chord, which was uniting them.

No plan for defence pact with SL says Pranab

Sri Lankan papers reported on Saturday that India had given up the idea of signing a Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with Sri Lanka because of pressure from the Tamil Nadu parties.

Daily Mirror quoted Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherji as telling the media in Chennai on Thursday: "It is the stated policy of the central government not to interfere in the affairs of other countries and the government still stands by it."

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 17:11 IST