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DMK calls Tamil-Nadu-wide strike on Thursday on Lankan issue

(April 22, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) As Sri Lankan troops swung into a "final assault" against LTTE, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has mounted pressure on the UPA government by calling a general strike in the state on Thursday and asked the Centre to give an ultimatum to Colombo to declare an "immediate and permanent ceasefire" in that country.

Issuing a "final appeal" late on Tuesday night, he asked all Tamils irrespective of their political affiliations to join the 12-hour strike.

Karunanidhi, a key ally of Congress, said the strike was not only to demand that the Centre take measures for a permanent ceasefire to "save" Tamils from "massacre" by Sri Lankan army and "condemn" the Lankan government but also to sympathise with the plight of Tamils in that country.

Karunanidhi's strike call came hours after he sent telegrams to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and external affairs minister Pranab Mukherjee pressing India issues an ultimatum to Sri Lankan government for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to "save" lakhs of Tamils.

"I insist that the Prime Minister, UPA chairperson and external affairs minister give an ultimatum to Sri Lankan government for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and save lakhs of Tamils", he said in the telegrams.

He followed it up with another statement--the first last evening--saying the need of the hour was an immediate ceasefire instead of debating whether LTTE Chief V Prabhakaran was a terrorist or not.

The DMK chief, whose remarks that he did not see Prabhakaran as a terrorist had stirred the hornet's nest, described the war situation in Sri Lanka as "alarming" and the predicament of the Tamils "very critical".

"What we want now is to stop the killings of Tamils there. There should be a permanent ceasefire", he said in the statement.

"When some youth in Ireland undertook a fast in England demanding that they be treated as political prisoners, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had told the then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to consider the issue from a humanitarian angle. I expect the same from her daughter-in-law Sonia Gandhi on Sri Lankan Tamils issue," Karunanidhi said.

"Our concern is not a debate on whether Eelam, a separate homeland for Tamils in the island republic, could provide a solution, whether the ban on LTTE is to be lifted or whether Prabkaran is a terrorist or not. Only a permanent ceasefire can save Tamils," he said.

Despite various nations demanding the ceasefire, Sri Lanka refused to accept the demand. "What is the way out?" he said, adding the Centre had a responsibility to save Tamils. "We cannot do any thing except crying for the Tamils. It is for the Centre to act now," Karunanidhi, who has come under fire from opposition parties for not doing enough on the Lankan Tamils issue, said.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

1 comment

Tudor the Canadian said...

Why only one day.Perhaps the whole of Tamil Nadu should go on a starve until death type of strike. I am sure the politicians will join too. Its funny that these guys are still around to makea mockery of a civilized nation.

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