Tamil Nadu leaders urged to raise Sri Lanka Tamil issue

[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 May 2004, 20:08 GMT]
"Tamil Nadu political leaders should pressure Delhi to take active interest in Sri Lanka Tamil problem and also to deproscribe the Liberation Tigers," said Leader of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) and Member of Parliament, Mr. Periyannan Chandrasekaran, speaking to Canadian Tamil radio after his recent visit to Tamil Nadu to meet with political leaders.

Full text of the interview follows:

Radio: Recently you travelled to India after the Indian elections and met with political leaders in Tamil Nadu. Can you tell us about your visit.

Chandrasekaran: I met Kalaignar Karunanithi, V.Gopalasamy, Pazha Nedumaran, Thirumavalavan and others. In general those who have shown an interest in Sri Lankan Tamil affairs. In most of the meetings I put forward two requests to them.

One, to exert pressure on the Central Government of India to take more interest in the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka. Secondly to take measures possible to have the proscription of Liberation Tigers, who are now fighting in political front within the democratic framework with the support of 22 Tamil parliamentarians, removed.

Radio: Were their answers encouraging and positive?

Chandrasekaran: Certainly. They said that Sri Lanka's Tamil parliamentarians must visit Delhi and meet with key Indian political leaders to explain the situation Tamils are facing on the ground. Through this our Tamil MPs should engage constructively to first bring about changes in India's policy towards Tamils of Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu politicians can then determine how best they can work with the center.

Radio: Indian leaders until now have not clearly articulated their position or have been appearing to support the Sri Lanka Government's position. Do you think the change in leadership in Delhi will bring about changes on how India views Tamil problem in Sri Lanka?

Chandrasekaran: What I stressed most to Tamil Nadu leaders was that India is close neighbor to Sri Lanka and that Tamil Nadu leaders have the duty and historical obligation to raise the issue of Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka. They cannot ignore or abdicate this responsibility. This will only encourage other international groups to get a foothold in Sri Lanka. If this happens, India will be recorded by history as having made a grave foreign policy blunder.

Radio: Can you tell us if there has been any progress related to the investigations on Kandapola incident?

Chandrasekaran: Commissions are a convenient way for Governments to postpone facing hard questions on their governance and treatment of their citizens. If Sri Lanka government is keen on solving this issue, they have to recruit number of Tamil youths determined by racial quota into security forces. Security forces should have Tamil speaking commanders who can look after the welfare of Tamil people. Commissions we feel are nothing but political dramas.

Radio: In Sri Lanka parliament you raised the Kandapola incident. What was the reaction?

Chandrasekaran: The Sinhala MPs said that I should only talk about the incident and must not attempt to bring historical issues into the debate. I said that although this may be a small incident but it clearly illustrated how the minority communities are treated in Sri Lanka and the willingness of the Security Forces to use arms to quell peaceful resistance. Our TNA parliamentarians from NorthEast were also unequivocal in condemning the police violence. I also believe that Tamil parliamentarians from all parties are coming together to become a potent force in Sri Lanka politics.


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