Ceasefire should be primary concern: Thirumavalavan
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 28 October 2008, 19:59 GMT]
Quick on the heels of the news-report that hundreds of Tamil schoolchildren had a hair-breadth escape from death due to airstrike by the Sri Lanka Air Force Tuesday, Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) President Thol.Thirumavalavan said in a press meet in Chennai that "an immediate ceasefire in the island nation should be the primary concern of the Tamilnadu and Indian Governments." Thirumavalavan lauded Chief Minister Karunanidhi for his efforts to ensure peace in the island nation and requested him not to drop the resignation ultimatum, but to instead postpone it until a later date.
Addressing reporters at his party headquarters, the VCK President pointed out that there would be a lot of procedure and protocol required to bring about a ceasefire. He also opined that the discussion between a nation's External Affairs Minister and a Chief Minister cannot be disclosed to the public, therefore, he said that it would be pointless to speculate. Thirumavalavan expressed belief that India would take up the issue of a ceasefire with Sri Lanka. He added that such a decision cannot be taken by either Pranab Mukherjee or Kalaignar Karunanidhi, but it would have to be decided at the Prime Ministerial level.
He praised Chief Minister Karunanidhi for his resolve in the Eelam Tamils issue. He also observed that the decisions taken in the All Party Meeting of October 14, 2008 had tremendous effect on the Indian and Sri Lankan Governments which could be seen from Basil Rajapaksa's visit to India and Pranab Mukherjee's dash to Chennai.
Responding to a query about the arrest of Vaiko, Seeman and Ameer, he said that it was violative of the freedom of expression. Taking a jab at AIADMK General Secretary Jayalalitha who has been vehemently demanding his arrest over the last week, Thirumavalavan said, "Those who adore cardboard-sword fighters can never recognize and appreciate real heroes. That is why freedom fighters who are waging a liberation struggle are being misconstrued as extremists. I stand by whatever I have said. The VCK is not a party which is afraid of imprisonment. In case the Chief Minister is convinced that there is prima facie evidence against me, let that information be conveyed to me, I will immediately stand at the doors of the prison. The Chief Minister need not be worried that my arrest will disturb the alliance between the DMK and the VCK."
The VCK leader also pointed out the double standards prevailing over the issue of freedom of expression. "Newspapers like The Hindu and India Today can carry pictures of LTTE Chief Pirapakaran, because it is their freedom of expression. But if we carry his pictures in a rally, then it is said to be against national interests."
Following the press conference, Thirumavalavan handed over a cheque for two hundred thousand (two lakh) rupees to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's Eelam Tamil Relief Fund, making the VCK the first political party to contribute to this fund. He also requested Kalaignar Karunanidhi to ensure that the aid collected by the state was distributed to the Eelam Tamils by the ICRC and not through Sinhalese officials.