2ND LEAD

Ramdoss exhorts Karunanidhi to urgent action in stopping Sri Lanka war

[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 January 2009, 21:08 GMT]
Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader Dr S Ramadoss, who visited VCK leader Thol Thirumavalavan, now in his fourth day of a fast-unto-death over the humanitarian crisis imposed on Tamil civilians by Sri Lanka’s punitive bombardments, exhorted Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi to act urgently to invoke Indian intervention to stop the war. Emphatically refuting Mr. Karunanidhi's statement that the VCK leader had “unilaterally decided” to stage a protest fast without consulting the rest of the Tamil Nadu polity, Dr. Ramadoss said Thol Thirumavalavan, whose health is detoriarating, had consulted other leaders several times in the recent weeks.

"Only your decision can save the Tamil people [in Sri Lanka]. You say you trust the [India’s] Union Government, but we trust you. Your [move] should be capable of shaking the country,” Dr. Ramadoss said in a public appeal to Mr. Karunanidhi.

Thirumavalavan on fast-unto-death
Thirumavalavan on fast-unto-death
Thirumavalavan on fast-unto-death
Thirumavalavan on fast-unto-death
Thirumavalavan on fast-unto-death
Regarding the reassurances made by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Dr Ramadoss said he failed to understand how those empty promises could satisfy the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

The PMK leader accused New Delhi of "cheating" the Tamil people in India. "Karunanidhi has asked us to have faith in the Indian Government. We say that we don't believe the Indian Government. There is no use in believing them either."

Ramdoss observed that Karunanidhi had expressed disappointment that an bureaucrat (Shiv Shanker Menon) had been sent in place of a Union Minister (Pranab Mukherjee).

Dr. Ramadoss also quoted news report’s of Shiv Shanker Menon's conversation with Mahinda Rajapakse, with the Indian official saying: "India's relations with Sri Lanka has reached an unprecedented level of depth and quality today. It was during difficult times that the true quality of a friendship became most evident. And the relationship had effectively stood the test of time and adversity."

The PMK leader contended that this was a true "confession statement" from the Indian side.

“This is enough proof that the Indian Government has aided and abetted the genocide of the Tamils in Eelam. What is the "adversity" that Sri Lanka has faced? Why does Karunanidhi want us to wait? Haven't we waited enough? What more should we wait for?” he asked.

Dr. Ramadoss said that every Tamil in India was hanging their head in shame.

We have been humiliated and insulted by the Indian Government, he said.

Implicitly criticizing Karunanidhi for his lukewarm support to the Tamil cause, Ramadoss recalled the 5-point resolutions passed by the DMK during the Tamil Eelam Supporters' Organization Conferences held across the state in the 1980s.

The five point agenda had been (1. We will support the struggle for a Tamil homeland Eelam, 2. We will protect the Eelam Tamils at all costs. 3. We will courageously provide refuge to the freedom fighters from Tamil Eelam. 4. We are willing to make any sacrifice for the sake of Eelam Tamils. 5. We will joyfully continue our work even if we have to face the oppression of the state and the union governments.)

Dr. Ramadoss wondered what oppression the DMK could face when it was a part of the ruling coalition at both the New Delhi and Chennai.

Dr Ramadoss Friday personally checked Thirumavalavan's blood pressure following reports that his condition was a cause for concern and he was being medically monitored once in every four hours.

He informed the anxious VCK cadres that Thirumavalavan's blood pressure readings were extremely low (90/60) and his blood sugar level stood at 80.

Ramadoss said he warned the VCK leader that if the blood sugar level dropped below 70, it would result in the critical condition of hypoglycaemia resulting in tissue damage and reducing blood supply to the brain and the kidneys. He made an emotional appeal to Thirumavalavan to give up his fast on medical grounds.

Ramdoss also pointed out that he had requested Thirumavalavan to use the words "indefinite hunger strike" instead of sitting on a "fast unto death".

Commending the VCK leader for shattering the silence that had prevailed in Tamil Nadu following the occupation of Ki'linochchi by Sri Lankan forces, he detailed the sequence of events that had led to this decision.

Citing Karunanidhi's accusation in his party publication Murasoli that Thirumavalavan had launched fast-unto-death without consulting anybody, the VCK leader apologized for his single-handed action, but also pointed out that a fast unto death was an individual decision and not "a cooperative strategy".

He said it would be "undemocratic" to coerce others to follow or to join him in such a hunger strike.

The fiery VCK leader appeared tired and exhausted on the third day of the fast. He appealed to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister not to ask him to give up his struggle but to instead pressurize New Delhi to tell the Government of Sri Lanka to stop its genocidal war on the Tamil people. "Let the state government use me as a convenient tool and pressurize the Indian Union Government," he said.

"Starvation is not anything new to me. I was born and brought up in a community that has suffered great hunger and starvation. So I am accustomed to this hardship," he said, visibly stirring emotions amongst gathered cadres who were urging him to give up the fast.

PMK President and legislator GK Mani also requested Thirumavalavan to give up his fast.

"Tamil people in Tamil Nadu are deeply depressed and discontented with the behavior of the Indian Government which seems hell bent to support Sri Lanka's strategy of totally annihilating the Tamils," but added that Thiruma's fast had further distressed the 80 million Tamils worldwide.

Senior DMK leader and State Electricity Arcot Veerasamy requested Thiruma to finish his fast immediately. "If a fast-unto-death can provide a solution, the 80 million Tamil people will take it up" he said and requested the VCK leader not to single-handedly continue his hunger strike because it would adversely affect his health.

Mr. Veerasamy said that the ethnic issue in Sri Lanka was a six decades old problem and that there could be no alternative opinion on the fact that the Sri Lankan Government was carrying out a systematic genocide of the Tamils.

He pointed out that after Thirumavalavan and Ramadoss had called on the Chief Minister, he had requested Union Minister T.R.Baalu and Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi to pressurize the Indian Prime Minister and Sonia Gandhi respectively. "Yet, a question mark looms over when they will take any action," he said.

Reminding the audience that Indian External Affairs Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon had visited Sri Lanka, Mr. Veerasamy reposed faith in the fact that Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee would go to Colombo soon.


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