Equal status for Tamils in Sri Lanka final goal,says Sonia (Lead)

May 10th, 2009 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Chennai, May 10 (IANS) Expressing anguish over the plight of the Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi said here Sunday that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would work to secure equal status and equal rights for the island nation’s minority community.
“Our ultimate goal is to secure for Tamil people (in Sri Lanka) equal status and equal rights within the united Sri Lanka under the India-Sri Lanka accord of 1987,” Gandhi said at an election rally where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi was also present.

She told the gathering that she was “deeply pained and anguished” for “thousands and thousands of civilians” who were forced to flee the war zone as the Sri Lankan forces took on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the north of the island nation.

Gandhi, who is also the UPA chairperson, said India was firm that the Sri Lankan government moved the Tamils to safety zones and carried out humanitarian works.

Appealing to people in Tamil Nadu to vote for the Congress-led alliance in the on-going Lok Sabha elections, Gandhi said: “You gave us 40 of 40 (in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections) and I urge you repeat.”

Gandhi also detailed the development works carried out by the UPA government in the county, and especially in Tamil Nadu.

Polling in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry will be held in the last phase on May 13. The ruling DMK is a key partner of the Congress.

The Congress-led UPA government, she said, has done and will do everything possible to end the hostilities in Sri Lanka.

“Our government has done everything possible to end the hostilities there and move (civilains) to safer place. Owing to the steps taken by the Indian government, Sri Lanka has concluded combat operations.”

She said: “I have deep emotional bind with the people of Tamil Nadu. The people have showered love and supported me. This is equally true of the Congress.”

She attacked the Left-led Third Front, which she said was “like a pack of cards and it will fail owing to internal bickering”.

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