Jayalalitha keeps fast in support of Sri Lankan Tamils (Lead)

March 9th, 2009 - 7:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, March 9 (IANS) Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and Leader of the Opposition J. Jayalalitha Monday said her party supported Sri Lankan Tamil’s self-determination struggle within the island nation’s constitutional framework.
The general secretary of the AIADMK observed a daylong fast here Monday, demanding “equal status” for Tamil minorities in the island nation.

The AIADMK supports “the genuine demands of the Sri Lankan Tamils. They should be treated at par with the Sinhalese in respect of education and employment. We support their demand for self-determination statehood within the country’s constitution”, Jayalalitha said.

The general secretary of the AIADMK advocated ceasefire in the war ravaged island nation and criticised the ruling DMK in the state and the Congress for their alleged apathy towards the plight of Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

She lambasted the central and state governments for failing to initiate a ceasefire in the island nation and said her fast was to press the central government to ensure peace and safety of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

She gifted Rs.500,000 from her account and announced a donation of Rs.100 million (Rs.1 crore) as her party’s contribution for the Sri Lankan Tamil relief fund.

“After pooling all the donations, the final sum will be handed over to the Red Cross to be spent on relief materials for the Sri Lankan Tamils,” she said.

Speaking at the venue, MDMK general secretary and an ardent Tamil Tiger sympathiser Vaiko praised Jayalalitha for the fast but criticised the Indian government for not pressing the Sri Lanka for a ceasefire.

“Not only the Indian government did not take up the Sri Lankan issue in the United Nations but also stalled the attempts made by other countries to raise the issue there,” he added.

A tired looking Jayalalitha broke her fast at 5 p.m. by sipping a glass of juice offered by Vaiko.

AIADMK party members under took similar fast at the district headquarters and also in the Union Territory of Puducherry while Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary N. Varadarajan and CPI state secretary D. Pandian were present at the fasting venue.

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