Karunanidhi sets up Forum for Sri Lankan Tamils’ welfare

February 3rd, 2009 - 8:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Feb 3 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Tuesday announced formation of the Forum for Welfare and Rights of Lankan Tamils (FWRLT) to demand “power devolution in Sri Lanka for ensuring an honourable existence of the ethnic minority there”.The FWRLT comprises several parties, including the ruling DMK’s main ally the Congress, according to a party press release.

At the end of a meeting of the DMK executive committee, Karunanidhi told reporters that the central government’s actions in the matter were “not satisfactory”.

“While the DMK is far from satisfied at the centre’s approach in the matter, in my opinion (External Affairs Minister) Pranab Mukherjee is not happy at the turn of events. India should back a UN sponsored ceasefire in Sri Lanka,” Karunanidhi said.

Karunanidhi expressed his irritation at repeated criticism against the state government on the issue ahead of Wednesday’s opposition-sponsored shutdown.

“The continued politicisation of the Sri Lankan Tamils’ suffering through violence is an obvious sign of a conspiracy to dislodge the DMK government. To educate the people here, our forum will hold public meetings throughout the state to educate the masses in the matter and press for meaningful devolution of power and the honourable existence of Tamils in Sri Lanka,” Karunanidhi added.

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Director General of Police K.P. Jain warned protesters against damaging public property during the shutdown.

“We have initiated measures to prevent damage to public property and will arrest anyone indulging in such acts - if needed under the National Security Act. Adequate police protection has been ordered in vulnerable areas and agitators’ entry into bus and rail stations has been banned,” Jain told IANS.

“While vehicles will move in convoys under armed guard wherever needed, we have advised the transport corporation against operating on certain routes at night,” Jain added.

In separate incidents lawyers continued their protests against the Sri Lankan regime - shouting slogans, burning effigies of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and attempting to block road and rail traffic at several places besides boycotting courts.

Meanwhile, the state government has ordered the closure of colleges from Monday to stem protests.

“Closure of colleges on the alibi of students voicing their opinion democratically against the acts of the central government and a neighbouring country’s government affecting our Tamil brethren are disheartening,” N.S. Tamilvanan, a city college student, said.

Sri Lankan diplomatic sources expressed dismay over an attack on the offices of a Sri Lankan airline in Tiruchirappalli Monday night. They, however, added the state’s law and order machinery was taking “adequate care”.

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