Snap ties with Colombo unless ceasefire called: Karunanidhi (Second Lead)

April 18th, 2009 - 12:24 am ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh Chennai/New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) With emotions running high in Tamil Nadu over the sufferings of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Friday urged the government of India to sever all ties with Colombo if did not honour and implement New Delhi’s appeal for a ceasefire immediately.
The ruling DMK’s chief sent a telegram to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Congress president Sonia Gandhi asking the government to snap ties.

Karunanidhi’s message comes a day after Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse vowed to root out terrorism from his nation’s soil.

In his telegram, Karunanidhi thanked the Indian government for urging Sri Lanka to extend a limited ceasefire to enable the trapped civilians to move to safer areas.

”We welcome with gratitude the appeal made by the external affairs minister for ceasefire in Sri Lanka. If the appeal for ceasefire is not honoured and implemented by the Sri Lanka government, we request the government of India to snap all diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka,” he said in the telegram

Sri Lanka’s military forces, according to reports from Colombo are within striking distance of the last few sq km of territory in the control of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam that is seeking a separate homeland for the ethnic minority.

Earlier in the day, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, urging Sri Lanka to extend the limited ceasefire, said: “Sri Lanka must extend this pause in hostilities to prevent further casualties and enable trapped civilians to leave the area to secure locations.”

“Continuation of precipitate military actions leading to further civilian casualties at this time would be totally unacceptable,” he added.

Mukherjee said that while it was incumbent on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to release all civilians under its control, Colombo “cannot be oblivious to the evolving human tragedy and the fate of the Tamil civilian population caught up in the so-called no-fire zone”.

“There is no reason not to continue with the pause in military actions in the no fire zone,” Mukherjee said.

“India is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. The continuing conflict has taken a heavy toll on Tamil civilians and internally displaced persons caught in the crossfire.”

“India expects the government of Sri Lanka and others concerned to respond positively to this appeal in the interest of the Tamils who are citizens of Sri Lanka,” Mukherjee said.

Sri Lanka announced a 48-hour temporary ceasefire to mark the Tamil and Sinhala New Year this week to enable civilians to leave the conflict zone. It resumed its offensive against the LTTE Wednesday.

In his statement, Mukherjee also announced India’s decision to send another set of 40,000 family packs - commodities needed by families - to the civilians hit by the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Tens of thousands of Tamil civilians - their number put at between 80,000 to about 250,000 - are trapped in a small area in Mullaitivu district where the LTTE leaders are believed to have taken refuge. Colombo says the guerrillas are using the civilians as a shield.

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