Karunanidhi lauds India’s proactive moves on Sri Lankan issue

October 20th, 2008 - 9:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Oct 20 (IANS) Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi expressed happiness Monday at the centre’s measures in helping Sri Lankan Tamils in the war-torn northern part of the island following the distribution of 750 tonnes of food sent by the United Nations.”I am happy that the Sri Lankan regime allowed the distribution of food materials to over 230,000 suffering Lankan Tamils in the (war-torn) northern part of the island after our central government’s proactive intervention. This shows that our efforts did not go in vain,” Karunanidhi said in an open letter to DMK workers.

Karunanidhi also said that he was aware of the ensuing trip of External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Colombo to ensure toning down of the military offensive against Tamils.

On Saturday, soon after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on the plight of Tamil civilians caught in the military conflict in the island, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollgama had invited Mukherjee “to undertake a visit to Sri Lanka at an early date”.

The dates of the visit have yet to be finalised.

During their telephonic conversation, initiated by Rajapaksa, Manmohan Singh “expressed his deep concern on the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the north of Sri Lanka, especially on the plight of the civilians caught in the hostilities”, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in New Delhi on Saturday said.

Manmohan Singh also “emphasised that the safety and the security of Tamil civilians must be safeguarded at all costs” during the military operations against Tamil Tiger rebels, the statement said.

The prime minister also asked Colombo to ensure “uninterrupted relief supplies” for the internally displaced persons to address the humanitarian consequences of the military action, the PMO statement added.

It said Manmohan Singh reiterated yet again that there was “no military solution” to the conflict and urged the Sri Lankan leader “to start a political process for a peacefully negotiated political settlement within the framework of a united Sri Lanka”.

With 14 MPs of DMK, a key ally of his government and the ruling party of Tamil Nadu, handing over post-dated resignations over the situation in Sri Lanka, Manmohan Singh stressed that “the rights and the welfare of the Tamil community of Sri Lanka should not get enmeshed in the ongoing hostilities against the LTTE”.

This was the second message from the prime minister and the fourth from New Delhi to Colombo in the last four days over the situation in Sri Lanka that has stirred a political storm in India with MPs from Tamil Nadu threatening to resign if the violence against civilians was not stopped in Lanka.

Manmohan Singh’s conversation with the Sri Lankan president comes a day after Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon summoned Sri Lankan High Commissioner C.R. Jayasinghe and asked Colombo to “take steps” to stop the violence that has severely affected Tamil civilians in the island nation.

Mukherjee Thursday had sent a stern message to Colombo asking it to shun “military means” and pursue a political settlement that respects the human rights of minorities in the island nation.

In his letter, Karunanidhi also recorded his appreciation of the film industry for voicing support for their Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka.

The chief minister also exhorted DMK workers to participate in the state-wide human chain Tuesday in full strength.

“My eyes will be searching for those Tamil souls that will array in strength in support of our brothers and sisters suffering in Sri Lanka,” Karunanidhi added.

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