Congress minister endorses Jayalalitha’s stand against LTTE

November 11th, 2008 - 12:12 am ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Nov 10 (IANS) Central minister E.V.K.S. Elangovan of the Congress, which is aligned to Tamil Nadu’s ruling DMK, Monday endorsed Leader of Opposition J. Jayalalitha’s stand against the Tamil Tigers - signalling fissures in the state’s political scenario over the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue.Elangovan, the union minister of state for commerce and industry, told reporters in Tenkasi, 550 km south of here: “Though the Congress has serious political differences with Jayalalitha, our views against the terrorist organisation called the LTTE are virtually the same. I fully endorse her stand on safeguarding the unity and integrity of India and opposing terrorism - be it local or foreign.”

DMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had last month warned that all MPs from Tamil Nadu would quit unless the central government took immediate steps to halt the fighting in Sri Lanka and to protect the rights of the ethnic Tamil minority in the island. The crisis was defused after External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee intervened.

The Congress’ 35 legislators prop up the DMK government, which has 95 MLAS in the 235-member assembly.

In a related development, N. Murugan, a former IAS officer who is now advisor to actor-turned-politician Sarath Kumar-led All India Samathuva Makkal Katchi, walked out of “an intellectual debate” held here in the evening after he was heckled for questioning the genuineness of the LTTE offer of a ceasefire.

“I questioned the Tigers’ commitment to the democratic process based on their well known past acts of fratricide. The person who has offered a ceasefire to a website is not the LTTE supremo Prabhakaran, but somebody else. I questioned its genuineness because it can never be verified. I was heckled by some of the personalities present in the hall, and I staged a walkout,” Murugan told IANS.

“While I am one with the Tamils globally, I also have a right to question what I feel is wrong,” Murugan added.

Sarath Kumar, a bitter critic of the DMK, had organised a day-long hunger strike of leading lights from the Tamil film industry Nov 1 to demand an immediate halt to the alleged killings of “innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka by the military offensive”.

Among others, it was addressed by Tamil thespians Rajnikant, Vijaykanth and Kamal Haasan and pro-LTTE Dalit leader Thol Thirumavalavan. All of them assailed Sri Lanka, terming the government an oppressor.

Sri Lankan MPs belonging to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which apparently represents the parliamentary wing of the LTTE, were seen on the dais that day.

Lankan émigrés abroad control the distribution of Tamil films overseas and are also involved in production here.

Ayngaran International, a company headed by Karunamoorthy, a Lankan based in London is producing the costliest Tamil film to date starring Rajnikant - “Robot” at a reported cost of over Rs.1.2 billion.

The company website’s homepage canvasses openly for Lankan Tamils and features the images of Tamil film stars during the Nov 1 hunger-strike prominently.

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