‘Aug 12 meet to focus on welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils’


Chennai : The focus of a Tamil meet here on Aug 12 will be on seeking welfare of the ethnic community in the post-war Sri Lanka through peaceful means and providing help to them to sustain their livelihood, DMK president and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M. Karunanidhi said Monday.

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Union ministers and several leaders within and outside the country have confirmed their participation in the Tamil Eelam Supporter’s Organisation (TESO) conference, he said.

He assured the people that the subject of separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka will not be stressed at the meet.

Karunanidhi said: “After the killing of armed militants there by the Sinhalese army there, the focus of the conference will be on protecting the remaining Tamils, sustain their livelihood, providing help to remove their sufferings due to the war, and eliciting the views of the participants, and based on that take action in a peaceful way.”

Speaking to reporters here, Karunanidhi said: “Union minisers Farooq Abdullah, Sharad Pawar, Lok Janashakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan have expressed their consent to participate in the TESO conference.”

He said several leaders from countries like Sri Lanka, Nigeria and leaders of Tamil groups will also be coming to the conference titled ‘Eelam Tamils Rights Protection Conference’.

Reiterating that his unfulfilled wish is the creation separate Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi said he will not fear any powers asking him to give up his wish, but one has to look at the current situation.

He said the DMK does not wish any armed struggle by Tamils as the Sri Lankan Army would have greater strength of weapons over the militants and in the end it will be the army that would win.

Declining to comment on the central government extending the ban on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Karunanidhi said: “Generally in India and particularly in Tamil Nadu, terrorism and armed struggle should not take place is my strong conviction.”

Denying that union Home Minister P. Chidambaram expressed his opposition to the TESO conference, Karunanidhi said it was Tamil Nadu Congress party leader B.S. Gnanadesikan who has jumped the gun in expressing his opposition to the meet.

Asked whether the conference would pass a resolution demanding action against those involved in war crimes in Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi said his party was one of the major parties to insist that India vote in favour of the UN resolution demanding action for war crimes in the island nation.