Brushing aside the Indian Government’s reservations, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Chief Muthuvel Karunanidhi declared in Chennai on Sunday that he will strive for a separate Eelam or homeland for Sri Lankan Tamils, to be carved out of the island-nation.
Speaking at DMK’s Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO) conference, the 88-year-old former Tamil Nadu chief minister also endorsed the move for applying pressure on the Government of India for protection of the Sri Lankan Tamils’ rights by moving the United Nations.
Karunanidhi described as his “unfulfilled dream” the birth of a separate homeland for Sri Lankan Tamils, and said he will continue to pursue it with the help of other stake-holders.
The TESO conference passed a resolution calling for India to move a resolution in the UN for bestowing full rights to the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
“This resolution can be used to exert pressure (on the government). That itself is to pressure Government of India,” he said in his concluding remarks. “We need not exert any more pressure other than this.”
“Let us first apply medicine to those who are injured and we have started doing that with TESO conference,” he added. The immediate job on hand is to apply first aid on “life- threatening wounds” of the Sri Lankan Tamils with a view to save their lives.
TESO was floated by him a quarter century ago. Having lost power in his native state in the assembly elections last year, analysts say he is trying to stay in the limelight by reviving it now.
“I will continue to struggle towards realising that dream (Eelam) taking you all on board,” he said.
While granting permission to hold the meeting, the Centre has asked the organisers to ensure that it does not issue any declaration or outcome calling into question the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of any foreign country with whom India has diplomatic relations.
He recalled founding TESO, and Indian political veterans such as Atal Behari Vajpayee and NT Ramarao attending a meeting of the organisation in Madurai in 1986 and extending their support for the Sri Lankan Tamils’ cause.