Chennai: Ratcheting up pressure on the Centre, UPA key ally DMK-organised pro-Eelam TESO meet on Sunday accused it of remaining "silent" to the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils and asked the government to play a more pro-active role to ensure their well-being, including moving a UN resolution.
"...This conference points out to the Indian Government that a question has naturally arisen in the hearts of Tamils as to why it has been silent on the undemocratic developments in Sri Lanka," a resolution passed at the much-hyped meet said.
After much drama with the fate of the meet caught in a legal wrangle, the 'Eelam Tamil Livelihood Rights Protection Conference' received a 11th hour nod from the High Court when it stayed city police's refusal to grant permission.
The last minute police refusal had put a question mark over the meet forcing Tamil Eelam Supporters' Organisation (TESO) to approach the High Court, with a Division Bench at a special sitting on Sunday giving the clearance to hold the event at the YMCA grounds with certain riders.
"Indian Government has been protecting a number of Nationalities, Religions and Languages, as required by its democratic traditions. But contrary to this Indian situation, in the neighbouring Sri Lanka, there is no protection for the Tamil Nationality, Religion and Language," it said.
The meet demanded that the Indian government take all necessary steps to ensure a "total change of environment" in Sri Lanka and a life of equality and peace to the Sri Lankan Tamils, by "redeeming their political, economic and cultural rights."
The conference, attended by delegates from different countries, asked the Government of India to bring forth a Resolution in the UN, for bestowing full right to the Tamils in Sri Lanka to decide the political solution themselves, which they have been demanding, it said
In his speech at a conclave preceding the main event, Karunanidhi, who is seeking to inject life into the defunct TESO founded by him in the 1980s, alleged that the Sri Lankan army was running a "state of Emergency" in Tamil areas.
The DMK patriarch said the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils was linked with human rights and dignity, which required short-term, medium-term and long-term solutions. The long-term solution has to be a political one, he said.
Eelam signifies the separate nationhood concept, the core of armed struggle by the now decimated LTTE, which is not in line with India's stand on the issue.
"It may be painful to note that the Sri Lankan military runs a state of Emergency in Tamil areas," Karunanidhi said, claiming that intimidation of Tamils had increased after the recent resolution in Geneva in the UN Human Rights Council asking Colombo to promote post-war reconciliation.
Union Ministers Sharad Pawar (NCP) and Farooq Abdullah (National Conference) besides JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav were scheduled to attend but they only sent their representatives.
Voicing concern over alleged demolition of places of worship of Tamils besides "destroying their cultural and linguistic identities," the conference, which passed 14 resolutions, demanded that the UN "put an end to these atrocities."
It also called for citizenship or Permanent Resident status for Lankan Tamil Refugees staying in the country besides urging New Delhi to retrieve Katchatheevu, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India and setting up Naval base in Dhanushkodi to safeguard Indian fishermen from attacks by Sri Lankan Navy.
While permitting the meet, the High Court on Sunday put some riders stating that the crowd at the YMCA grounds should not be more than 8,000 and TESO was responsible for maintenance of law and order.
The Centre had done a U-turn on Saturday when it told the court that it had no objection to the word 'Eelam' (separate homeland) being used in the title of the meet.
Police had refused permission after the Centre and the Jayalalithaa government raised certain objections in the court on Friday, particularly to use of the word "Eelam" (separate homeland for Tamils) in the meet's title.