Chennai: A day after Congress made it clear that it will not support the demand for Tamil Eelam, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Monday made a U-turn on his plan to raise the issue at the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) meet on August 12. “As of now, Tamil Eelam is an idea. But the main focus of the TESO conference on August 12 would be to discuss the ways to protect the Lankan Tamils surviving the onslaught of the Sinhala Army and to improve their livelihood resources besides setting right the woes posed by the war to the Tamils there,” Karunanidhi told reporters after releasing the theme paper of the TESO conference.
Karunanidhi, who revived TESO a couple of months ago, had been reiterating till recently that the organisation aimed to achieve the goal of forming a Tamil Eelam. Asked whether there was any pressure from the Centre to give up the Tamil Eelam demand, Karunanidhi said, “There is no such pressure... don’t imagine anything of that sort.”
“If Tamil Eelam becomes a reality, everyone would welcome it. But think about the present situation... even Independence to India was achieved after applying many forms of agitations... this is one such,” Karunanidhi said when asked about the reason for his sudden change of mind.
Congress had on Sunday categorically stated that the party won’t support the Eelam demand. Union Home Minister P Chidambaram had also called on the DMK chief. On the charge that he is now hesitating to raise his voice for Eelam, Karunanidhi said, “I am not hesitating...Tamil Eelam may become a reality at some point of time in future....I don’t expect that Tamil Eelam will be created a day after the TESO conference... we should give time for anything.”
Responding to another query, Karunanidhi said the DMK did not like any armed struggle. “Out of experience, we have seen that armed struggle had been quelled by the governments in power... Given the strength of the weapons of those who struggled for freedom in Sri Lanka and that of the Sinhala government, it is obvious that those struggled in the island nation could not succeed.”
When asked about the extension of the ban on the LTTE by the Centre, Karunanidhi gave a wishy-washy reply. “I can’t comment on that...the ban cannot be viewed as a ban on LTTE alone...I have a very strong view that there should be no extremism and armed struggle in Tamil Nadu.”
Asked whether extension of ban on LTTE was necessary as Sri Lanka had declared that the outfit and its chief were wiped out, Karunanidhi said extension was an issue between the Central and State governments.
Asked about the TNCC president BS Gnanadesikan’s view that Congress would not support TESO, Karunanidhi said Gnanadesikan had expressed certain unfortunate remarks in haste. He said all parties, including Congress, would be invited for the TESO conference.