Teso meet may shift to party HQ

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DMK president M Karunanidhi said he would shift the Teso conference to his party headquarters if he fails in getting judicial intervention against the city police commissioner’s denial of permission to hold it at the YMCA ground in Royapettah on Sunday.

In a statement climaxing the daylong high drama, he said efforts were being made to get the Madras high court to vacate the police ban on the conference at YMCA ground, but if they fail, the conference would be held at 4 pm at the Kalaignar Arangam in DMK headquarters, Anna Arivalayam. The meet would adopt resolutions on protecting the lives and livelihoods of Eelam Tamils.

These resolutions would be drafted by leaders meeting at Accord Metropolitan hotel in the morning, Karunanidhi said.

He said the Sunday conference would be followed by a series of meetings that the DMK would hold at several places in the state between August 20 and 30, to explain to the public the importance of the Teso resolutions for “wiping the tears of Eelam Tamils”.

The efforts were aimed at getting the Government of India and all the other nations that supported the UNHRC resolution (March 2012) against Colombo to help the Sri Lankan Tamils gain equal rights and live in peace, the DMK chief said.

Earlier in the day, he was forced through harrowing moments as the city police refused permission for holding the Teso conference at the YMCA ground citing fears that public safety could be compromised since the venue can accommodate only 8,000 people whereas the DMK had announced that more than one lakh people were expected to attend.

Also, the Royapettah government hospital with a huge turnout of outpatients and a large number of inpatients was just across the road, said the police rejection communication, which also pointed out that there was a church and a mosque close by.

Moving quickly, the DMK moved a petition in the high court challenging the police refusal of permission. The petition was first heard by a single judge, who referred it to the chief justice for posting before a division bench.

Accordingly, the bench comprising Justices Elepe Dharma Rao and M. Venugopal will hear the DMK petition around noon of Sunday. Not wanting to take chances, Karunanidhi got Anna Arivalayam ready for holding the Teso meet just in case his lawyers drew blank at the high court.

TNA to skip Teso meet

On a depressing day, the only relief that the DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi could manage was a communication from the ministry of external affairs saying there was no objection to holding the conference with the title of ‘Eelam Tamil Rights Protection Conference’.

But there was a rider to the MEA message as it said the Teso organisers “are advised to ensure that the conference does not issue any declaration or outcome that calls into question in any manner the sovereignty, territorial integrity and unity of any foreign country with whom India has diplomatic relations”.

The Centre had earlier said that the word ‘Eelam’ should not be used — obviously because that is the name given by the Sri Lankan Tamils to the independent Tamil nation they dream of. But Karunanidhi on Friday had retorted that none could prevent TESO from using the word ‘Eelam’.

If the MEA ‘concession’ on Eelam now came as a relief to the DMK chief, there was bad news from Sri Lanka. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main Tamil opposition in the Lankan Parliament, decided after two days of deliberations not to attend the TESO meet.

The Tamil diaspora across the globe has not been very supportive of Karunanidhi, viewing his Eelam politics with great suspicion. For the record, however, the TNA has said it decided to stay away from Teso because of the provincial council elections in the east (Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara).

“We were unanimous in deciding not to attend the Teso meet, which we realise will deliver precious little for us Tamils in Sri Lanka. We do not want to say that openly, so we decided to cite our eastern elections”, said a TNA MP requesting anonymity.

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