DMK calls off fast on Lanka

Bowing to Tamil sentiments expressed worldwide, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Parliament on Monday that India was “inclined to vote” in support of the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka for alleged war crimes at the UN Human Rights Commission.

With this, he also staved off possible DMK desertion from his Cabinet, besides the combined wrath of political parties and Tamil outfits in Tamil Nadu who had announced bandhs and fasting on this issue. However, Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalithaa brushed aside the exuberance, pointing out that the Prime Minister had not come out clearly in support of the US resolution, nor did he condemn Sri Lanka for war crimes. All that the PM did was to help his ally and DMK chief M. Karunanidhi keep away from the daylong fast that he had announced on Thursday to press for Indian support for the US resolution and call off the DMK high-level committee meet called for Tuesday.
On the other hand, she had been consistent in her condemnation of Colombo for serious war crimes against the Tamils in the island and had written two letters to the Prime Minister pressing for action against Sri Lanka, she pointed out in a statement responding to PM’s Parliament statement and Mr Karunanidhi’s reaction to it. Replying to the motion of thanks to the President’s Address in the Lok Sabha, the Prime Minister said while the government had not yet seen the final text, India was “inclined to vote in favour of a resolution that we hope will advance our objective, namely the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.”
Reacting quickly, Mr Karunanidhi told the media that the DMK plans for high-level committee meeting on Tuesday and fasting on Thursday had been dropped. He also released what was to be the committee’s resolution to pull out the DMK ministers from the Manmohan government and extend to it only issue-based support. “We are happy with Prime Minister’s announcement. It is a victory for our protest”, gushed the DMK chief, whose party has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha.
Other parties and Tamil outfits in the state, which had announced agitations to press Delhi to back the US resolution, called off the protests and expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister. The Tamil glee was global.
“The entire Tamil community in Sri Lanka and the Tamil diaspora around the world are delighted about the shift of the Indian position with regard to the US resolution at the UNHCR. We are very grateful to the Indian PM for his announcement in the Lok Sabha,” said Suren Surendiran, spokesperson for the London-based Global Tamil Forum. He also conveyed the GTF gratitude for the role played by the Tamil Nadu parties, rights activists and the media.

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