TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
IN TODAY'S PAPER
WEEKLY FEATURES
CITIES AND REGIONS
ARCHIVES
Since 1st March, 1999
 
THE TELEGRAPH
 
 
CIMA Gallary

Karuna goes slow on Eelam

Chennai, July 16: DMK leader M. Karunanidhi today disclosed that the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) conference slated for August 12 here would not adopt any resolution seeking creation of a separate Eelam (homeland) for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

He, however, maintained that a separate Tamil Eelam was his “unfulfilled dream”.

Karunanidhi, while announcing the revival of the TESO and its conference, had asserted its goal would be to achieve Eelam. “Tamil Eelam within my lifetime is my aim,” he had declared at least in two public meetings over the past few months.

The DMK chief had declared that Eelam was the only solution for the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka and had made it a battle cry for the party in the recent past.

Karunanidhi’s announcement came a day after Union home minister P. Chidambaram met him. He explained that Chidambaram had only given him the reasons for extending the ban on the LTTE.

Sources close to the home minister disclosed that the DMK chief had been impressed upon that any extreme posture like the demand for establishing Tamil Eelam would only harden Sri Lanka’s stand and delay the reconciliation process in that country.

“There is no pressure from the Centre. Do not imagine things,” Karunanidhi had shot back when asked if Chidambaram had discussed the issue with him. He quickly added that he could not be pressured by anyone.

“The concept of a separate Eelam is still alive. But we do not plan to stress the issue or organise protests for the creation of Eelam,” Karunanidhi said.

He explained that the aim of the conference would be to improve the livelihood of the Lankan Tamils and to mitigate their hardship after the end of the armed struggle.

He added that the conference would take into consideration the views and opinions of its participants to solve the problems they faced through non-violent means

When repeatedly asked if the DMK had changed its stand on Eelam, Karunanidhi replied: “A separate Eelam may be a reality one day. But it may not happen after the TESO conference. There is a time-frame for everything.”

Union ministers Sharad Pawar and Farooq Abdullah; Janata Dal (U) leader Sharad Yadav; former minister Ram Vilas Paswan; Sri Lankan Tamil MPs and representatives from various countries will be part of the conference, he said.

Even as Karunanidhi back-pedalled, Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalaithaa today raised the anti Sri Lankan pitch by demanding that the Centre expel a group of Sri Lankan military personnel attending a defence workshop at Wellington Defence College in Conoor.

She demanded that no Sri Lankan armed personnel should be trained anywhere in India.