Chennai, March 15: DMK president M. Karunanidhi today declared it would be “meaningless” to continue in the UPA unless India introduces amendments before the UNHRC that lead to prosecution of war criminals in Sri Lanka.
In a late-night statement, Karunanidhi demanded that India must introduce amendments to the US resolution before the UNHRC at Geneva that should seek a time-bound international probe into alleged genocide in Sri Lanka, identification of war criminals and their prosecution.
“If India fails to do this, the DMK’s continuance in the cabinet would become meaningless,” Karunanidhi declared. The party has one cabinet minister (Karunanidhi’s son M.K. Alagiri) and four ministers of state in the UPA government after two of its cabinet nominees — A. Raja and Dayanidhi Maran — had to quit over the 2G telecom scandal. The party has 18 MPs in the Lok Sabha along with one MP of the VCK, a Dalit party, who had contested on the DMK symbol.
Karunanidhi’s latest threat is the most serious to emanate from the DMK quarters. The party chief is likely to claim credit for any strongly worded resolution, after India-introduced amendments are incorporated, on Sri Lanka’s alleged war crimes during the 2009 war.
He is also trying to exploit the growing public anger, especially among college and university students who have started a parallel protest movement demanding similar action from India at the UNHRC.
The threat comes against the backdrop of the US resolution, in its third draft, not mentioning genocide or prosecution of war criminals but instead focusing on human rights violations and curtailment of media freedom.
Karunanidhi had revived Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (Teso), a grouping of like-minded outfits seeking a vote among Lankan Tamils in and outside Sri Lanka on the creation of a separate Tamil homeland.
Although Teso had organised various protests in the last one year, it had been forced to tone down its main demand for creation of Eelam (homeland) as the only solution, under pressure from the Congress.
It was under the DMK’s insistence that India voted against Lanka at the last UNHRC meeting, seeking more positive action on getting to the truth about war crimes against Tamils.
While that resolution failed to impact Lanka, since India had it toned down by shifting the onus to Colombo to set its house in order, there is greater pressure on Delhi this time to press for more stringent actions .
This has come after the further expose of scenes of civilians being killed by Lankan armed forces and the cold-blooded murder of LTTE leader Prabhakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran after his capture by Lankan troops.
The latest DMK threat to pull out is a culmination of the demands that India stop protecting Sri Lanka on this issue and add its own muscle to the resolution being tabled by the US.
Karunanidhi has little to lose by pulling out of the cabinet with son Alagiri the only DMK representative.