TamilNadu CM cancels Rajapakse meeting

[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 December 2005, 19:16 GMT]
"Dinathanthi," a Tamil daily based in Tamil Nadu, India, in its print edition Thursday quoted India's Foreign Ministry Spokesman, Navtej Sarna, as saying that the meeting scheduled for Friday between the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state, Ms. Jayalalitha Jayaram, in Chennai was cancelled due to the SL President's "full schedule in Delhi," and the Chief Minister not being available that day. Disclosing that the Sri Lankan President was scheduled to visit the bordering state of Kerala to attend a pooja at the Thiruvayoor temple on Friday, the paper said that the cancellation is more due to the increasing concerns being expressed in Tamil Nadu on the Sri Lankan Tamils' situation.

On the meeting with Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, the spokesperson said, "Both sides agreed that peace talks aimed at strengthening the ceasefire should begin at the earliest. The discussions also covered the wide ranging economic and commercial cooperation that already exists between the two countries, as well as ways and means of enhancing it in the coming years. Specific issues in this context that came up were the conclusion of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, cooperation in the field of railways, civil aviation, information technology and energy."

On the possibility of a greater role for India in Sri Lanka's peace process Mr Sarna said, "He [Mr Rajapakse] briefed the Indian side on the current status of the peace process. They said that the talks which are aimed at strengthening the ceasefire should begin at the earliest. So, this is the position which both shared. I can add that India’s position on the peace process is well known and President Rajapaksa welcomed India’s commitment to peace and security in Sri Lanka."

The popular Tamil paper Dhinathanthi carried three articles on the Tamil conflict and the SL President's visit to India, which it saw as an effort to woo India's support in favour of the Sri Lankan state.

Media reports in the Tamil Nadu press on the Sri Lankan conflict have proliferated following the reports of Sri Lanka's attempt to woo India in the reconstruction of Palaly airstrip, the rape and killing of a Tamil girl in Punguduthivu allegedly by the Sri Lanka Navy, attacks on Tamil academics in Jaffna, and the slaying of the senior Tamil politician Joseph Pararajasingham.

Mr. Vanniya Arasu, the news co-ordinator of the "Liberation Chittas" organisation in Tamil Nadu, had earlier called for a protest against the scheduled meeting between Ms. Jayalalitha and Mr. Rajapakse, the Daily Thanthi further said.

The Junior Vikatan, a Tamil weekly in Tamil Nadu, quoted a popular Tamil poet, living in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Kasi Anandan, as urging the Indian leaders not to be supportive of the Sri Lankan state opposed to Tamil interests. Kasi Anandan has added that India in 1987 was trapped to undertake a military mission against the Tamil interests in Sri Lanka despite several appeals by the Tigers.

Tamil Nadu, with over sixty million population, is sixth most populous State in the Indian Union and the second most industrialized state in India.


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