Thirumavalavan urges Center to hold referendum on extending LTTE ban

[TamilNet, Saturday, 02 February 2008, 20:18 GMT]
Viduthalai Chiruththaikal Kadchi (VCK, Liberation Panthers Party) President Thol. Thirumavalavan on Friday urged the Indian Government to conduct a referendum among the sixty five million people of Tamil Nadu on the extension of LTTE ban. He was speaking at a demonstration organized by his party to pressure the Indian Government to wage war against Sri Lanka for planting mines in the sea waters of Kadchatheevu and for arbitrarily arresting Tamil Nadu fishermen.

Thirumavalavan urges referendum
Thirumavalavan urges referendum
The VCK leader recalled how Tamil fishermen from Rameswaram, who had gone in 599 boats to fish in the Kadchatheevu waters on January 20 were rounded up by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN). Though a majority of the fishermen had managed to reach the coast safely, 12 fishermen were caught by the SLN, presented before the Jaffna court and later detained in prison. Following this arrest, the fishermen of Rameswaram had started an indefinite strike on January 25.

Thirumavalavan pointed out that the SLN could not have planted the floating-mines in the sea without the consent and cooperation of the Indian Navy.

"Who gave the SLN the authority to mine the seas? Planting mines in the sea can take place only in a war-like situation. If the mines are to prevent the activities of the Liberation Tigers, should it not be non-intrusive to the fishermen of Tamil Nadu?

"The Indian Government hasn't shown any concern or issue any condemnation over the sea mines. But it has only warned the Tamil Nadu fishermen. This is shameful and extremely repulsive," he said.

He drew attention to the existence of historical records about mines being planted in the seas during the First World War. In 1988, an American ship had suffered serious damage when it hit a sea-mine planted in the Persian Gulf during the Second World War (1945-1949). He said unlike landmines, the sea-mines are mobile, and are more dangerous due to long lifetimes.

The Indian Government gave island of Kadchatheevu to the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) as a gift in the mid-1970s, without holding a referendum among the Tamil Nadu people, or even taking the opinion of the Tamil Nadu chief minister, Thirumavalavan told the audience.

Thirumavalavan urges referendum

He said the ban on the Tigers existed because the Indian Government was opposed to an independent Tamil Eelam. India is apprehensive that the superior morale of Tiger fighters may force Sinhalese to accept the demand for Tamil statehood.

Thirumavalavan urges referendum

Tamil Nadu Congress leaders Gnanasekaran and EVKS Elangovan are ignorant of this, and continue to insist Rajiv Gandhi's assassination as the reason for the ban. We are merely saying that India's external affairs policy is flawed, Thirumavalavan said.

"You are deciding against my people--whom have you consulted before you took such a decision?" he questioned. "Is a nation's foreign policy something that can be decided by four officials? Is there a single Tamil among those authorities? Have you taken the opinion of the people of Tamil Nadu? Did you seek the opinion of the members of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly? Did you consult the Indian parliamentarians hailing from Tamil Nadu? Did you debate this in both the houses of the Parliament? Did you seek the opinion of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kalaignar [Karunanidhi] who represents the people of Tamil Nadu? Whom did you consult? If the Indian Government and the Indian National Congress really have the courage, let them announce that they dislike the creation of Tamil Eelam and then face the elections. They cannot do that."

"If Gnanasekaran of the Indian National Congress contests alone, will he get any vote? If Elangovan of the Indian National Congress contests alone, will he get three votes? How can they threaten the DMK Government, when their victory is tied to their alliance with DMK? They are talking about a law passed in the year 1967. We request the Chief Minister not to worry about the Congress or the AIADMK. They cannot win without your support. Only the Dalits form the votebank of the Congress," Thirmavalavan said.

"The issue of freedom of expression impacts all Tamil people. We conducted the 'Conference to Redeem the Freedom of Expression' only to support our Chief Minister. When the Tamil Nadu chief minister wrote a four-line elegy, it angered "Amma" [Jayalalithaa]. The flawed external affairs policy of the Indian Government founded on the imaginative fear that Tamil Nadu will secede and become a separate nation if Tamil Eelam is recognized.

"Why are you afraid that Tamil Nadu will become a separate nation? Why do you lack the courage and conviction to declare that Tamil Nadu will never become a separate nation?" Thirumavalavan asked.

He said that Center must conduct a referendum among the 65m people in Tamil Nadu if India wants to extend the ban on LTTE. "Let the people of Tamil Nadu say that the Liberation Tigers must be banned, let them say that they are opposed to the creation of Tamil Eelam. Then we will stop agitating. How can you decide about the future of the Tamil people ignoring the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu?"

"Was the opinion of the Tamil Nadu people sought when Indira Gandhi and Srima Bandarnaike signed a pact? Was the opinion of the officials of Tamil Nadu sought when the maritime boundaries were decided? Was the opinion of the Tamil people sought when Kadchatheevu was gifted to Sri Lanka? Was the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Kalaignar at least informed of it? When the Rajiv-Jayawardene pact was made--it related to Tamil Eelam--was the opinion of the liberation fighters taken into account? Did the LTTE leader Pirapaharan sign that accord? How can the Tigers be controlled by the Rajiv-Jayawardene pact? What is the justice and rationale behind it? Has the GoSL respected that accord which stipulates that the North and the East should be merged? What is the action that the Indian Government is going to take against the GoSL?"

Shivajilingam, Sri Lankan Member of Parliament from the Tamil National Alliance also addressed the demonstration meeting and condemned the GoSL. Several slogans, in support of the right of freedom of expression, were raised in the demonstration.



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