2ND LEAD

Karunanidhi offers to step down, challenging false allegations over Tiger issue

[TamilNet, Monday, 04 February 2008, 18:03 GMT]
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi hit back at Congress leaders and announced on Sunday that he was even ready to face a change of power in the state over false allegations of supporting the LTTE. Speaking at a marriage function at the DMK headquarters, well-attended by several Congress leaders, Mr. Karunanidhi alleged that some people were trying to topple his government by indulging in a 'conspiracy' and requested Congressmen not to become a party to it.

"I regret that the Congress leaders speak as if Tamil Nadu has become the hunting ground for the Liberation Tigers. If such a situation arises, I shall be the first person who shall stand up to prevent it. Not only the Congress, but the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Paattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) and the Dravida Kazhagam (DK) also share this responsibility. All the allies of the DMK party have this responsibility. I feel that even the Viduthalai Chiruththaikal Katchi (VCK), whose speeches make us wonder whether they are really part of the alliance, also has this responsibility," he said.

Congress leader and Indian Finance Minister P. Chidambaram's accusatory remarks in a public meeting at Naakarkoayil on Saturday was the immediate cause for Karunanidhi's ire.

The chief minister reiterated that legal action would be taken against anyone who indulges in anti-national activity in Tamil Nadu.

Though he had announced this in the State Assembly, he regretted that Congress leaders from Tamil Nadu kept accusing him of giving room to the LTTE.

"A Congress leader, who gave a media interview that 'Karunanidhi doesn't support the LTTE one bit,' accuses me of betraying the nation when he addresses the State Assembly. Congress member Peter Alphonse, who was present in the house should have got up and refuted this statement. Even Chidambaram expresses similar views in a public meeting. I spoke to him and wondered why he had spoken as if the LTTE enjoys support in Tamil Nadu."

Karunanidhi came out with statistics of those arrested for indulging in pro-LTTE activities in the state ever since his government assumed power on May 15, 2006: 12 cases had been filed against the Tigers, 103 people had been arrested in these cases, of whom 13 belonged to the LTTE. Moreover, 92 LTTE supporters had been arrested, of whom 31 were Lankan Tamils and the remaining were Indian Tamils. Currently, 40 people are detained in prisons under the National Security Act, and three of them are Tamil Tigers, Karunanidhi said.

Karunanidhi said that Congress leaders should not fall into the trap of forces inimical to the progress of Tamils. He reminded the gathering that he was a disciple of the late Annadurai who had given up the demand for a separate Dravida Nadu to strengthen the unity of India.


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