Dinamani: Tamil Nadu should shape Center’s policy towards Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 15:02 GMT]
Referring to Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s letter to the Indian Prime Minister which protested Sri Lanka Navy (SLN’s) hostile actions including regular incidents of firing against Tamil Naadu fishermen fishing near Kachchatheevu, Dinamani, a mainstream Tamil Nadu daily, in an editorial on Tuesday assailed India’s insensitivity and Chief Minister Karunanidhi’s meek response to the serious violations of the SLN.

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has written a letter to the [Indian] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pointing out that Indian fishermen who were fishing in the seas near Kachchatheevu were shot at on March 5, and Christy, one of the fishermen died as a consequence. The often repeated incidents of firing and the recent arrest of 62 fishermen have left them frightened and unprotected, the editorial said.

The paper pointed out that the even India’s permanent enemy Pakistan does not shoot at the fishermen from Gujarat who transgress maritime boundaries; they only end up in Pakistani jails.

When international laws permit humane ways to punish those who transgress the maritime boundaries, Colombo continues to threaten Indian fishermen with death. "Why does our Government hesitate to act according to law and justice even in international affairs? Has the relationship with the Sri Lankan Government become more important than the fishermen of Tamil Nadu?” the paper asked.

“While we boast ourselves as a regional super power and a rising economic Tiger, we are unwilling to provide protection to our fishermen against aggression of our neighbor who does not even respect us as a nation,” the editorial said.

“Our Chief Minister does not go beyond writing poems and letters. His years of experience in governance and political maturity have not helped him to exercise the leverage his Government wields at the Centre, to articulate forcefully for the rights of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, or to capture the Centre's attention towards Tamil Nadu-related issues. This is distressing,” the paper asserted.

“We can convince ourselves that we have adopted a patient approach to resolve the problems of Kaveari, Paalaru and Mullai Periyaaru without disrupting national unity, but why do we remain docile towards Sri Lanka even when their navy has clearly exceeded the limits of acceptable norms of international behavior?

“The accusation leveled by the opposition parties, that the DMK's unclear approach to the Sri Lankan problem since its beginning is responsible for the present state of affairs, is not without truth. DMK's approach- his adamancy in welcoming the returning IPKF troops then, his indifference to Tamil issues in Sri Lanka today- have become an object of blame, mainly because it lacks clarity,” the paper said.

“We do not say to bring clarity he should support the LTTE, and support those who fight for the liberation of Tamil Eelam. As the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, he has the moral right and the responsibility to guide the Indian Government's foreign affairs policy towards Sri Lanka. Instead of saying the policy of the Central Government is his policy, he should assert Tamil Nadu’s ascendence in India’s politics and accept the responsibility for resolutely influencing policy at the Centre towards Sri Lanka.

“Tamil Nadu Chief Minister demands praise in literature, history and media, like Raja Raja Cholan. But he should not forget that history shall record that he was also one of the major reasons for the sufferings of Tamil Nadu fishermen,” the paper concluded.



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