Lift ban on the LTTE: Tamil Nadu BJP

[TamilNet, Sunday, 04 January 2009, 19:11 GMT]
The Tamil Nadu unit of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the principal opposition party in India, has given clear indications of the necessity for lifting the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam according to news reports in the Indian media. Vaithiyalingam, a senior BJP leader and member of the party's national general council, proposed this idea. In an exclusive interview to a Tamil biweekly, he said that although his party did not believe in violent measures, it was unfair to impose the ideas of a Gandhian struggle on the people of Tamil Eelam.

"The British did not disregard any pact they signed with us, the Indians, during the course of our freedom struggle. But, the Sinhalese government has torn apart and rubbished three major peace pacts relating to the Eelam Tamils. In such a situation, how can anyone believe that holding talks with such a government will lead to a solution?" he asked, drawing parallels from history.

He also lambasted the Sri Lankan government for seeking the Tigers to lay down arms as a precondition for talks. The Sinhalese government must first come out with the political solution that it envisages for the Tamil people, he said.

Emphasizing the need for a rethink on the LTTE ban, Mr. Vaithiyalingam said: "We have banned 26 organizations within India. However, the LTTE is the only organization in that list which is operating on foreign soil and which is struggling for the rights of the Tamil people. Our intention must be to ensure that the Tamil Tigers are not making use of India as their base. Unfortunately, we have banned the LTTE alleging it for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination. A majority of those who were accused in his assassination have also been punished. In such a situation, if we continue to link Rajiv's assassination with the people who are waging a struggle for the rights of Eelam Tamils, the entire Tamil population would be annihilated."

Speaking about the attitude of Congress leaders in Tamil Nadu, BJP leader Vaithiyalingam clearly pointed out that "Ilangovan, Thangabalu and Gnanasekaran's demand that those who speak in support of Tamil homeland and the LTTE should be arrested under the National Security Act is an effort to rob people of their freedom of expression." He called upon the Congress leaders to reconsider their point of view with respect to the Tamil Tigers.

In the interview to Tamil media, he also criticized the Indian Union Government for not paying heed to basic demands put forth by the Kalaignar Karunanidhi-led delegation. He also warned that such a "careless attitude" might prove to be "too costly" for the Congress party. If national parties are going to lose their hold in Tamil Nadu, it is entirely owing to the blase manner in which the Congress handled the Eelam issue. A situation will possibly arise where the Congress party does not win a single parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu, he said.

Further, he pointed out that instead of waiting for the Indian Foreign Affairs Minister to visit Colombo and hold talks, it would make more sense for the Indian Prime Minister to call up his Sri Lankan counterpart to demand an immediate ceasefire.

He also expressed concern over that Karunanidhi had double standards on the Eelam issue. He pointed out that "justice and duty should not be avoided" at the cost of appeasing others by avoiding any mention of a separate Eelam or the LTTE. "He is vigorous in taking up the issue of Eelam as a leader of the opposition, whereas, when he is the chief minister he is worried that the alliance with the Congress would be ruined."

Vaithiyalingam called upon the Chief Minister to revive the demand for a separate Eelam that was passed in the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organization Conference held at Madurai under his leadership. He also added that all the Eelam Tamils were rallying behind the LTTE, therefore, it was unbecoming of Tamil Nadu politicians to impose their choices as to who was the real representative of the Tigers. He opined that this responsibility was best left to the people of Eelam.

Independent sources in Tamil Nadu also confirmed that there had been no voice of dissent when the resolution demanding a deproscription of the LTTE was being discussed in the BJP state executive committee meeting. This move, coming from the second largest national party in India, is especially noteworthy in an atmosphere were several pro-Tamil leaders are languishing in prison for having expressed their support to the Tigers.


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