The Sri Lankan Tamils Protection Movement has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all Tamils held in the camps in Sri Lanka.
A resolution, adopted at the public meeting that marked the culmination of awareness rallies taken out across the State here on Thursday, called upon the Indian Government to prevail upon the Sri Lankan government to secure the release of the Tamils. The Centre should also mount pressure on Sri Lanka through the United Nations, it said.
The Movement threatened to launch an agitation if the demand was not conceded. Leaders of the movement would meet soon to decide the form of agitation, said the resolution read out by P. Nedumaran, the coordinator of the movement.
Earlier, the rallies led by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko from Rameswaram; Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) leader S. Ramadoss from Chennai; State Secretary of the Communist Party of India D. Pandian from Kanyakumari and by Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P. Nedumaran from Coimbatore converged in the city.
Speaking on the occasion, the leaders called upon the people of Tamil Nadu to unite to fight for the release and rehabilitation of civilians languishing in the camps in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Ramadoss and Mr. Vaiko, however, maintained that the release of the 3.5 lakh Tamils held in the camps, though an immediate need, would not be the solution to the problem. Dr. Ramadoss said that establishing Tamil Eelam would be the ultimate objective and called upon the people of Tamil Nadu to dedicate themselves for the cause. Though the Sri Lankan government claimed that the Tamils were not being sent to their homes as the landmines had to be cleared, it had not cleared any landmines so far. It was only a ploy by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to secure a victory in the forthcoming elections, he alleged.
Mr. Vaiko said the ultimate goal was to free Sri Lankan Tamils from Sinhalese oppression. He accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi of being equally responsible for the sufferings of the Tamils.
The CPI state secretary, D. Pandian, criticised India for claiming that it could not interfere in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka. Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi was also supporting the claim without any qualms, he said.
Instead of asking for compensation for those killed and rebuilding the homes of those affected, India was extending financial assistance to Sri Lanka, he said.
The leader of the Tamil Nationalist Movement, P. Nedumaran, said the rallies were intended to sensitise people of Tamil Nadu to the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils, who were treated worse than cattle, without food, water and medical facilities.
The Sri Lankan Government’s action of detaining the refugees in camps was unprecedented. “It was the duty of the Tamils here to fight for the cause of our brethren in Sri Lanka.”
R. Nallakannu, senior leader of the Communist Party of India, said that the Tamil Nadu MPs team did not bring out the real situation in the camps.
Even months after the war was declared over, the refugees were held in the camp. They should be released immediately as the monsoon had arrived and the situation in the camps would turn worse, he added.