External Affairs Ministry wants organisers to drop ‘Eelam’ from meet title

A conference of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO), scheduled here for Sunday, has run into rough weather, with the Centre asking the organisers to drop the word ‘Eelam’ from the title of the meeting.

“The Ministry has no objection, from a political angle, to the proposed international conference with foreign participants, with the proviso that ‘Eelam’ may be dropped from the title of the conference, and subject to the clearance of the Ministry of Home Affairs and other competent authorities,” said an August 9 communication from the Ministry of External Affairs to TESO secretary and DMK advocate Hassan Mohamed Jinnah. This was in response to the TESO’s request for political clearance for the conference.

The communication means the conference can be held only if it calls itself the Tamil Livelihood Rights Conference. The planned title is ‘Eelam Tamils Livelihood Rights Conference.’

While grand arrangements are being made on the Young Men’s Christian Association grounds at Royapettah, the communication has put DMK president M. Karunanidhi in a spot.

Originally the conference was planned at Villupuram, 160 km from the city, for August 5, but the venue and the date were changed for the convenience of foreign delegates.

Asked for reaction, Mr. Karunanidhi told journalists on Thursday that the conference would be held as per schedule and expressed the hope the City Police Commissioner would grant permission for it. He said he had not received any communication from the Centre.

The preparations lost vigour after Mr. Karunanidhi announced on July 16 — a day after the then Home Minister, P. Chidambaram, met him — that the conference would not adopt any resolution seeking a separate Eelam.

The participation of several foreign representatives is unlikely as the Indian missions have reportedly refused them visas.