Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko observed a one-day token hunger strike here on Sunday to protest against the alleged Sri Lankan Naval attacks on Tamil fishermen.

Accusing the State government of remaining silent over the killings of not just the Tamils of ‘Eelam', but also of its own fishermen, Mr. Vaiko charged Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi with betraying the interests of Tamils.

According to him, the non-inclusion of State government officials in the team sent to enquire into the alleged Sri Lankan attacks, as promised by the Prime Minister in his letter to the MDMK leader, dated January 25, was illustrative of the Chief Minister's nonchalance.

Calling for an end to the DMK-Congress combine in the State, Mr. Vaiko stated that the day was not far when the AIADMK would form the government on its own.

Inaugurating the hunger strike, D. Pandian, Communist Party of India State Secretary, pitched for a change in the government that would ensure a dignified existence for the fisherfolk.

“The ‘gifting' away of Katchatheevu came with its own conditional clauses that included continued access to the islet for “rest, drying of net, worship and cooking' – none of which was honoured.”

Fisherfolk required guarantee for their lives, livelihood security and honourable living, Mr. Pandian said and added: “We seek an alternative government that would ensure retrieval of Katchatheevu and fulfilment of all these guarantees.”

According to the CPI leader, the government's interim budget was a farce, and the inflated expenditure incurred for the Assembly complex in the budget proved one of the two ‘opinions'. “Either the Chief Minister was incapable of computing actual estimates, or the costs had gone up to such an extent that the complex that was initially estimated at Rs.220 crore ultimately cost Rs.1,092 crore.”

AIADMK workers were present.

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