All parties except CPI(M), Congress support resolution

The Tamil Nadu Assembly on Tuesday adopted a resolution reiterating that India should not take part in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) this week in Colombo.

The House, in the resolution moved by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, expressed its deep regret over the decision of the Central government to send the External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid to the CHOGM. It described the move as an act that neither consoled Tamils nor respected their sentiments, thus causing deep anguish.

Convened at short notice, the Assembly met on a day when a number of organisations and parties called a general strike on the CHOGM issue.

India’s participation would amount to “accepting and endorsing inhumane acts and offences” of the Sri Lankan government [against Sri Lankan Tamils]. Besides, India would have to bear an “undying blemish” for having supported the Sri Lankan President to become Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth for two years. Tamils [here] could not accept or bear the thought of India being subjected to such ignominy.

The House renewed its call to the Union government to boycott the CHOGM completely and not to send any representative even nominally to the Foreign Ministers’ meeting on Wednesday and to the CHOGM to be held from November 15 to 17, as a mark of respecting the unanimous view and feelings of the people of Tamil Nadu.

Apart from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, other parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and the Communist Party of India, supported the motion. When the resolution was taken up for voice vote, the CPI(M) and the Congress were absent.

Immediately after the Assembly adjourned sine die, the Chief Minister sent a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, enclosing the text of the resolution. In the letter, she said the decision was a “snub to the people of Tamil Nadu, giving short shrift to their sentiments.” She recalled her letters to him in March and October, demanding a “total boycott” of the summit. The Assembly was convened at 6 p.m. Some parties and fringe elements had called a bandh on Tuesday to protest the Centre’s decision. Life was not affected.

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