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No military aid to Colombo, Manmohan assures Vaiko

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MDMK leader Vaiko leading a demonstration in New Delhi on Wednesday .
MDMK leader Vaiko leading a demonstration in New Delhi on Wednesday .

Special Correspondent

Agrees to consider request to provide food, medicines

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday assured Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) leader Vaiko that India would not extend any military aid to Sri Lanka.

Dr. Singh gave this assurance to an MDMK delegation, led by Mr. Vaiko, which met him at his residence here. The delegation included L. Ganesan, Gingee N. Ramachandran, C. Krishnan and A. Ravichandran, all MPs. Earlier, MDMK activists staged a demonstration near the Chanakyapuri police station, protesting against the killing of innocent Tamils in the island nation.

Memorandum presented

Mr. Vaiko told The Hindu that he gave a memorandum to Dr. Singh, requesting the Government to send a delegation of MPs to Sri Lanka to study the ground reality there. Also, he wanted the Prime Minister to give an opportunity to the Tamil MPs from that country to meet him and present their case.

He said he reminded Dr. Singh about the assurance given in 2004 that India would not provide any arms to Sri Lanka. Dr. Singh told him: "India will not in any way augment the military strength of Sri Lanka. Further, I will favourably consider meeting the MPs from the island if such a request is received from them."

According to Mr. Vaiko, the Prime Minister also agreed to consider the request that India provide food and medicines to the affected people in the island through international agencies such as the Red Cross.

The memorandum requested the Centre to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to stop "the onslaught of the armed forces against the Tamils" and honour the sincere efforts of Norway for peace talks.

Aid for refugees

Pointing out that hundreds of refugees had started arriving in India, the memorandum wanted the Government to provide them food, clothing and first aid on their arrival.

Earlier, Mr. Vaiko led a procession of MDMK cadres from South Avenue to the office of the Sri Lankan High Commission. But they were stopped near the Chanakyapuri police station, where they held a peaceful meeting.

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