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T.N. MPs to quit if Centre fails to ensure ceasefire

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Serving an ultimatum: The all-party meeting convened by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Chennai on Tuesday to discuss the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils.
Serving an ultimatum: The all-party meeting convened by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in Chennai on Tuesday to discuss the problems of Sri Lankan Tamils.

R.K. Radhakrishnan

All-party meet sets two-week deadline for action on Sri Lanka

CHENNAI: Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu will have to resign if the Centre does not come forward to ensure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka within two weeks, according to a resolution adopted at an all-party meet chaired by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Tuesday.

Asked if this meant Ministers in the Union Cabinet and MPs in the Rajya Sabha would resign in the event of the ceasefire not happening in two weeks, Mr. Karunanidhi told The Hindu that he meant that all MPs would tender their resignation. “Ministers are MPs first, are they not?” he asked.

The resolution reflected the collective mindset of the Tamils in the State following the large scale massacre of innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka, he said.

There are 39 MPs in the Lok Sabha from Tamil Nadu and one from Puducherry. Leaders of all the parties in the State that are represented in the Lok Sabha, barring the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam which has the support of two members, agreed to abide by the resolution.

If the MPs from the State and Puducherry resign, the United Progressive Alliance government, which survived the confidence vote on July 22 by a margin of just 19 votes, would be reduced to a minority. The resolution binds senior members of the Union Cabinet including Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Union Communications and Information Technology Minister A. Raja, Shipping and Road Transport Minister T.R. Baalu and Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss.

The over three-hour meeting saw debates on whether the Centre should be given two weeks or less. While a few parties known for their vocal support of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause, such as the PMK and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, suggested that a few days should suffice, finally Mr. Karunanidhi’s view on the issue found wider support.

The meeting was attended by all major parties, barring the AIADMK, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam and the BJP.

TNCC president K.V. Thangkabalu, State secretaries of the CPI and the CPI (M) accepted the view that the MPs should resign if a ceasefire was not in place in two weeks.

In other resolutions, the meeting demanded that the military hardware supplied by India to Sri Lanka not be used against the Tamil people and that the Centre intervene at once to stop the killing of innocent Tamils.

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