Special Correspondent

“The UPA government has sanctioned 800 tonnes of aid material for the ‘suffering Tamils’ in the island”

CHENNAI: The Sri Lankan Tamils issue rocked the Assembly on Tuesday with members of various political parties demanding the House discuss the issue during zero hour.

After question hour, Speaker R. Avudaiappan said the House would discuss call attention motions given by the members. Objecting to this, MLAs belonging to the Congress, PMK, CPI, CPI (M) and the MDMK demanded the Speaker allot time to discuss the Sri Lankan Tamils issue first before taking up other issues.

AIADMK deputy leader O. Paneerselvam said the members had a right to raise issues in the House.

It was for the Speaker to take a decision whether to take up the issue or not. It was not proper for him to skip the issue.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who intervened, said nothing could be heard as many members spoke at the same time. One thing was clear -- that all political parties wanted to raise the Sri Lankan issue though they differed in their opinions. As there were divergent opinions, one member from each party could speak on behalf of his party.

This would help everybody in the House to know the respective party’s stand and enable the government to reply. C. Gnanasekaran (Congress) asserted that while his party favoured a ceasefire in Sri Lanka, it did not support the LTTE. He demanded that those expressing open support to the banned organisation be arrested. He alleged that those supporting the LTTE were not only idolising the leaders of the militant organisation but also demeaning the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, which the Congress could not tolerate.

V. Sivapunniam (CPI) said his party was not in support of the LTTE, but was against the attack on Tamils in the island under the pretext of fighting the LTTE.

Congress Legislature Party leader D. Sudarssanam denied Mr. Sivapunniam’s charge that the Centre had not done anything for the Sri Lankan Tamils. The UPA government had sanctioned 800 tonnes of aid material for the ‘suffering Tamils’ in the island.

C.Govindasami (CPI-M) said the issue could be settled only through talks and not militarily.

G.K.Mani (PMK) wanted the Assembly to adopt a resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in the island.