The editorial “Curbing dangerous tendencies” (Oct. 25) needs reiteration and wide circulation among the people of Tamil Nadu. In the guise of expressing sympathy for the Sri Lankan Tamils, it has become fashionable for some ill-informed and ill-advised people in the State to support the LTTE blindly and worship its leader, V. Prabakaran, who is responsible for killing hundreds of fellow Tamils in their struggle for equality in Sri Lanka.
I hope all the readers will appreciate the consistent stand The Hindu has taken on the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka. Expressing sympathy for the civilian Tamils affected by the Sri Lankan army’s action against the LTTE is one thing, and publicly supporting the LTTE with speeches amounting to sedition is quite another. The Tamil Nadu government was right in arresting MDMK leader Vaiko, his lieutenant M. Kannappan, and some Tamil film directors for the deliberate and secessionist overtones in their speeches. An average Indian welcomes the neutral stand taken by the Centre on the sensitive issue.
R. Murali Kumar,
Mr. Vaiko’s arrest will send an unequivocal message to all those who disrupt peace by airing personal and ambiguous views in the name of freedom of speech. It is unfortunate that the Sri Lankan army is killing innocent Tamils on the pretext of overpowering a terrorist organisation. But India can scarcely take direct measures to stop the military offensive as it will amount to interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state.
If Mr. Vaiko feels so strongly for the Sri Lankan Tamils, why is he not in the island nation fighting for them? Why does he not initiate independent talks with the Sri Lankan government? His arrest is welcome. No one has a right to dictate terms to our political leadership. Who are we to interfere in the internal affairs of another country?
Whether what Mr. Vaiko said was seditious or not is for legal pundits to decide. But if the yardstick applied to him is to be extended to Kashmiri leaders, many of them and their followers, who shout pro-Pakistan slogans on a daily basis, should be behind bars for years. It is such selective application of the legal machinery that one has to take with a pinch of salt. Are Kashmiri separatist leaders any different from Mr. Vaiko?
As in many other instances, the outpouring of sympathy for Sri Lankan Tamils seems to be taking the wrong route. Political leaders have talked about the repercussions of the issue without factoring in the results of their statements. Newspaper offices have been vandalised.
Instead of calling for direct action by the Centre, which would be wrong as Sri Lanka is an independent country, why not convert the support into positive action? We can collect relief material and send them to the suffering civilians through the Red Cross. We must differentiate between the LTTE and the ordinary Tamils. The LTTE is a terrorist outfit, declared as such in India and many other countries.
The LTTE is just another reason put forth by the Sri Lankan government and military to act against the Tamils. One should not forget who lit the fire of civil war in Sri Lanka. India being a responsible nation should act now or else it will be too late. It is not as if India has never interfered in the affairs of its neighbouring countries. It is only in the case of Sri Lankan Tamils that it does not seem to know what to do.
Joe Anand Kumar,
While I express my sympathies to the innocent Tamils of Sri Lanka, I also feel we should learn to express our solidarity in more meaningful ways. Human chains, bandhs, etc., are futile spectacles that merely play to the gallery. The human chain formed by various parties of Tamil Nadu to express support for the Sri Lankan Tamils on Friday is a case in point. What purpose, other than putting people to inconvenience, was achieved by wasting so much of time and resources? Instead, we could have mobilised contribution in cash or kind for the suffering people.
P.R. Lochan Sarathy,