“Colombo, LTTE must respond to ceasefire call”

Special Correspondent

SIVAGANGA: Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday said both the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam must respond to the ceasefire call by India, with Colombo, in particular, having a greater role in ensuring it, he said.

Speaking to reporters after filing nomination papers for the Sivaganga constituency, he pointed out that that the Centre had asked Sri Lanka to announce a ceasefire immediately to stop the suffering of innocent Tamil civilians caught in the crossfire.

The United States of America, the United Nations and several European countries had also been pressuring Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to announce a ceasefire.

Asked about the demand of AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa to respond to Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s statement on LTTE chief V. Prabakaran, Mr. Chidambaram said Mr. Karunanidhi had clarified that the particular television channel did not air his full interview. Hence there was no need for him to respond.

Asylum for Prabakaran

Asked about the debate among a section of the people that Prabakaran should be given asylum in India if there was a “necessity,” he said: “I cannot comment on that. There is a law and there are courts in the country. They have to take a view on that.”

To a question whether it was correct on the part of the DMK, which is part of the UPA government, to call for a general strike on the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue, he said it was not against the Centre. The DMK was just expressing its anger over the killing of Tamils.

Asked if the Congress was supporting the strike call, he said: “The Congress is not supporting the strike. But, we understand the feelings of the DMK.”

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