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Karuna’s poem for slain LTTE leader sparks row
Arup Chanda
Tribune News Service

Chennai, November 4
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s poem in praise of slain LTTE leader S.P. Tamilselvan has sparked off a controversy, with Opposition leader and AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa charging him with violating the Indian constitution and demanding his dismissal.

She demanded that the DMK government should be dismissed, as Karunanidhi has openly pledged his support for the terrorist LTTE banned in India for assassinating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Jayalalithaa recalled that in 1991, Karunanidhi’s government was dismissed for “passing on confidential information to the Tigers which he had received from the Centre” and described his poem and its distribution through the state information department as “unconstitutional”.

Condemning Karunanidhi’s poem, she demanded, “The Centre must probe how far Karunanidhi, who has chosen to script such a poem on the death of a LTTE leader, has helped the outfit during the past 17 months of his present tenure.” “Whenever he comes to power, Karunanidhi ends up supporting terrorist groups,” she alleged.

Karunanidhi shot back today by saying that he had acted like a Tamil by mourning the death of a “fellow Tamil”.

He said, “The one who was killed in Sri Lanka was a Tamil. And it is Tamil blood that courses through my veins. That is why I expressed my condolence,” Karunanidhi said in a statement in question-and-answer form.

“Expressing condolence on somebody’s death is an established humanitarian practice in any culture, even if they were adversaries, he said and pointed out that he had also paid his last respects to veteran AIADMK leader V. R. Nedunchezhiyan when he died a few years ago.

On Jayalalithaa’s demand that his government should be dismissed for his poetic tribute to the late LTTE leader, he remarked, “What a pity! Because she is not in power, she is venting out her anger over everything.”

He pointed out that Jayalalithaa’s ally, MDMK general secretary Vaiko was a staunch supporter of the LTTE and it was she during her tenure as Chief Minister had imprisoned Vaiko under POTA. “She will approve Vaiko’s statement, but if I say the same thing, should my government be dismissed?” the Chief Minister asked.

Though an ally of the AIADMK, Vaiko has different views on the LTTE and condemned the “murder” of Tamilselvan and said, “It was an unforgivable crime in which the Government of India too had acquiesced by supplying arms and equipment to the Sri Lankan military establishments.”

In his ode to Tamilselvan, who was killed in an air strike yesterday by the Sri Lankan Air Force in the island nation, Karunanidhi wrote: “A face that was ever smiling, A heart that singed all opposition, A youthful man with a heart as strong as the Himalayas, A commander who blossomed in the footsteps of Balasingham, the old lion, A noble youth who deemed his life but a bit of manure for his liberation struggle, One who was like life to us, like a brother to us, Oh, Selva, he who etched his fame on every Tamil heart, And every Tamil home, where art thou gone?”

Other than the national political parties and the AIADMK, all Dravidian and regional parties have condemned the killing of Tamilselvam and mourned his death.

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We’ll not forget or forgive Rajiv killers: Cong

Chennai, November 4
Even as its allies, including the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu, have sympathised with the death of LTTE's political wing leader S.P.Tamilselvan, the Congress today said it would "neither forget nor forgive those behind the gruesome killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi".

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, union minister of state for statistics and programme implementation G.K.Vasan said the state Congress would convey its "strong feelings" against the "misplaced sympathy" from certain quarters to the party high command in New Delhi.

"We will neither forgive nor forget the Tigers who were behind the assassination of our beloved leader," he added.

He was responding to questions on the posters that had appeared in the city, condoling the killing of Tamilselvan in an aerial strike by Sri Lankan Air Force on November 2.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader M.Veerappa Moily said DMK patriarch and Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi's soulful poem praising the "courage and valour" of the slain LTTE leader reflected his "personal views".

"As far as the Congress is concerned, we are firm in our opposition to the banned outfit," he told reporters at the airport here. — PTI

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