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Karuna asks Centre to snap ties with Lanka

Chennai, April 17
Raising the pitch on Sri Lankan Tamils issue, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today asked the UPA government to snap all diplomatic relations with the island nation if it did not honour India’s latest appeal for a ceasefire in the embattled northern parts.

Stepping up pressure on the Centre, the DMK president sent a telegram to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee who today made the appeal to the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to respond to the Tamil civilian problem.

Karunanidhi said he welcomed Mukherjee’s statement but asked the Centre to snap all ties if the appeal was not accepted.

“We welcome with gratitude the appeal made by the External Affairs Minister for ceasefire in Sri Lanka. If the appeal is not honoured and implemented by the Lankan government, we request the government of India to snap all diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka,” he said in the telegram.

Earlier today, India had expressed deep concern over the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka, stating that continuing conflicts had been taking a heavy toll on Tamil civilians caught in the crossfire between Lankan troops and LTTE.

In his appeal, Mukherjee had ruled out any mediation by India. Stating that India had been repeatedly expressing its concern to Colombo and asking for safe passage to civilians, Mukherjee said the military action hurting the Tamil civilians was unacceptable.

“India is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka. Continuing conflicts have been taking heavy toll among Tamil civilians caught in the crossfire,” he said.

Karunanidhi has been demanding a permanent ceasefire and an amicable solution to the ethnic strife within the framework of a unified Sri Lanka with minority Tamils treated at par with the Sinhalese.

The Sri Lankan Tamils problem is snowballing into a major campaign issue in the run up to the May 13 Lok Sabha polls with all major opposition parties turning the spotlight on it.

The AIADMK, a bitter critic of the LTTE, has in its manifesto said that Eeelam, homeland for Tamils in Lanka, was inevitable if their genuine aspirations were not met and if they were not treated with dignity and honour. — PTI

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