Presiding over the conclave, DMK patriarch Karunanidhi refrained from demanding a separate homeland for the Lankan Tamils. He instead sought UN intervention to look into the issue of rights and rehabilitation of the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Mr Karunanidhi said, “The Centre has asked TESO not to threaten the integrity of any country India has diplomatic ties with. The Sri Lankan Army runs a state of emergency in Tamil areas after recent UN resolution. It was the DMK that sought UN intervention on the issue for the first time.”
Earlier on Friday, the Centre had asked organisers to remove the word Eelam from the conference title. Although the DMK chief had earlier harped on that only Eelam would solve the Lankan Tamils crisis, he backtracked later by saying the conference would focus only on livelihood issues of the displaced Lankan Tamils. This dilution of stand came after the then Home Minister P Chidambaram reportedly briefed him on the implications.
Yesterday, the DMK had challenged the Chennai Police’s denial of permission to hold the public meeting. The Police had denied permission citing eleven reasons including lack of adequate space at the venue, including disturbance to the Royapettah Government Hospital nearby, traffic congestion and a possible law and order situation. A divisional bench of the Madras High Court will hear the party’s petition on the issue today.
His daughter Ms Kanimozhi and Union Minister TR Baalu are present among a delegation of around 40 leaders at the conclave. Speaking to reporters today, DMK MP Kanimozhi said, “A separate Eelam is a far-fetched dream. TESO conference is to discuss the rights and rehabilitation of the Lankan Tamils.”