Unified voice emerging in support of Eelam from Tamil Nadu
The chances of a political alignment in Tamil Nadu based on the issue of securing justice for Eelam Tamils and demanding their right to self-determination appears to have brightened with the coming together of various political parties, movements and human rights organizations at a convention organized in Coimbatore on November 6, 2011.
Though the public meeting organized by ‘People’s Movement Against Genocide in Sri Lanka’ had to be abandoned shortly after its commencement due to heavy rains, the message from the dais was loud and clear - parties were willing to unite for the cause of Eelam Tamils.
Political rivalry took a backseat as leaders united for the cause of Eelam. In pic – MDMK leader Vaiko shaking hands with Ran Ridenour
The leaders who attended the meeting included Pazha Nedumaran of Thamizhar Thesiya Iyakkam, MDMK leader Vaiko, PMK leader G K Mani, Members of Parliament D Raja (CPI), Thirumavalavan (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal), Manitha Neya Makkal Katchi leader and MLA, M H Jawahirullah, Puthiya Thamizhagam leader and MLA Dr. Krishnasamy, Kolathur Mani and Ku Ramakrishnan (Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam), Prof. Dheeran (Naam Thamizhar Katchi), P Maniyarasan (Thamizh Thesa Podhuvudamai Katchi), V Anaimuthu (Marxiya Periyariya Podhuvudamai Katchi), Thiyagu (Thamizh Thesa Viduthalai Iyakkam), Arputham Ammal (Thiruvalluvar Periyar Maanuda Ondriyam), R Athiyaman, (Aadhi Thamizhar Peravai), Kumara Ravikumar (Kongu Ilainjar Peravai), Pudhukottai Pavaanan (Thamizhar Kazhagam), and Dr. M P Sengottaiyan (Dalit Viduthalai Katchi).
Human rights activists Dr. V Suresh (Peoples Union for Civil Liberties), Dr. Paul Newman (from Karnataka), and Ran Ridenour (American writer championing the cause of Eelam Tamils) also participated in the meeting.
The huge crowd at the meeting venue that refused to move in spite of the heavy downpour demonstrated the massive support base for the cause in Tamil Nadu.
A major revelation, though, was that political parties were not averse to joining hands for a common cause - if the initiative came from a non-political organization or group.
The following resolutions were passed at the convention:
• Call for a change in the venue of the Commonwealth Nations Summit to be held in Sri Lanka in 2013 or boycott of the same by the member nations;
• Demanding a referendum on the lines of East Timor, Kosovo and South Sudan, for the Eelam Tamils;
The crowd at the venue did not move in spite of pouring rain
• Ensuring rehabilitation and resettlement of the war-displaced Eelam Tamils under the supervision of the UN with the Elected Representatives of the Eelam Tamils;
• Rendering basic amenities and rights for the Plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka;
• Granting ‘refugee’ status for Eelam Tamils in India, in accordance with international norms;
• Repealing the death sentence from the law book and dropping the death sentences of Murugan, Santhan, and Perarivalan;
• Demanding appropriate action from the Centre to save the lives and livelihood of Tamil Nadu fishermen who are being harassed and shot at by the Sri Lankan navy;
• To support the people’s struggle in Kudankulam against the Nuclear Plants;
• Demanding criminal action against those responsible for the killings of Dalits in the Paramakudi Police firing.
The congregation of political outfits - other than the DMK and AIADMK - augurs well for the desired emergence of a third alternative which would speak up for the rights of Eelam Tamils.
The convening committee of this convention hopes to broaden its support base and evolve itself as a strong pressure group to foster a Common Minimum Programme among the leading political parties and the movements in order to nurture the cause of Eelam Tamils and the people of Tamil Nadu.
Will the Coimbatore convention usher in a new wave of political polarization in Tamil Nadu? We hope it would.
Pon Chandran is a human rights activist with PUCL and is part of the ‘People’s Movement Against Genocide in Sri Lanka’
“As long as the LTTE remained, the Tamils felt protected and secure”