CHENNAI: The ‘revival’ of the long dead Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) on the last day of April is nothing more than a prank associated with the first day of the month.
For, much water has flown down the Cooum and much more blood has been shed in Sri Lanka since the launch of TESO 27 years ago when the situation both in Tamil Nadu and in the island nation vis-a-vis the Eelam struggle was different from what it is today.
The only parallel between the original launch and the relaunch is the DMK president M Karunanidhi’s situation: out of power and desperate to appropriate the Sri Lankan Tamils’ cause from the ruling AIADMK.
In 1985, the then Chief Minister M G Ramachandran was supporting the Eelam struggle and now too, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has championed the cause for a proper resettlement of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka by taking up the issue with the Centre.
But when Karunanidhi was the chief minister for five years till May 13, 2011, he did nothing to help either the formation of Eelam or at least stop the war that not only left thousands of innocent people dead but also saw the worst form of atrocities committed against civilians. Other than sitting on a fast till noon in 2009 at the height of the Lok Sabha election campaign, Karunanidhi did not put pressure on the Centre to intervene and stop the Lankan genocide mainly because he was an ally of the UPA.
Perhaps he was also then aware of the Centre looking into the alleged scam related to the 2G spectrum allocation and anticipated trouble for his daughter and party MP, Kanimozhi.
Whatever it was, he watched as the Sri Lankan army ran roughshod over the Tamil people. He did not raise his voice demanding resettlement of the Tamil people displaced from their homes even after losing power because he was preoccupied with the task of bailing his daughter out of jail.
There was not even a murmur from his camp when the international media exposed the war crimes committed in Sri Lanka in the last phase of the war.
So, when he suddenly woke up and announced the relaunch of TESO with some of the old founding members like DK leader K Veeramani and DMK’s K Anbazhagan, it sounded like a joke, raising a few questions. What does he propose to achieve now? How does he plan to go about the Eelam cause in the prevailing circumstances?
Unlike 1985, the present generation of Tamil youth, who were mainly instrumental in Karunanidhi’s defeat in the 2011 elections, do not see him as a champion of the Tamil cause. At that time, he had Tamil nationalist leader P Nedumaran with him in TESO, which also had the support of many national leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Subramanian Swamy.
It is a different matter that Karunanidhi himself brought the curtains down on TESO, which was formally launched on May 13, 1985, at a meeting in Madurai in the presence of a huge crowd. Can he expect such a gathering of supporters now?