CHENNAI: The Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation (TESO), which was revived on Monday, insisted that the Centre take measures to make the United Nations conduct a referendum among Tamils in Sri Lanka on a separate Eelam.
Speaking to reporters after attending TESO’s first meeting since 1986, DMK chief M Karunanidhi, who was instrumental in reviving the defunct organisation, said that the TESO would take this demand forward using democratic and peaceful means.
Responding to a question on charges that he had taken up the TESO cause after losing power, Karunanidhi quipped he looked at such criticisms as a “voluntary promotion” for the movement.
“I did not revive TESO after the party’s ouster from power,” Karunanidhi said.
Listing out protests held by him in the past, including the boycott of the felicitation event for Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) on their return from Sri Lanka due to their alleged excesses in 1990 and a flash fast seeking ceasefire in Lanka during the last phase of war in 2009, Karunanidhi claimed that he could not take a stand such as “people dying in war is normal.”
Asked as to what impact TESO would have in the rehabilitation of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi said that it was formed to change the mode of struggle to peaceful and democratic ways as accepted by all countries.
Karunanidhi elaborated that the peaceful struggle for Tamil Eelam under Thanthai Chelva (a Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer, politician and Member of Parliament) had failed, giving rise to an armed struggle. But, that too failed for several reasons. The revival of TESO was to revive that peaceful struggle. “We have sought the support of the Central government through a resolution passed in this regard,” Karunanidhi said.
The DMK chief claimed credit for India’s backing of the UNHRC resolution passed against Lanka when he was asked if his party would withdraw support from the Centre if TESO’s demand was not met. He added that he was hopeful that the attempts of TESO would succeed.
On LTTE chief Prabhakaran, Karunanidhi said that crusaders do not die. Asked whether TESO would support the LTTE, he maintained that he would advise them to continue the struggle in a democratic way.