– By Walter Jayawardhana –
In the main editorial that entitled, “The DMK can’t dictate the nation’s foreign policy” the Pioneer newspaper of New Delhi in no uncertain terms said that the party’s leader instead of doing something constructive to help the Sri Lankan Tamils has taken to grandstanding, marching his party out of the UPA regime, and at the same time expressing willingness to return if Parliament adopts a resolution condemning Colombo that hurts the strategic relationship between the two neighboring countries.
Charging that all what it pushes New Delhi to do goes contrary to India’s geo political interests the Pioneer said the DMK supremo’s sole aim is to incite passions in the state to create a vote bank to defeat his rival party before the Lok Sabha elections coming soon.
The editorial cautiously advised New Delhi not to capitulate to get back its ally by castigating Sri Lanka since there are better ways to persuade a friend than insulting in public
The following is the full text of the editorial: “DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s decision to pull out of the ruling United Progressive Alliance Government has been motivated more by his desire to reclaim lost political ground in Tamil Nadu than by his concern for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Ever since his party was ousted from power in the State by the J Jayalalithaa-led AIADMK, Mr Karunanidhi has been struggling to find an issue which could revive his and his party’s fortunes, and he appears to have discovered that outside his State, and indeed the country. He has been shedding copious tears over the alleged marginalisation of the Tamil population in Sri Lanka after the Government there succeeded in eliminating terrorist V Prabhakaran and decimating his Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Claiming that he was standing firm with his Tamil brethren in the island-nation in their hour of crisis, the DMK supremo has sought to incite passions in the State and build for himself a vote-bank ahead of the Lok Sabha election. He has been especially belligerent because he has had to contend with a similar, if less aggressive, stand by his political rivals in the State. But, in this game of one-upmanship, Mr Karunanidhi must realise that his aggression does no good to the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Had the DMK leader been really serious in ensuring justice, he ought to have persuaded the Centre to negotiate with Colombo concrete ways and means to protect the rights of the Tamil population and to empower them politically. He should have asked Sri Lanka’s National Tamil Alliance — which is a conglomeration of various parties fighting for the Tamil cause — to join the parliamentary committee which is looking precisely into those various grievances which the Tamils have raised. By becoming part of the panel, the TNA could not only have given its suggestions but also ensured that the Government there implemented them. Mr Karunanidhi could have persuaded the Manmohan Singh regime to push Colombo into fast-tracking the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which was appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to go into various aspects of the conflict and into the failure of the 2002 ceasefire agreement. The LLRC report is a public document and Colombo has accepted its findings.
But Mr Karunanidhi did not do all that, because he would not have then been able to arouse the passions that he is whipping up now in Tamil Nadu by citing some genuine but mostly perceived grievances. Instead, he has taken to grandstanding, marching his party out of the UPA regime, and at the same time expressing willingness to return if Parliament adopts a resolution condemning Colombo. He has been also demanding that India back (or move) a strong resolution against Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Commission for ‘genocide’. That is ridiculous. Sri Lanka has been a friend and its friendship is critical to our geo-political interests in the region. There are better ways to persuade a friend than to humiliate it before the world and lose strategic advantage. The country’s foreign policy cannot be dictated by the DMK. It is now to be hoped that the UPA regime does not capitulate and do something foolish to get its ally back, like moving a resolution in Parliament that castigates Sri Lanka.”