DMK leader M. Karunanidhi on Monday took exception to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe’s remarks on Tamil Nadu fishermen and the Katchatheevu issue, saying it was unbecoming of a Prime Minister of a country to make such comments.
In a statement here, he said when Prime Minister Narendra Modi was slated to visit Sri Lanka, Mr. Wickramasinghe’s remarks would damage the bilateral talks instead of helping find a solution to the vexed problems.
In an interview to a Tamil channel, Mr. Wickramasinghe had justified the shooting of Tamil Nadu fishermen by the Sri Lankan Navy, saying, “They had to shoot sometimes because the fishermen were poaching on Sri Lankan waters.” He ruled out handing over Katchatheevu to India, reiterating that the island was a part of Sri Lanka. “Delhi thinks it is part of Sri Lanka, I know it is part of Tamil Nadu politics.”
Mr. Karunanidhi said it was unfortunate that the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s remarks prove that he had already arrived at a conclusion on many questions.
“Fortunately, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj rejected Mr. Wickramasinghe’s remarks and pressed for a humanitarian approach towards the problem of fishermen. It is a matter of solace,” he said.
Mr. Karunanidhi said Prime Minister Modi, during his visit to Sri Lanka, should go beyond the issue of 13th amendment and press for demilitarisation of Tamil areas and returning land to Tamils, now in the hands of Sinhalese.
Reacting to Mr. Wickramasinghe’s allegations against Tamil militant groups, Mr. Karunanidhi said he could win the election only after securing the support of leaders of militant groups. “His comments on militant groups are unjustifiable,” he said.
Mr. Karunanidhi said he had already written Mr. Modi on various issues concerning the Sri Lankan Tamils and in his address to the Sri Lankan Parliament he (Mr. Modi) should raise the rights of Tamils and their rightful future. “As Sri Lankan President is keen on maintaining friendly relationship with India, he should make use of the occasion and secure Tamils their rights. It is the expectation of Tamils across the globe,” he said.