Tamil Nadu main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi has seized on a report by the US Oakland Institute to condemn the Sri Lankan army’s “continued occupation” of traditional Tamil homeland.
Karunanidhi, a five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu, pointed out that the new government in the neighboring country has not brought about any change in the northern or eastern Tamil areas.
“The report of the Oakland Institute shows that injustice against Tamils has not reduced despite a new president. The rule changed there, but did the scene?” he asked.
President Maithripala Sirisena was elected in January with massive support from Tamil minorities, he said.
That was because the Tamil population was promised a change, including devolution of powers and easing of military presence.
Despite the promise that the Tamil population took for granted, there still is a presence of over 160,000 soldiers in Tamil areas, he said, quoting the report of the California-based Oakland Institute.
“The Lanka army was engaged in large-scale property development, running luxury tourist resorts and business ventures on land seized from local populace, even as Tamil culture and history was being suppressed by a government-led effort to construct victory monuments and Buddhist shrines,” Karunanidhi said in a statement.
He said he had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a letter in February to intervene and talk to Sirisena to ensure the rights of minority Tamils.
Karunanidhi reiterated the demand.
The statement comes as CV Wigneswaran, chief minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province, said at a media interaction organised by Oakland Institute that Colombo was not “having the will” to help Tamils or minorities.
Wigneswaran said this had been the “characteristic” of what had been taking place in the country.
“Central government in Sri Lanka will not do anything towards the minorities or the Tamils unless they are forced to do something,” he has been quoted as saying.
The chief minister called for “international pressure” on the government.