AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday asserted her party would take “continuous steps” to attain a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka and demand that the Centre grant dual citizenship for refugees from the island nation living in the state.
Addressing a huge election rally in Tiruchirappalli, she said she has been continuously demanding an independent, international probe over war crimes and alleged genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
“So as to enable Sri lankan Tamils live with full freedom and self-respect and to attain a separate Eelam, continuous steps will be taken,” she said.
Launching a diatribe against arch rival DMK over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, she alleged that DMK and Congress were together responsible for the destruction of Sri Lankan Tamils.
“We will urge the central government to confer dual citizenship on Sri Lankan Tamils living here so that they can easily get job opportunities,” she said.
Noting that Sri Lankan Tamils have for long been living in and outside camps in Tamil Nadu, she said her regime was giving them all facilities.
“There are also people who were born to refugees here and raised in the state. When the central government tried to repatriate them all, it was opposed by my government.”
She stressed that her party’s policy was that any repatriation should be voluntary and based on the choice of refugees “after the situation in Sri Lanka, including security aspects changes fully, (for the better)”.
Jayalalithaa accused DMK of staging “dramas” over the issue against their interests. Such farce included a ‘three hour hunger strike” by party chief Karunanidhi, she said. “Not only for Tamils here, he also betrayed Tamils in Sri Lanka,” she said.
She recalled that the Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed several resolutions on the Sri Lankan issue moved by her.
Some of these included her demand for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka, an international probe against ‘war crimes’ and another related to a referendum (that she wanted to be sponsored by India in the UN forum) among Tamils on the question of a separate Eelam (Tamil homeland).