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"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Selected Writings by Dharmeratnam Sivaram (Taraki)

In search of solution but with honour

19 May 1996 

Mr. M Sivasithamparam leader of the TULF went to Madras on Friday. He is scheduled to meet the chief minister of Tamil Nadu chief minister Muthuveil Karumanidhi.

A. Thangathurai TULF MP for Tricomalee said that Mr. Sivasithamparam will hold talks with the DMK leader to seek his constructive support in bringing the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka to an end and finding an honourable solution acceptable to the Tamils in the north and east.

The Thondaman is also planning to meet Karunanidhi soon. The CWC was quick to issue a statement which enthusiastically welcomed the DMK leaders victory.

Meanwhile, Shankar Raji the leader of the EROS flew to Madras yesterday to seek an early date for the five Tamil party alliance to meet with the chief minister of Tamil Nadu. It was decided at the last meeting of the alliance comprising the PLOTE,TELO, EPRLF, EROS and the EPDP to issue a statement congratulating Karunanidhi on his victory and then seek an early appointment with him to discuss the current situation in the north and east.

The alliance was encouraged by Karunanidhi's statement the day after their message of congratulation appeared in the Tamil press. There was an opinion in the alliance that the DMK leader should be addressed as the leader of Tamils of the world - a mantle of which Karunanidhi is immensely proud of.

Mr. Thangathurai's view should give one an idea of the degree of hope which the election of the DMK leader seems to have inspired in many Tamil political leaders. He said Among Indian leaders Kalaignar (Karunanidhi) is the person who has always shown the greatest interest in the problem of the Eelam Tamils. And he is the only one who has a clear understanding of all the aspects of our problem. He has struggled for regional autonomy for a long time. His views are respected at the center

The LTTE, however, has maintained a studied silence about developments in Tamil Nadu. In 1989 Prabhaharan was one of the first among Sri Lankan Tamils to send a message of congratulation when Karunanidhi was elected chief minister then which it was obvious, pleased the DMK leader immensely.

But it seems that the LTTE is mindful of the fact that any statement by them welcoming Karunanidhi's victory would play into the hands of some of his opponents who in the past have accused him of being partly responsible for Rajiv's assassination by promoting the activities of the Tigers in the state.

Nevertheless the Tigers do have grounds to hope that many things will change in their favour with the rout of Jeyalalitha.

The feeling that things will very much ease up for the Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu under Karunanidhi's rule was justified as soon as he assumed power. He promised in his first statement on the SriLankan problem that all the Police checkpoints which were set up under Jeyalalitha after the Rajiv assassination would be removed. These posts were mainly intended to check and restrict the activities of Sri Lankan Tamils. Jeyalalitha regularly sought assistance from the centre to beef the state security apparatus to prevent Tiger infiltration and activities. She was so concerned about this at one time that she earned the displeasure of some her supporters in the southern coastal areas by meeting Sri Lankans navy commander and discussing means of curbing the clandestine traffic across the Palk straits. However it appears several influential expatriate Tamil groups which are sympathetic to the LTTE have sought appointments with the new chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil parties are also planning to meet with G.K moopanar the leader of the Tamilaha Manila Congress.

Some of them feel that the very poor performance of the Tiwari - Arjun Singh Congress which had depended much on the Sonia factor might see Moopanar taking more interest in the Sri Lankan question and playing the role of elder statesman among the Tamils like his mentor Kamraj. Even if he were to really himself with Narasimha Roa's congress in supporting Deva Gowda after the possible fall of the BJP government in the coming months he would like to preserve his regional ethnic identity in other words keep his break away group as a Dravidian Congress concerned with state issues than dictated to by the interests of the party leadership in Delhi which in the past, as Kumari Anandan who is the leader of the Narasimha Rao Congress admitted to me last year, has been quite detrimental to the party's growth and popularity in the state. Moopanar would most probably follow the example of Kamraj who strove to show the people of the state that he was a more Tamil (Pachchai Thamilan) than the leaders of the DMK who at that time were accusing him of serving northern masters.

The Tamils of all shades of the political spectrum in the north and east and in Colombo are pinning their hopes on Karunanidhi on the assumption that he would have a great deal of leverage at the centre and that he will have the support of Telugu Desam leader Chandrababu Naidu in taking up the question of the Sri Lankan Tamil problem with the Indian central government. Some politicians of the Telugu Desam party and many journalists, intellectuls and political activists in Andhra Pradesh have in the past been sympathetic to the Tamil groups and most have continued to do so even after Rajiv's assassination said a Tamil politician in Colombo.

The Tamil parties are taking a more cautious attitude on seeking appointments with the leaders of the BJP and the Janata Dal. They think at least a month has to go by to see who will finally consolidate his power at the centre.

They feel that it is too early to start working on securing an appointment with the BJP leadership. But most Tamil parties feel that they might get a better deal if the BJP succeeds in holding on to the government in the coming months. One reason is that the new Prime minister Vajpayee is a close friend of Karunanidhi. He had extended his support to the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation -TESO- which was formed by the DMK leader in 1986 and spoken very strongly in favour of the Eelam cause at the first public meeting of the organisation. Many Tamil leaders-particularly of the TELO and the TULF - have known him personally for many years. There is also the feeling, following the fall of Vadamaradchi last week, that politicians in Delhi might feel less constrained about speaking on behalf the Tamils here or might not do anything to discourage Karunanidhi from taking a strong stand on developements in the north and east because the LTTE has, at least in outward appearance, been reduced to its Eelam War One position of a jungle inhabiting underdog. Some Tamil leaders in Colombo believe that with the peninsula coming under government control after almost ten years, the alleged impression in Indian defence and intelligence circles that supporting the Tamils realise Their legitimate political aspirations would ultimately help the LTTE , which was running a virtual mini state in the north, may not be a hindrance any more in getting politicians in the central government, and for that matter even political leaders in Tamil Nadu and in other states, to speak and act on behalf of the political aspirations of the Tamils of the north and east .

However it can be seen whether the Tamil political parties are correct in entertaining such hopes only after they have had the first round of talks with the chief minister of Tamil Nadu.

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