Wednesday May 22, 2013
'In a Volte-Face, Jayalalithaa Started Supporting Tamil Eelam'Salem-News.com
The resurfacing of the Tamil issue is due to the Eelam War which eliminated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its leader Prabhakaran.
(CHENNAI, India) - The issue of discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka has recently led to strong protests against Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as some pilgrims from the island nation.
India and Sri Lanka will be able to tide over the current wave of protests and manage to maintain their friendly ties, believes Colonel R Hariharan.
He is a former Military Intelligence officer and an expert on Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Colonel Hariharan has also been awarded the Visish Sewa Medal for his stint as the head of the intelligence unit of the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka between 1987 and 1990.
In an interview with rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, Colonel Hariharan talks about how Jayalalithaa is using anti-Lanka protests for political mileage and why the Rajapaksa government should immediately address the grievances of the nation's Tamil population
What are your thoughts on the resurfacing of the Sri Lankan Tamil issue, which led to the recent protests against President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to India?
The resurfacing of the Tamil issue is due to the Eelam War which eliminated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its leader Prabhakaran. In Tamil Nadu, small pro-LTTE political groups that had thrived on the Eelam cause were outraged as India failed to intervene and bail out Prabhakaran, as it had done on two earlier occasions. They believe the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam state government connived in this process with the Centre. During the 2009 parliamentary poll, All India Anna Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam supremo Jayalalithaa found this feeling of betrayal a useful issue in her election campaign.
In a volte-face, she started supporting Tamil Eelam and called for Indian intervention. When the war ended, the plight of Tamils in war-torn areas and alleged Sri Lanka atrocities against Tamils created a wave of sympathy in Tamil Nadu. Jayalalithaa used this sympathy effectively in her campaigns for the assembly election. Since the DMK was routed, she has been using the issue to needle DMK and the United Progressive Alliance coalition at the Centre. She probably feels the call for ban on trade with Lanka can pressurise the Rajapaksa government while strengthening her visibility in national politics.
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