Call for New Delhi to help Sri Lankan Tamils

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue Jun 20 13:35:07 UTC 2006

New Delhi must help Sri Lankan Tamils: Vijayakanth

Indo-Asian News Service

Chennai, June 19, 2006|13:56 IST

Tamil actor and first-time legislator Vijayakanth has urged New Delhi to
move Sri Lankan Tamils to safety in India on humanitarian grounds. "The
Sri Lankan Tamils are orphans," Vijayakanth said in a statement, adding
that his Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam would resort to an agitation if
the government did not come to their aid. He said India was duty-bound to
tell Sri Lanka to stop killing its own people. Vijayakanth's plea comes
soon after several Tamil Nadu leaders like Vaiko of the MDMK and
Thirumavalavan of the Dalit Panthers of India asked the central government
to help the Tamils in northern Lanka, under attack from Sri Lankan forces
as the conflict between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam (LTTE) escalates.

Vijayakanth recalled in his statement that it was Jawaharlal Nehru who in
1958 sent Indian ships to Sri Lanka to help move Tamils from Colombo to
the Jaffna area, when the language policy created the first rifts between
the two ethnic groups in the island nation. Again, in 1983, "during the
genocide of Tamils" India had sent ships to help move Tamil refugees to
safety, Vijayakanth said. "The aerial bombings of Tamil areas without any
concern for people living there is an act no civilised state resorts to,"
the actor-turned-politician said, urging India to again send rescue ships
to Sri Lanka "for safe passage of Tamils".

He compared the incessant flow of Lankan Tamil refugees to Tamil Nadu's
coast to those who came to India from Bangladesh. The Bangladesh refugees
walked in, but "the Tamil refugees have to undertake hazardous sea
crossings, and facing possible death if they are caught between the navies
of the two countries", the statement said. "If India has strengthened
coastal security, it should be able to filter out the terrorists," he
said, adding that the "state should not support an inhuman policy that
allows women and children to die at sea".,000500020002.htm

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