Competitive caring about Sri Lanka

The ethnic strife in Sri Lanka has always been an emotive issue in Tamil Nadu. The persecution of the minority Tamil population has evoked a spontaneous response many times. Political parties call for bandhs, people go on fasts and, in extreme cases, immolate themselves. All the leading politicians have played the Sri Lanka card to suit their convenience. There are leaders like Vaiko ( MDMK) who till recently refused to accept LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran's death. Vaiko has been steadfast in his support for the LTTE and the demand for a separate Tamil state, Eelam.

With the Sri Lankan army's decisive victory over the LTTE in 2009, the issue was expected to fade away in the state. However, the stories which have trickled in about human rights violations by the army, especially during the last phase of the war, such as the killing of civilians, eliminating Prabhakaran, his family and his soldiers, even when they wanted to surrender, and the continuing intimidation and detaining of Tamils have stoked the emotional fires.

The need to do something to help Sri Lankan Tamils has gained momentum in the last two-to-three months. The DMK has revived the TESO ( Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation), which it floated way back in 1983, although a separate state for Tamils is no longer an option. The publication of Prabhakaran's 12-year-old son's bullet-ridden picture and no clear-cut denial from the Sri Lankan government that it was behind the assassination has upped the ante considerably. It has now reached a crescendo with all Tamil Nadu parties, including the Congress, demanding that India back the US in bringing out a resolution against Sri Lanka asking it to categorically implement the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee (LLRC). Sri Lanka has not bothered to do so despite India and other countries voting in favour of a resolution censuring the island's government last year in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Council.

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