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Karuna not optimistic about Khurshid's Lanka visit

Press Trust of India  |  Chennai 

Indicating that earlier rounds of talks between and over a series of issues had not yielded desired results, today wondered if the latest visit by External Affairs Minister to Colombo will bring about any change.

Party chief M Karunanidhi, however, said that there were questions in the minds of Tamil people if Khurshid will raise some important issues including devolution of powers under 13th Amendment and de-militarisation of Tamil-speaking areas during the ongoing Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in the island nation.

"(We) don't know what useful will come in the wake of tense situation (in Sri Lanka) when people like try to raise them. Is this the first time the two countries are holding talks? So many rounds of talks were held at different levels after the end of the war. What has happened? Have human rights violations decreased? Has the army been withdrawn from Tamil areas?" he asked.

Writing in party organ 'Murasoli,' the chief asked if the homes and lands "encroached" by the army has been returned to Tamil owners.

He levelled various charges against the Mahinda Rajapakse government, including not implementing the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, an India-supported initiative for devolution of powers for minority Tamils, and increasing instances of attacks on Indian fishermen by the island navy.

He said Khurshid had defended his participation in CHOGM by placing arguments including ability to take up Tamils issue with Colombo even as was involved in various relief and rehabilitation efforts there.

The benefit of Indian-sponsored schemes including a housing project were enjoyed by Sinhalese, he alleged.

The patriarch also referred to heads of countries like Canada and Mauritius deciding to skip the event.

The demands of DMK and the party backed Tamil Eelam Supporters' Organisation (TESO), revived last year, included a referendum for Sri Lankan Tamils under UN supervision to decide their own political solution, he said.

However, with Khurshid travelling to Colombo, there were questions in the minds of Tamil people if he will press for demilitarisation of Tamil areas, seek for implementation of 13th Amendment, and whether "he will come forward to voice concern against Sri Lankan government's human rights violations and war crimes (during the last leg of conflict in 2009), and the sexual crimes committed by Lankan army", Karunanidhi said.

First Published: Fri, November 15 2013. 18:25 IST