DMK withdraws team to Lanka

The DMK has withdrawn its representative from the all-party parliamentary delegation scheduled to leave for Colombo on April 16 on a six-day tour of Sri Lanka to assess the rehabilitation of the internally displaced Tamils. The delegation will be led by senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj.

Sources said DMK chief M Karunanidhi was of the view that the delegation would not be able to achieve much and the conducted tour would hardly help them get a realistic picture of the plight of the war-displaced in the island nation. Sources said the DMK leadership has decided to withdraw the party nominee, Lok Sabha member T K S Elangovan, from the delegation.

Earlier in the week, chief minister J Jayalalithaa had announced that she was withdrawing AIADMK’s representative, terming the proposed visit a “farce”. In a strongly-worded statement, she said there would be no opportunity for the MPs to interact with the war-affected Tamils and learn about their true plight. She also criticized Sri Lanka for its alleged ‘anti-Tamil’ approach in the massive rehabilitation exercise and the country’s recent objection to nuclear power facilities in south India, particularly Kudankulam. The visit, she said, appeared more like a “formality” planned by the Sri Lankan government to “favour itself.”

DMK sources said Karunanidhi shared a similar view and, during discussions with party seniors, expressed his feeling that the visit would serve no purpose as the team would not be allowed to talk to Tamils still housed in camps and awaiting rehabilitation.  (Agencies)