File photo: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Photograph:( PTI )
DMK President MK Stalin stated that the DMK would support the CAA if the Centre expanded its ambit and included Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims.
Tamil Nadu’s Opposition party DMK and their allies Congress, Left parties have been protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, over how it has been ignorant of the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils who are a persecuted minority in the island nation.
DMK leaders held protests in Chennai and various other districts against the Citizenship Act. Leading an agitation in Kanchipuram district, DMK President MK Stalin stated that the DMK would support the CAA if the Centre expanded its ambit and included Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims.
“The Indian Constitution is secular and the government cannot enact any law that will discriminate against people based on religion. By excluding the Sri Lankan Tamils, the BJP has shown that it is not only against the Muslims, but also the Sri Lankan Tamils” Stalin said.
Speaking to reporters in Salem, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami hit back at the DMK and Stalin by saying that the Prime Minister and Home Minister had assured that the CAA does not threaten Indians living in India, irrespective of their religion.
“After the 2016 elections, Late CM Jayalalithaa had requested PM Modi regarding the provision of dual-citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamils. After her demise, I had emphasized the same issue to our PM” he said.
Accusing Stalin of spreading lies and falsehoods, Palaniswami stated that, “In 2009 during the war in Sri Lanka, them CM Karunanidhi, whose DMK was in an alliance with the UPA government went on a hunger strike, to ensure that the war ended. However, he called off his hunger strike within an hour and announced publicly that the Sri Lankan Tamils need not worry. It was believing this assurance that the Sri Lankan Tamils came out of hiding, only to have been killed by the Lankan forces. Over 1.5lakh Tamis were killed as they came out of hiding after believing Karunanidhi.”
Palaniswami questioned the DMK on why they did not protest back then (in 2009) and raise their voice against the then Congress-led UPA government. He accused the DMK of being power-hungry as many in their family were hiding important Central government portfolios. “When they ruled as a part of the Central Government for 13 years, why didn’t they ensure citizenship for the Lankan Tamils ?”
Adding that DMK MPs Kanimozhi and TR Baalu had met former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse after the war and had accepted his gifts, the AIADMK leader slammed the DMK saying that they had no right to speak for the Sri Lankan Tamils.
Stating that there were over 59714 Sri Lankan Tamils living in 107 camps across Tamil Nadu, he added that they were being given government benefits on par with the people of Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, the DMK and its allies have decided to hold a rally against the CAA in Chennai city on Monday, December 23rd. Speaking to reporters DMK President MK Stalin said, “The CAA act must be revoked as it disrupts peace across the country. We want to know why Muslims and Sri Lankan Tamils are being excluded ?”
The DMK leader also accused the 12 MPs from Tamil Nadu for having supported the bill in the Upper House of Parliament. “It was because of the 11 AIADMK MPs and lone PMK member that the bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha”. He stated that Chief Minister Palaniswami was only obediently parroting the lines of the Prime Minister and Home Minister on CAA.
When asked about the allegations made by the Chief Minister about the DMK’s poor handling of the Sri Lankan war, Stalin said that he did not want to indulge in loose talk over such issues and that he wants to focus on the current issues, work towards a solution.