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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Diaspora Tamils to tap goodwill of India

Karthick S
CHENNAI: Breaking free from the thinking of pro-Eelam outfits in Tamil Nadu, leaders of the Tamil diaspora have taken an independent line to build bridges with the Indian government rather than confronting the Manmohan Singh regime over its stand on issues concerning Sri Lankan Tamils.

A few Lankan Tamil organisations in the US and the UK have been lobbying for a better relationship with the Indian government. “India’s intervention is needed for our cause. India is the supreme power in the region and it is also growing into a global power ,” Viswanathan Rudrakumaran , ‘prime minister’ of TGTE (Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam), told TOI over phone from New York.

 British Tamil Forum (BTF), a strong movement among the Sri Lankan Tamils in the UK, also echoed similar views. Its general secretary V Ravikumar said the overseas Tamils have realised the importance of India’s intervention for a political resolution of the Lankan issue.

 “Though we were upset with the Indian government’s approach during the final phase of civil war in 2009, we do accept India as a powerful nation. We have been giving importance to the visiting delegates from India to the UK,” Ravikumar told over phone.

 TGTE has recently released its freedom charter which has highlighted that a “special relationship” with India will be maintained by the “independent Tamil state” in Sri Lanka.

 This charter was declared in May by TGTE. “We have drafted the Eelam charter, after consultation from Tamils worldwide. A large number of Tamils within Sri Lanka also participated,” Rudrakumar said. He added that organisations like World Tamil Organization (WTO) and FetNa (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) welcomed their decision to have a special relationship with India.

 Ravikumar said his movement has been in touch with many national political parties in India. “We had invited senior leaders from left parties and Dravidian parties for the International conference in 2012. We also met a few senior leaders of other national parties in Delhi,” he said.

 Both Rudrakumaran and Ravikumar urged India to take a leadership role in the UN Human Rights Council to pass a strong resolution in March 2014. They also urge that India should boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting scheduled to take place in Colombo in November.

 Diaspora Tamils have been making all efforts to open diplomatic channels within the Indian government. Western countries have also advising these groups to keep close relationship with India, observers point out.

 Prof V Suryanarayana, a senior research fellow at the Centre for Asian Studies, said India should have a dialogue with moderate sections of Tamil diaspora. “I am not sure whether New Delhi is in touch with diaspora leaders. If India opens dialogue with moderate groups, extremists will be isolated and India can influence diaspora people for solution within a united Sri Lanka,” Suryanarayana said.

 Diaspora would love to influence India but India will not agree with TGTE’s Tamil Eelam concept, Suryanarayana said.

 Significantly, Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Tamil political alliance in Sri Lanka, has been closely in touch with Indian government in recent years.


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