At a time when the Centre is facing embarrassment from some Union ministers and the TNCC, pressing for a boycott of the CHOGM meet in Sri Lanka, 21 Pro-Tamil outfits here on Thursday, appealed to the State Government to declare a total bandh on November 12. Citing the precedent set by the iconic former chief minister and AIADMK founder MGR, who once took the lead for a bandh for the Lankan Tamil cause, the outfits said this would send a strong message to the Centre against participating in CHOGM.
The decision was made after a consultation among these parties earlier in the day. Representatives of Thanthai Periyar Dravida Kazhagam (TPDK), Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MNMK), Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI), Tamilaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), AITUC, INL, and the May 17 Movement, took part in the meet. It was also decided to hold rail rokos across the State on November 12. The representatives also urged other parties and student federations to join them.
“By abstaining from CHOGM, the Centre could turn this into an opportunity to highlight the injustice commited against the Sri Lankan Tamils. It could take up meaningful measures to expel Sri Lanka from the Commonwealth,” observed Anoor Jegadeesan of the TPDK.
“The consolation we have is the efforts of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa who ensured that the TN Assembly passed a unanimous resolution seeking India to stay away from CHOGM and to bring Lankan president Rajapaksa to books,” he added. “However, the measures taken by the Centre thus far have fallen short of the expectation of the Tamils,” he observed and expressed confidence that all political parties would extend support to the bandh call.
“Sri Lanka had violated the basic charter of the Commonwealth during the Eelam War IV and the subsequent genocide of Lankan Tamils. Therefore, it should not continue to be a member in Commonwealth,” said MH Jawahirullah, MLA of MNMK.
Noted trade unionist R Kuselan of Uzhaikum Makkal Mamandram urged the workers of various participating trade unions to strike work on November 12.
Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sangankalin Peravai president T Vellaiyan noted that all the trade establishments affiliated to his forum would remain shut on that day.