Tiruchirappalli: AIADMK supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today asserted her party would take "continuous steps" to attain a separate homeland for Tamils in Sri Lanka and demand that the Centre grant dual citizenship for refugees from the island nation living in the state.
Addressing a huge election rally here, she said she has been continuously demanding an independent, international probe over war crimes and alleged genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
"So as to enable Sri lankan Tamils live with full freedom and self-respect and to attain a separate Eelam, continuous steps will be taken," she said. Launching a diatribe against arch rival DMK over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, she alleged that DMK and Congress were together responsible for the destruction of Sri Lankan Tamils.
"We will urge the central government to confer dual citizenship on Sri Lankan Tamils living here so that they can easily get job opportunities," she said.
Noting that Sri Lankan Tamils have for long been living in and outside camps in Tamil Nadu, she said her regime was giving them all facilities. "There are also people who were born to refugees here and raised in the state. When the central government tried to repatriate them all, it was opposed by my government."
She stressed that her party's policy was that any repatriation should be voluntary and based on the choice of refugees "after the situation in Sri Lanka, including security aspects changes fully, (for the better)".
Jayalalithaa accused DMK of staging "dramas" over the issue against their interests. Such farce included a 'three hour hunger strike" by party chief Karunanidhi, she said. "Not
only for Tamils here, he also betrayed Tamils in Sri Lanka," she said.
She recalled that the Tamil Nadu Assembly had passed several resolutions on the Sri Lankan issue moved by her. Some of these included her demand for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka, an international probe against 'war crimes' and another related to a referendum (that she wanted to be sponsored by India in the UN forum) among Tamils on the question of a separate Eelam (Tamil homeland).
Slamming DMK for what she termed was false propaganda against the AIADMK regime, Jayalalithaa said the Karunanidhi- led party is "harried by fear" that it would not even be "runner-up" in the May 16 assembly polls and was therefore resorting to such methods.
Referring to some recent instances of so-called opposition to AIADMK nominees in some places, she alleged that such episodes were "staged" by DMK.
"People of Tamil Nadu cannot be duped. It is DMK which is going to be disappointed. People are on my side and unable to tolerate that, DMK is indulging in fraudulent acts. I appeal to the Election Commission to monitor the party and take action," she said.
Listing out various welfare schemes for farmers like Uzhavar Pathukappu Thittam (Farmers Protection Scheme), she alleged that DMK was indulging in false propaganda over alleged farmers' suicides.
DMK in an advertisement had raised the issues of fertiliser price rise and farmers suicide, she noted. "Who is responsible for fertiliser price rise? DMK is making a wrong calculation that people would have forgotten (the reason for price rise)," she said.
The chief minister recalled that it was during the UPA regime fertiliser prices were increased and pointed out that DMK was an ally of the Congress-led government then. "In the Cabinet meeting that paved the way for the increase, did not the then Union minister M K Alagiri of the DMK give his consent for the increase?" she asked.
"After having been responsible for price rise, how big a deception it is to issue an advertisement to make it appear as if the AIADMK government was responsible for it," she said.
She alleged that 1060 farmers had committed suicide in 2009 when DMK was in power and claimed the number had declined to 68 in 2014 in her regime.
"Even such suicides were due to family issues," she further claimed.