Saturday, January 17, 2009

Thirumavalavan's hunger strike

The chief of Viduthalai Chiruththaigal Katchi (VCK), Thol.Thirumavalavan is on a hunger strike (entering third day today) to force India to demand a stop to the war in Sri Lanka.

It is unclear if India will make a move in this regard. A directive to force feed Thirumavalavan from centre will be issued and the chief minister of Tamil Nadu will be forced to ensure this.

DMK has been unable to force the Congress lead UPA to move swiftly to stop the war in Sri Lanka. A strong faction in the Indian Government wants the war to continue, to decimate or at least cripple the LTTE. However, the impact on the people of Northern Sri Lanka (Vanni) has been disastrous.

With weapons of considerably lower calibre, Sri Lankan army has killed, maimed and rendered Tamil people homeless, than what Israel has done in Gaza in the last month. Both Israel and Sri Lanka claim that the damage to civilians is collateral.

With virtually no TV coverage of the affected Vanni region, there is no outrage in India. The political parties in Tamil Nadu have failed to highlight the problems in Sri Lanka to political parties in other Indian states.

Thol.Thirumavalavan organized a public meeting last month in Chennai on "Recognizing Tamil Eelam as a separate country". Doubtless, it is an extreme solution. The administration ensured that the event coverage was spiked; no television channel even talked about this. Initially, Thirumavalavan was not allowed by the Tamil Nadu government to organize this event. He had to move the Chennai High Court to get the clearence.

The Sri Lankan Tamil problem has not yet become a poll issue in Tamil Nadu. Unless that happens and the political parties fear that they will lose votes if they do not bring immediate relief to the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Indian government will not move forward. Until then, the Sri Lankan army operation will continue.

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