DMK president M Karunanidhi today said he did not "see" LTTE chief V Prabhakaran as a terrorist and would be saddened if he is killed in the ongoing fighting in Sri Lanka.
"Prabhakaran is my good friend. I am not a terrorist," the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister told NDTV in an interview when asked whether he viewed Prabhakaran as a terrorist.
Subsequently asked by his daughter and DMK Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi, who was present in the interview, whether he saw Prabhakaran as a terrorist, Karunanidhi, speaking in Tamil, said "Naan appadi paarkkalai (I don't see that way)."
"Those in Prabhakaran's group have taken to terrorism. But that is not his (Prabhakaran's) fault," he added.
"I will deeply regret if Prabhakaran is killed (in the ongoing offensive).. for it would be because of lack of unity among the Tamil groups," he said in a reference to the fratricidal war between Tamil groups, members of which have been killed by the LTTE.
Karunanidhi also said that the LTTE's goals were "legitimate," but faulted it when he said they had adopted "wrong methods."
"Their goals are right, but method is wrong," he said about the organisation, which took to armed struggle in the early 1980s in a bid to secure equal rights for minority Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Karunanidhi said he differed with Prabhakaran on his policy of delivering a dictator-type rule if he came to power, as stated by the LTTE chief in a magazine interview a few years ago.
Prabhakaran is a proclaimed offender in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.