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Jaya asks Colombo to ensure equal rights to all

May 21, 2009 15:12 IST
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief J Jayalalithaa on Thursday said the elimination of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will not wipe out the "injustice" rendered to the Tamils in Sri Lanka and asked Colombo to ensure equal rights to all citizens.

Jayalalithaa, who had on the eve of elections asserted that Tamil Eelam was the only solution to resolve the ethnic strife in Sri Lanka, said the Sri Lankan government should address all genuine grievances of the Tamil community in the aftermath of the LTTE's fall.

"The unrest in Sri Lanka was triggered off only because the Tamils of the island were relegated, post-independence, to the status of secondary citizens in their own homeland.

"Decimation of the LTTE or the killings of its leaders will not wipe away the injustice meted out to this large community which had its roots in Sri Lanka," she said.

The Rajapakse government "should realise this basic truth," and address all the genuine grievances of the "oppressed" Tamil community and come out with necessary constitutional changes to ensure equal rights to all citizens in Sri Lanka, she said without referring to her Eelam demand or reports of the death of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran.

"It (Lanka) should ensure that the Tamils (both of the north-east as well as the hill country), Muslims and Burghers (a Eurasian ethnic group from Sri Lanka) live a life of dignity, equality and self-respect. Otherwise history will repeat itself and more unrest and wanton killings will follow," Jayalalithaa said.

Describing the war between the Lankan army and the LTTE as a "bitter battle", she said its end "does not signify victory for anyone," and "no one has reasons to gloat over it."

"The mutual misgivings should be settled through genuine transparent action," she said, adding that with the end of the war, international agencies like Red Cross, the United Nations and various humanitarian agencies must be allowed entry to war zones.

India should also put in place a "massive re-building and rehabilitation process" in Sri Lanka, she said.

Despite making the Eelam demand a central plank of her campaign, Jayalalithaa's AIADMK alliance won only 12 of 39 seats in Tamil Nadu, with the rival DMK-Congress front securing 27.

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