DMK pulls out of UPA government

CHENNAI — The DMK on Tuesday quit the UPA and its government voicing dismay over India’s stand over Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, but Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said there was no threat to the government.


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Published: Wed 20 Mar 2013, 8:42 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 4:10 PM

DMK chief M. Karunanidhi announced that his party could not accept New Delhi’s bid to bail out Sri Lanka which faces charges of committing human rights abuses on the Tamil community.

“Continuing in this government will be an injustice to the Sri Lankan Tamils,” the former Tamil Nadu chief minister told the media. The DMK has 18 members in the Lok Sabha and five in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s council of ministers.

Karunanidhi said the UPA government had not only refused to consider the DMK’s views on the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC but had quietly watered it down.

He said DMK’s ministers in the government would submit their resignations on Tuesday or Wednesday.

He also ruled out extending outside legislative support to the UPA, in which the DMK was the largest constituent after the Congress.

The announcement made at the DMK headquarters was lustily cheered by party cadres who burst firecrackers and shouted slogans hailing Karunanidhi.

In New Delhi, Chidambaram said the Congress-led UPA government was stable and continued to enjoy majority support in parliament despite the DMK’s departure.

“The government is stable, the government enjoys majority in the Lok Sabha,” he told the media. “The government is stable and will continue.”

The Congress core group, including president Sonia Gandhi, held a crisis meeting soon after the DMK pullout.

Speaking later, Chidambaram tried to placate Karunanidhi by saying the Congress had noted his views and that he was a senior leader who “deserves all respect”.

The US has introduced a resolution pulling up Sri Lanka over rights abuses and more at the 47-member United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

But the DMK and the AIADMK want the Indian government to introduce amendments in the resolution accusing Sri Lanka of committing “genocide” on Tamils during the war against the Tamil Tigers.

If a resolution was introduced in Indian parliament accusing Sri Lanka of committing “genocide”, “we are ready to change our view”, the DMK leader said.

Asked if the decision to exit the government was a belated one since it didn’t do anything when the war against the Tamil Tigers was at its peak, Karunanidhi said: “We were not silent at that time.”

He added that both the Indian government and the UN had done injustice to the Tamils.

On extending issue-based support to the central government, he said it was normal for all parties to extend support based on issues.

Earlier, reading out a statement, Karunanidhi said for more than 50 years the DMK had fought for the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka. He said that Tamil aspirations in Sri Lanka remained despite the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009 and the annihilation of its leadership.

He accused the Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka of trying to destroy the Tamil cultural heritage.

Karunanidhi said there was no doubt that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government had committed “war crimes” and “genocide” of Tamils. He decried India’s silence on the issue as undemocratic.

The DMK announcement, which sent the stock market crashing, came a day after a three-member Congress delegation called on Karunanidhi late Monday following his threat to quit the UPA.

Sri Lanka denies accusations that thousands of Tamil civilians were killed and maimed during the final stages of the war against the LTTE.

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