Chennai: The war of words between M Karunanidhi and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam over repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees continued on Thursday with the DMK chief affirming his commitment for the welfare of Lankan Tamils.
Karunanidhi said he had as early as in 1956 proposed a resolution in the DMK General Council in favour of the Lankan Tamils and asked if Panneerselvam had 'any idea' of how many protests he (Karunanidhi) had participated on this issue.
He said he had raised the issue of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa, as Chief Minister, earlier moving a resolution in the state Assembly, seeking extradition of slain LTTE leader V Prabhakaran in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, but Panneerselvam had not referred to this in his statement.
Karunanidhi also referred to the statement of Chandrahaasan, son of veteran Sri Lankan Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayakam, that a majority of refugees wanted to return home and that how long can they stay as 'guests' in Tamil Nadu.
"Further, reports state that in surveys conducted in this regard, 70 per cent of Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu want to return home while 20 per cent of them make it conditional. Only 10 per cent of them want to stay back," he said in a statement.
Karunanidhi insisted that in his statement critical of Tamil Nadu's non-participation in a meeting between India and Sri Lanka over repatriation of Lankan refugees held in Delhi on January 30, he had only said the state government could have attended it and expressed its views.
Panneerselvam had earlier written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking deferment of the meeting, saying it was premature since the situation was not conducive for repatriation of Tamil refugees.
Karunanidhi had criticised the move, saying a wonderful opportunity to speak on the status of Sri Lankan Tamils in the light of change of regime in the island nation was lost.
Two days ago, Panneerselvam had flayed Karunanidhi questioning his commitment on the Lankan Tamils issue, saying the previous UPA regime, in which the DMK was a constituent, had helped Colombo with military equipment and expertise during the war against the LTTE that saw heavy Tamil civilian casualties.