Karuna meets Sonia, raises Sri Lankan Tamils issue

M Karunanidhi requested Sonia Gandhi to "use her good offices" to impress upon the Centre to urge Sri Lanka to bring an end to the "untold misery" of Tamils in camps in the island nation.

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Saturday requested UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to "use her good offices" to impress upon the Centre to urge Sri Lanka to bring an end to the "untold misery" of Tamils in camps in the island nation.

The sooner they are rehabilitated and allowed to return to their places, the better it would be to enable them pursue their normal life, Karunanidhi said in a memorandum submitted to Gandhi at the airport here during her brief stopover en route to Puducherry and Tiruchirapalli.
Referring to the recent visit of Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao to Sri Lanka, Karunanidhi said she herself had put the number of war-displaced Tamils in camps at 30,000 and said the figure could, "in all likelihood", be more.

"The Sri Lankan government must be urged to start the political process without further delay," he said. "In as much as the hapless Sri Lankan Tamils continue to suffer in the camps for the last 18 months, there must be some firm political commitment to end the sufferings of these people.
I therefore request you to impress upon the Government of India to urge the government of Sri Lanka to rehabilitate the people now in the camps and bring an end to their untold
misery," he said in the memorandum.

Later, he saidthat his meeting with Gandhi was a "brief one". Karunanidhi was accompanied by some of his Cabinet colleagues, including son and Deputy Chief Minister M K Stalin, and his grandnephew, Union Textiles Minister Dayanidhi
Maran.

PTI

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