Major Tamil political parties, including the main constituent party of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), have decided to stay away from the Tamil Eelam Support Organization (TESO) conference scheduled to be held in Chennai tomorrow (12 August).
The decision to stay away comes in the wake of the Tamil Nadu State Government refusing to grant permission to hold the conference in Chennai, yesterday.The conference is organized by the leader of the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) and the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi.
The Indian Home Ministry had in a letter to the Secretary of TESO on Thursday, urged the party to remove the word ‘Eelam’ from the conference title warning, that otherwise permission will not be granted to conduct the conference.The Tamil Nadu Government headed by Jayalalithaa Jayaram had informed the Chennai High Court yesterday that considering the common interest of the Chennai residents, the State Government has decided not to grant permission for tomorrow’s TESO conference tomorrow.
The attorneys appearing for the State Government had informed the Chennai High Court, the decision was taken in a bid to prevent any inconvenience being caused to the people of Chennai. The State Government had also informed Court the conference could be conducted anywhere out of Chennai.Responding to the State Government, the High Court had mentioned, if the Chennai Police grants permission, the TESO conference could be conducted in Chennai. However, the Chennai Police Chief had declined, saying, allowing the conference to be held, would create inconvenience to the Chennai people. According to informed sources, Tamil political parties, which are aligned in the TNA such as the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and People’s Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) have decided to keep away from the TESO conference, as they feel it is not the right time for a conference of this nature.
Some of the Lankan Tamil parties are also of the opinion Karunanidhi has not consulted them over TESO and hence they were clueless about it, the sources said. TESO was initiated by the DMK leader, twenty years ago. However, he did not come out with anything politically through TESO, with regard to the Lankan Tamil question in the past. Consequently, tomorrow’s conference in Chennai, sources said, had even been criticized by the hardcore Lankan Tamil supporters, including Y. Gopalaswamy, P. Nedumaran and Seeman who have dismissed it as an eyewash by Karunanidhi.According to sources, who did not wish to be named, all Tamil political parties and Tamil parliamentarians have received invitations from Karunanidhi for the conference.
However, Y. Gopalaswamy, P. Nedumaran and Seeman, who are generally the voices in the forefront with regard to Lankan Tamil issues, have telephoned Lankan Tamil parliamentarians urging them to boycott the TESO confab saying it would not be helping the Lankan Tamil cause at all. Meanwhile, there were mixed reactions within the ITAK over participation at the confab, with parliamentarians Mavai Senathiraja, who had met the DMK leader M. Karunanidhi a couple of weeks ago in Chennai, being keen to participate in the event. However, several other members had not been happy about it and the party had taken a decision to keep away from tomorrow’s conference.According to reports from the Tamil expatriate circles abroad, several Lankan Tamil political organizations operating from various countries, have also expressed their displeasure over the TESO meeting, saying it was focusing mainly on the political interest of Karunanidhi, and hence was not being convened to focus the interests of the Lankan Tamils.