By E.T.B. Sivapriyan
Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka, including the influential Tamil National Alliance (TNA), on Sunday appealed to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin not to limit food and medical assistance from the state only to Tamils but all citizens of the island nation , arguing that “everyone is suffering”
TNA spokesman and parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran told DH from Colombo over the phone that Tamil Nadu’s readiness in helping the Tamil brethren across the border is a “wonderful gesture” that reinforces the historic and cultural relationship shared between the ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka and Tamils in India.
“The assistance from India, especially Tamil Nadu, is most welcome. But considering the magnitude of the crisis and given everyone is suffering, the help should go to all be it Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims, or Christians. Like the Indian assistance, the help from Tamil Nadu should go to all,” he said.
Sumanthiran was responding to Stalin seeking permission from the government to send rice, pulses, medicines, and other essential items to Sri Lanka from the port in Thoothukudi to be distributed among ethnic Tamils and plantation Tamils.
“Sri Lankans are speaking in one voice today and we request Stalin to extend the help to all citizens of our country,” he added.
Mano Ganesan, Member of Parliament from Jaffna, the capital of the northern province, echoed Sumanthiran’s sentiments saying the help being extended to all Sri Lankans will be fitting to the unity that is being demonstrated in form of democratic protests against the Rajapaksas.
We are extremely happy that the helping hands of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister extend to all Tamils. At the same time, the social justice hands of the CM should extend to all Sri Lankans irrespective of their race as a mark of respect to the protest happening across the island,” Ganesan said.
Stalin proposed the idea of sending essential supplies to the ethnic and plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka as the number of people fleeing the northern areas of the island to reach Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu is on the rise due to the worst-ever economic crisis