Putting the onus on the LTTE for halting the Sri Lankan military offensive in the north of the island nation,Home Minister P Chidambaram has said if the outfit laid down arms,India would intervene and arrange for a negotiated settlement to the vexed ethnic issue.
Our (Congress) policy is clear. LTTE is an armed militant group. They must announce that they are willing to lay down arms and are prepared for talks. Simultaneously,the Sri Lankan Government should suspend its military offensive, he told a public meeting organised by the party here last night.
Indian Government will definitely arrange for a dialogue if the LTTE lays down arms and came forward for talks. A good solution can be found to the 40 lakh Tamils in Sri Lanka, he said asking the Congressmen to carry this message to every nook and corner of the state.
Chidambaram’s comments came at a time when several pro-LTTE parties and outfits in Tamil Nadu are demanding immediate ceasefire in Sri Lanka and accusing the state and Central governments of failure to ensure safety of civilian Tamils caught in the ongoing war.
The Union Minister criticised the LTTE for not utilising the recent 48-hour ceasefire proposed by the Sri Lankan Government to allow people to move to safer areas and come for Talks.
Tracing the decades-old ethnic issue in Sri Lanka,Chidambaram said the situation would not have reached a grave stage had the LTTE accepted the Indo-Sri Lankan accord.
He made it clear that India cannot directly interfere in the war against LTTE,as demanded by some political leaders,since the country had itself not held talks with militant outfits in the north-east and Kashmir,who had refused to give up arms.
This fact has been understood only by DMK,Congress and AIADMK in the state, he said,adding PMK leader Dr S Ramadoss and Viduthulai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) leader Tol Tirumavalavan should also try to see this viewpoint.
Stating that LTTE chief Prabhakaran was not the sole leader of the Sri Lankan Tamils,he said the outfit’s main aim was to become an authoritarian after coming to power.
TNCCC President K V Thangkabalu said the Centre alone could bring a permanent ceasefire in Sri Lanka.