Indian Express

Under fire for SL Tamils issue, Sonia says Rajiv Gandhi did most for them

Sonia attacked the Jayalalithaa Govt for adopting a lethargic approach to end the recurring attacks on fishermen from the state. Tweet This
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Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday sought to clarify that her government is dealing with the problem. (PTI Photo) Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday sought to clarify that her government is dealing with the problem of Tamils in Sri Lanka. (PTI Photo)

Dismissing as “false propaganda” that Congress was not concerned about Tamils in Sri Lanka, Sonia Gandhi on WEdnesday today raised the emotional issue of her husband Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, saying the former prime minister sacrificed his life “fighting” for them.

Addressing her maiden election rally in Tamil Nadu, Gandhi also attacked the Jayalalithaa Government, virtually charging it with adopting a lethargic approach to the initiative taken by the UPA on fishermen level talks to end the recurring attacks on fishermen from the state.

“I am aware that some political parties accuse us that we have not done anything for Tamils in Sri Lanka. I want to ask them is there any party other than Congress which has done more for the Sri Lankan Tamils,” she said.

Gandhi said her husband had “sacrificed his life fighting for the brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. I want to ask which political party has done this.”

Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated at an election rally by an LTTE suicide bomber in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991.

Congress is contesting all 39 Lok Sabha seats in the state on its own. The UPA Chairperson insisted that her party had been striving for welfare of Sri Lankan Tamils and outlined Congress’ commitment to “solve” their problems.

All political parties in the state including DMK, which had parted ways with UPA over the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils, have been accusing Congress of doing little on the emotive issue.

Gandhi urged people not to believe in such “false propaganda”.

On recurring attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy, another issue over which Congress-led UPA Government was facing the heat for alleged “inaction”, she hit out at AIADMK, saying it took “considerable time and effort” to get the concurrence of the state government for the January 2014 talks between fishermen of India and Sri Lanka.

“Our government is in the forefront of protecting our fishermen. It is only due to our efforts that fishermen of both countries (from Tamil Nadu in India and Sri Lanka) were able to meet in January this year to discuss how to find a solution,” she noted.

“I can tell you that it took considerable time and effort to take the concurrence of the AIADMK governmentt here,” she said apparently claiming credit for the inititive.

Fishermen representatives of both sides had met in January in Chennai to work out a solution to the fishing dispute in Palk Strait and the next round of talks have been proposed in May in Colombo, for which the state government has given its nod.

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