Tamil Nadu’s new Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Opposition Leader M K Stalin should continue with the same policy of pressurising Sri Lanka to address Tamils’ concerns in the country as J Jayalalithaa did, a hardline Tamil politician said here on Wednesday. “We hope Panneerselvam and Stalin will have the same interest in the Sri Lankan issue,” M K Shivajilingam said.
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Shivajilingam, a hardline nationalist and relative of slain LTTE supremo V Prabahakaran, said Jayalalithaa had, at all times, shown interest in pressurising New Delhi to make Sri Lanka address Tamils’ concerns.
Jayalalithaa was a strong advocate of preserving Tamil Nadu fishermen in fishing in Palk straits despite the Sri Lankan Navy arresting them for trespassing into Sri Lankan waters, he said, adding that by doing this, she was only trying to cater to the demands from Tamil Nadu fishermen.
Yesterday, President Maithripala Sirisena condoled her demise with the diaspora grieving the loss of their beloved leader. Former president Mahinda Rajapaksa also offered his condolences.
Rajapaksa, during his presidency, had invited Jayalalithaa to visit Sri Lanka to witness the post-war conditions. Jayalalithaa had a chequered relationship with Sri Lanka. While the Sinhala majority supported her strong anti-LTTE sentiments, they did not favour her for her pro-Tamil nationalist stance.
The Tamil minority in Sri Lanka favoured Jayalalithaa for her ability to pressure New Delhi to nudge Sri Lankan political leadership to grant concessions to Tamils.