Decision on Colombo Commonwealth meet after considering all factors – Manmohan Singh

chogm 2   Breaking his silence on India’s participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting scheduled to take place in Colombo next month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said that a decision on this would be taken only after considering all relevant factors, including sentiments of Tamil people.

In a letter to Karunanidhi, the Prime Minister said, “I was informed by Baalu your deep concern about the deteriorating health of Tamil National Liberation Movement general secretary Thiyagu, who is on hunger strike since October 1, demanding that I should not attend the CHOGM Conference to be held in Sri Lanka,” he said.

Manmohan requested Karunanidhi to use his good offices to persuade Thiyagu to call off his fast.

“I wish to inform you that a decision on the issue of my participation in the CHOGM conference will be taken only after considering all relevant factors, including the sentiments of your party and the Tamil people,” Dr Singh said in a letter to DMK chief M Karunanidhi.

The pressure from major political parties in Tamil Nadu is likely to cast a shadow on the decision to be taken by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on participating in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka next month.

Not only chief minister Jayalalithaa, DMK chief M Karunanidhi, even local Congress leaders – including some Union ministers from Tamil Nadu – have urged the PM to exercise his options carefully lest India’s participation snowballs into a major political row in the state ahead of the 2014 polls.

Union ministers GK Vasan and V Narayanasamy, are known have to appealed to the PM to avoid participating in the CHOGM from November 15 to 17.

They do not think that the successful completion of provincial elections in the north, which saw the victory of the Tamil National Alliance, has softened the stand of the TN parties. Therefore, they do not want the UPA government to annoy any of its potential allies.

The PM’s response came after senior DMK leader and party’s leader in Parliament TR Baalu called on Dr Singh yesterday and informed him about the deteriorating health of pro-Tamil activist K Thiagarajan, who is on an indefinite fast in Chennai since October 1 demanding that India boycott the CHOGM.

Mr Thiagarajan alleges that Sri Lanka was guilty of genocide of Tamils in the island nation. He is the general secretary of the Tamil Desiya Viduthalai Iyakkam.

In his meeting with the Prime Minister, Mr Baalu also put forth DMK chief M Karunanidhi’s demand that India should not participate in the CHOGM.

The Prime Minister urged the DMK chief to persuade the activist to break his fast.

Political parties in Tamil Nadu, including the DMK, have been demanding that the Centre stay away from the CHOGM.

On October 1, the Madras High Court had directed Chennai police to allow Thiagarajan to observe his indefinite fast. He had moved court after he was denied permission by the Police Commissioner.

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