Madurai: Continuing its opposition to India’s participation in the Commmonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the MDMK held a protest in the city of Madurai today resulting in the party chief Vaiko being arrested. A group of MDMK activists had attempted to block the railway tracks in Madurai when a group of them, including Vaiko, were arrested by the police.
The party had earlier called for a bandh to protest against India’s decision to participate in the meet. Tamil Nadu’s political parties have been opposing India’s participation in the CHOGM on the basis that it amounted to legitimizing the actions of the Sri Lankan government in the last stages of the civil war which saw the complete annihilation of the LTTE in 2009. Since then a number of written reports, eye witness accounts and video evidence have emerged, all of which point to shocking human rights violations committed by government troops in the final stages of the war. This includes summary executions as well as the torture and rape of detainees. Furthermore the army stands accused of luring civilians into ‘safe’ areas and then shelling them, resulting in the deaths of tens of thousands of people. Faced with a completely united Tamil Nadu, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh decided not to attend the meet on the basis that it would not be politically expedient to do so, given that the general elections are only a few months away. External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid represented the government instead. Despite this however, the Tamil Nadu parties say that even Khurshid should not have attended and that India should have boycotted the meet entirely.