Karti Chidambaram criticises DMK’s Thamizhachi, asks not to eulogise Prabhakaran

For many Tamils from Sri Lanka, Maveerar Naal serves to commemorate fallen LTTE leaders and soldiers, as November 27, 1982 was the date Lieutenant Shankar was killed.
Congress MP Karti Chidambram and DMK MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian
Congress MP Karti Chidambram and DMK MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian
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While Tamils from Sri Lanka commemorate ‘Maaveerar Naal’— a day to remember civilians and LTTE leaders who were killed by Sri Lankan forces during the Civil War— Congress MP Karti Chidambaram has lashed out saying, “Eulogising Prabakaran doesn’t sit well with anyone in INC. To gloss over the dastardly assassination of Rajiv Gandhi along with 17 Tamils is not acceptable. This Prabhakaran, Veerappan, Tamil Nationalism is as fringe as Hindutva Nationalism.” Karti was reacting to an interview given by Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) MP Thamizhachi Thangapandian. The DMK minister had said in her interview that if she could meet anyone from history, it would be “Megadu Thesiya Thalaivar Prabhakaran.” She also added, “I would apologise and ask his pardon for the Mullivaikkal tragedy.”

The Mullivaikkal tragedy, also often called the ‘Mullivaikkal Massacre’, refers to the killing of tens of thousands of Tamils by Sri Lankan forces in the designated no-fire zone in 2009, towards the end of the Civil War. According to the United Nations (UN) 40,000 to 70,000 Tamil civilians were killed, trapped in the no fire zone between LTTE forces and the Sri Lankan Army in the last few months of the war. 

For many Tamils from Sri Lanka, Maaveerar Naal serves to commemorate fallen LTTE leaders and soldiers, as November 27, 1982 was the date Lieutenant Shankar was killed. Shankar was the first LTTE cadre to be killed in the escalating conflict with the Sri Lankan forces. The first Maaveerar Naal was observed in 1989, two years before then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated alongside 16 others in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu. 

The DMK in Tamil Nadu has historically pledged support for the Tamil struggle for an independent homeland–Eelam–in Sri Lanka. In April 2009 the late M Karunanidhi, who was chief minister at the time, went on a fast demanding a ceasefire from the Sri Lankan forces, but called it off the same day after the UPA government gave an assurance to talk to the island nation. 

In May 2022, the release of AG Perarivalan, who spent 31 years in prison for unwittingly supplying the batteries used in the bomb blast that killed Rajiv Gandhi, stirred trouble in the DMK-Congress alliance. At the time, the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee (TNCC) staged a state-wide protest. One of the prominent figures leading the protest then, was Anasuya Earnest who was a police officer on duty on the day of the blast and had sustained injuries. Later that year in November the Supreme Court also released the six others accused in carrying out the blast—Murugan, Nalini, Santhan, Jayakumar, Robert Payas and P Ravichandran. The release of all seven of the accused has been a repeated demand over the years from both the DMK and the AIADMK. 

Karti Chidambaram’s comments have drawn flak from many, with some rejecting his comparison of Prabhakaran to the late sandalwood smuggler Veerapan or a ‘Hindutva fringe group’. Thamizhachi Thangapandian herself is yet to respond to the Congress MP’s  criticism. 

Also read: 

Tamil Nadu CM hugs Perarivalan on his release, Congress miffed

Angered by Perarivalan release, TN Congress stages state-wide protest

7 reasons why the Congress opposes the release of Rajiv Gandhi case convicts

SC orders release of Nalini, Murugan and 4 other convicts in Rajiv Gandhi case

Perarivalan is free: SC orders release of Rajiv case convict by invoking Article 142

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