Speaking to the British Tamil diaspora, Tamil Nadu President of Bhartiya Janata Party, K Annamalai, maintained that he would never forget the atrocities committed against Tamils in 2009 and pledged that India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, would deliver a political solution for Tamils.
Mr Annamalai was speaking at an event organised by the Global Tamil Civil Society at the Nakshatra Hall in Feltham in West London.
In his address, he maintained that both Eelam Tamils and Malayaga Tamils have suffered immeasurably and both communities have been treated like a pawn in a chess game between global powers.
He further outlined the challenges faced by the Malayaga Tamils, who will mark the second centenary of their forced migration to Sri Lanka in 2023, noting that the community had the lowest literacy levels, GDP per capita lowest and poor access to education in Sri Lanka.
He also acknowledged that Tamil refugees in India have been kept in camps for very long time for no fault of theirs and the time is ripe to solve their issues.
Speaking of Eelam Tamils Mr Annamalai declared that the people of Tamil Nadu, including himself will never forgive the way India behaved in 2009 adding India could have easily intervened and stopped the war. Mr Annamalai reminded that Mr Modi, at the time Chief Minister of Gujarat at an event held on 10 May 2009, publicly questioned “What the Indian government was doing whilst my brothers and sisters are being massacred in Sri Lanka?”
Mr Annamalai pointed out that the approach of Indian government has changed since Mr Modi came to power in 2014 and highlighted the people-to-people links India is creating between Tamil Nadu and North-East via direct flights from Tamil Nadu to Palaly, boat service from Kaaraikaal to Kankesanthurai and a possible ferry service between Mannar and Tamil Nadu. He also reminded the attendees that Mr Modi was the first world leader to visit Jaffna and meet Malayaga Tamils.
Mr Annamalai stated that the official stance of India is a full, complete and through implementation of the 13th Amendment as per the original letter and spirit of the agreement made in 1987. He stated that, this was only half of what he wished to state and that the other half has to be inferred by the attendees adding political rights for Tamils will need to be achieved in increments.
The 13th amendment has been roundly criticised by Tamil activists for failing to deliver meaningful devolution or a lasting solution to the ethnic issues that have plagued Sri Lanka.
Addressing Sri Lanka, he maintained that the country is politically and financially fragile with numerous sensitive challenges, likening the situation to a saree that has fallen on a thorny bush. He emphasized the need for caution to avoid irreparable damage.