Karunanidhi begins hunger strike to demand ceasefire in Sri Lanka (Lead)

Chennai, April 27 (Inditop) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi went on a hunger strike here Monday to protest “cruel acts” against Tamils in Sri Lanka and demanded an immediate ceasefire in the island nation.

“I have decided to offer my life to the increasing numbers of lives lost due to the Sinhalese regime’s continuing cruel acts against the Tamil ethnic minority in the war in Sri Lanka,” Karunanidhi told reporters.

“After the Tamil Tigers offered unilateral truce (Sunday), I stayed awake the whole night surfing television channels and radio stations to hear good news. Since that did not happen, I have decided to embark upon this endeavour on behalf of all the Tamils of the world,” he added.

The DMK patriarch is sitting in protest at the memorial of party founder C.N. Annadurai at the Marina Beach here.

A party functionary said the chief minister has not informed anyone how long the protest would last.

The chief minister’s daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, former union minister Dayanidhi Maran, and local administration minister M.K. Stalin were among those who visited the DMK chief at the site.

Already an emotional issue in Tamil Nadu, the Sri Lankan Tamil tangle assumed further importance after AIADMK general secretary Jayalalitha said Saturday that the establishment of a separate ‘Eelam’ homeland was the only solution for the tamil minority in the island.

All national parties – the Congress, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Left – have distanced themselves from Jayalalitha’s demand.

The ferment in Tamil Nadu comes amid the Sri Lankan government’s determination to crush the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), now confined to less than 10 sq km land area in the coastal belt of Mullaithivu district.

The widespread civilian suffering caused by the war has raised international concern. On Sunday, Colombo rejected the LTTE’S ceasefire offer, calling it a “joke”.