Tamil Nadu Demands Could Destabilise The Indian Union
Have shifts in India’s political firmament impacted on its foreign policy? A radical change was evident in its stand taken on the resolution against Sri Lanka which was adopted at the UNHRC sessions in Geneva, two weeks ago?
India, not so long ago, the leader of the Non Aligned Movement broke ranks at the UNHCR sessions at Geneva and voted with America and Western nations on a resolution against Sri Lanka while most Asian countries backed Sri Lanka.
Emergence of regional parties
In February the ruling Party, the UPA, led by the Congress and the other main Indian political party, the Bharetiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered humiliating defeats in four states-Goa, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh (UP). Only in the marginal state of Manipur in the North East was the Congress able to win. The message according to many Indian commentators was clear: The two leading parties could no longer consider the Indian voter’s choice being limited either of the two parties. The winners were regional parties. The Samajwadi Party winning UP convincingly and the Akali Dhal defeating the BJP in Punjab were the indicators. Would the emergence of provincial parties challenging the policies hitherto followed by Congress and the BJP result in changes in Indian domestic and foreign policies?
However, the impact of a regional party on the ruling party came from Tamil Nadu even though there were no elections held recently in the state. In the Lok Sabha one of the many parties propping up the UPA coalition is the Dravida Munnetra Khazagam (DMK) with its 17 representatives.
Tamil Nadu demands
Since the defeat of the LTTE militarily there has been marked agitation in Tamil Nadu that the New Delhi UPA government takes issue with the Sri Lankan government to investigate allegations made by LTTE expatriates and Western governments on violation of human rights of Tamil civilians during the final stages of the conflict. This agitation stepped up with the American and European backed resolution to investigate alleged violations of human rights by the Sri Lankan armed forces. This demand gained terrific momentum in Tamil Nadu during the UNHCR sessions and the UPA government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh could no longer ignore it.
Tamil Nadu has been the centre of agitation by Indian Tamils for justice to be done to Sri Lankan Tamils whom they allege were killed in large numbers during the final stages of the war. India’s close relation with the America to would have also made them support the resolution.
The Indian government except for very rare occasions have not let Tamil Nadu political parties sway the Central government. But in this instance it is a clear case of the tail wagging the dog.
Supporting Tamil separatism
The Central Indian government’s policy on Sri Lankan Tamil agitation has been clear in certain instances such as in 1987 they used their influence even to the point of gross interference in Sri Lanka.
But supporting Tamil separatism in the island that could catalyse a separatist movement in Tamil Nadu itself which New Delhi certainly does not want! The Central Indian government, so far, had held the separatist Tamil movements in check both in Lanka and Tamil Nadu. Sri Lanka should be concerned about this shift: Does New Delhi now want to promote Tamil separatism and make Sri Lanka sway to its dictates? Or does it have the power to ward off the Tamil Nadu Godfathers’ now riding the crest of a Tamil Nationalist wave? For instance the DMK chief M.Karunanidhi after the adoption of the UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka declared that Tamil Eelam had always been dream of his. This is certainly not a new Karunanidhi revelation because earlier when political conditions suited him he had declared unrestrained support from Tamil terrorism such as the declaration that he considered Velupillai Prabakaran to be his son.
Karunanidhi’s political fortunes are at a low ebb with New Delhi with one of his ministers being found guilty in the biggest ever scam in India the telecom scam and his daughter Kanimozhi a member of the Tamil Nadu States Assembly being also arrested an kept on remand in New Delhi for months. South Indian godfathers are not used to be treated in this fashion and Karunanidhi may have demanded his pound of flesh from the Congress led government.
Anti Lanka demos
The anti Sri Lanka developments in Tamil Nadu have been stepping up in tempo and Tamil nationalism is being whipped up many political agitators such as Nedumaran and Vaiko. The DMK of Karunanidhi and the AIDMK of Jeyalalitha are in a race to whip up anti-Sri Lanka sentiments.
This bodes ill for Sri Lanka and drastic damage control work is called for although nationalist Sinhala sentiments now being sounded are adding fuel to Tamil Nadu fires.
The growth of regional parties and the loss of political clout by parties at the Centre such as the Congress could lead to the instability of the Indian Union, the nightmare of some strategic Indian thinkers in New Delhi.