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Wednesday, September 12, 2012 - 6.08 GMT
TN's sympathy for SL Tamils is nowhere evident where it matters – The Hindu


What can be truly constructive, and with an immediate positive impact on the lives of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils living in Jaffna is if Tamil Nadu can restrain its fishermen from plundering the Palk Straits with their bad practices, and from cornering all its resources. Tamil Nadu politicians, if they truly care about Sri Lankan Tamils, should encourage the State’s fishermen to see the fishermen on the other side of the straits as partners with their own rights to the marine resources of the region. Some fishermen know co-operation is the way forward, The Hindu said.

When Tamil Nadu politicians raise the pitch against the Sri Lankan government’s perceived atrocities on the Tamils in that country, they invoke popular sentiment in Tamil Nadu, saying Tamils here are hurt and angry at the way their brethren across the Palk Straits are being treated, Nirupama Subramaniam said.

But that sympathy is nowhere evident on an issue that truly hits the Sri Lankan Tamils where it matters — their livelihoods. In fact, it is an issue on which Tamil Nadu actively works against the interests of fellow Tamils across the Palk Straits.

Should the Tamil Nadu government really wish to help Sri Lankan Tamils, there are several constructive ways of doing so. Sending back school children and cultural groups is not one of them. In fact, nothing is worse than raising the temperature for visiting Sri Lankans in Tamil Nadu. The links between the two sides run too deep and too strong, and destroying them serves no purpose. Think of the petty Tamil traders from Colombo who travel to Chennai daily, and how the new negatively charged atmosphere affects them. Think also of the Indians who have made Sri Lanka their home, live, work and have invested in that country over the four or five decades, their numbers increasing since the 1990s, and it should become clear that such brinkmanship serves no purpose, she wrote.

Instead of resorting to damaging rhetoric aimed more at maximising their political mileage, Tamil Nadu politicians should take the lead in encouraging options by which fishermen on both sides can share these resources, the writer added.

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Last modified: September 12, 2012.

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