Facing huge anti-incumbencies in Tamil Nadu and under ostensible pressure from ally DMK, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday directed party state units to collect relief material for Tamil civilians caught in the midst of the raging conflict between Sri Lanka government troops and Tiger rebels.
The foreign ministry will also play a part in the campaign by negotiating with Colombo to ensure delivery of the collected material to Lankan Tamils caught in the war-zone.
Gandhi’s move is an attempt to quell protest fires in the southern state ruled by DMK, a UPA ally.
The ruling alliance in New Delhi – chaired by Gandhi, has stuck to non-intervention guns on the matter, despite a worsening humanitarian crisis in the island nation and raging protests in Tamil Nadu.
The Center’s repeated refusals to intervene on behalf of Tamil civilians have amassed huge political liabilities for the Congress and the DMK.
Many in the state blame the DMK – led by chief minister Karunanidhi – to have sacrificed the cause of Tamil civilians on the alliance altar and in return for political goodies.
Courts in Tamil Nadu remain closed on Tuesday after a bloody clash between striking lawyers and the local Police in Chennai degenerated into a full-fledged riot last Thursday.
In a belligerent mood, agitating lawyers have refused to return to work and say their agitations will continue till the guilty police officials are brought to book.
On Sunday, S. Sivaprakasam – a DMK worker – died of severe burns, a day after he immolated himself at a protest held in solidarity with Lankan Tamils.