Pranab rushes to Chennai, will meet Karuna
Mukherjee went to Chennai soon after talks with Basi Rajapaksa.
New Delhi: With just three days left for the DMK's deadline on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday rushed to Chennai to apprise Chief Minister M Karunanidhi of the steps being taken to ensure the safety and well-being of Tamils there.
The top UPA leadership decided to send Mukherjee to Chennai and meet Karunanidhi soon after he held talks with Basil Rajapaksa, Special Adviser of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the condition of ethnic Tamils in the island nation.
The visit was not scheduled earlier and the decision was taken after Mukherjee's talks with Basil, sources said here.
Basil, who was sent by Rajapaksa amid concerns from New Delhi over the situation in Sri Lanka, apprised Mukherjee of the steps being taken by Colombo to ensure that the rights of Tamils are not compromised during the ongoing military offensive against the LTTE.
Meanwhile, an official release issued in Chennai said Mukherjee would meet Karunanidhi this evening and apprise him of the steps being taken by the Centre with regard to the current situation in the island nation.
It said UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi spoke to Karunanidhi over telephone on Sunday and told him that he would be briefed by Mukherjee on the issue.
The Chief Minister thanked the Congress chief, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee for the steps being taken by the Centre, the release added.
An all-party meeting on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue held here on October 14 issued an ultimatum that all MPs from the state would resign if the Centre did not take steps to ensure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka's embattled north by October 29.