Recognizing the significance of the resolution passed in Tamil Nadu state assembly recently calling for a UN referendum among the Eezham Tamils, TN grassroots activist SP Udayakumar emphasised that the resolution needs to be made politically and legally binding. “Tamil Nadu resolutions are only resolutions right now. We need to make them legally binding,” he said in a video interview to TamilNet from Idinthakarai. Likewise, speaking on the student protests in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Udayakumar, who is at the heart of the peaceful struggle against the nuclear reactor in Koodangku’lam, further said that it was too early for the students to give up the protests unless “the Tamil Nadu resolution is accepted by the Indian parliament and if the India government is willing to act on it”.
“The Tamil students here in Tamil Nadu have a very clear understanding about the emptiness of the American resolution because the resolution doesn’t talk about genocide, it talks about human rights violation. What happened in Lanka was not human rights violation, people understand that very well.
“And also it gives authority to the Colombo government to deal with the genocidal issues. That is also not acceptable because it makes the criminal the police. Tamil Nadu students have a very clear understanding about the exact wordings of the American resolution and the ground reality, so they rightly opposed the resolution. In fact, in many places they burnt copies of that. In Idinthakarai also we burnt copies of the US resolution.
Activists at Idinthakarai burning the copies of the draft proposal tabled by the USA at the UNHRC at a recent protest
“That obviously puts moral pressure on international organizations and governments of many countries. It is too soon to say anything about the exact impact of all the Tamil Nadu students agitations. It will take some more time to put more pressure on the Indian government to react and the other international powers to react. Right now, all these agitations and demonstrations are putting moral pressure on the international community.
“If we should rely on the people’s struggles or international diplomacy, I would say we should concentrate on both. Because diplomacy alone cannot bring the desired results. People need to react. People need to express their opinions and grievances and Tamil Nadu civil society is very much articulate on this issue. So we have to act on both levels I think.
“The resolutions passed by the Tamil Nadu assembly are very important, but I am not sure how binding they are, either legally or politically. Because the Tamil Nadu government that passed a resolution in our struggle is against the struggle on Koodangku’lam nuclear power plant. But then, at their own whims and fancies, they decide on the resolutions that don’t have any legal binding.
“I would rather have a resolution that has legal and political binding. Tamil Nadu resolutions are only resolutions right now. We need to make them legally binding.
“The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has asked the students to give up the agitations. I would differ on that. I think it is too soon for the students to give up the struggle. It is only in the early stages. If the Tamil Nadu resolution is accepted by the Indian parliament and if the India government is willing to act on it, then maybe we can ask the students to give up. But if the students give up at this point right now, nothing good will come out of it.
“But at the same time I am also concerned about the semester examination of the students. So they should also take care of their personal interest without damaging the public interest. They should concentrate on their exams, finish their exams satisfactorily, and then take up the struggle, with more vigour and power.
“As an activist I do repose much faith in people’s power, people’s struggle, either if it is for the Koodangku’lam power plant or the Tamil Eelam issue, I believe in people’s struggle. More people should come together, join hands, without succumbing to divisive forces of casteism, religious issues, communalism and so forth.
“Overcoming all these barriers, internal domestic walls, people should join hands with each other as Tamils and struggle for justice for the Eelam Tamils. That is the only way.”