Superstars Rajinikanth joined a day-long hunger strike by the Tamil Nadu film fraternity in Chennai today to show solidarity with Lankan Tamils. Top actors and others have already begun gathering at the venue, the South Indian Film Artistes' Association at T Nagar.
A large shamiana with hundreds of chairs under it has been readied to host the celebrity protesters.
The film industry, said its president Sarath Kumar, is endorsing the demands made in a resolution passed by the Tamil Nadu Assembly last week. These include the demand for economic sanctions against Sri Lanka for what they allege is the "genocide" of ethnic Tamils in that country, and for the rehabilitation of Lankan Tamils.
The film stars are adding their voice to protests that have been on in the state for days now, with all major political parties and students demanding that the Centre take a strong stand against Sri Lanka for its alleged war crimes in the final months of the civil war that ended when defence forces crushed the separatist Tamil Tigers in May 2009.
So emotive is the issue, that the DMK pulled out of the UPA coalition at the Centre last month, accusing India of watering down a UN resolution against Sri Lanka; India voted against Sri Lanka, but the Tamil Nadu parties say it let down Sri Lankan Tamils by failing to persuade the United Nations to use stronger language against the island nation and by not pushing for an independent rather than an internal inquiry into the alleged war crimes.
The resolution, moved by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, demands India move a UN resolution seeking a referendum on a separate Eelam among Tamils in Sri Lanka and those who have migrated abroad. Eelam is the separate homeland that Tamils are seeking in Sri Lanka.
The resolution also seeks a credible international probe into the allegations of genocide of Lankan Tamils in the island nation.
The issue has spilt over to sports too, with Ms Jayalalithaa ensuring that no Sri Lankan cricketer of official will be involved in Indian Premier League (IPL) matches to be played in Chennai.