Referring to the Lankan President's February 4 address on the country's independence day, Mr Karunanidhi said: "Nations are looking at Mr Rajapaksa as an international war criminal after he killed lakhs of Tamils, forced several lakh Tamils to go to other countries as refugees, snatched their fundamental rights, interfered with the judiciary and media and is taking Sri Lanka towards dictatorship."
"India should at least wake up now and understand Mr Rajapaksa's true nature and agenda and come forward to save Tamils and their livelihood with the help of international organisations," he said.
Mr Karunanidhi's strong words came ahead of a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Sri Lanka later this month, where the US is moving a resolution against Lanka and its alleged human rights violations against ethnic Tamils. The DMK wants the Indian government to support the US.
At the UNHRC last year, India, under pressure from the DMK and other parties in Tamil Nadu, supported a US resolution against Lanka. The DMK, which was routed in the 2011 assembly polls, is seen as looking to gain ground in the 2014 general elections through the emotive issue of Lankan Tamils.
On February 8, the DMK has planned a demonstration in Chennai when Mr Rajapaksa arrives in India. Next month in Delhi, the party will hold a meeting of the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO), which it's spearheading, and shall invite leaders from all political parties.
The Lankan government has not fulfilled its promise of political autonomy and devolution of power to Tamils. In a U-turn of sorts, Mr Rajapaksa has offered equal rights to all communities, saying it was impractical to have different administrations based on ethnicity.