By V. Anandasangaree –
The great leaders of the Federal Party and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress Hon. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam Q.C and Hon. G.G.Ponnambalam Q.C respectively, merged their parties to form the Tamil United Front, later change its name as Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). Of those who contested on the TULF ticket and won in 1977, M/s. Sampanthan, Soosaithasan and myself only are still alive. Till 2004 the Tamil United Liberation Front functioned like the sole representatives of the Tamil people. Due to the functioning of some armed groups the TULF lost its individuality. Because of some unpleasant incidents in politics a disturbed situation prevailed in the country.
At that time Tamil Organizations, such as Thamilar Marumalarchchi Kalaham, Civil Societies, Academics, University student Organizations in Batticaloa and Jaffna and many such others, worked hard for over two years, to bring all Political Parties under one umbrella and contest the 2004 General Election on a, Common policy and Common symbol the ‘Rising Sun’. This improved the chances of the war coming to an end. The plea to all concerned to forget their differences, if any among them, was accepted enthusiastically by all. You are very well aware of this. Not only the LTTE also wanted it, they expressed their satisfaction and also extended their full cooperation for the efforts taken. Even the All Ceylon Tamil Congress that was showing some reluctance first, was persuaded only at the eleventh hour, to contest under the common ‘Rising Sun’ symbol. This is the truth.
“The Tamil National Alliance should contest only on the basis of its common symbol and policy, is the overwhelming opinion among the Tamil National groups this time”. It was Taraki who wrote so in an article, published in an English daily, on the 11th Feb, 2004. He further wrote, “The sentiment was strongly echoed in the unanimous decision of the Trincomalee District Branch of the Tamil National Alliance on Monday” two days earlier. He also added that “Obviously, this was the wish of the LTTE too although Killinochchi remains mum in the matter”. According to Taraki it appears as if you too had approved it, being the President of the Trincomalee branch of the TNA. Surely you can’t be unaware as to who and who were responsible for this foolish decision, taken at Killinochchi, which had become the cause for the great disaster the country ultimately had to face, at the end of the war. The war that should have ended or at-least temporarily stopped in April 2004, dragged on till May 2009, for a period of five years causing immense loss of life and property. Surely some people greedy for personal gains should be held responsible for the disaster that took place during the last lap of the war. My guess is that they are still enjoying power in-spite of the great disaster that took place due to their foolish decision.
The most strange thing is that you too seem to be unaware of the fact that from October/November 2001 several interest groups in the North and the East had been working hard for more than two years, to bring under one Tamil National umbrella all Tamil parties and groups in the North and East regardless of their deep divisions and regardless of their long association with the military and allegations of rights abuses. When somebody claiming to be a stalwart of the Tamil United Liberation Front objected to the TELO and the EPRLF joining the alliance, saying that the LTTE will not approve it, Karikalan, a senior Tiger leader in the East cleared that, saying “The LTTE had no objection at all to the TELO and the EPRLF joining the alliance, but was very keen that the two groups should be brought under the Tamil National umbrella as soon as possible. He was also eager that PLOTE too should join the TNA. This was at a time when PLOTE, EPRLF and TELO were officially working with the Sri Lanka Army in Intelligence and counter insurgency operations in the North East”. There is no doubt that the LTTE wanted only one united group of the Tamil Political parties at the 2004 General Election. Not only the LTTE, almost all Tamil groups wanted it. Surely there could not have been another opinion in this matter.
Mr. Sampanthan I don’t want to play hide and seek with you in this matter. At this stage, I want to remind you certain things, which I hope you would not have forgotten. In Parliament one day when you were seated next to me, finding fault with the Indian Judiciary for sentencing Prabhakaran for two hundred years jail with hard labour, I told the house that like Yazir Arafat, a day will come for Prabhakaran also go round the world. On another occasion while you were present in the house, pointing my finger at the Deputy Defense Minister Hon. Anuruddha Ratwatte I said “Even to fight for ten years you can’t recapture Palai and regaining Elephant Pass will be a day dream”. On another occasion I told the Defense Minster “Don’t forget that another day will not come for you to go to foreign countries begging to have the soldiers at Elephant Pass saved”. I can quote many more incidents where I had defended the LTTE. On one occasion when the special Japanese envoy his HE. Yasushi Akashi met the TULF in Colombo, Mr. A. Vinayagamoorthy(ACTC) asked the envoy to persuade the government to withdraw the army to some position where they were earlier. I intervened and said, “If they ask for Elephant Pass will you give it back”?
This is what I said Mr. Sampanthan. But you were trying to move a no confidence motion against me on the grounds that I wanted Elephant Pass to be given back to the government forces. On several occasions I requested you to swear that I wanted the Elephant Pass camp returned to the LTTE, each time you conveniently avoided without saying anything. This was at the time when various groups were running about to unite all Tamil parties and to bring them under one umbrella. You were running about with Mr. Mavai Senathirajah for months to have a no confident motion passed against me. You were also encouraging Mavai Senathirajah to revive the Federal Party 30 years after the party remained defunct and 28 years after the founder Hon. S.J.V.Chelvanayakam Q.C. died as the President of the TULF. Mavai Senathirajah was doing it on the orders of Thangan, when all Tamil groups were moving heaven and earth to bring all the Tamil political parties under one umbrella. I can write several pages on this matter. To be brief at least now please realize your folly and accept the responsibility along with Mavai Senathirajah for facilitating to extend the war beyond 2004. During the next five year we met only death and destruction without achieving anything. If you and Mavai Senathirajah can claim anything you can only say that you brought a freedom movement and its leader to a tragic end.
You can’t under any circumstances deny that you were not aware of the arrangements the interested groups were making to bring unity among the Tamil people. But contrary to that you have promoted disunity among various groups and brought destruction to the entire North and East. I am sure you will agree with me that in 2004 LTTE would have given up militancy with all Parties uniting under one umbrella, one policy and one symbol the ‘Rising Sun’. If this had been done all the TNA candidates would have won democratically, there would have been only one Tamil group democratically elected to negotiate with the Government. The war would have come to an end or at least temporally stopped with the announcement of the results of the April 2004 General Election. You must agree that tens of thousands of innocent people, the LTTE combatants their leaders and billions worth of property could have been saved. Above all it would have enabled the LTTE cadre to walk in to the country freely and engaged themselves in any democratic activity they preferred. Unfortunately due to the foolish decision of someone the Tamil Community have suffered so much which could have been avoided.
After 30 years of great sacrifices and sufferings the people lost many things that cannot accounted for and their invaluable self respect.
*V. Anandasangaree – Secretary General – TULF