By V. Anandasangaree –
The Tamil United Liberation Front having gone through all aspects of the present Political situation have decided, to take a positive decision as regards the ethnic problem, that is getting dragged on indefinitely. During the last 60 years in politics, I have seen our ethnic problem coming very close to a solution and slipping away without reaching the goal. I am strongly of the view that the inordinate delay in finding a solution is mainly due to the disunity prevailing among the Tamil people. The TULF had on several occasions brought to the notice of the TNA the urgent need for united action in this matter. The TULF, in-spite of the fact that it had not recognized the TNA as a legitimate body, in the interest of the Tamil community, tolerated all its activities and even went to the extent of offering full cooperation of the TULF. But the TULF is thoroughly disappointed with the indifferent attitude of the TNA towards the TULF.
As a result of this the TULF had decided, at the general body meeting and also discussed at the convention of the party held recently, to stake its claim over all the other Tamil political parties to contest all the elections to be held in the future, without going for any alliance with any party, but to form a coalition with all political parties that wish to contest the elections, on a common symbol, a common policy and under one umbrella. Each party can provide suitable candidates at the forth coming election and once the election is over all elected members come under one umbrella. This is exactly what the various Tamil organizations, Political Parties, University students, Academics and many such others wanted to do at the General Election held in 2004. This proposal was fully backed by all Political Parties, people like Taraki and also the LTTE which wanted only one Party to contest the elections. In other words the LTTE had indirectly indicated their desire to give up fighting and to enter into negotiations with the government. Unfortunately for the country and for the Tamil people, due to a sabotage planed by somebody, implementation of this scheme failed in 2004. It is my ambition that it should succeed at all elections in the future. By this scheme the 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 the East, regardless of their deep divisions and regardless of their long association with the military and allegations of rights abuses. By adopting this policy, there is no need to keep out any organizations willing to come under one umbrella. The redeeming feature in this scheme is that the LTTE had agreed to accommodate the militant groups EPRLF, TELO and PLOTE regardless of their deep divisions.
At least now let us concede, as pointed out by Taraki, a very pro LTTE journalist, that the Tamil National Alliance has been made out to be more than what it actually is and also it is a myth that it is managed by the LTTE. He had also said that some of the leading politicians have had no scruples in running with the hare and hunting with the hound and smartly exploiting the LTTE for their own political advantage. The TNA was never the political paw of the LTTE. It is high time now for the people of Sri Lanka to challenge the authority of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), to act and speak on their behalf, on various matters be they political or otherwise.
It is not necessary now for the people to find out who should be blamed for the grave crises the Tamil community is facing today. Everyone makes mistakes but no one should be allowed to meddle with human life. Every political party in Sri Lanka had made mistakes some of which are very grave. However let all of us seek divine pardon for our sins, forget our differences, refrain from showing greed for power, forget everything bad and determine to serve the people honestly.
A close study of Taraki’s article clearly reveals how foolishly the TNA leaders had handled the ethnic issue which is the main stumbling block for the progress of the country. We had several opportunities that came on our way, all of which failed on flimsy grounds. A very rare and a good opportunity was made available to us to reach a solution in 2004. Whether we succeeded in it or not is a different matter but the question is whether we tried it honestly?
In conclusion I humbly appeal to everybody not to betray Thanthai Selva who founded the Federal Party and virtually wound it up after forming the TULF in 1972 and died as the President of the TULF which office he shared with Hon. G.G.Ponnambalam and Hon. Sowmiyamoorthy Thondaman. He did it to strengthen the TULF. Neither S.J.V. Chelvanayakam nor G.G. Ponnambalam ever wanted to revive their respective Political Parties the Federal Party (ITAK) and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC). Mrs. Mankayarkarasi Amirthalingam before her demise issued a statement condemning the revival of the Federal Party, 28 years after the demise of the founder S.J.V. Chelvanayakam. The statement says, “It is a pity that some of those who have been groomed by him (husband), have attempted to misuse the name of the Federal Party and are trying to revive it. They have only breached the trust he had placed on them”.
An important question that could be asked is, whether some leaders of the TNA who paved the way for the total eradication of a strong force like the LTTE, are going to find a solution for the Tamil people, who are undergoing severe hardships. The TNA must also accept responsibility for the undue delay in finding solutions for some of the serious issues. One glaring example is the structure of the state. We should agree that the country came very close to a solution in 2005. At the Presidential Election, the UNP’s (UNF) Presidential candidate Hon.Ranil Wickremesinghe offered a Federal Constitution as a solution to our ethnic problem which was supported by 48.43% of the voters against 50.29 % who voted for the UPFA candidate, Hon.Mahinda Rajapaksa who was opposed to Federalism. The TNA that had been boasting itself as the Political wing of the LTTE could have advised them not to be boycott the 2005 Presidential Election and could have easily got 2/3 of votes for a Federal solution. Furthermore my proposal for an Indian Model received good response from all communities. The TNA did not bother about it. Realizing the incapacity of the TNA, the TULF calls upon all Political Parties to get together and form a common front.
*V. Anandasangaree, Secretary General – TULF