Tamil national unity forum launched in Colombo

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 February 2004, 17:46 GMT]
“The greatest challenge before the Tamil people today is the coming together of Sinhala chauvinist forces bent on denying our rights. The alliance between JVP and President Kumaratunga’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party has gathered all the Sinhala chauvinist forces in strength under one umbrella. There is only one way for the Tamils to face this challenge – we should unite now regardless of our regional differences”, said Mr. Selvam Adaikalanthan, Tamil National Alliance for the Vanni, addressing the first forum to unite all Tamil political parties and groups in Sri Lanka Thursday.

The forum was held in Colombo Thursday evening.

Mr. Suresh Premachandran, the leader of the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) said the Indian government should understand that the proposed Indo-Lanka Defence Agreement will help Sinhala nationalists to further delay talks and deny the Tamils people their rights.

“India should apply pressure on the Sri Lankan government to start talks on the LTTE’s Interim Self Governing Authority proposals rather than issue statements about its acceptability. India should realise that Tamils are its true friends in Sri Lanka, although they are a minority”, he said, criticising what he described as India’s inclination towards the anti Tamil designs of Sinhala chauvinists.

Tamil National Unity Forum
Mr. Suresh Premachandran, the leader of the EPRLF, speaking at the forum.

Mr. Mano Ganeshan, the leader of the Western Province People’s Front, said that the international community is taking note of the problems Tamils face in Sri Lanka only because of the armed struggle of the Liberation Tigers.

“Foreign countries, including India, ignored our plight when we appealed to them in times of trouble. They take an interest in us today only because of the LTTE. We can consolidate this politically only by uniting all Tamils parties in Sri Lanka regardless of their regional or cultural differences”, Mr. Mano Ganeshan said.

He pointed out that although quite a significant percentage of Colombo’s population is Tamil speaking, very few officers in the city’s 19 Police stations can speak Tamil. He also said that there aren’t any additional village officers to look after the needs of Tamil speaking people in the 57 village divisions in Sri Lanka’s capital city.

Tamil National Unity Forum
Mr. Mano Ganeshan, the leader of the Western Province People’s Front speaking at the forum.

The forum was organised at the Bambalapitiya Flats in Colombo.

TNA MP for Jaffna, Mr. Nadarajah Raviraj and the All Ceylon Tamil Congress politician, Mr. N. Kumaraguruparan also spoke at the forum on the urgent need for Tamil national unity.

Several prominent Tamil civil society leaders, businessmen, journalists, writers and religious leaders took part in the forum.


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