South gambles with Sri Lanka's destiny- NLF

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 December 2004, 11:40 GMT]
"The most urgent need today is not to cave in to the antics of the [Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna] JVP," said Mr. Thirunavukarasu, polit bureau member of the New Left Front (NLF) Saturday, political sources in Colombo said. He noted that the deadlock reached in the peace process is not of recent origin, but represents the "cumulative effect of the manner in which the ruling classes have handled the Tamil National issue since the 1950s" and said that the time has come for the two main parties to "shed their predilection just for power and one-upmanship."

JVP was once a chief component of the marxist NLF.

Mr. Thirunavukkarasu"There are some in the southern Sinhala constituency, who would claim that the LTTE opted for the ceasefire out of weakness in order to buy time to regroup. They are out of touch with reality, and do not care for the future welfare of Sri Lanka. The JHU still harbours the notion that the LTTE could and should be militarily crushed, a position that the JVP once held," the NLF leftist said.

Following are excerpts from Mr. Thirunavukarasu's statement:

"Constitutionalisation of a federal solution will no doubt be a long-drawn-out exercise, and that is the raison d'etre for an Interim Authority. Given the instability and uncertainty that afflict the Colombo regime, there is no reason to believe that it is capable of delivering the urgent humanitarian needs of the war-torn North East."

"A democratically elected Government has a responsibility to initiate discussions to resolve national issues, and a responsible opposition must support the effort and help bring about a reasonable and just solution in the larger interests of the country. This need is even more urgent when we acknowledge that Sri Lanka lags far behind in economic and social progress compared to the rest of the world, and cries out for unity, peace and development."

"The deadlock on the national question is indeed not of recent origin, but represents the cumulative effect of the cavalier manner in which the ruling classes have handled it since the 1950s."

"A viable democratic solution, a sine qua non for peace and prosperity, was never on agenda opposing Sinhala parties, and they were more interested in increasing their respective vote banks by misleading the southern Sinhala constituency with inflammatory propaganda, such as portraying the early demand of the Tamils for a federal solution in the 1950s as asking for division of Sri Lanka.

"During the l960 election campaign, this writer witnessed meetings in the Ratnapura District where one of the two main parties carried a large mounted map of Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) depicting the lat Tamil leader S J V Selvanayagam and the Sinhala leader of the other main party standing on the North East and the Southern sides of the country, sawing Ceylon into two with a sword held by both leaders.

"It was the Sinhala leadership that laid the foundation for division in the 1950s, particularly with the Sinhala Only Act (1956), alienating the Tamils with the attendant sense of revolt that remained dormant in the early period.

"Some segments of the Southern polity are oblivious to the historical background to the national question, the traumatic losses of life and property the Tamils have had to suffer in the past inclusive of the l983 pogroms, and the 20-year-long war that followed. The February 2002 ceasefire agreement (CFA) has given but a respite, but peace is still elusive. Hardly any peace dividend has reached the war-torn people in rehabilitation and reconstruction.

"Peace negotiations remain stalled for the last 20 months. Whether resumption of talks should be based on the LTTE's ISGA proposals, as insisted on by the LTTE, or whether the question of an Interim Authority should be taken at the end as an integral part of a final solution, as asserted by the Government of Sri Lanka that has brought the talks to a deadlock. A final solution could be very time consuming as happened in Northern Ireland, Palestine and other places and the war-devastated Tamils in Sri Lanka can no longer wait to return to normal lives.

"Recently, outgoing US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage told both the President as well as the Leader of the Opposition to jointly see their way to resuming negotiations, and also admonished the LTTE that they should abandon violence in word and deed and re-enter the peace talks and that 'US patience with the rebels is running out'. Ms Kumaratunge chose to castigate the Norwegian facilitators of adopting double standards exerting greater pressure on her than on the LTTE.

"Armitage had toured Jaffna in August 2002, and observed that what he saw from the Helicopter was a 'blasted landscape' below. We would like to let him know that the situation still remains the same.

"LTTE is a banned organization in the US. Ms Kumaratunge and her brother Anura Bandaranayake would prefer to call the LTTE the most ruthless terrorist organization or a Frankenstein Monster.

" However, the CFA which has held for 3 years, despite some violations, is the outcome of an LTTE initiative. Its offer, first made in 2000, was rejected, twice, by the former PA regime, but later accepted by the Ranil Wickremesinghe's Government in 2002.

"The policy of appeasement of the South adopted often by the Sinhala-dominated rulers is unlikely to benefit Sri Lanka in the long run as history has amply proved with the unilateral repudiation of the Bandaranaike-Selvanayagam pact (1957) and the Dudley-Selvanayagam pact (1965) by the SLFP and the UNP respectively. It will only mean that the country would remain torn and embroiled in turmoil until the Tamil National question is resolved amicably.

"The UNP which had offered to extend its support to the UPFA Government to start discussions based on the ISGA proposal, proclaiming it as an unprecedented gesture on the part of the Opposition, has soon gone back on it, even before the S B Dissanayake episode and the Bogollogama cross over. The Southern parties appear resolute in gambling with the destiny of Sri Lanka, not just with the future of the Tamil people."


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