2ND LEAD

SL Military is the intimidatory presence - Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 10:11 GMT]
Denying accusation they had intimidated Tamils into not voting in last week’s Sri Lanka Presidential election, the Liberation Tigers said the boycott by the Tamil people last week was a reflection of prevailing Tamil opinion towards Sri Lankan leaders, based on their bitter experiences of the past. The near total boycott by Tamil voters took place despite the "oppressive presence of thousands of Sri Lankan troops and Army-backed paramilitaries in Jaffna and other parts of the Northeast," the LTTE's Political Head, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, told TamilNet Tuesday. He reiterated that the LTTE had not ordered Tamils to boycott the elections.

S. P. Thamilhchelvan
"The reality was that the Tamil people, faced with intimidation by the all pervasive presence of Sri Lankan troops, Army-backed paramilitary cadres and intelligence operatives delivered a message against the oppressive presence of the military," he said.

He questioned how the allegation of intimidation could be levelled against the LTTE when the voters in question were living under the "so-called protective" guns of the occupying Sri Lankan forces."

He also pointed out that LTTE members had long ago been withdrawn from SLA held areas in the wake of Sri Lankan military intelligence supported paramilitary attacks on them.

"There are forty thousand Sri Lankan troops in Jaffna alone posing a clear intimidatory presence, providing the so-called protection" Mr. Thamilchelvan said. "Nevertheless, there was a record low in polling in Jaffna."

"Those who allege that the Tamil people were intimidated not only fail to understand the ground reality prevailing in the Tamil homeland in both political and historical context, but also fail to interpret the message the people have given," he said.

S.P.Thamilchelvan
"The tsunami victims and the war displaced people, made to live in temporary shelters, have been badly hit again by the present floods. This aggravation is the ground reality despite four years of the peace," said Thamilchelvan monitoring relief work among flood victims in a flood damaged area in the Vanni.

"Our initial stand, as representatives of the Tamil people, on Colombo’s elections, was a reflection of the overall view prevailing among the Tamil people," he said.

Mr. Thamilchelvan further pointed out that the LTTE had not ordered Tamils to boycott the elections, but had declared not to mobilise for or against any of the Sinhala candidates contesting.

"All access was promised to election monitors. From our point, the roads were open," the LTTE's Political Head said.

He added that election monitors were still welcome for a meeting to take up the complaints against the LTTE "issue by issue" and "to examine the circumstances concerned in detail."

 

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