2ND LEAD (adds Sinhala version of interview)

Tamils respect Pirapaharan's single-minded commitment- civil activist

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 18:12 GMT]
Prominent Tamil civil society activist, Shanthi Satchithanandam, discussing her views on Pirapakaran's role in the Tamil National struggle, says: "Pirapaharan is the single most dedicated leader who gave voice and form to the demands put forward by Tamil political leaders of the 50s, 60s and 70s," in an interview to Vikalpa, a citizen journalism initiative in Sri Lanka built on the effort pioneered by the Centre for Policy Alternatives, a Colombo-based think-tank.

PDF IconMs Satchithanandam on Pirapaharan's
role in Tamil struggle
PDF IconSinhala version of the interview
When asked to comment on Pirapaharan's role in the Tamil National Struggle, Ms Satchithanandam says that although Pirapaharan is seen as the main protoganist, he did not initiate the struggle; the demands have already been articulated by Tamil leaders long before Pirapaharan came into the scene.

Shanthi Satchithanandam
Shanthi Satchithanandam
"Afterwards also his role becomes significant in the context of various international forces such as India and United States coming into play, which made groups here difficult to take a neutral position and to focus single mindedly on their goals. Lot of the groups went off the mark. They became agents of some agenda or the other. But as far as Tamil people are concerned we see Pirapaharan as a person who is single-mindedly committed to the cause, and he has pursued this no matter what. And for that he will be respected always," she adds.

Asked to comment on the belief of the Sinhala people and the Sri Lanka Government that if Pirapaharan is defeated or assassinated the war will come to an end, Ms Satchithanandam says: "Pirapaharan is not an obstacle to solving the ethnic crisis. As ordinary Tamil people we are asking the Government and the South to put forward a solution that we can accept; a solution that has been formed as a consensus document. But up to now there has never been any consensus. Whatever the ruling party proposes, the opposition opposes. They never got together to offer anything to the Tamil people; whole heartedly, together, that we can accept.

"Even now the position within the parliament is that they need two-thirds majority to pass any solution.

"In the hypothetical case if Pirpaharan is defeated, this does not solve the Tamil problem. What is the South thinking about? They can push anything down the throats of the Tamil people? I don't think so.

"We need a just and equitable solution to our problems," Ms Satchithanandam says.


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