Colombo's development agenda aggravates factional fight within TMVP

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 December 2008, 00:59 GMT]
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government has sidelined Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, a key paramilitary leader operated by the Sri Lankan government and the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province, on the utlisation of funds allocated for 'development'. "Pillayan is being treated almost like a political prisoner by the Rajapaksa government these days, especially after the recent protests against the killings," according to a Colombo based journalist.

The 'development' agenda is being managed, according to the priorities of Rajapksa government, under the direct supervision of Basil Rajapaksa, the brother and advisor to Mr. Manhinda Rajapaksa. Pillayan has no authority to utilise the funds allocated for the 'development'.

Karuna, who had lost his grip on the TMVP paramilitary, after leaving Sri Lanka, was brought into the political theater by the Rajapaksa brothers as they began facing difficulties with Pillayan, especially after Pillayan's alliance with influential advisers. The 'difficulties' had arisen following the restrictions by Rajapaksa's central government on Pillyan's Provinical Council.

One of the key issues was the top priority given by Mr. Basil Rajapaksa to develop the infra-structure of A5 (Badulla) Road, which links Batticaloa with Mahiyangana in the Uva Province, aiming to strengthen the transportation link between the Sinhala town of Padiyatalawa in the Uva Province with Chengkaladi of Batticaloa district in the Eastern Province. The development of Ma'nmunai Bridge has been prioritised over the other pressing needs for development, according to the journalist, who revealed details on the current stand-off.

Lately, Karuna had named two persons on behalf of TMVP to take part in the All Party Representatives Committee (APRC), attempting to sideline the representatives of the TMVP Pillayan faction. The controversy has resulted in no representation at the moment.

The recent agitation against the escalation of killings in Batticaloa was supported by TMVP Pillayan faction, which indirectly pointed its finger at the Sri Lankan forces for being increasingly dependent on Karuna associates to carry out the killings and abductions in Batticaloa.

Meanwhile, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians from Batticaloa expressed fear that the 'development' of A5 was being carried out with a Sinhala colonisation perspective by the Rajapaksa regime.

The Batticaloa district, with 350,000 registered voters, has a majority Tamil population with a minority Muslim and a very small Sinhala population.

 

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