ACTC disrupts Tamil unity moves again

[TamilNet, Sunday, 14 October 2001, 19:40 GMT]
Hectic negotiations to cement a common Tamil front ran aground again Sunday night when Mr. Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy, the leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) refused to contest the general elections on 5 December under a common symbol in Jaffna. The ACTC leader told a private radio station earlier in the day that his party had decided to contest as a constituent of a Tamil national alliance. However, when the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation and the Tamil United Liberation Front met the ACTC Sunday night to finalise details of the Tamil alliance, Mr. Vinayagamoorthy insisted that his party cannot contest under a common symbol in Jaffna. "That's where the need is greatest for us to stand united as one nationalist force in order to defeat the anti-Tamil forces which are spreading their tentacles in the peninsula," said Selvam Adaikalanathan, the leader of the TELO.

"The ACTC should not think only of its personal political gains. It should take the common Tamil interest into account. I hope good sense will prevail in the ACTC before it is too late," he added. The ACTC was not available for comment Sunday night.

The Eelam People's Democratic Front (EPDP), a major coalition partner of the People's Alliance government, said that it will contest all the districts of the Northeastern province under its own symbol. The PLOTE and the EPRLF (Varathar faction) in Batticaloa are involved in discussions with the local EPDP leadership to contest the elections jointly.

Tamil parties complain that the EPDP which is well armed and backed by the Sri Lanka army is preparing once more to intimidate them and rig the poll in the Jaffna, particularly in the islands off the peninsula.

The EPRLF (Suresh faction) will be part of the Tamil nationalist alliance. The PLOTE announced Saturday that it is desirous of joining the Tamil alliance. Political sources in Vavuniya said that the TELO and the TULF have urged the PLOTE leadership to stop working with the Sri Lanka army as a precondition for becoming a constituent of the Tamil alliance.

The TELO and the TULF will have another round of talks with the ACTC on Tuesday, sources said.

Meanwhile the central working committee of the Tamil United Liberation Front Sunday evening unanimously endorsed the decision to forge an alliance with two Tamil parties, namely Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC) to contest the forthcoming parliamentary general election in the northeast province under a common list of candidates.

The committee has also authorized the TULF's politburo to take necessary steps to finalize allocation of seats in consultation with TELO and ACTC.

The central working committee of the TULF further decided to request any government that comes to power at the December 5 general election to declare ceasefire, to lift the economic embargo in areas which are under the control of the Liberation Tigers, to lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers and to initiate peace talks with the Liberation Tigers with the Norwegian initiative immediately to find a just and lasting political solution to the Tamil national question.


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