TNA appeals to PA, JVP to abandon chauvinist stance

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2002, 14:43 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Wednesday made a passionate plea to the Sri Lanka's main opposition party, the People's Alliance (PA) and the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to conduct themselves with the a greater sense of responsibility and look upon peace as some thing very sacred which this country can no longer fail to achieve. "Both PA and JVP should act with a better understanding of the real ground situation in regard to the preservation of democracy and the democratic rights, particularly of Tamil people. Otherwise you would be driving the Tamil people to a position where they would think and come to a conclusion that the parliament in Sri Lanka is not at all concerned about their being afforded the opportunity of exercising their democratic rights," said Mr.R.Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance parliamentary group leader speaking during the debate on the amended draft bill of Local Government Ordinance.

When the parliament resumed its sittings Wednesday, the Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government tabled the amended draft bill of Local Government Ordinance as agreed upon at the party leaders meeting held Tuesday.

Speaking on behalf of the Tamil National Alliance, its parliamentary group leader Mr.Sampanthan at the commencement said: "I must express my disappointment about the speeches made by a former PA Minister Nimal Sripala de Silva and some members of the JVP, there was an effort made to describe the amended draft Local Government Ordinance Bill as a "koti" Bill (in Sinhala "Koti" means Tiger), a Bill which is being brought to this House at the request of Liberation Tigers. The various provisions of the Bill on examination makes it perfectly clear that it seeks to define corrupt practices, illegal practices in the course of the conduct of an election."

Mr.Sampanthan asked: "Is that the position of the PA and JVP that they do not care whether the Tamil people are in a position or are not in a position to exercise their democratic rights?

"Both these parties merely use the LTTE brush to paint every step that is being taken in the interest of preserving the democratic rights of the Tamil people and to ensure that the Tamil people in a position to participate in the elections whenever they are held, " Mr.Sampanthan added.

Mr.Sampanthan further stated that "if the PA and JVP continue to act without taking into consideration the real ground situation, they would be forcing the Tamil people to think that all that the parliament of Sri Lanka is interested to bring about some distorted verdict at any election in the northeast and the Tamil people would therefore, inevitably lose complete faith in the whole parliamentary process of this country."

"The JVP tries to castigate the government for engaging in talks with the LTTE. In fact it was the previous government that commenced and invited the Norwegian initiative and the Norwegians came here to talk to both the then government and the LTTE. What is taking place now is merely a continuation of that process, and that process has commenced. Domestically and internationally it has been openly expressed that there can be no military solution. The JVP cannot deny that successive governments in this country have for a long period of time tried to defeat the LTTE militarily. Though there had been no honourable solution to the Tamil national question there was a determined effort on the part of successive governments to defeat the LTTE militarily. There can be no denial of the fact that successive governments realized that that was not feasible and was not within the realm of the possible. That is why the previous government requested the Norwegians to get involved and there was the Norwegian initiative. Is it JVP's position that the only solution to the Tamil national question is to defeat the LTTE militarily?" Mr.Sampanthan asked.

He continued: "There must be a willingness to accept the reality that in some parts of the Northeast, the LTTE is in complete control. Therefore when you discuss peace and the modalities in regard to how you can bring about a cessation of war in some parts of these parts of the country, you have to be realistic and pragmatic and that is what the Government is presently engaged in."

Mr.Sampanthan said, "the JVP should realise that if we do not move forward towards peace and if we insist on military solution, there can be immense harm that can be caused to this country."

"The economy of the country, which devastated would probably never revive. More youths in this country- Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslim- would perish. Is that what JVP wants?" Mr. Sampanthan asked.

The amended draft Local Government Ordinance Bill empowers the Commissioner of Elections to postpone local government elections in certain parts of the country under special circumstances on reports submitted by the respective District Returning Officers.

The Tamil National Alliance had already made representation to the United National Front government to postpone local government elections in the Northeast to strengthen the ongoing peace efforts and to give an opportunity to internally displaced Tamils living in welfare centres and other areas to exercise their franchise after the resettlement in their own villages.


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