‘Colombo cannot disregard our proposal’ – Thamilchelvan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 August 2003, 17:50 GMT]
“We would be ready to resume negotiations if the Sinhala nation accepts our proposal for the interim administration and follows the path of peace. The Sri Lankan government cannot disregard our proposal. If it does, then (Colombo) should let the Tamils go their way to determine their own destiny. This is the reality," said Mr. S.P Thamilchelvan, the head of the Liberation Tigers’ political division, addressing more than 3000 delegates from Jaffna taking part in a conference for the National Awakening Movement in Pallai, a town in the peninsula’s southern sector, Sunday.

“The forces inimical to peace expected the Liberation Tigers to reject outright the Sri Lankan government’s latest draft, so that they could orchestrate an international propaganda campaign to convince everyone that the LTTE is not interested at all in peace. But their hopes were dashed. We will prepare and submit a proposal for an interim administration that would essentially reflect the aspirations and expectations of our people. Our leadership’s advice on the interim administration proposal has been completed. International legal experts and senior academics will discuss the proposal before it is given a final form," he said.

“An interim administration is indispensable to mend the war shattered lives of our people. Interim arrangements as integral to the processes to resolve and settle similar conflicts have been made in many parts of the world.

“We, the Tamil people, have been struggling for our rights since Britain granted so called independence to Sri Lanka. But our struggle has been recognised internationally only now. In the past Tamil leaders agitated for our rights by peaceful means and by expressing our grievances in Parliament. But what did we get? Genocide and violence were unleashed on us by the Sri Lankan state. We had to suffer mass displacements. We were chased from our villages; there were pogroms against us. The inevitable consequence of this was the historic truth that our rights cannot be achieved through peaceful, non-violent means. It was under these circumstances that our leader took on a historical role in the struggle for our people’s rights,” Mr. Thamilchelvan said.

“You all have come from every nook and corner of Jaffna. Exchanging views with you on the current situation is like talking to all the people of Jaffna," he told the delegates.

Following are some excerpts of Mr. Thamilchelvan’s speech to the delegates at the National Awakening Movement’s conference:

“(President) Chandrika and her regime were bent on destroying the LTTE and its military power. At one stage we had to pull out of Jaffna. Our leader was greatly distressed in taking that decision. Chandrika carried on with propaganda that the Liberation Tigers were being destroyed in stages. But in the end we defeated her falsehoods. Agreements to address the Tamil people’s problems were designed to weaken their cause. Hence Tamils were routinely cheated and the agreements were torn up. No one can do this to our people now. We are fighting for truth and righteousness and to achieve our people’s rights.

“Chandrika used the four month long cease fire that we unilaterally declared (2000 December- April 2001) to prepare for war, to start another Jaya Sikurui style operation against us. The international community took note of our people’s struggle only after we routed the Sri Lanka army when it launched Op. Agni Khiela."

“The Sri Lanka army thought it could make the Jaffna people do its bidding. It failed because the people were with us. The last general election was an opinion poll that approved the LTTE as the Tamil people’s representatives – the force which can solve their problem.

“The Sri Lankan armed forces tried to drive a wedge between the LTTE and the Tamil people. It is a divisive strategy practised the world over. When an oppressed people are isolated from a liberation organisation that is fighting for their rights, they would be weakened as a community and would be impelled to surrender totally. Therefore, we should unite as one people in the struggle for our rights. The Tamil people and the Liberation Tigers are one. You all have come together in solidarity today to express your feelings to us and exchange views on current issues."

“Every person has a rights to live in his place of habitation. The right to live is a fundamental right. No organism can survive for long if it is uprooted from its habitat. Similarly, if a people are forcibly uprooted from their homes and villages, they would tend to wither and crumble as a distinct society. Every person has a right to live in the land of his forebears. But whatever the obstacles, our people are determined to live as a free society."


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