Feature Article

TNA tries to sell Indo-US pre-emption to Eezham Tamil civil society

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 February 2012, 14:45 GMT]
Accepting the implementation of the 13th Amendment that is already in Sri Lanka’s constitution and failed to meet Tamil aspirations, was the subject matter the TNA was trying to impress upon the representatives of the Eezham Tamil civil society, in a meeting that took place in Vavuniyaa for five hours on Saturday. Eezham Tamils should not ‘hang on’ to their right to self-determination was the argument of a Colombo-based lawyer backing the stand of TNA leader R. Sampanthan, while this right was the very basis of the struggle of Eezham Tamils in the last sixty years, democratically as well as militarily, civil society circles told TamilNet. Many of the civil society representatives, especially from the East and Mannaar requested the TNA to conceive better ideas to bring in an interim administration for the North and East to face the current situation.

The TNA members dodged questions on the vital points of criticism that were already in the discourse in the last 25 years. They said the SL government rejected these points as propositions of LTTE times.

The TNA has been pressurised to hurry at pre-emption to bail out Rajapaksa regime and the Sri Lankan state at Geneva, observers commented.

The TNA was ‘diplomatic’ in telling that they don’t in fact accept the 13th Amendment and they have fundamental goals.

The civil groups in return, cited the address of M.A. Sumanthiran to the diaspora in Canada, where the TNA MP questioned the audience if talking about the 13th Amendment was a strategy [of the SL President], there need to be no more hide and seek about it and there is no need to be afraid of asking Rajapaksa about implementing it.

13th Amendment and 13+ are certain things the Rajapaksa regime is telling on its own in the last two and a half years. The onus of implementing them lies with the regime. We should turn around and demand the regime on their implementation, Sumanthiran had justified his stand as well as that of the TNA in Canada.

When the civil groups that met in Vavuniyaa on Saturday cited the Canadian talk and expected an explanation, Sumanthiran started talking on the virtues of the 13th Amendment. Land could be protected as ‘demonstrated’ in a recent case in Batticaloa, he said. But when the civil groups pointed out that Colombo’s land laws enacted since the 1930s could over rule the Provincial Council, the TNA accepted the problem.

The TNA also argued that the 13th Amendment has space for the unification of the North and the East. However, the civil groups asked what is the guarantee if the parliament in Colombo resolves against it.

Civil representatives reminded the TNA members of the earlier statements of Mr. Amirthalingam and Mr. R. Sampanthan that the 13th Amendment didn’t commensurate with the sufferings undergone by Tamils.

The TNA didn’t deny the statements, but they seemed to be in a pressure of commitment they had undertaken in selling the 13th Amendment. They are caught up in their own contradicting stands, observers said.

Sampanthan, Sumanthiran and Suresh Premachandran were supporting one another on the point of accepting the 13th Amendment.

Mr. V.T. Tamilmaran, a lawyer attached to the Colombo University law faculty was vociferous in defending the stand of TNA. The Tamil vote bank is behind the TNA, he pointed out. The civil representatives were surprised and shocked when the noted defender of the Tamil cause said that Tamils should not ‘hang on’ to the concepts nation and the right to self-determination.

The civil groups responded by saying that the statement goes against the entire conceptualisation of the struggle, when this right was the basic demand of Eezham Tamils as a nation, in the last six or seven decades.

More than the concepts, Mr. Tamilmaran, who was implying the importance of ‘survival’ in his speech, was particular about defending Mr. Sampanthan, a civil group representative commented.

On contesting elections for the PC, the TNA said that it didn’t contest in the East because it disapproved the de-merger of the East from the North. But on the elections in the North, the TNA sounded confirming its participation, even though it said that it would consult with political parties.

According to Suresh Premachandran, India cannot be ignored, but it is not doing anything.

Another TNA parliamentarian Sivasakthy Ananthan wanted Gajendrakumar to be brought into the fold.

Mavai Senadhirajah suggested continued talks with the civil group representatives.

Four of the TNA parliamentarians, M. Saravanapavan, S. Sritharan, Vino Noharathalingam and A. Vinayagamoorthy, didn't say anything in the meeting.

All TNA parliamentarians, except the members from the East were present at the meeting.

Civil society representatives from the East and Mannaar were strongly demanding the TNA to conceive its own structure in administration, communication and polity etc., in facing the current situation.

The meeting took place in a Catholic church in Vavuniyaa, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Sampanthan and Mavai Senathiraja will be addressing a public meeting in Ki'linochchi on Sunday. Some of the representatives of the civil society are also expected to address the meeting, news sources in Vanni said.

* * *

On Tuesday, TNA's nominated parliamentarian Mr. Sumanthiran, giving an interview in Sinhala language to the BBC Sinhala Service, said: “TNA backs a domestic process to implement the LLRC recommendations. We should ask for an international probe only after a failure of that. [...] It is a step-by-step process. It will take time. They took 30 years in Cambodia”. The MP welcomed the US position on Sri Lanka.

When the news got highlighted, Sumanthiran chose to come with a corrigendum addressed to the BBC on Thursday evening that he was only referring the above statement as an opinion in the world governments and not as his own.

However, the BBC Sinhala Service has stood by its story.

Meanwhile, there is an orchestrated campaign in a particular section of Indian media, both English and Tamil that discredits any criticism against collaborative politics.

Eezham Tamils in their long struggle have not been caring for individuals, but were caring for only honesty and sincerity in the adherence to the righteousness of their cause. They always stood with the polity of that quality.

But all Eezham Tamils, whether in the island or in the diaspora, are ‘traitors’ in the eyes of the State in the island, when they expect them to be vested with their right to self-determination. The 6th Amendment in the SL Constitution legalises the ‘traitor’ status of all Tamils with self-respect.

Interestingly, the Sinhala psyche has been long conditioned to think that the 13th Amendment is an Indo-US strategy to create a ‘country’ for the Tamils.

“In order to survive, Sri Lanka must take decisive steps to economically strengthen ethnic Sinhalese (they contribute disproportionately larger numbers to defend the nation both at the battle front, the propaganda front, political front and the diplomatic front), economically weaken pro-Indian groups in the island, reach out to other regional nations to counter the Indian threat, retain military presence in the north, convert the north into a multiethnic region, deport all Indian illegal immigrants, abolish Indian imposed 13A and other peripheral laws relating to it, reassert unique Sri Lankanness through its unique language, culture and religion that can differentiate it from India and introduce a nationalist economic policy,” an opinion from a Sinhala nationalist website from the South said last week.

Pre-emption and piecemeal proposals will lead the island further into trouble, and as usual Tamils will be in the receiving end, if they don’t settle the issue with unified determination, not only with the State in Sri Lanka, but also with India and the International Community, at a time when it has to be decisively decided, new generation Tamil political circles in the island said.

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