"ISGA needed as confidence building measure for final solution" - Sampanthan

[TamilNet, Sunday, 09 May 2004, 17:09 GMT]
"The establishment of the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) in the northeast province is urgently needed as a confidence building measure to take forward the peace process to achieve a final and lasting political solution to the Tamil national question," said the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group leader and Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan addressing a public meeting attended by Tamil people of Kanthalai.

Kanthalai is an ancient traditional Tamil village turned into a Sinhalese dominated area following the state aided colonization scheme launched by the successive Sri Lanka governments since the country gained independence.

Mr. R. Sampanthan in Kantalai
Parliamentarians Sampanthan and Thurairatnasingham listening to the grievances of the Kantalai Tamils

Tamil villagers received the two TNA parliamentarians Messrs Sampanthan and K.Thurairetnasingham Saturday morning when they went to thank them for their support in the April 2nd general election which resulted in capturing two parliamentary seats out of four in the Trincomalee district.

They attended special poojahs in the historic Kanthalai Pilliayar Temple and later addressed a meeting in the premises of the temple presided by Mr.A.Vinayagamoorthy.

Mr. R. Sampanthan in Kantalai Mr.Sampanthan further said that Tamils have been fighting for their rights for the last fifty-five years. Moderate Tamil leadership launched agitatation through non-violence campaign to win the lost rights of Tamils. But the Sinhala leadership rejected their attempts thus paving way for the armed liberation struggle. Because of the military mite of the LTTE, the governments in power have come for talks to settle the ethnic conflict through negotiations.

The Tamil national question should be resolved to the satisfaction of Tamil people if the country wanted to prosper. Otherwise the future of the whole country would be doomed, said Mr.Sampanthan.

Tamil people still doubt whether the present government would be successful in finding a lasting political solution to their woes. To create a confidence in the minds of Tamils the government should take steps first to establish the ISGA for the northeast province with considerable powers to reconstruct the war ravaged province and rehabilitate hundreds of thousands of displaced families now languishing in welfare centres and refugee camps and then continue the peace negotiations for a final settlement, Mr.Sampanthan said.

The ISGA would be a bridge to connect the two ends of the road to achieve permanent peace and lasting political solution to the Tamil national question, Mr.Sampanthan added.

Mr.K.Thurairatnasingham also spoke.

According to historical documents, the King Kulakottan constructed Kanthalai Pilliayar Temple and Kanthalai tank several centuries ago.

Kanthalai village is located about 39 km off Trincomalee town on Trincomalee-Kandy highway. The United National Party (UNP) government in 1952 launched the State aided colonization scheme, cleared several thousand acres of jungles and settled large number of Sinhalese families from the south reducing the majority Tamils in the Kanthalai village to a minority. Till then Tamils were in majority and administered the Kanthalai Village Council and other institutions, historical records say.

When the Kanthalai tank was breached in April 1986, the historical Kanthalai Pilliayar Temple was washed away and several Tamil villagers lost their lives.

Now the Pilliayar Temple has been reconstructed and the consecration was held last year. But the renovation is not complete due to addtional funding needs, said the temple society sources.

 

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