Tamil Congress to oppose Chandrika, TULF divided

[TamilNet, Monday, 30 July 2001, 20:50 GMT]
The All Ceylon Tamil Congress Monday rejected the invitation by the Sri Lankan President to discuss the political situation and said that it would categorically oppose the referendum for a new constitution scheduled to be held on 21 August. In a letter to the Sri Lankan President, the party leader Mr. Appappillai Vinyagamoorthy said that changing the constitution is futile when the Parliament has been suspended and democracy has been suppressed.

He further states in the letter that the ethnic conflict can be resolved only if the government negotiates with the Liberation Tigers and introduces a new constitution on the understanding reached with them.

He charged that the Tigers attacked the Katunayaka air force base because the Sri Lankan government rejected their ceasefire and bombed Jaffna and the Vanni. Meanwhile the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) said that it will take a final decision on the referendum on 5 August.

The central working committee meeting of the TULF is to be held on 5 August, three days before its leaders meet the President to discuss the present political crisis, party sources said.

The rank and file of the TULF is sharply divided on the question of supporting the proposed impeachment motion to be handed over by the main opposition, United National Party, sources added. The TULF will officially decide on its stand to be taken in regards to the question of supporting or opposing the referendum, at the central working committee meeting.

A powerful section of the TULF wants the party to take a decision to support the referendum, sources said. A delegation of the party will meet the President on August 8 to place their views about the present political crisis, sources added.

The Secretary General of the TULF Mr. R. Sampanthan who is abroad is expected to return to the country before Friday, sources said.

In the meantime the President will meet religious leaders of all faiths Tuesday morning to obtain their views about the present political crisis, government sources said. President Chandrika has sent invitations in this regard to Christian clergy, Maha Nayaka Theras, Hindu and Islamic priests. The meeting are aimed at getting popular support for the referendum amid mounting opposition to the exercise.

 

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