"Hill country Tamils support NE peace efforts" -Thondaman

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 March 2002, 21:46 GMT]
"The upcountry Tamils would extend their wholehearted support to the northeast Tamil to win their legitimate rights," declared Mr.Arumugam Thondaman, Minister of the Estate Infrastructure and Housing Development addressing the mammoth rally held Sunday at Nuwaraeliya. Earlier thousands of upcountry Tamils participated in a peace walk, which was organized to express support to the United National Front government's peace efforts and the cease-fire agreement signed by the Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, and the LTTE leader, Mr.Velupillai Pirapaharan.

Mr.Thondaman, who is also the leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), a constituent of the United National Front government, said that his party would extend its support to the present government to take forward the peace initiatives brokered by the Norwegian government thus ensuring permanent political solution to the ethnic conflict.

"I recently visited LTTE held areas in the eastern province where I found large number of Tamil people living in abject poverty without any basic facilities. I have taken several measures to improve their living conditions by establishing housing projects," he added.

"The upcountry Tamils should come forward to support the cause of Northeast Tamils," he appealed.

Referring to the chauvinist policies of the Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Mr. Thondaman said "the JVP has no right to speak of peace as it was responsible for the killing of Sinhalese people in past."

He said the Prime Minister should be commended for his courageous decision of signing the ceasefire agreement with the LTTE to bring the war to an end thus providing an opportunity to find a political solution to the Tamil national question through negotiations with the LTTE.

Venerable Galaboda Premaratne Thera, also speaking at the rally, said that the ceasefire agreement has given an opportunity for the warring parties to meet and discuss ways and means to find a durable peace. "This opportunity should not be missed at any cost. Extremist elements among Sinhalese would whip up communal hatred to achieve their narrow political gains. This should not be allowed", he stressed.

Including Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians Messrs N.Raviraj, Mavai Senathirajah and A. Vinayagamoorthy, several others also spoke at the rally.

 

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