'GOSL should listen to IDP’s demands' - Ezhilan
[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 September 2003, 15:11 GMT]
"Those who say that the Ceasefire has brought peace and all problems are solved should go to the refugee camps and see the refugees who cannot return to their homes because of the Sri Lanka Army’s occupation of their lands. Only then they will understand the plight of the internally displaced people (IDP) and the fairness of their demands," said Mr. S. Ezhilan, the political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Vavuniya, speaking at the Pongu Thamil event in Vavuniya town Wednesday, sources said.
The Pongu Thamil event was presided over by Mr. K. Amirthalingam, the head of the organizing committee for the event, at the Vavuniya urban council grounds. At the commencement, a memorial with the Pongu Thamil declaration was ceremonially opened. Dr. T. Muthulingam, the President of the Village Development council in Kudiyiruppu, cut the ribbon and Mr. Y.S.Thevarajah, the treasurer of the organizing committee, unveiled the memorial.
The common flame was lit by Mr. Jeganathan, father of an LTTE martyr. On behalf of the public, Mr. Muthukumar Maniam hoisted the Tamileelam national flag.
The chief priest of the Pillaiyar temple in Kudiyiruppu, K. Kandasamy Kurukkal, Moulavi Saleem, an Islamic cleric in Vavuniya and Ven. Kalupahaana Piyarathna Thero, a Buddhist monk from the South, lit the traditional lamp.
Mr. Ezhilan said in his speech that the LTTE had to suspend its participation in face-to-face peace talks as the IDP’s normal life had not been restored and their requests for resettlement in their homes were ignored. “It is to rectify this situation that we say an Interim Administration (IA) with adequate powers becomes necessary.”
Mr. Ezhilan continued:
“We are in the process of preparing our draft proposals to place before the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) in response to their IA proposals. The people have expressed their wish through the Pongu Thamil event that the IA should have adequate powers and nothing less should be accepted. The LTTE’s counter proposals to the GOSL will reflect the wishes of the people.
“The GOSL should accept the counter proposals and provide a just solution. It is unacceptable to let the IDP’s continue to live as refugees. The GOSL should listen to the people’s request and come forward to fulfill their just demands.”
The Vanni district Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian, Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, in his speech at the event said that talks between Tamil leaders and the GOSL 17 times in the past have failed to produce a solution to the problems of the Tamil people. “By saying talks and talks, the GOSL has historically tried to avoid solving the people’s problems. Currently the talks are being held for the 18th time.
“As the armed struggle of the Tamil people intensified and the Sri Lankan economy nose-dived, the GOSL was forced to go to the negotiating table. But the matters on which there was agreement between the LTTE and the GOSL have not been implemented by the GOSL fully. That is why the talks are stalled.
“Some among the Tamil people think that the LTTE should have attended the donor conference in Tokyo, Japan. Many think that through that conference, aid would have reached the Northeast. But if the LTTE had gone to the conference, the donor countries would have pressured the LTTE to disarm and to abandon the goal of self-determination. To agree to such demands would be to bury the cause for the struggle of the Tamil people. So the LTTE made the right decision in abstaining from the Tokyo conference.
“In the IA proposals submitted to the LTTE by the GOSL, there is no mention of land, finance, law and defense. The LTTE’s counterproposals will have to include these powers. Only if the GOSL fully accepts such proposals will there be the possibility for the people to go back to their homes in areas declared by the GOSL as high security zones and live a normal life. And only such an IA with adequate powers can ensure our security.
“The international community should accept the justness of the Tamil people’s stand and pressure the GOSL and extremist elements in the south to enable a just solution and permanent peace.”
Mr.A. Vinayagamoorthy, the Jaffna district TNA parliamentarian, speaking at the event said that Sri Lanka’s President, Chandrika Kumaratunge and her adviser, Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, have been continuing their anti-peace stand. Mr. Kadirgamar did not “see” it when the Sri Lanka Air Force bombarded the people of Jaffna and killed them in large numbers, but he is quick to join the President in making the baseless claim that there are new LTTE camps in GOSL-controlled areas of Trincomalee, said Mr. Vinayagamoorthy.
Mr. N. Sivasakthy Anandan, the Vanni district TNA parliamentarian, said that he hoped the expression of Tamil people’s aspirations through the Pongu Thamil gathering would make everyone understand the Tamil people’s problems in the correct perspective.
“A resumption of war will cause great hardships to Tamils and Sinhalese. There are again signs of foreign forces attempting to gain a foothold in this country. Sinhalese people and the intelligentsia among them should fully understand this,” said Mr. Anandan.
TNA’s Jaffna district parliamentarians, Mr. N. Raviraj and Mavai Senathirajah, also spoke at the event.