‘TNA should speak up for upcountry Tamils’ – UPF

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 06 April 2004, 19:49 GMT]
The leader of the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF), Mr. Periyannan Chandrasekaran, speaking to the Press after he met with the political head of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, Mr. S. P. Thamilchelvan, on Tuesday, said that on behalf of the UPF, he would request the 22 Tamil National Alliance MPs to speak up about the problems of the Upcountry Tamil people, and that he would come to an understanding with the TNA in Sri Lanka's parliament without supporting any Southern parties, sources said.

LTTE-Chandrasekaran meeting
P. Chandrasekaran, leader of the UPF (Left), meets S.P. Thamilchelvan, LTTE's political head.
Mr. Chandrasekaran said that he had been keen to meet the LTTE and talk to the LTTE's political leader about the current political situation in the country, and when they met, Mr. Thamilchelvan agreed with his views.

The following is the full text of Mr. Chandrasekaran’s interview with the Press:


Press: What is the stand of the LTTE [on the issues affecting the Upcountry Tamil people]?


Mr. Chandrasekaran: The political rights of the Upcountry Tamil people have been denied for too long. The LTTE has accepted that all should raise their voices for the Upcountry people’s rights on a humanitarian basis. We expect that in the future, the Upcountry Tamil people will also express their support to the struggle of the North-East Tamil people. The LTTE has accepted the position that the political structure for such expression by upcountry people should be built up by the UPF.


Press: What is your opinion on the success of the TNA in the elections?

Chandrasekaran: We congratulate the TNA on its success. Some parties used to complain that the support of the TNA was based on fear of the military might of the LTTE. But in the just-completed general elections, the people have freely chosen their representatives without any threats. The people have proved by their votes that they accept the leadership of the LTTE and its policies.

Press: Would you say that the election of the United People's Freedom Alliance [UPFA, led by Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga] to power is a signal from the Sinhalese people that they are against the peace process?

Chandrasekaran: We doubt that the UPFA, which is an alliance of the People’s Alliance (PA) and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), will continue the peace process. There is no agreement between these two parties on many issues, and it is questionable whether they will have a stable government.

Press: Do you plan to join any party in parliament?

Chandrasekaran: We do not plan to join any party, but will have an understanding with the TNA.

Press: Do you support any political parties from the South?

Chandrasekaran: We do not support any Southern parties. But in particular we cannot support the UPFA, which is attempting to find a majority in parliament. The JVP has never accepted the peace process, and even recently they have said they are against talking with the LTTE as the Tamil people's sole representatives. There is no chance, therefore, to have any understanding with the UPFA. If the United National Party is interested in talking with us, we might talk based on how they plan to take forward the peace process.

 

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