EPDP attacks referendum plan

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 October 1997, 23:59 GMT]
Douglas Devananda, the leader of the Colombo based Tamil group, the EPDP, lashed out at the government's latest stand on devolution today. Devananda's relationship with the PA leadership has soured in recent times over the question of two renegade MPs who had been members of his organisation for a long time, but had left recently.

"Breaking up the Northeast into three units and holding a referendum in each unit will only exacerbate the ethnic problem. It will not resolve the political aspirations of the Tamil speaking people," said the EPDP chief in a press release today.

Today's statement is seen in Tamil political circles as a manifestation of chagrin - that the three phased referendum in the east proposed by the government is basically a plan President Chandrika had worked out in consultation with the TULF.

The ex-Tamil militant groups, which have been extending substantial military and intelligence support to the Chandrika regime, had been hopeful that the People's Alliance leadership would, on account of their 'loyalty', consult them on crucial issues related to devolution and other matters concerning the northeast.

Now they have begun to strongly feel that the TULF is closer to the President and her men. Hence, Devananda's outburst today. However, the Sri Lankan government appears unruffled by this.

douglass_devananda-p.gifDevananda' most trusted associate was recently killed in a bomb explosion inside the EPDP's Colombo office which is heavily fortified and has electronic surveillance. The EPDP has said that this was the handiwork of the renegade MPs.

Devananda believes that two ex-EPDP men are in a position to threaten him with impunity mainly because the government is covertly backing them.

Emphasising a merged northeast as part of the solution to the ethnic crisis, he said that only a political solution would put usher in peace and put an end to the distrust between the Tamil and Sinhala communities.

Mr. Devanada said the Tamil speaking people have borne their sufferings with fortitude for a long time hoping for a solution based on democracy, equality and self respect.

"Why are those who speak for the unity of Sri Lanka opposing the unity of the Tamil speaking people ? The opinion of the Tamil speaking people and the Tamil speaking parties constitute the most important factor in all efforts to find a political solution." he stressed.

 

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