Feature Article

Majority ITAK members welcome civil society report, seek course-correction

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 January 2012, 14:16 GMT]
Majority of the key members of the Ilangkai Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK), who met Friday for a central committee meeting at the residence of TNA parliamentary group leader Mr. Rajavarothayam Sampanthan in Trincomalee, have welcomed the recent memorandum submitted by leading members of the Tamil civil society. Calling the TNA leaders to engage with the civil society, the ITAK group sought a course-correction in the process. Two civil society and ITAK senior members, and signatories, Professor emeritus of Archaeology, S.K. Sitrampalam, an ITAK stalwart, and Senior Lecturer at the Department of Hindu Civilisation of Jaffna University, Mrs. Naachiyar Selvanayagam, were present at the committee meeting and explained their concerns of accountability. The meeting resolved that Mr. Sampanthan should engage with the civil society as early as possible in January 2012.

The ITAK members said the concerns raised by the civil society were real and criticized those who attempted to brush away the valid criticisms put forward by the civil society.

The process of negotiation between GoSL and the TNA so far has been non-transparent even within the ITAK and the TNA, according to many of the participants at the central committee meeting.

Even the elected parliamentarians of the TNA have been kept away from the process without any knowledge, the members pointed out.

Many ITAK members also said that the impression created by those involved in the negotiations have raised serious concerns of a deviatory line.

The memorandum submitted by the civil society had urged firmness of leadership in political stand in convincing India and the US of the indispensability of addressing fundamentals of the aspirations of Eezham Tamils, i.e., nation and the right to self-determination.

The ITAK members also argued that the 80% of the civil society signatories to the memorandum, have worked for the TNA in the past elections without having any personal political ambitions. The civil society signatories included physicians, academics, civil representatives, engineers, lawyers and religious leaders, it is wrong to view them as having any political agenda behind the memorandum move, ITAK members said.

Two days before the meeting in Trincomalee, TNA MP Mr. Sritharan, who met the press at his residence in Jaffna on Wednesday, also put forward a crucial message welcoming the memorandum and said how the people of NorthEast in 2004 and 2010 placed genuine hope on TNA that TNA will stand committed to the fundamentals of the Eezham Tamil Nation.

Central committee meeting also discussed the long pending suggestion of formally registering the TNA. The suggestion had met opposition from some ITAK stalwarts and associates of Mr. Maavai Senathiraja, particularly Mr. C.V.K Sivagnanam, Mr. Kulanayakam and Mr. Kanagasapathy, informed sources said.

However, many of the members who met in Trincomalee on Friday were of the view that the TNA should be registered.

When questions were raised on what role ITAK would play in the registered body of the TNA, a consensus was reached among the ITAK members on finding a formula acceptable to both the ITAK and other parties in the alliance. Arguing that ITAK members have had key positions in the TNA, the formula should pave way for continued wider significance of the ITAK in having a lead role in the TNA also in the future was the majority opinion among the ITAK members.

The meeting also resolved to include M.A. Sumanthiran, K. Sritharan, Yogeswaran, E. Saravanapan and P. Ariyaneththiran in the central committee of the ITAK.

The ITAK members also discussed holding a national convention of the party and Batticaloa was suggested as the venue for a such convention.


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