Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Adds voice)

People's mandate projected differently by TNA MPs

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 October 2013, 20:15 GMT]
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian S. Sritharan from Ki'linochchi delivered an emotional speech in Jaffna on Friday during the oath-taking ceremony of the members of the NPC. The address, also containing satire messages directed at the Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran, reminded the CM and his fellow NPC members on the aspiration of Eezham Tamils and what the real mandate the TNA had promised to its people at the grassroots level during the election campaign, while TNA parliamentary group leader R. Sampanthan and national list parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran were interpreting the mandate according to their manuscript produced without involving the majority of the TNA politicians or the candidates.

Mr Sritharan was reminding the elected representatives that the oath they were taking on Friday was for fighting for the political liberation. The focus should be on the political struggle and not on the powerless ministerial posts, which deal with powers enabling you to only populate ponds with small fish or to construct local lanes [under the 13th Amendment]. These are posts mandated to you by our people to be used as stones in the political struggle. This is the real mandate we secured from the people during the elections, he said.

Sri Lanka was forced to conduct the NPC election due to the pressure from India and the US-tabled resolutions, he noted. But, behind every gifted garland, there are heroes’ cemeteries of 50,000 fighters and behind every cracker fired there are the dreams of those who perished in the blasts of sulphur bombs. All the powers were silently watching when thousands were killed in the genocidal onslaught, he said.

Today, we went to pay our tribute to the leader SJV Chelvanayakam who put forward the demand for Tamil Eelam. But, we are still unable to pay tribute at the cemeteries of fallen fighters, he said.

Eezham Tamils voted for TNA demanding it to work for the realisation of right to self-determination for the North and East as a single nation and thus for legally establishing the nationhood of Eezham Tamils on par with the Sinhala nation, Mr Sritharan reminded to the elected members of the NPC.

Mr R. Sampanthan, in his speech, interpreted the little known election manifesto of the TNA, without using the term nation or right to self-determination. The manifesto was formulated by a Colombo-centric group without the knowledge or involvement of the majority of the TNA parliamentarians and the NPC candidates.

Sampanthan was talking of political and cultural rights of a distinct people, as though the Eezham Tamils have now become like the Veddahs in the island.

There are constitutional arrangements in many countries without compromising the united character, he said, adding that Tamils had to be prepared to arrive at a solution within one country. But, the fundamental reason for the failure is on the Sri Lankan side, he said. If the war was to be blamed as a hurdle to achieve at a solution, now there is no war. But, the Sri Lankan government was not sincere in resolving the conflict, he said.

Today, the conflict has been internationalised due to the failure of the Sri Lankan government, because it has violated international human rights and humanitarian law.

The Sri Lankan government has given several undertakings to the International Community. But, today the Sri Lankan government is struggling, unable to fulfil these undertakings, Sampanthan said. They have not implemented even the LLRC recommendations of their own and included in the two UN Human Rights Council resolutions in Geneva.

The Sri Lankan State cannot simply escape with the promises they have given to the IC as it did away with the promises it gave to Tamil leaders in the past. If the Sri Lankan State attempted to escape from these undertakings, it would have to face dire consequences, he said.

[The thrust of the undertaking in the LLRC report is annihilation of the nation and territoriality of Eezham Tamils in the island]

“We are concerned on two important issues. Firstly, the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) should function at an optimum level, implementing all the stipulated powers enshrined in the current constitution.

“Whatever it can do to serve the people using the powers vested under the provincial system, should be fully implemented,” he said adding: “we are happy to see our Indian Consul General being present here.

“Last time, when we went to India and met the Indian PM, we were assured that the NPC elections would take place and that we should take part in it and prove our victory in the elections. The Indian PM promised that India would support us in the NPC. The other countries in the international community will also cooperate with making this possible. So, our first duty is to deploy whatever the powers vested within the NPC and be sincere in making it to function.

“Secondly, a permanent political solution should be brought forward through negotiations,” Sampanthan said adding that talks were commenced between the TNA and the Sri Lankan Government in January 2011.

“Without hiding anything, we put forward our proposal on the table. There has been no response from the Sri Lankan government so far. We were given some assurances. I met the President. He gave me some assurances. But, none of these assurances were honoured. These are all on the record. The SL government is very well aware of these. In January 2012, on 17th, 18th and 19th, the bilateral talks were supposed to commence again. But, they didn't come to the talks. The SL government is completely responsible for the breakdown of the talks. We are prepared for constructive and sincere talks,” he said adding that TNA would not take part in the arrangements that are both useless and not sincere.

“At the same time, we are firm in not getting into the trap of the extremists in the majority community if they are trying to get us to particular avenues to achieve their designs,” he said implying that the TNA would not take part in the All Party Conference (APC) cited by the SL government.

While clarifying and justifying the ministerial appointments made at the NPC took a major part of the time of the maiden speech by Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran, he was citing BJP's Narendra Modi and the British Nolan Report into standards expected in public life to indirectly hint at his opponents in the TNA. He was also talking as if Tamils were denied of expressing their democratic mandate under the armed struggle. It was in complete contrast to what Sritharan was conveying to the public in his address.

Instead of focusing on uniting the TNA, the CM was letting lose his ego in isolating and attacking ex-militant politicians inside the TNA, commented political activists expressing displeasure on the attitude they were witnessing in CV Wigneswaran and MA Sumanthiran on Friday.

Sumanthiran went to the extent of claiming that all those who had not asked positions were given with portfolios and those who had asked ministerial portfolios were disregarded in the selection. He sounded like the decision maker.



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