Speaking at a press conference in Jaffna on Monday(14), Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam praised the people of the North for the clear message expressed by their votes at the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections last month.
Despite standing by the TNPF’s decision to boycott the election, Gajendrakumar said that the Tamil people of the North were to be praised for rejecting Sri Lankan rule in the Tamil homeland, and for expressing their enduring desire for the right to self-determination, despite all the obstacles and hardships they have faced in the four years since the end of the war.
Gajendrakumar said that his party would work to keep the people actively engaged in politics, outside of election time.
However he criticised the TNA’s election manifesto for attempting to simultaneously draw upon the irreconcilable concepts of unitary state, federalism and self-determination. Gajendrakumar also slated the TNA leadership’s electioneering, including paying tribute to LTTE martyrs and praising Velupillai Prabhakaran, which was then followed by Sampanthan claiming that the people had voted to welcome the 13th amendment under a unified Sri Lankan state, the day after their election victory.
Gajendrakumar also highlighted that in their manifesto, the TNA had made not a single reference to previous resolutions for self-determination mandated by the Tamil people – including Vaddukoddai and Thimpu – as well as having attempted to historically separate ‘Tamil politics’ from the Tamil armed struggle.
By pushing the 13th amendment and ignoring the true political aspirations of the people, Gajendrakumar said, a Tamil party was claiming a Tamil mandate that accepted a unitary state solution for the first time in post-independence history.
Of international involvement in the Tamil struggle, Gajendrakumar said that an outside voice willing to take meaningful action would be welcomed, mentioning Tamil Nadu protests and the Canadian boycott of CHOGM. However he stressed that:
“Tamil people cannot live securely without securing our self-determination… this is something we must struggle for, regardless of who supports us or does not support us in the world”.
Gajendrakumar said that the people of Tamil Nadu had been, and would remain, pivotal in the Tamil struggle for self-determination. He stressed that the Tamil nation included the diaspora, stating that he believed there to be no gulf whatsoever between the political aspirations of the diaspora and the political aspirations of the Tamils currently living in the Northeast.