We Won’t Be Suppressed For Long — Suresh Premachandran

Protest in Jaffna 2014The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) warns the Government of a Tamil democratic uprising in the future to win the rights of Tamils in the country if the Government continues to fail addressing the burning issues of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

According to TNA MP Suresh Premachandran, people will not tolerate the policies practised by the Government. He also told The Sunday Leader that the government’s foreign policies are putting the country at a stake.

Following is the full context of the interview:

Q: Questions are being raised about the foreign policies practised by the Sri Lankan Government. In the view of the TNA, should there be a review on Sri Lankan foreign policies, especially on India?

A: The Government definitely has to review its foreign policies. There is no question about that. At the Parliament Consultative Committee meeting on external affairs last Friday, UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake and I questioned about unhealthy foreign policies practised by the Government. About 65% of Sri Lanka’s exports go to European countries and America and our exports depend mostly on them – but the Government is not maintaining a good relationship with those countries. Sri Lanka has also built negative policies towards countries like Iran, Canada and Pakistan.

The country will face severe problems if the Government do not change their foreign policies towards these countries. Firstly, the Government should show some positive response to human right issues and incidents of war crimes. If they adopt a system to respond to these issues, it will help the country to build a good relationship with the international community.
Tamil Nadu along has 70 million people and the Southern India has 80 million people.

It is crucial for Sri Lanka to maintain a good relationship with India. But Sri Lankan Government is not considering any of these. Its treatment towards minority religious and ethnic communities in the country has damaged their bilateral relationship with India.

Q:  But the Government has been making various accusations at some Western diplomats particularly the US and Britain?

A: It is clearly harmful. The Government has been accusing foreign countries and neglecting their recommendations on human rights issues in the country. Sri Lanka is bounded to act according to certain international conventions to protect human rights. However the Government has been neglecting international laws and conventions. Instead of responding positively, the Government has been blaming the countries who are concerned about the human right issues in Sri Lanka. If they do not change the foreign policies right now, the country will have to face the repercussions.

Q:  Is there a threat of another uprising by Tamils in Sri Lanka?

A: I do not think that there will be an uprising in the immediate future. But if the Government does not treat the issues face by the Tamil people, there is a possibility of an uprising.

The uprising will not be an armed uprising, but there will be democratic uprising. It’s been five years since the war ended but the issues of the Tamil people are not yet been addressed. They will not live suppressed for long.

Q: Does the TNA feel that Indian fishermen should be allowed to fish in Sri Lankan waters considering the strong ties Tamil Nadu has with the Sri Lankan Tamils in the North?

A: For a long period there had not been any issues of fishing in the Northern sea in Sri Lanka. Now every time, Indian fishermen are arrested and harassed by the Navy. India also keeps arresting Sri Lankan fishermen.

The two countries should work out a formula without causing harm to the fishermen of both countries. The Government should come to an agreement with India without delaying the process. The Navy should also stop assaulting and harassing the arrested Indian fishermen.

Q: Will the TNA led administration in the North continue to work with the Northern Governor?

A: The Northern Provincial Council is elected by the people in the Northern Province. There is a Chief Minister appointed and some powers are given to the Chief Minister but the Governor is interfering into the Chief Minister’s affairs.  The President is also supporting the Governor to interfere into the Chief Minister’s affairs. Due to this, there are two administrations in the Northern Province disrupting the proper function of the Provincial Council. The Government should allow the Chief Minister of the Northern Province to function freely and independently. (Sunday Leader)

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