The spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance, MP Suresh Premachandran urged India and the US to support the release of the OISL report and the implementation of its recommendations, while criticising the 100 day reform programme of President Maithripala Sirisena, for not addressing Tamil issues.
Speaking at a press conference at the Jaffna Press Club, the MP for Jaffna also welcomed the genocide resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council on Tuesday, adding that genocide of the Tamil people continues today in various forms.
Mr Premachandran called on the international community, “be it India or the United States,” to cooperate and ensure the release of the OISL report and to push for the implementation of its recommendations.
“There is nothing about Tamil issues in the 100 day programme,” he pointed out. “Tamil people should be resettled, political prisoners should be released.” Mr Premachandran said that Tamils expected the support of India, the US and other countries when demanding action on these issues.
Elaborating on the importance of the NPC’s genocide resolution, Mr Premachandran said “genocide is not simply killing a section of people. It is also rendering those people unable to live on that land.”
Mr Premachandran said neither the government nor the Army have any intention of letting Tamil people, of whom thousands have had their properties seized by the state, live in their land. He added that by not allowing Tamils to resettle in their own lands, the current government was also contributing to genocide.
“If people cannot resettle, they have no other choice than to leave,” he said. “You cannot settle a fisherman in a forest. You cannot dump a farmer in the middle of the road. The purpose of doing this is to make these people flee and find a different livelihood somewhere else. This is also genocide.”
Speaking about the destruction of Tamil culture and tradition, the MP questioned the purpose of building Buddhist temples “on every corner” in Vanni, a region where “Hindus and Christians, but no Buddhists live. It is to destroy the Tamil people’s culture,” he said.
Mr Premachandran also mentioned the forced sterilisation of Tamil women in three Kilinochchi villages. “The prevention of the creation of another generation of Tamils is also connected to genocide,” he said.
“Since the current government continues to engage in these activities, the resolution brought forward by the Chief Minister is definitely an extremely important one.”
The TNA will take serious steps to implement the resolution and take it before the UN, and to set up a mechanism to protect the Tamil people, Mr Premachandran said.
Responding to Indian analyses of the genocide resolution, Mr Premachandran reassured that the resolution was not passed “against India”.
“We still believe that India is a friend of the Tamils in Sri Lanka,” he said. “However India must clarify its position on the safeguarding of Tamil rights.”
“This resolution is not against India but a resolution to protect Tamils in Sri Lanka,” he reiterated.
“We are the affected people. Hundreds of thousands of our people have been killed. We have lost all our economic resources. We have fought for our rights. We are equally or even more so entitled to live on this land than Sinhalese people. Therefore we are fully entitled to live with our own political powers, and our problems should be understood on this basis,” Mr Premachandran said.