Releasing a statement on 17 July 2015, the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF) has called upon Tamil politicians contesting at the Parliamentary elections to come out with an open and fundamental policy-oriented programme, keeping in mind the number of deceptions in the past. The forum also called for the formation of Tamil National Council of civil societies, transcending political parties and is signed by Kumaravadivel Guruparan and Rev Fr Elil Rajan. The TCSF is a network organisation of more than a hundred activists of various civil and social groups in the North-East of the island.
The TCSF statement looks at four issues: Permanent Political Solution, Accountability, Normalcy and Creation of Tamil National Council. The statement, issued in Tamil, also makes the point that Tamils should not shy away from the task of reiterating the above fundamentals of a political solution to Sinhalese as well as to the international actors.
Under the Permanent Political Solution, the TCSF states that Tamils should be firm on the resolve that their vote is for those advancing the politics without compromising the self-realisation of Tamils. A fundamental determining factor in identifying politicians as representing Tamils is their acceptance of the Right to Self-Determination.
The TCSF position doesn’t reject that a political solution could be found within ‘one country’. However, the statement categorically rejected the ‘Sri Lankan’ identity in its current form.
“In our opinion, the ‘Sri Lankan’ identity is equivalent to the ‘Sinhala Buddhist’ identity until ‘Ilangkai’ evolves into a true multi-national State,” the TCSF statement said, differentiating the terms of ‘Sri Lanka’ and ‘Ilangkai’ in the statement issued in Tamil.
Tamils can never accept the political parties that preach ‘Sri Lankan’ nationalism, those who represent such parties or those who ‘collaborate in practice’ with them, the TCSF statement said.
The statement doesn’t directly call for the rejection of the ITAK and TNA but just stops short of it in an implied sense. At the same time, it also refrains from naming the TNPF as the party to which Tamils should cast their votes in the forthcoming elections.
The TSCF statement on the electoral position states that, an undivided North-East Homeland and Self-Determination are not ‘empty rhetoric’. Even a ‘federal’ solution that doesn’t explicitly recognise these fundamentals cannot last as a political solution. Tamils should vote for those who explicitly state these fundamentals,.
The TCSF statement rejected the 13th Amendment. The PC system is implemented to be compatible under the ‘unitary state’ character of the SL constitution, the TCSF points out.
Any political solution to be arrived at needs international recognition and therefore ‘independent international mediation’ is a necessary component of the political discourse, the TCSF position states adding that there is no use of talking to the Government from the South in isolation.
The TCSF position also points out that those being elected by Tamils should not accept ministerial portfolios in the ‘Sri Lankan’ cabinet regardless of which party comes to power. This will be detrimental to the future negotiations, which demand the Tamil representatives to be in a unique position in terms of preserving the ability of independently representing the Tamils in the talks.
The parties should publicly place what they conceive as the ‘most minimum acceptable political solution’ without hiding anything, the TCSF position states.
There is no use of Tamil parties engaging in ‘secret talks’ in the discourse of finding a political solution, the TCSF statement stated, demanding transparency and inclusion of public participation in the process beyond party politics.
On Accountability, the TCSF states that the political parties should demand international criminal prosecution under the UN mechanism following the OISL report. The Tamil parties should not give any recognition to any form of domestic investigation, the TCSF firmly states, also demanding the parties to come up with their position on internationally establishing the crime of 66-years of protracted genocide against Tamils in the island.
The TCSF also seeks the parties to clarify their position on the Tamils’ right to conduct remembrance events.
On ‘returning to normalcy’, the TCSF demands the parties to express their positions and how they foresee to undertake projects to deal with the challenging issues of militarisation, the situation of political prisoners, land grab, violence against women, the issues affecting the former fighters in the armed struggle, increasing alcoholism, spread of narcotics, the issues affecting the uprooted people, the rights of fishermen and issues concerning the resumption of livelihood in North-East.
If the Tamil parties realise that the above cannot be dealt with effectively within the domain of the existing State mechanism, they should clarify how they conceive their progamme by involving the civil society at large, beyond the domain of the State-centric public sector infrastructure, the TCS statement stated.