Sampanthan refused to answer calls

Gajan PonnambThe Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader, R Sampanthan left his phone seemingly engaged during the final stages of the armed conflict in May 18th 2009, as the LTTE political heads, P Nadesan and S Pulithevan reached out to the TNA representatives for help, said the then TNA MP and current Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) leader, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.

Mr Ponnambalam made this statement at a press briefing at the Jaffna Press Club on Tuesday, where he made an angry rebuke of an accusation made by the TNA candidate Mavai Senathirajah at an election rally on Sunday that Mr Ponnambalam had secretly struck up a deal with the former government minister and brother of the then president, Basil Rajapaksa.

Stating that he had spoken with Mr Senathirajah during those crucial moments, Mr Ponnambalam stated that the TNA leader, R Sampanthan had refused to answer his call despite knowing the situation was dire.

Transcript of Mr Ponnambalam’s comments:…………

“On the 18th, in the early hours, the LTTE’s political head, Nadesan and the head of the [LTTE’s] Peace Secretariat, Pulithevan contacted me directly. The situation is that bad. They say “we cannot stay here any more. Either we have to attain matyrdom, or we will have to surrender”.

As they asked me what to do regarding this, I take an initiative – the end stage, the final few hours – I take an initiative.

Despite talking to Basil Rajapaksa, talking to the Sri Lankan government, and those talks leading to an agreement, the agreement was unilaterally rejected by the government.

I explained this to the leadership of the TNA, particularly Sampanthan, at every step of the way.

So as all these efforts were defeated, as the situation got to the point when [it was decided] to at least surrender holding a white flag, I tried to contact the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance, the leaders who were in India, to talk about is this right or wrong to do this.

I called Sampanthan aiya [sir] at his home in India at the early hours of the 18th [May 2009]. When I called, it was Sampanthan aiya’s wife answered the telephone. Then I said, “Aunty it is Gajendrakumar speaking from Colombo. The situation is very dire. Can I please speak to Sampanthan aiya?” “Yes Gajen, I will bring him,” she said, placing the phone down and going off to bring him.

However, Sampanthan aiya did not come to the phone. The phone got cut. Then I call again. But I could not get through, because the receiver was placed off [the hook].

I say this taking an oath over my mother. My mother is alive. I say this taking an oath over my mother. I could not get in contact.

The EPRFL leader, Suresh Premachandran had his phone switched off. I only had his mobile [number]. That phone was switched off. I did get in contact with Maavai Senathirajah. I will not lie, even if he lies about me, I will not lie about him. I did get in contact with Maavai Senathirajah. I got in contact and spoke to him many times. He too agonised. I will not lie about him, even if today he tells lies about me at such a low level, I will not lie about him. Only he came to the phone. Only he came to the phone, and he agonised. We both cried. I say this as an oath over my mother.

This is the truth.” (Tamil Guardian)

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