The Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), led by Mr Suresh Premachandran, has denounced on Friday a narration given by the Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) that one of the oldest parties of early Tamil militant legacy was dropping the terms ‘Eelam’ and ‘Liberation’ in its party name. The claimed name change is actually being contemplated by a small group, the EPRLF ‘Padmanaba wing’, which is neither part of the TNA nor has any electoral standing. This group is led by former North-Eastern Provincial Council Chief Minister Mr Varatharaja Perumal, who is widely seen as an agent of Indian Intelligence. In 2009, immediately after the Vanni genocide, the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Chief Mr M. Karunanidhi also gave instructions to remove the word Eezham in public places. Mr Karunanidhi reportedly has said that it was the wish of the ‘Central agencies’ of India.
Eezham (Īḻam/ஈழம்), or Eelam as it is commonly written, is the Tamil usage since the times of earliest written records dating back to pre-Christian centuries, to geographically refer to the entire island. The Sinhala equivalents are E’la (Eḷa), E’lu (Eḷu) and He’la (Heḷa). The latter could be found in two Sinhala party names, Jathika Hela Urumaya and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya.
The identity of Tamils in the island is being imposed as ‘Sri Lankan’, coming from a term that was institutionalised by the 1972 constitution cum genocidal political concept, which the Tamils had categorically rejected.
None of the political parties of Tamils is the island carry the term ‘Sri Lanka’ in the party name. The geographical term Lanka, which means any island in Munda languages, is conceptually different from ‘Sri Lanka’, which is of genocidal-nationalist political connotations, hatched by Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism and upheld by imperialisms achieving goals through genocide.
The IANS was claiming that “one of Sri Lanka’s oldest Tamil militant groups-turned-party has decided to shed from its name the words Eelam and Liberation,” in a story filed from Colombo on Friday.
Responding, Mr Suresh Premachandran, the leader of EPRLF, told TamilNet Friday evening: “The oldest EPRLF functioning for 35 years is being led by me and its secretary is Parliamentarian Sivasakthi Anandan. We have no connection to the Padmanaba EPRLF which was registered as a party only a few years ago.”
Premachandran further stated that the EPRLF led by him has been represented in the SL Parliament for a long time and that his party was one of the founding parties of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). The mainstream EPRLF was not having any plan of dropping ‘Eelam’ from its name, he told TamilNet.
Mr Annamalai Varatharaja Perumal was having a party registered as EPRLF ‘Varatharaja wing’ and later changed its name to EPRLF ‘Padmanaba wing’. It is this ‘Padmanaba’ wing, which is now planning to change its name.
After years of exile in India, under the protection of Indian intelligence agencies, Mr Varatharaja Perumal returned to Jaffna in 2010. The candidates he fielded as coalition party candidates in the elections even failed to get their deposit money back.
Apart from the EPRLF, the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) led by Selvam Adaikalanathan and the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) led by Tharmalingam Sidharthan are the other registered political parties having Eelam in their party names.
The Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), which came out of the EPRLF in 1987 and is being led by Mr Douglas Devananda, has never thought of shedding the word Eelam, despite its collaboration with all shades of Colombo-centric Sinhala polity.
The Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students (EROS), which is the mother of all shades of EPRLF, still upholds the term Eelam.
The IANS giving the ‘oldest’ profile to Mr Varatharaja Perumal is in line with the orchestrated media conspiracy that actively comes from India in recent times, political observers in the island said.