The former Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, on Sunday praised Velupillai Prabhakaran, the slain leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), for bringing about Tamil unity by making several mutually antagonistic Tamil political parties come together to form the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
Speaking at a Jaffna-Kilinochchi district conference of the Eelam Peoples’ Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRF), Wigneswaran said that the unity of all Tamil parties is the need of the hour and that they should take the cue from “younger brother” (Thambi) Prabhakaran and forge a united front to fight for Tamil rights.
But the struggle should be waged in a non-violent manner he said. making it clear that he is no believer in an armed struggle.
Calling upon Tamil parties to shed their differences and join forces to fight for Tamils’ rights, Wigneswaran recalled how Prabhakaran had set aside his conflict with other militant groups and got them to join the TNA. Wigneswaran pointed out that Prabhakaran had considered the EPRLF to be one of his principal enemies and yet he held out a hand of friendship when the situation called for understanding.
Wigneswaran appealed to the Tamil parties and other organizations to join hands with his new outfit, the Tamil Makkal Koottani (TMK), on the basis of a common program including self-determination for the Tamil people, the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces to form a united Tamil-speaking province, and securing accountability for the injustices perpetrated by the Sri Lankan military during the war.
The former Chief Minister said that he does not believe in splitting the TNA or any other party, and will welcome only those who voluntarily leave those parties.
But he lambasted the TNA for not living up to its promise and for hoodwinking the Tamils in regard to a variety of issues. He condemned the TNA’s leading role in the movement to save the United National Party government led by Ranil Wickremesinghe in October-November 2018 without securing a firm guarantee that the demands of the Tamils would be acceded to.
No worthwhile promises were secured on the plea that putting forth the Tamils’ demands openly at that juncture would weaken the UNP vis-à-vis the group led by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Wigneswaran accused the TNA of falsely touting the draft constitution as a Tamil-friendly one. He pointed out that the draft had conceded that Buddhism will have the foremost place, that the country will not be a federal state and that devolution would only mean lessening the powers of the provincial Governor somewhat.
Instead of making the unification of the Northern and Eastern Provinces mandatory, the draft only allowed two or more adjacent provinces to merge. Wigneswaran said that such a provision for a merger could well result in the Eastern Province being merged with another Sinhalese majority province in the West or South.
At any rate, attempts are already being made to create a Sinhalese enclave in Mullaitivu district and merge it with the Sinhalese-majority North Central Province so that the existing contiguity between the Northern and Eastern provinces is snapped and the merger of the North and East is thwarted.
Wigneswaran pointed out that TNA had no case for blindly supporting the UNP in parliament when the UNP government had done nothing to release Tamil prisoners languishing in jail for long or to trace missing persons.The Prevention of Terrorism Act is still in force.
The former Chief Minister said that he does not believe in blindly opposing the government but is for a sustained and selfless campaign to secure the Tamils rights. The Tamils’ struggle should be waged both at home and overseas. The UN Human Rights Council should be an important forum to press for justice. And there should also be a campaign to get India to back the Tamils’ case, Wigneswaran said. (newsin.asia)