TULF demands a Presidential Commission

The Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) V. Anandasangaree, in a letter addressed to US Ambassador Atul Keshap,  i has posed a question about the ethnic conflict and wants the  International Community to pressurize the Sri Lankan Government to appoint a Presidential Commission to find out why the war was prolonged till 2009?

It is very unfortunate that I have to introduce me to you as the Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation front (TULF) regrettably at the time of your departure after serving as Ambassador of the United States of America, in our country. I should have met you and briefed you on a number of matters that concern the Tamil community, as I used to do in the past. But since the TULF that had 18 Members in Parliament is now without a single member due to the fraudulent conduct of the TNA, that deterred me from seeking an appointment with you. I now realize that I had blundered and hasten to write to you hoping that Your Excellency will brief your successor of the tragic situation the Tamils of Sri Lanka now face, due to the irresponsible handling of the Tamil problem by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) the entity of which is questionable. Although much had to be said about their repeated blunders, I am constrained to be very brief, taking into consideration the much limited time you have at the time of your departure.

The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) was founded in 1972 by the amalgamation of two major Tamil Political Parties that remained separated after their split in 1949 till they got merged in 1972, to form the Tamil United Liberation Front. These two political parties were led by Hon. G.G. Ponnapalam QC and Hon. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam QC under the name All Ceylon Tamil Congress and Ilangai Tamil Arasu kadchi, also Known as Federal Party, respectively. Both these leaders are no more but they made it clear that the Tamils should be united under the new Party the TULF and never wanted their old parties revived. The TULF faced the 1977 Parliamentary Election and won 18 seats by large majority of votes. These parties were merged and it was not an alliance. The TULF is very strictly committed to non-violence and democratic norms It earned international fame by making all its 18 members to quit office in 1983 at the end of their term of office of 6 years, protesting against the decision of the Government to extend its term of office by another six years by holding a referendum. The TULF took up the position that the government was violating the democratic rights of the People. When nomination was called to fill the vacancies, the people preferred the 18 seats to remain vacant.

There were a few armed groups operating in the Tamil majority North and East. Several supporters of the TULF, its Secretary General and a few Member of Parliament were assassinated for no known reason. Following the assassination of the Secretary General of the TULF many members left the party. Some others, just a few, continued to run the party which was virtually defunct for about three years. Yet the TULF survived.
The international community, a part from what they heard and saw, failed to focus its attention to what was going on in various parts of the country. The crucial period was 2003-2004. During this period there was a strong move by some local Tamil organizations to unify all Tamil groups including Political Parties, Civil society etc. and to contest the 2004 General Election under one umbrella, common policy and a common symbol the “Rising sun” when clarification was sort from the LTTE by that organization, they had said that all armed groups, even if they were having links with the Government Forces, and they themselves had been involved in human rights violations all should be taken in. The sanction given by the LTTE gave a clear indication that they were prepared to give up arms.

Much more can be said. But to be brief, the war would have come to an end, and all candidates would have won, ensuring absolute unity among the Tamils that would have paved the way for a settlement of the problem. But unfortunately a couple of politicians with greed for power revived on paper only, the Federal Party that remained virtually defunct for 26 years after and 2 years before the demise of the founder of the Federal Party, the symbol of which was the “House”. As a result of the foolish decision of two gentleman the war that should have ended in 2004 prolonged for five years till 2009, causing the death of over one hundred thousand people that include innocent civilians, LTTE combatants, service personnel and more particularly the injured. There are several thousand injured people still having metal pieces embedded in their bodies. The loss due to destruction of property amount to several billion.

It is the candid opinion of many all over the world that the war could have been brought to an end in 2004 itself. I strongly urge the International Community to pressurize the Sri Lankan Government, the government of the United states of America taking the lead, for the appointment of a Presidential Commission, even though it is belated, to find out whether there was any lapse on the part of the Government or any individual as to why the war got prolonged unnecessarily beyond 2004 till 2009 in spite of the LTTE showing signs of giving up the use of arms. (SL Guardian)

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