Will the TNA fall along with the Tigers?
The Tigers are on the verge of being defeated by
the LTTE slowly being eradicated the question has now
arisen as to who would take the place of the Tigers to
solve the ethnic issue.
LTTE has been a force to reckon with for the last 30
years, as far as the ethnic conflict is concerned.
Unfortunately, its presence only resulted in more
bloodshed and no solution.
situation has now changed giving Tamil politicians an
opportunity to stand up for the people suffering in the
war zone. The question then is, are Tamil politicians
capable of filling this vacuum?
have kept a low profile over the past few months
following the intensification of the war in the north.
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) having the largest number
of representatives in parliament has found itself in a
helpless position following the setbacks suffered by the
LTTE at the war front.
TNA a non-entity
TNA it appears is a non entity without the LTTE. The
party's only contribution to the welfare of Tamils in
the north and east so far has been the fairly minor role
it played in the agitation that swept Tamil Nadu last
year. The TNA and the Tamil community in Sri Lanka
believed that Tamil Nadu and the Central Government of
India would work to bring about a peaceful solution to
the ethnic conflict.
wave of protests in Tamil Nadu calling on the central
government to press for a ceasefire began in October
last year. Only the DMK and its allies however took to
the streets. It was only this month that AIADMK General
Secretary and the Opposition Leader Jayalalithaa Jeyaram
who has been silent all these months came out strongly
against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Leader
Muthuvel Karunanidhi and the others for failing to bring
peace in Sri Lanka due to the fear of losing their
irony is that the Tamils especially in the war torn
areas have now been pushed into a situation where even
the position of their own representatives is weak. The
only voice that speaks effectively on their behalf seems
to come from across the Palk Straits.
last time the actions of a local Tamil politician
yielded any sort of result was when Democratic People's
Front (DPF) Leader Mano Ganesan stood up against the
abduction of Tamils in and around Colombo.
most of the abducted persons continue to be missing, the
number of disappearances has declined to a great
extent mainly due to the campaign by Ganesan and the
Civil Monitoring Commission (CMC).
there is a grave humanitarian crisis in the country and
so far the only politicians who have voiced their
support for the people in the north are from Tamil Nadu.
However, there is a school of thought that both
Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa are only using the Sri
Lankan Tamils' question to win the next election. The
argument appears to be valid considering the fact that
nothing positive has come out of all the agitations.
is the time for Tamil politicians to unite. The lack of
unity among Tamil political parties is the key factor
behind the rise of the LTTE . Whether the governments
liked it or not, they were forced to interact only with
the LTTE during any peace negotiations. Today the
situation has changed dramatically and has created a
platform for the other Tamil political parties to voice
TNA, unfortunately, has not lived up to the expectations
of Sri Lankan Tamils and has proved to be dependant on
the LTTE and lately on Tamil Nadu. The party had been
invited to join the All Party Representatives Committee
(APRC) on several occasions but the TNA says that there
has been no official invitation by the government and
that they would consider it only if there was such an
likes of Douglas Devananda and Vinayagamoorthy
Muralitharan are with the government. They, being former
militants who have joined the democratic mainstream,
have a responsibility in guiding the government to bring
a suitable solution. Tamils need a political
representative who is both rational and strong enough to
stand up to the government when necessary.
some point Tamil Nadu will stop talking about the
problems of the Sri Lankan Tamils, and what will be the
plight of the people then? Those who are in temporary
camps and transitional villages can be happy that they
have managed to save their lives. But, the fact that
they have left their homes and do not know when they
will return will definitely create a scar in their
other hand, those who are still trapped in the war zone
are not sure whether they would live to see another day
as the war closes in.
Call from Clinton
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had expressed her
concerns over the situation in the safe zones when she
telephoned President Mahinda Rajapakse on March 13.
government however has denied allegations of carrying
out attacks on the safe zones and pointed the finger at
the LTTE. The LTTE has been accused by UNICEF of
recruiting children to its outfit. The situation will
worsen as the fighting intensifies.
far, the Tamil leaders in the country have not taken any
positive action to alleviate the sufferings of the
Tamils and have only pointed fingers at the government
or the LTTE on the plight of the civilians.
other hand the government together with the ICRC and the
WFP has taken steps to send essential items to
foreign government will openly criticise the Government
of Sri Lanka and call for an immediate cessation of
hostilities when the government is close to defeating
terrorism in the country. It is the civilians who have
been at the receiving end since the war erupted and it
is the responsibility of both parties to ensure that
they are not harmed regardless of the place they are