The Sunday Leader

DOUGLAS DEVANANDA’S Budget Speech And The Tamil National Alliance

By Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Minister Douglas Devananda’s speech on the budget on the 17th was a defence of the government’s record in the North and an anti-TNA diatribe. His claims are worth an internal TNA review for its own edification.
The pacifist S. J. V. Chelvanayagam’s Federal Party is the senior partner in the LTTE-originated Tamil National Alliance led by R. Sampathan from the FP. TNA MPs contested under the FP symbol because the TNA is not registered. The other constituents of the TNA want it registered but the Federalists are opposed. This has led to serious rifts where the FP’s partners are well-represented on TNA committees but the Federalists at the grassroots. Despite the resolution to register, Sampanthan has not done so and with good reason. Reports speak of the TNA partners laughing at the dignified elder as he tried to defend his not implementing the decision. Devananda’ speech underscores Sampanthan’s reluctance. Devananda, in his critique of the TNA (much of which is petty like calling M.A. Sumanthiran a backdoor entrant to politics despite his yeoman service to Tamils through well-placed fundamental rights applications), mentions three other MPs who, it may be correctly argued, do no justice to the FP heritage. It explains why the Federalists do not want to be subsumed under the TNA aegis with its blemished history under the LTTE.
Devananda refers to an MP (probably Saravanabavan) whose Shabra Investments cheated many of their savings, leading to several suicides, and the MP’s newspaper Uthayan (Dawn). Playing on the English transliteration he renders it as Ooththayan (Dirty Fellow). Uthayan – see Box 1 – is a newspaper with unethical journalistic standards. But given how the government controls the press (even buying up the Yal Thinakkural recently, thereby diminishing Tamil space), Uthayan’s is a powerful and important alternative voice. But it can destroy its enemies. It explains why the TNA gave its candidature to the man.
Devananda also refers to another TNA MP (probably Premachandran) who was once the head of the Mandayan Group (Skull Group for putting bullets into skulls), the EPRLF’s assassination squad. This man, says Devananda, is a so-called human rights activist today. A fourth MP he refers to is a TNA MP who helped the LTTE gather people as human shields in 2009 for the LTTE but saved himself by running away in a Red Cross vehicle with LTTE loot which he now uses to run his own media. My guess is that the reference is to associated with Sritharan.
The rest of Devananda’ speech is nonsense. Facing a murder trial, being a proclaimed offender in India, and living in Sridhar Theatre which he has taken over by force from its rightful owner to use as his palace, he should be the last person to preach about murder and corruption. His budget speech boasts how he has been elected MP since 1994, without mentioning that with the LTTE boycott, many of his MPs got elected with under 10 votes and survive today through rigging, murder and the protection of the armed services in the islands (see The Sunday Leader 24.07.2011 and Box 2). Devananda boasts of development without mentioning that much of the development has focus on colonizing Tamil areas with his collusion.
For his services, Devananda is allowed to call himself “the government representative of Jaffna district.” In exchange, at the LLRC hearings his thugs appeared with pistols tucked into their trouser waists, but selectively visible by moving up the shirt – for the express purpose of dissuading the families of the disappeared from testifying to what the government had done. Devananda’s cadres have been implicated in several murders and they are not even questioned by the Sri Lankan police, says Reporters without Borders.
With Devananda’s firm grip, even some dignified people in Jaffna have fallen into his net by begging for University Council seats, where many members do not qualify as intellectuals fit for running a university and are seen in bathroom slippers at meetings. Without these petty positions, in Jaffna there would be no active life for them.
As I write, Devananda has interfered in Jaffna University. The appointments of computer application assistants, selected after testing by the university, are on hold. As his personally selected VC placed a new list with his stooges among the Council papers and Deans objected, the appointments have dragged on for several noisy meetings. Although Devananda controls the Council, Dean K. Kandasamy in charge of the tests walking out has made the stooges including the VC reluctant to ram through the EPDP list. The VC says the Registrar is responsible for the new list whereas he tables only papers given to him.
At the Teaching Hospital there are allegations of corruption by Devananda’s Director, Dr. Bhavani Pasupathirajah. To protect her, Devananda had sent a list of 26 names for rubber stamping as Hospital Development Society Members. Because of rivalry with one Thangarajah (claiming to be SLFP Jaffna District Organizer), the ministry had sent back 53 names. Since then Devananda, lacking control, has not called the Development Society to order as he does the University Council to give his orders.  Devananda ruining Tamil institutions sits well with government intentions. Intrinsically communal, it also does not want any one Tamil growing too big for his boots.
So we have three persons – Devananda, Thangarajah and Angajan Ramanathan (who was shot at, beaten up and hospitalized by Devananda’s cadres according to him), claiming to represent the government. The attack on Ramanathan was never punished because that bickering suits the         President. At the hospital and the university, it is clear that Devananda’s reign is being challenged by dissension. It is said that the government is confident that Devananda can never be elected Chief Minister, given his local government performance, and that his protégé Prof. P. Balasundarampillai (former VC/Jaffna) who was appointed to the university Council by Devananda is sending out feelers if he could be the UPFA candidate. To Devananda’s horror, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella has reportedly said the president wants to encourage retired public servants entering politics on his behalf. With these squabbles within the UPFA, the sufferings of the Tamils will continue with unfit people as our administrators. The government, however, will find letting go of Devananda quite difficult, given their shared dark secrets he can let out of the bag.

7 Comments for “DOUGLAS DEVANANDA’S Budget Speech And The Tamil National Alliance”

  1. Iqbal

    Here is a catalogueof D.Devananda’s misdeeds in Jaffna. One must admire his talent to nose people who can betray or destroy his/her people for personal gain by whatever at their disposal like himself. The open secret in Jaffna peninsula is that he gives jobs at SLTB for bribes, sell sands for money and kill opponents for vengeance. The latest is acquiring houses for expanding his party, only to be found out that locals hate him and his stooges. No one knows yet where his conduct will lead him to.

  2. anjosh

    Thanks Me Hoole for enlightening us of Mr Douglas. Most of the Tamils know him well and will act accordingly during the forthcoming election. Hope that he will leave politics after the election.

  3. P.L.J.B.Palipana

    Thanks Prof.Hoole for educating us.


    SO YOU MOVE TO DOGULAS BECAUSE YOU DID NOT GET VC post.We all know abt government and Dogulas but you were only agsinst LTTE for your own interest. Poor you , will be dying wihtout become VC

  5. gamarala

    Tamils are cursed by those who wish to realise their political ambitions at the expense of social justice for citizens of the north.
    Devananda leads the pack of bootlickers of the regime.

  6. Richard

    Devenanda has nothing to offer the Tamil people other than violence, intimidation and corruption. As Prof. Hoole says, this suits the regime in Colombo. Devananda is the local enforcer for the mafia bosses in Colombo.
    P.S. Stay safe Prof Hoole

  7. The recent UN report on Sri Lanka(SL), given to the UN Secretary General, revealed the slackness or negligence on the part of the UN to protect Tamil civilians during the last days of the war in 2009.

    This was caused by the indifference shown by the countries in the UN, especially by India and the West.

    SL and India propagated blatant lies about the truth in SL, with the view to brand LTTE as only a terrorist organisation. They used Tamil puppets and stooges to do it.

    The US, the UK and the EU swallowed the ropes and banned the LTTE as a “terrorist organisation”. They failed to state and implement the truth.

    LTTE was “a liberation organisation that was also terrorist in some of its actions” Liberation was the main intent of LTTE and terrorism was a side action.

    The west wrongly identified the side action as the main action and blundered within the legislatures of their countries and the UN, causing Tamil genocide.

    The liberation aspect of Tamils should be correctly identified now to rectify the error committed in the UN.

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