The Sunday Leader

Tamil Aspirations Have To Be Met TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan

By Camelia Nathaniel

TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan, while acknowledging the landslide victory of his party in the Northern provincial council elections, said that an acceptable, reasonable and sustainable solution should be provided to the problem of the Tamil people.  The aspirations of the Tamil community are to have an impartial political authority in a united and undivided Sri Lanka. He added that he sees the establishment of the northern provincial council as a beginning of this process.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is to seek a meeting with India on the Tamil issue such as implementing 13th amendment, international investigations and rejoining north and eastern provinces.

In an interview with The Sunday Leader he said that holding an election in the Northern province is not the end of the story but just the beginning of the process. He said that there needs to be a constitutional arrangement that will ensure that the Tamil people are able to exercise the rights they are entitled to in keeping with the patterns of power sharing the world over.

Sampanthan is a leading Sri Lankan Tamil politician, Member of Parliament and leader of the Tamil National Alliance and Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

Q. While the TNA has been constantly pushing for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, the government is adamant that they are not willing to give land and police powers. In that context how viable is it to push for the full implementation of the 13th amendment?
A. Our objective with regard to a political solution is to be able to exercise all powers that need to be exercised to make power sharing meaningful, purposeful and successful. So as to remove the fundamental causes of the conflict and to enable the people to live together united. That is a justifiable position and that position will continue. That is not a position that can be compromised on to cater to the whims and fancies of others. That is the fundamental right of our people, and that right will have to be respected. That has been the verdict of the people at all democratic elections over several decades.

Q. Is the TNA trying to get India to push the Sri Lankan government to implement the 13th amendment?
A. India has been involved in the Sri Lankan crisis from 1983, and India remains involved, and the Sri Lankan government interacts with India as much as we do, if not more. India knows the true position and there is no need for anyone to push India, and they will do what is right.

Q. The chief ministers of all the other provinces say that they don’t need land or police powers to conduct their day to day activities. Hence the TNA is isolated in this issue, and without the backing of the other provinces do you think that you could achieve your objectives?

A. The chief ministers of other provinces don’t need any powers at all, and they never asked for power sharing or devolution of power. That was not a demand made by the people of those areas. The demands of power sharing and devolution were only made by the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces. The demands of the people of the Northern and Eastern provinces cannot be compared with the people of the other provinces, as they never wanted those powers and were not interested in those powers. However we and our people are, and that’s the difference. Our people’s aspirations have to be met, and that is fundamental.

Q. The government appointed a parliamentary select committee to formulate a solution to this issue, but the TNA does not want to be part of it. Therefore when you distance yourself  from the body appointed to find a solution, don’t you think that you are missing out on an important opportunity to be part of the process?
A. We have no trust in the parliamentary select committee and don’t think that this committee has been appointed to bring about a reasonable political solution. We think that the parliamentary select committee has been appointed to scuttle the prospects of a reasonable political solution. Leading alliance partners of the government, who were made members of the committee, had publicly stated that the objective of the committee is to dilute and if not remove and greatly diminish the 13th Amendment. Therefore, when members of the government in alliance with the government publicly make such statements there is no reason whatsoever for us to have any trust or faith in that parliamentary select committee. Therefore we do not look upon the parliamentary select committee as a credible process to bring about an acceptable political solution.

Q. The government has a 2/3 majority in parliament and hence have the power to basically take any decision. In that context do you feel that the TNA has any chance of achieving their goals?
A. Our objectives and our strategies are not based on expediency, but on principles. Based on the achievement of the fundamental rights of our people, to live freely as equal citizens in our country, and these are not matters that can be viewed under mere political expediency. Judgements have got to be based on principles and the fundamental rights of our people.

Q. The 13th amendment basically came with the Indo Lanka Peace Accord, and according to that India was obligated to disarm the LTTE and resolve the military conflict and the government had to set up the provincial councils. That was the agreement. India however could not stop the war and it is believed that India failed on their part. In that perspective how can they force the SL government to implement the 13th Amendment after not having fulfilled their part?
A. The 13th amendment was negotiated between the government of Sri Lanka and the TULF long before the Indo Sri Lanka agreement was signed. In fact President  J. R. Jayewardene had placed these proposals before parliament even before the Indo Sri Lanka agreement was signed. They were however not completely to our satisfaction. The Indo Sri Lanka agreement referred to the proposals that emerged from the negotiation process. The Indo Sri Lanka agreement is an international treaty and cannot be unilaterally violated or abdicated. Hence the Sri Lankan government is obliged to comply with and implement the Indo Lanka agreement.

As far as the disarming of the LTTE was concerned, the Indian Peace Keeping Force engaged in the process of disarming the LTTE, and continued with that process, and succeeded to a large extent in implementing that process sacrificing the lives of around 1,000 IPKF personnel. However the then Sri Lankan government supplied vehicles, arms and money to the LTTE to fight the IPKF.

So whatever obligation India had they took action to fulfil that and succeeded to a large extent, despite the fact that the Sri Lankan government was obstructing the Indian government fulfilling their obligations. Eventually the IPKF left because the Sri Lankan government wanted the IPKF to leave. So no one can say that India defaulted in any obligation. India fulfilled their obligation to their fullest under the circumstances, and it is the Sri Lankan government that is responsible for any lapse.

Q. TNA has the provincial administration of the North, so can’t the TNA find solutions for the Tamils in the North without  the land and police powers?
A. We have said that these are fundamental rights on which there can be no compromise and holding an election in the Northern province is not the end of the story but just the beginning of the process. The TNA has very comfortably and very definitely won power in the Northern province, but that is not all. There needs to be a constitutional arrangement that will ensure that people are able to exercise the rights they are entitled to in keeping with the patterns of power sharing the world over. As stated by President Rajapaksa in his inaugural speech to the All Party Representative Committee (APRC) and the experts committee appointed.

Q. There is speculation that the TNA, by seeking the full powers and also seeking the merger of the north and east, is still trying to gain  a separate state, this time in an indirect manner. What is your view on this?
A. We have very clearly stated in our election manifestos and on public platforms both in Sri Lanka and abroad that we are committed to a political solution that is reasonable, workable and durable within the framework of a united undivided Sri Lanka. We cannot satisfy the imaginary apprehensions of people who have unnecessarily and for unjustifiable reasons accused us of such. We are committed to a solution that would bring lasting peace for our people within a united undivided country.

3 Comments for “Tamil Aspirations Have To Be Met TNA Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan”

  1. S. Makenthiran

    Singhalese must realise that they cannot impose their will on minorities. Sri Lanka is not for Sighalese only. If Rajapakses continue their policy of genocide of the Tamils, a Cpriot type of solution is inevitable.

  2. ram

    I wonder when the Sinhela aspirations are going to be met.
    Tamil ‘aspirations’ as verbalised by the dead terrorist leader was for the Eastern Province to be ethnically cleansed of the Sinhela and Muslim inhabitants who comprise 65% of the population there. This, in order to create the ‘aspirational’ fantasy ‘EElaam, on land that had NEVER been under their control. How soon will it be before the Central Province becomes a ‘traditional homeland’?
    One does NOT win a war to surrender in peace time.

  3. dagggy

    This is never ending………..
    Once and for all Rajavarothiam Sampanthan can you list all the TAMIL ASPIRATIONS ?
    What do you seek ? Spill it out instead of speaking with your tongue in cheek.

    Your demand is vague. Spit it out. Lets have the details

    This is the final call..

Comments are closed

Photo Gallery

Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes, pub-1795470547300847, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0