The TNA Challenge

By Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

Eelaventhan Manickavasakar

TNA as expected has got the mandate of Tamils for what they pledged in the manifesto so also Ranil. Ranil will find it easier to run the government with the support of SLEP members backed by a President Maithri who is accommodative. As a result the bargaining power which Sampanthan relied has not materialized unless and until Ranil faces a successful no confidence motion with the backing of entire opposition members.

At present there is little chance by Ranil to depend on TNA except on occasions when he needs their votes. The question of Ranil meeting the election pledges of TNA is almost nil in the face of Ranil/Maithri’s combined stand. Ranil, Maithri and Mahinda have already rejected federalism.

They have also rejected Independent International Investigation and also promised to protect the war criminals whose names will soon be known officially from the UN report.

Accountability and culpability will become an eye wash in the internal investigation process promised by Ranil, where there is little chance for the prime accused to be convicted even if charged.

Sampanthan TNARanil has promised granting powers to village councils and rural civilian committees thus rejecting even any 13+, and clothing. The Provincial councils with more powers with minimum control by Centre especially over land and police. The past consistent breaches of pacts, Agreements undertakings remain as bitter experiences for the Tamils. Hence an agreement guaranteed by the International community can only ensure its compliance by the Sri Lankan Government.

Tamils heap their trust on Sampanthan mostly due to respect, maturity and been the most senior veteran in politics right from SJV’s period. Though Sampanthan at times send conflicting and confusing signals about his approach. Jet Tamils have to adopt a wait and see approach in the coming years. As there is no alternative strong opposing party to TNA. TNA is well advised and forewarned not to deviate from their election pledges. The world saint valluvar in one kural has stated “A king who is not advised or criticized for his wrongs by anyone will ruin himself without anyone to ruin him”.

TGTETNA’s election manifesto is silent on the question of Independent International Investigation but facing mounting criticism from local and diaspora Tamils, TNA changed its stand and is now calling for International Investigation. TNA’s urgent concerns requiring immediate steps, as mentioned in the manifesto include the return of Lands seized by the security force.

But Ranil’s statement to New York Times about the disappeared appears to close the issues. Forever leaving the relatives of missing in despair. There are people who are missing whose names are not found anywhere, which means either they are not living now or they left the country”.

Minimum presence of Army in the North and East release of political prisoners information and full statistics as to the dead, disappeared and detained. This what the TNA wants.

The statements of Ranil/Maithri regarding the above urgent concerns are as usual neither promising nor obtainable. Justice Minister has changed the hitherto called political prisoners into criminals facing prosecution.

Ranil has said that land problems are no more serious issues. Independent International Investigation is never possible or acceptable as it is ruled out by Maithri and Ranil. Those who committed the worst war crimes will go unpunished and will not be hauled up by outside bodies. Maithri and Ranil are determined not to reduce the army presence but camps could be reduced.

It is apt to quote. What Ranil said in his interview to Hindu “political solution will be worked out within the 13th amendment and will maximize it if necessary.

“There are no questions about land. I think a lot of people are satisfied with it”.

“Police powers ruled out to provincial council but will be through an Independent Police Commission”.

Besides, a merger of Northern and Eastern provincial council looks a distant dream under Ranil and Maithri Etc.,

The TNA’s pledge of a federal solution appears like a dream for Tamils, which has become a curseful formula for the Sinhalese politicians.

TNA is pretty well aware of the chauvinistic policies of Sinhalese Government and politicians. From 1923 and it will be futile to expect the demands of TNA delivered on a platter. There are several challenges and battles ahead even to meet the urgent concerns and priorities of Tamils in the North and East who will not be satisfied with anything less in meeting those concerns.

Tamils can accept soothing words, gestures, promising statements, like all are Sri Lankans, all are now happy with the ‘good governance’ which has not entirely embraced the life’s of Tamils, though democratic freedoms and values destroyed by Mahinda have been resurrected.

TNA is therefore duty bound to proceed with a programe of action and not words, reliance on promises, political flirtations and trusting even accepting Ministerial portfolios will only jeopardize the just causes of Tamils. In this respect, Sampanthan’s stand of not accepting any cabinet portfolios is laudable and he must to stick to it.

TNA should exploit the current international awareness of Tamils problem to the maximum particularly with diaspora Tamils as there are ominous signs that the west particularly USA is tilting to support Ranil’s government and preserve it from falling even at the expense of Tamil sufferings human right violations.

A unified concerted action from various fronts is the need of the hour to utilize the present opportunity and any failing or faltering by TNA will only bring their political downfall paving way for violent extremism.

The Sinhalese Governments and politicians are always united when the occasions arise for the suttling and sinking of any meaningful and just political proposals to solve the 60 year old ethnic problem with Tamils being humiliated and defeated even after adopting politics of conciliation, peaceful and armed confrontation.

‘It is just might is right’

It is apt to quote what Thanthai Chelva said about UNP and SLFP.

“The snake in SLFP’s Srimavo would be venomous only in biting, but the snake in UNP’s JR would be venomous just by its merely looking at”

As mentioned earlier, it is left to TNA and Sampanthan to stick to their pledges and promises with necessary strategies to face the local and International hurdles. The trust and support of Tamils in the North and East should be placed for bargaining on equal footing lest history will record ‘A let down ‘with irretrievable dire consequences for the lives of Tamils in Sri Lanka. Support of the Tamil diaspora and the signature campaign of TGTE (1.5 Million signed) are matters that cannot be dismissed lightly by the UN or International Community.

*M.K. Eelvaventhan – Former Member of Parliament Sri Lanka – Member of Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam Representing Canada