By Mirudhula Thambiah
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesman and Jaffna District Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran pointed out that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was planning to kick off his Presidential Election campaign with his tour of Jaffna on 13 October.
“President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to Jaffna next week is not focussed on addressing the humanitarian problems of the people, such as resettling the Internally Displaced, in their original places and freeing the region of the military presence. But the arrangements made for the Presidential tour in the region indicate that President Rajapaksa is planning to begin his campaign for the next year’s Presidential polls,” he said.
Premachandran made his observation on the President’s visit to Jaffna, during a discussion the TNA Members had with a group of US officials, who visited Jaffna on 8 Wednesday, in Chunnakam.
He also pointed out to the US officials that as the Governor of the Northern Province was an ex-Army officer, the civilians were under the impression that they were governed by a military regime with the excessive presence of Security Forces.
He added the resettlement process, illegal land acquisitions and the Central Government’s direct involvement in the Administration of the Northern Provincial Council, through the Governor, along with the delays in expediting the political process to find a political solution to the Tamil question were also brought to the concerns of the visiting US officials. “I told the officials that more than 100,000 Army personnel remain in the North, where one million people are living. I further informed the officials that it is not necessary to keep a large number of military men after the war. People are still living with the war mentality due to the increased presence of the security forces,” he said.
He said that officials questioned as to whether any changes are expected in the North, if changes occur in the Central Government.
He added that the TNA will support a suitable presidential candidate who will address the humanitarian problems of Tamils, and find a suitable solution to the national question.