Q: The JVP and the UNP have started having talks with regards to a common candidate at the next presidential election. There are reports that they have approached Venerable Maaduluwaawe Sobitha Thero. How does the TNA identify with the UNP and JVP? Further, what is your opinion in this whole situation?
A: So far, as for the TNA, we have not had any discussions regarding the Common Candidate matter as such. But, as far as Sobitha Thero is concerned, after all the, how do you call it, Ravana Balaya, Bodhu Bala Sena and various other groups, I don’t think a Buddhist Monk can get a final vote as such. So that will be very difficult. The Thero might be a good person, I do not know about him, but the point is that, at the moment, what these sorts of Buddhist Monks are doing with the Bodhu Bala Sena and various other groups have made the minority fed up. It may be difficult if they are going to put forward a monk as the Common Candidate. It will be difficult to get the minority votes.
Q: There have been several incidents of insurgence in the North. Why do you think these are happening again? Do you think that an LTTE resurgence is taking place?
A: I strongly feel that these are stories created by the Sri Lankan government through their various intelligence groups and they might need that because they want to give a clear message to the international community.
On the one hand, they want to keep the excess Army personnel in the North and East.
On the other hand, they want to tell the Sinhala people that there is still a LTTE problem, so you need a strong President in this country. This is how they take the maximum votes from the people. These may be two of their main concerns. I don’t think there is a LTTE resurgence and regrouping.
Q. The US State Department report also states that the LTTE continues to be active. What is your take?
A. In the Diaspora, there is no LTTE. There are different groups. They are functioning in a democratic way. The Diaspora is mainly concerned about the Tamil citizens’ rights in Sri Lanka. I feel that these groups are working with the concerned governments in Canada, UK and all these countries. Even though America says that the LTTE still has their contacts or networks, I do not know how they are having it or what they are doing.
They have given a message that they are functioning, but I do not know how they are functioning.
Q. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) in the US has initiated an ID issuing process for the Tamils in the Diaspora. Some believe that this is to collect funds and see that these funds come in on a regular basis. What do you think of that?
A. I do not know why the TGTE is giving Identity Cards.
I will say that, if the Sri Lankan government resolves the Tamil political problem in Sri Lanka, there is no need of a TGTE. There won’t be a TGTE. If the government keeps postponing the resolution of the Tamil problem, there will be several groupings like the TGTE.
It will be very difficult to stop that. If there is a political settlement in Sri Lanka I don’t think that they will have any support from the Diaspora or any of the people over here. It all depends on the Sri Lankan government’s attitude.
Q. What you mean to say is that we can, locally, find a solution to the issues of the Tamil people? Are you saying that we do not need the Diaspora to bring up these issues?
A. The point is this – so far, there has been no settlement.
The Sri Lankan government proved again and again that they are not capable of coming to a settlement.
That’s why they are calling on South Africa.
They must allow the South Africans to go ahead and find a political settlement so that there can be a reconciliation and there won’t be groupings in the Diaspora.