Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister Wigneswaran refuses to hoist LTTE flag

COLOMBO: The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, refused to hoist the LTTE’s flag at a function organized by the pro-LTTE organization Tamil Coordination Committee (TCC) at Harrow in London on Sunday.

When the Chief Minister came to know that in the meetings of the TCC, the Tiger flag is invariably hoisted and homage (Veera Vanakkam) is paid to the dead LTTE cadres (Maaveerars), he said he would not be able to speak at such a function as that would lead to problems back home in Sri Lanka.

An Australia-based lieutenant of his, who had been a bridge between the TCC and Wigneswaran, then got in touch with the organizers and asked them to cancel the flag hoisting ceremony. There upon, the Chief Minister attended the function and delivered an address.

In the 30 minute speech, Wigneswaran stressed the need for the Tamils to unite by shedding political differences and eschewing one upmanship. He appealed to the Tamils to shed arrogance and the practice of opposing anything that is suggested as an alternative to one’s way of thinking.

Clearly, Wigneswaran was asking the acolytes of the LTTE to shed its mindset, which ill fits present day conditions.

Wigneswaran called for a democratic struggle to secure the Tamils’ rights. He  stressed the importance of securing international support including the support of the Tamil Diaspora in this endeavor.

The Chief Minister listed the problems the Tamils are facing in Sri Lanka, mentioning the non-return of lands seized during the war; the building of Buddha Viharas with the help of the armed forces in places where there are no Buddhists; illegal fishing by persons from outside the province with the help of the armed forces; and the Central government’s practice of doing things in the province without consulting the Northern Provincial Council.

He referred to the charge that the Northern Province Administration is not doing its bit to develop the province and said that he wants the Diaspora to invest in the province in projects of use to the local people and that he has had discussions on this with the Prime Minister’s advisor, R.Paskaralingam.

The Chief Minister promised to help Diaspora investors and said that he has been wanting to launch a Chief Minister’s Fund to receive contributions for development from local and foreign donors, but the provincial Governor is standing in the way.

Refuting the charge that he and the Northern Provincial Council are not contributing to post-war reconciliation and are only opposing every step that is taken in this regard, Wigneswaran said that he had forwarded the Tamils‘ constitutional proposals to the Centre.

He has suggested a federal system because the existing 13 th. Amendment of the constitution takes away with one hand what had been given by the other.

At any rate, the 13 A does not reflect the spirit of the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 on which it is based, he said.

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