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Sunday, 1 July 2012

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Writing on the wall for TNA

The political culture in the North and the East is fast changing with the majority of peace-loving people holding moderate views. People in these two provinces, mostly Tamils, now think differently, especially after they were liberated from the clutches of LTTE terror. People in the North and the East, who lived in mortal fear of their lives, did not even utter a word when LTTE terrorism was at its peak.

At the time, most Tamils in these areas had been forcibly held as a human shield, subjecting them to untold misery. Hence these hapless civilians were unable to air their true political views when the LTTE claimed that they were the sole representatives of the Tamils.

Though it was merely a figment of the LTTE's imagination, they never attempted to prove it in a convincing manner. Instead, the LTTE leadership did its utmost to get rid of Tamil political parties in the North and the East. They assassinated many moderate Tamil politicians, including TULF leader A. Amirthalingam, Tamil Congress leader Kumar Ponnambalam and Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who strongly believed in peace and communal harmony.

The LTTE, in brutally killing Tamil leaders holding divergent political views, reposed tremendous faith in the bullet and attempted to project its 'superimposed' image worldwide as the sole representative of the Tamils.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) preferred to remain silent as the LTTE went on a killing spree and even massacred its Tamil brethren in broad daylight. The TNA leaders, at the height of LTTE terror until May 2009, had little or no option, but to fall in line with the Tigers due to fear for their lives.

Nevertheless, after Sri Lanka's valiant Security Forces crushed the LTTE in May 2009 militarily, the TNA sprang from nowhere to claim that they were the sole representatives of the Tamils. In its nascent stage, a certain section of the Tamil community believed that the TNA would work for their betterment.

The TNA insidiously attempted to wield the power commanded by the LTTE through the bullet, this time by resorting to democratic means. However, it has now come to a stage where the TNA is unable to hoodwink the Tamils any longer.

The mega development projects launched by the Government in the North and the East no sooner these two provinces were liberated from the clutches of LTTE terror have given a new lease of life for its people.

Compared to all other provinces in the country which have an overall seven percent plus economic growth rate, the North and the East have recorded 22 percent.

The people in the North and the East today enjoy not only the dividends of peace, but also a far superior lifestyle. At a time the Northern and the Eastern economies are thriving, the benefits have also been passed on to the people in those areas for a better living.

Hence, the people in the North and the East now think more positively. Most of the youth in these areas do not endorse the TNA's double standards. They may, perhaps, not fully endorse the UPFA politics, but the majority of them are sick and tired of the TNA's unbecoming conduct and double standards.

It is regrettable that the TNA is unable to feel the pulse of the Northern youth. Instead of understanding the aspirations of the Tamils in the North and the East, the TNA is dancing to the tune of some overseas LTTE cohorts. The fervent hope of LTTE sympathisers abroad is totally different from that of the Tamil civilians in the North.

While the TNA dances the fandango around the LTTE rump abroad, demanding police and land powers, perhaps as a stepping stone to the fantasy of a separate state as envisaged by the late Velupillai Prabhakaran, the Jaffna, Mullaitivu and Kilinochchi citizenry yearns for a better and brighter future. The TNA is oblivious to this bitter truth.

A big political vacuum now exists in the North and the East for a new moderate leadership for Tamil youth. They, perhaps, may not endorse the policies of the contemporary political parties today, but detest the opportunist Tamil politicians in the TNA too.

A peaceful environment with improved living conditions is the one and only desire of most of the citizens in the North and the East. The TNA is mindful of this stark truth that its popularity is receding, but does not acknowledge it in public.

Hence, TNA leader R. Sampanthan continues to live in Prabhakaran's world of fantasy.

Sampanthan now blames his translators for his controversial remarks at the 14th National Convention of the one-time Tiger-proxy party in Batticaloa recently.

The Society for Peace Unity and Human Rights for Sri Lanka (SPUR) has condemned Sampanthan's provocative, divisive and duplicitous statements as the TNA leader was remote-controlled when Prabhakaran held sway.

The TNA not only endorsed the LTTE as the 'sole representatives of the Tamils, but also directly benefited from LTTE violence on Tamil political opponents. It is an open secret that the LTTE was instrumental in unprecedented vote rigging to support its shadow TNA/ITAK candidates.

The TNA never condemned LTTE terrorism, its ethnic cleansing, Tamil child conscription, extortion of Tamils and holding Tamil civilians as human shields.

Deeply cognizant that they are a fast deteriorating political force in the North and the East contrary to the renewed aspirations of the Tamil youth, the TNA is now attempting to gain cheap popularity and mileage. Sampanthan, as a Member of Parliament, should respect Sri Lanka's Constitution.

He should not be permitted to advocate separatism. He should respect the Constitution at all times and not assume that he has immunity merely because he claims that the TNA is the sole representative of the Tamils.

Moderate Tamils would never endorse Sampanthan's partisan politics, which changes at the drop of a hat to suit his wayward agendas. The TNA is by all means free to engage in politics, but it should not attempt in any way to achieve Prabhakaran's dream.

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