TNA has not done anything for the Tamils' well-being:
Only the Govt can deliver the goods - Deputy Minister V.
He was not trained at the prestigious Sandhurst, Aldershot or Kakul
Military Academies but only a guerrilla fighter. Vinayagamoorthy
Muralitharan, popularly known as Karuna Amman joined the LTTE during his
teens and was promoted Commander of his outfit. Having realised the
futility of war against the State, he gave up fighting and joined the
Today he is the Deputy Minister of Resettlement and the Vice
President of the SLFP. The Deputy Minister in an exclusive interview
with the Sunday Observer stressed the importance of being with the
Government if one genuinely wishes to uplift the living conditions of
the Tamil community and develop the Northern and the Eastern Provinces.
If the Tamil people elect another two or three Parliamentarians to join
the Government rank, they would be able to secure more benefits for them
and fulfill their aspirations. He said apart from engaging in racist
politics, the TNA has not done anything for the well-being of the Tamil
people so far. This is the true situation that the Tamil people should
The Deputy Minister said that the Tamil Nadu politicians are using
"Eelam" for their political campaigns. When an election is on the cards,
Karunanidhi begins to talk about the grievances of the Tamils in Sri
Lanka. He told Tamil Nadu politicians that there are only three
communities live in Sri Lanka, while there are more than 24 communities
He queried if all such communities are living peacefully in India,
why can't the three communities Sri Lanka do likewise? In Sri Lanka, the
Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities are living in peace and harmony.
Why should the Tamil Nadu politicians disturb the peaceful co-existence
of these communities? That is the question that we have to ask these
Tamil Nadu politicians.
The people in the North and the East will never think about the war
again since they have suffered a lot as a result of the terrorist war.
Now only they want to live a peaceful life. The Tamil diaspora should
also understand this is the aspiration of the people in the North and
Excerpts of the interview:
Q: Is there any truth in the allegation that you broke away
from the LTTE movement with the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement by
Ranil Wickremesinghe with LTTE Leader Prabhakaran or what led you to
give up arms and enter the mainstream politics?
A: That is true. I also represented the LTTE delegation at the
peace talks held in Oslo. Our Chief Negotiator was Anton Balasingham.
Then we had done six rounds of peace talks. When we were at Oslo at the
final rounds of talks, facilitators of the Scandinavian countries told
us to sign an agreement with the Government and proceed with peace
This agreement envisaged a federal solution and I agreed to sign it.
When Anton Balasingham said that he could not sign it as he had to ask
Prabhakaran, I told Balasingham to sign it. Otherwise, nothing would
happen and we would be back in Vavuniya. I was of the view that if only
we signed the agreement we could continue peace talks. Then Balasingham,
Thamil Selvam, lawyer Rudhrakumaran, Dr. Maheshwaran and myself
discussed this matter further and finally I told them to sign the
agreement. But Thamil Selvam and Rudhrakumaran asked not to sign it as
it seemed to be a sort of trap. I persuaded Balasingham to sign it as it
there was nothing like that, but only a few key words were there in the
agreement to the effect that it would consider a federal solution. At
the last moment Balasingham accepted my request and he participated
again in the discussions. Anton Balasingham on behalf of the LTTE and
Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris on behalf of the Government signed the
After signing the agreement, Balasingham told me that he could not go
back to Vanni because Prabhakaran will shout at him. He asked me to talk
to Prabhakaran and accordingly I went to Vanni and handed over the
Agreement to Prabhakaran. Before I went to Vanni, Thamil Selvan and
Rudhrakumaran had told Prabhakaran that it was I who persuaded
Balasingham to sign the Agreement, when they didn't want to sign.
Prabhakaran turned furious and called a Central Committee meeting the
same day night and accused me that I betrayed their freedom struggle. I
explained to Prabhakaran that I only expressed my view - the inability
to form a separate country within Sri Lanka. I told him it was better to
go for a negotiated solution as we cannot go on fighting. He didn't
accept this position and said that we should have thrown this agreement
away. Then I told Prabhakaran that I cannot fight with him. That is how
I broke away from the LTTE and later entered the mainstream politics.
Q: LTTE movement was so strong that the national and
international perception was that it was an invincible military
movement. But under the able direction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa it
was militarily crushed in 2009. How do you view this?
A: When I was in the LTTE, we engaged in a near 30 year war. I
was with Prabhakaran for nearly 26 years. During that period, we fought
against several Presidents such as J.R Jayewardene, R. Premadasa and
Chandrika Kumaratunga and whenever the LTTE was weakened, they wanted to
go for peace talks. The government too responded. That was LTTE's
strategy. During this period we obtained weapons, collected money and
strengthened ourselves. Again we abandoned peace talks and fought the
This continued until President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office.
After President Rajapaksa came to power though the LTTE tried several
times, he didn't give any chance to the LTTE to rearm itself. When the
LTTE wanted to go for peace talks again President Rajapaksa didn't
respond and it was a very good strategy on the part of the President. I
was the Military Commander of the LTTE when I broke way from it. At that
time, I sent more than 6,000 LTTE cadres back to their homes. They were
the veteran fighters at that time. Therefore, after I broke away, the
LTTE became weakened militarily. President Rajapaksa however, took a
strong decision to destroy the LTTE.
Three factors are important for a military victory. They are
decision-making, planning and implementation. The decision-making is
always at the supreme level under the purview of the President. The
President took a strong decision to destroy the LTTE through military
means. Whatever international pressure exerted, the President never
yielded to such pressure. Despite pressure exerted by various countries
the President didn't stop the war against the LTTE. When we fought the
Sri Lankan Army, the Government held talks with the LTTE behind the
screen so that Sri Lankan Army got demoralized. Presidents R. Premadasa
and Chandrika Kumaratunga also followed the same strategy. But President
Rajapaksa never gave a chance to the LTTE. The second important thing
was planning. The President appointed Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Defence
Secretary and he formulated a systematic plan to destroy the LTTE.
Third, the implementation of this plan by the Armed Forces. The Army was
well-disciplined and well-organised so that they implemented their
strategy very well, and the Government could completely destroy the
Q: As a politician who work for the social, economic and
political advancement of the North and the East, are you satisfied with
the post conflict development projects carried out in the North and the
A: I am fully satisfied with the projects so far carried out.
At present the Government has implemented a large number of development
projects in these provinces. After end of final war against the LTTE
terrorism, we had nearly 300,000 people released from the LTTE custody.
At that time the people criticised the Government that it was going to
keep the IDPs for many years without being relocated. The Government
however, sent them back to their homes within two years. At present all
the people have been resettled in their native villages. Now the
Government is providing the facilities to uplift their livelihoods.
Infrastructure projects and road works are also going on very well. The
Government is providing electricity to the people in the North and
building houses for them while many health and drinking water projects
have been implemented
so far. At present all the line ministries are working for the
betterment of the people in the North. Economic Development Ministry is
doing a tremendous volume of work in the North. Likewise all line
ministries are supporting the people to uplift their livelihoods.
There are no big problems in the Eastern Province. All people have
been completely resettled. We have some small problems in the North
because we sent back the people to their homes recently. So we need time
to improve their livelihoods. The Government has already provided
substantial assistance for them.
Q: Despite the attempts by the Government to defeat the LTTE,
still the pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora continues various disinformation
campaigns against the Government and the country. How do you look at
A: First of all, they have not understood what is really going
on in the North and the East, because some of the Tamil diaspora members
had left this country about 40 years ago. Most of their children were
born after they left for those countries and they don't know anything
about the North or the East. They are only breathing the disinformation
spread by the pro-LTTE diaspora. At the same time, they have to create a
problem to justify their existence in a foreign country because they
always entertain the fear that they will be sent back to Sri Lanka. So
they are carrying out false propaganda campaigns against the Sri Lankan
Government by levelling baseless allegations on the violation of human
rights. But nothing happens in Sri Lanka as claimed by them.
At present the Government has launched a number of development
programs with the help of the Army. We are effectively using such
manpower for the development drive. In Mullativu we are putting up a
housing project with the help of the Army. The pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora
attempts to create unnecessary problems in Sri Lanka.
We have to portray the true picture of our country through our
ambassadors. Those who spread various disinformation against Sri Lanka
should realise that when they go to London, they are not asked whether
they are Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim. When they ask where are you from
certainly you will have to tell them that you are Sri Lankans, but not
Sinhalese or Tamils. They are living all over the Europe with Sri Lankan
identity. I think today the situation is getting better since many
people have changed their mindset. During the past they had to remit
their contributions to the LTTE else they could not live there. The
Pro-LTTEers went from house to house to collect money.
Q: Could you describe the transformation the Eastern province
has undergone today from a terrorist-held ghost town to a free society?
A: The people in the North and the East were never engaged in
an arms struggle.
They suffered a lot as they lost their children, parents and other
loved ones. They will never think about the war again.
They want to live a peaceful life whether in the North or the East.
The diaspora should understand these aspirations of the people in the
North and the East. When we go to the Eastern Province, we can't see any
check-points or road-blocks. Only the Police is maintaining the law and
order. Development in the Eastern province is going on very well.
Tourism is booming and there is a significant development in the Eastern
Q: According to you what went wrong with the CFA when it had
all the blessings of USA, Britain and other watch-dogs of democracy and
A: We can't put the blame on the Government. The international
community too tried to push the LTTE into the mainstream politics and
Prabhakaran didn't like that. He was always for a separate country,
which was his policy and finally he died.
Q: Was it true that during the final phase of the terrorist
war there was an international plot to airlift the LTTE high command and
provide them political asylum in a European country?
A: No. I think that was not possible. The Government faced
mounting pressure from the international community to stop the war. At
the last moment the Government called upon the LTTE to give up their war
and surrender to the Government, but they used 300,000 civilians as a
human shield. Finally the Government was forced to launch a rescue
operation to safeguard the lives of the civilians. It is difficult to
prevent casualties in a rescue operation. I don't think the LTTE high
command had a plan to escape at the final stage of the war.
Q: Eelam in a small country like Sri Lanka is not a viable
project when Tamil Nadu, the origin of Tamil life and culture with its
70 million Tamils is the ideal geographical entity for Eelam. Your
A: Eelam is never possible in a country like Sri Lanka. This
terrorist war was started in Sri Lanka due to mistakes on the part of
our politicians in the past. At the same time a number of foreign
countries also wanted to create a problem in Sri Lanka and I don't wish
to mention their names. Sri Lanka is a strategic point. Therefore, the
Western countries are very keen on Sri Lanka and they may attempt to use
it to realise their military or economic plans. They gave weapons and
supported the LTTE. That is how the terrorist war was launched on a
massive scale in Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu also supported. The Indian
Government policies were very clear and India would never allow to
dismember Sri Lanka. That is the Indian Central Government policy. The
Tamil Nadu politicians are using Eelam war only to realise their
political ambitions. When an election is due, Karunanidhi begins to talk
about Tamils in Sri Lanka.
I would like to tell them that there are only three communities in
Sri Lanka, while there are more than 24 in India. If they are living
peacefully, why can't these three communities in Sri Lanka live together
peacefully? Why are they disturbing us? That is the question we have to
ask these Tamil Nadu politicians. We live together in harmony and we
don't want a separate country. In Sri Lanka, all Sinhala, Tamil and
Muslim communities are living together peacefully.
Q: What are your views about the Tamil Nadu political
extremists openly supporting LTTE terrorists hoisting Prabhakaran's
portraits and asking Indian Government to intervene in Sri Lanka?
A: First of all, if they are Indians, they have to obey the
Indian Central Government. Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was
killed by the LTTE. If they are Indians why should they support
Prabhakaran since he is not their Leader? They are using Prabhakaran's
name also for their political survival. Then only they can become
popular. Otherwise, they can't come to power.
Q: LTTE didn't have a political ideal, but bomb explosions,
killings and blood thirst. What made you to join such an organisation
and leave it suddenly in search of freedom?
A:That is a very important question. It is not only me, but
most of the Tamil youth joined the LTTE after 1983 July riots. When 13
soldiers were killed by Prabhakaran at Thirunelveli, Jaffna on July 23,
1983, the Government in power could not control the situation. As a
reaction to the incident, riots broke out in Colombo and its suburbs.
Many Tamil people were killed and their properties were destroyed by the
Sinhala extremists and the Tamil refugees came to the North and the East
from Colombo. At that time, I was studying for my Advanced Level
Examination. When I returned from school, I saw lots of refugees were
coming. They said they were coming from Colombo and their people were
killed by the Sinhalese. At that time, I didn't know anything about
politics. In addition to my studies I was engaged in sports. That was my
life. My ambition was to enter the university. After I saw the refugees
coming in, I began to think what was going on Sri Lanka? At that time,
the LTTE also exploited that situation.
They distributed small leaflets alleging that Tamils were killed and
as such the armed struggle was the only way to safeguard our people. "I
also wanted to join the LTTE. At that time, the Indian Government
supported the LTTE and they had provided military training to the LTTE.
I also got military training in India. The Indian Government encouraged
and supported the LTTE. President J.R. Jayewardene was in power. If he
had controlled the situation in Colombo, the war would have never
Q: Today you are living among the Sinhala people and freely
move about in society. Could you say whether Tamils are persecuted,
harassed or discriminated on any grounds?
A: No, nothing. I am moving freely with the people and they
support me immensely. I have lots of friends in the Southern, and
Central Provinces and everywhere. No discrimination against the Tamils.
Many Tamil and Muslim people are living in Colombo.
They have not faced any problems. When some of our clergy went to
Tamil Nadu, they were harassed in an unruly manner. Many Indians are
living in Sri Lanka. No such incident has ever been reported against any
Indians living here. Our people respect the Indian Government and the
Indian people as well. Nobody has ever asked any Tamils not to purchase
lands from Colombo. Most of the buildings in Colombo are owned by Tamils
and Muslims. But Sinhala people are never jealous of them, but living
with them harmoniously. I would like to call upon the Northern and the
Eastern people to welcome them. Some extremist Tamil political parties
say that Sinhala people can't buy the lands there. Then how do all those
MPs of that extremist political party live in Colombo? The Sinhala
people in Colombo never ask them not to buy lands or stay in Colombo. So
why does some of these extremist Tamil political parties make such
utterances? Even in the Eastern Province, all three communities are
Q: Minister Douglas Devananda and you have accepted Government
policies and work for the well-being of the Tamil people. Why cannot TNA
too co-operate with the Government to advance the cause of the Tamil
people without subjecting them to enormous difficulties as it happened
under the LTTE?
A: If we want to improve the living conditions of Tamil
people, we should stay with the Government. Then only we can get the
funds to carry out the development projects.
That is what we are doing right now. Minister Douglas Devananada is
launching many development projects in the Northern Province and I have
also launched lots of development programs in the Eastern Province.
Bridges, road development, health sector projects and drinking water
programs have been completed in the Eastern Province. A sum of Rs.
11,000 million has been spent for the drinking water projects in the
Eastern Province which have benefited over 300,000 people. That is how
we have contributed for the well-being of the people. But the TNA
politicians have not done even a hundred meter long concrete road. We
have completed many concrete roads everywhere in the North and the East.
The TNA is engaging only in racist politics.
At present the younger generation is well aware of the Government's
development drive. The Government's development works are going on very
well. I appreciate the fullest co-operation extended by President
Rajapaksa and Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa to develop
the North and the the East. The President has allocated vast amounts of
money to develop these two provinces. Last month President Rajapaksa
opened the Kalladi bridge, the biggest in Batticaloa district
constructed at a cost of Rs. 2,000 million. Therefore, if we only stay
with the Government, we can launch these development works and fulfil
the rights and aspirations of the Tamil people. I am the Vice President
of the SLFP. At the Central Committee Meeting, I can draw the attention
of the President to many issues pertaining to the Tamil people. If we
stay with the Opposition we can't do anything except criticise the
Government. The TNA has not done anything for its people so far. This is
the true situation the people have to realise. If the Tamil people elect
another two or three parliamentarians to join the Government rank, they
can certainly derive more benefits.