TULF Leader calls on TNA to follow example set by govt.

National reconciliation


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Commending the new government for issuing a trilingual statement reiterating its genuine commitment to post-war national reconciliation process at the outset of Sri Lanka's 67th national day celebrations at Sri Jayawardenepura, Kotte, TULF leader, V. Anandasangaree yesterday urged the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to follow the example set by the government.

Veteran politician was speaking to The Island after having attended Independence Day celebrations.

Anandasangaree said that the four-party TNA should publicly repent the death and destruction caused during the conflict in the name of the LTTE's despicable cause. The TNA comprises the Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), TELO, PLOTE as well as EPRLF.

Noting that both TNA leader R. Sampanthan and its National List MP M. A. Sumanthiran had been among those dignitaries present on the occasion, former MP Anandasangaree emphasised that the TNA leadership should discuss its war-time role.

Now that President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had pledged to push ahead with national reconciliation process, the TNA should without further delay publicly denounce its relationship with the LTTE, the TULF leader said.

"The TNA's manifesto for April 2004 general election was subjected to Prabhakaran's approval. The TNA never distanced itself from those policies, though the military eradicated the LTTE in May 2009."

Responding to a query, Anandasangaree, one of the Tamil politicians who had been high on the LTTE hit list said that the TNA should denounce the LTTE before the next parliamentary election.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe recently declared that Parliament would be dissolved any time after April 23, 2015 to pave the way for a general election in June.

Anandasangaree pointed out that then General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena risked everything by quitting the SLFP-led UPFA at a time a change of government was even unthinkable. The Sinhalese had shed their differences for whatever the reasons to bring about far reaching changes in the political scene, the TULF leader said. Had that not happened, the TNA or the TULF wouldn't have been represented at the annual Independence Day celebrations, Anandasangaree said. But, the TNA on the other hand had remained silent without making a bona fide effort to break from its past.

Obviously, the TNA had no option but to give in to LTTE pressure or face the consequences, so why not say so openly, Anandasangaree said, alleging that the TNA leadership obviously believed that such a move could undermine its electoral base ahead of next national level election.

The TULF leader noted that the TNA was also represented in the decision making National Executive Council (NEC).

Asked whether he was happy to receive an invitation for the event from the new government, Anandasangaree said that for some reason the organisers didn't accommodate him along with special invitees including politicians. "Having risked my life during Eelam conflict, particularly during Eelam war IV, I was hurt to be left out. A senior army officer walked up to me and inquired about me being accommodated in C stand."

Among the invitees were former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as well as many SLFP members of parliament. The SLFP group included the Opposition Leader Nimal Siripala de Silva.

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