TNA: Tamils don’t want a return to violence

… but anything is possible


By Zacki Jabbar

Amidst moves to amend the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that neither it nor the Tamil people wanted a return to violence, but if the Rajapaksa government was not wise enough to resolve the ethnic issue through peaceful means, it could not predict what would happen in the future.

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan, MP, addressing the Foreign Correspondents’ Association in Colombo, on Tuesday evening, said that the violence of the past had done no good to the country and its people and the TNA would do its damnedest to prevent history repeating itself, but if that’s what the Rajapaksa regime wanted they would have no choice in the matter.

Refuting allegations that the TNA had nurtured the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), he said that successive governments, under whom racial pogroms had occurred over the last six decades, were responsible for the creation of the LTTE.

"We did not create the LTTE," Sampanthan stressed while querying why his alliance was being blamed for something it had no control over.

"The LTTE destroyed itself and we had no control over that either," the TNA leader said.

The Tamil people, Sampanthan said, were fed up with the continuous violence witnessed over the last three decades and were only asking the government to devolve power under the country’s Constitution.

He warned that any attempts to dilute the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, by removing its existing powers, including land and police, would negate the very essence of devolution and therefore be counterproductive.

Dismissing fears that a Northern Provincial Council would lead to the division of the country, the TNA leaders said that such a belief existed only in the minds of the Jathika Hela Urumaya and the National Freedom Front and not among the vast majority of the Sinhala people.

"It’s a fanciful notion that devolution would lead to separation," Sampanthan said while querying why such things were not said by Presidents Premadasa and Chandrika Kumaratunga. Even the incumbent, Mahinda Rajapaksa had offered greater powers to the provinces than even what 13th Amendment provided for.

"Is this theory of devolution leading to separation being spread now since the LTTE was no longer around to fight on behalf of the Tamil people," the TNA leader queried while stressing that the TNA was committed to a united Sri Lanka.

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