TNA wants Military Governor replaced prior to Northern PC Election

North still under military rule - Shritharan


Sivagnanam Shritharan

by Zacki Jabbar

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) yesterday called for the Northern Province Governor Major General (Rtd) G.A.Chandrasiri to be replaced with a civilian ahead of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) Election scheduled for September.

A conducive climate for the conduct of a free and fair Poll was essential and the first step in that direction should be the appointment of a civilian as Governor of the North, Jaffna District TNA MP Sivagnanam Shritharan told the "Sunday Island".

Asked how a retired army officer could influence the conduct of the election, he said that the North was still under military rule over four years after the war had ended and there was no difference between retired and serving generals.

"We believe the NPC poll would not be free and fair if the Province continued to be headed by a military man ", the MP noted calling on President Mahinda Rajapaksa to listen to the genuine and valid fears of the Tamils.

Shritharan,said that the chaos in the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) with the ruling UPFA Councillors themselves refusing to work with the Governor, who was a retired Rear Admiral, cannot be dismissed lightly.

If in an elected body the Governor was behaving in a dictatorial manner, you could imagine the extent to which an election held virtually under army rule in the North could be influenced in favour of the government, he observed.

Agents of the Governor were already visiting homes in the North to ascertain as to how many votes each household had, the MP said adding that for the Tamils who were recovering from three decades of violence, it automatically instilled a sense of fear and suspicion as regards the motives.

With the ruling UPFA also having within its ranks former para military groups, whose modus operandi was only too well known, all traces of military involvement have to be removed if the elections were not only free and fair but also appeared to be so, Shritharan said.

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