EPDP leader and Minister of Rural Industries and Traditional Industries Douglas Devananda told The Island that the sole motive of the TNA was to drag the negotiations to a point of no return as they were acutely conscious of being politically isolated if a permanent solution was found.
“These demands are frivolous and there is no reason why the TNA should be asking for such excessive demands such as self rule which is ridiculous. Even if they want that, they should be coming to the proposed Parliamentary Select Committee on the ethnic question and presenting their demands which they are not even doing,” the EPDP Leader said.
He also queried whether the TNA was acting as the sole representatives of the Tamil people of the North and the East when other minority parties, represented in Parliament, were also there. “In fact, I too polled more preferential votes than some of the TNA MPs at the election,” he said.
Jathika Hela Urumaya MP and Power and Energy Minister Champika Ranawaka said that the North and the East had a mere 4 per cent of the population and the TNA, despite having high demands, had to come up with solutions acceptable to the majority community which lived with them. “They can present their demands to the Parliamentary Select Committee but, they have to be acceptable to the majority community,” he said.
He said that the TNA should come out of its hyper world of make believe about self rule which, he said, will be rejected totally by the majority community. He added that the Tamil people of the North and the East were suffering today due to the racist ideas of the TNA.
The Minister demanded to know from the TNA why its members were silent at the time the LTTE was causing murder, mayhem and carnage for 30 years and also why the TNA was so critical of the Armed Forces, who wiped out terrorism for the TNA to engage in politics.
“What moral right has the TNA to ask for self rule when it did not utter a word in protest when the LTTE blasted the Vavuniya- Chunnakam power line and the Vavuniya- Kankesanthurai railway line,” the Minister queried. The TNA’s self rule idea would also defeat the existing reconciliation process as well, he alleged.
National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa also reiterated his earlier position that the TNA demands were excessive and said that they could get their demands from Rudrakumaran, the self proclaimed Prime Minister of Tamil Ealam.
United National Party General Secretary and Kandy District MP Tissa Attanayake also said that the government and the majority community did not need to provide self rule to the TNA just because they have asked for it. He added that the solutions the TNA had asked for should be acceptable to not only all parties in Parliament but the majority of the people as well.
He also said that it was up to the government to spell out what its stand on the matter was based on the negotiations that it had with the TNA for the last one year and also in relation to the negotiations that it had with India and in consonance with the recommendations in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation report.
JVP Gampaha District MP Vijitha Herath said that the demand for self rule was frivolous and ridiculous, but stressed that the demands arose with the government delaying the solutions and mainly due to the delay in the establishment of civil administration of the once war torn regions.
The ugly idea of separatism and also the demands that arose were due to the vacillation of the government which resulted in the government being subject to pressures of foreign forces. The government should have implemented the establishment of civil administration in the North without which no solution could have been found yet, he said.
“It was the delay in these basics that prompted the theories of separatism and self rule. Had the government implemented civil administration, then it would not have got cornered into a situation where those demands, locally and internationally, would have come,” he said.
By Ravi Ladduwahetty