UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday said the opposition parties would extend support in finding a settlement to the ethnic question if the government genuinely take steps to fulfil the political aspirations of the Tamils without giving room for petty differences.
The May Day rally of the opposition parties was held in Jaffna with the participation of thousands of people from various parts of the country. The May Day procession was started from the Kailasapillayar premises at 1:30 p.m.
The supporters of all six opposition parties carried their party flags and placards voicing against the abductions, and all forms of human rights violations .They also condemned the government over the price hikes of all essential items.
A large number of police personnel were present to ensure a trouble free May Day rally in Jaffna.
The opposition May rally was held at the Roche play ground near St. Patrick’s College, Jaffna presided over by Jaffna district parliamentarian Mavai Senathiraja.
Apart from the key political figures from all six political parties, human rights activists Ms. Nimalka Ferando who has been warned by Minister Mervyn Silva for her presence at the UNHRC session in Geneva was also present at the rally.
The TNA leader said that he was extremely happy to see that thousands of people have come to celebrate the May Day rally with the people in the North.
Sampanthan said: The Tamil National Alliance reiterates that the Tamils want a settlement to the ethnic question within an undivided country. However the government is towing a communal line delaying the process of reaching an amicable solution to the ethnic question .Despite the threats and adverse publicity over the May Day in the North, the TNA is happy to see the solidarity expressed by thousands of people from various parts of the country arriving in Jaffna to take part in the May Day rally.
From January 2011 to 2012 the TNA made several attempts to ensure a healthy outcome towards a political solution to the Tamil question, but the government was not supportive of finding a solution. If the government had expedited the process in settling the Tamil question soon after the war ended, even the country’s economy would have been stabilized by now. Whereas by delaying the political process the government has given room for forces with petty differences to create obstacle for the peace process.
Sampanthan reiterated several times during his speech that the TNA wants a settlement within an undivided country and the party did not harbour any communal feelings.
The UNP Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe began his May Day speech with glowing tribute to Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan, Sir P. Arunachalam and Dr.Ananda Coomaraswamy. Ranil Wickremesinghe said that those leaders were exemplary in safeguarding the unity and the dignity of the country. He also said that those great leaders were from the soil of Jaffna.
Ranil also said that as Vesak is around the corner it is appropriate to remind it was Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who took the initiative in making Vesak a holiday.
Ranil also reminded that when D.S.Senanyake was imprisoned by the British it was Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan who played a great role in releasing him.
Commenting on Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy he said that Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy was the pioneer in highlighting the marvels of the Sinhala culture to the outside world.
However the present government had done a painful thing by removing the name of Dr.Annada Coomaraswamy and had renamed the road which bore his name as Nelum Pokuna Mawatha.
Ranil in his speech said that the people have come to the southern tip of the country from every nook and corner of the country to express their solidarity to the Tamils in the North. The Jaffna May Day rally organized by the opposition parties was to unite the country and not to divide the country.
By Our Jaffna Correspondent