Senior Minister Professor Tissa Vitarana who was not included in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) expressed his disenchantment with the government’s handling of the political solution, and said there is no point summoning the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to the PSC if the government does not have a genuine commitment to address matters pertaining to the country’s national issue.
The minister said the TNA had decided to boycott the PSC because the government failed to gain its trust. Vitarana also expressed dismay at his removal, by the government, from the PSC in what appeared to be a capitulation to the pressure of ultra nationalist parties within the ruling coalition.
Vitarana was the Chairman of the All Party Conference, appointed to solve the national issue. “At a juncture when the country has been scrutinized globally, if it thinks that summoning the TNA to the PSC would serve as a goodwill gesture, it is mistaken,” Vitarana said, TNA has lost confidence in the PSC pointing out that both he and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) were not represented in it.
“When I requested the TNA to participate in the PSC they asked me why they should come when I’m not there? On the other hand, the UNP is saying the PSC is of no use, devoid of TNA’s participation. Moreover, parties such as the JVP are also not included in the PSC. The government has to give this matter thought,” he said.
Vitarana was of the opinion that without addressing the national issue, Sri Lanka would not be able to extricate itself from being scrutinized internationally.
Meanwhile, JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva said his Party decided to boycott the PSC due to a policy decision and not due to the absence of Vitarana.
“The government did not appoint the PSC out of national concern. They did it to postpone solving the national issue. That is why we decided to vacate the PSC. Irrespective of whether Vitarana and the TNA would participate in it or not, we shall not take part in it. That is because the government has betrayed us. If the government has a genuine concern to solve the national issue there is no need for a PSC. At present the government has taken steps to bring the Tamil people of the North under an iron fist,” Silva alleged.
The UNP noted that the government had decided to appoint the PSC with the intention of delaying solving the island’s national issue.
UNP MP, lawyer Ajith P. Perera said, “If the grievances of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population are to be addressed there should be a Tamil Party representation. Moreover, the government should provide a time frame by which it hopes to conclude these discussions. It is imperative that intellectuals, such as Vitarana participates in the PSC’s sittings. It is only then that we as the UNP will participate in the PSC. However, the government has no intention of doing so”.
By Niranjala Ariyawansha