[Parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah was appointed as the new leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi party or ITAK}
Resolutions passed at the 15th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi held at Vavuniya on 5, 6, 7 September 2014
The 15th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi which met in Vauniya on 5, 6, 7 September 2014 resolves to thank most sincerely all those who laboured for the Party for over 60 years and our people who accepted our basic policy and consistently voted for that political position and proclaimed to the world in a democratic way that this is in fact the political aspiration of the Tamil People. We assure our people that we will take forward our struggle until we achieve the objective of autonomous rule in the North East based on the principles of self-determination and shared sovereignty within a united, undivided Sri Lanka.
We humbly invite all Tamil, Muslim political parties, formations, forces and all progressive forces within Sri Lanka to join with us in our struggle on the basis that it is only through a new constitutional arrangement based on maximum possible devolution that can solve the ethnic conflict in this country. We also request India, the international community and the people of Sri Lanka not to permit the Government of Sri Lanka to continue to breach the provisions of the Indo-Lanka Accord, which is an international bilateral treaty between two sovereign states. We resolve that the Indo-Lanka agreement should be implemented in full.
Although 5 years have lapsed since the end of the war and in spite of the fact that the Government of Sri Lanka has repeatedly given assurances regarding 1) war crimes investigations, 2) resettlement, rehabilation and livelihood support and 3) a political solution to India and the international community, it has totally failed to keep its promises; instead, it continues to oppress and suppress our people, grab their lands, militarise our areas and has let loose gender based and other violence on our women and children. We condemn this agenda of the government which obliterates the ethnic, cultural and religious identities of the Tamil areas and abuses state power to colonise the Tamil areas with the military and people of the majority community. This is intended to make the necessity for a political solution redundant. We appeal to India and the entire international community to take urgent steps to halt these genocidal actions of the government.
We express our thanks to the United States of America and other countries and our diaspora for the passage of the resolution on Sri Lanka in March 2014 at the UNHRC. We commit ourselves to assist in all possible ways for the successful conduct of the international inquiry that has commenced consequent to this. We request our people to place evidence before this inquiry without any hesitation. We ourselves will make available avenues for this purpose. We appeal to everyone to help in the ascertainment of the truth which will render justice to our people. We state categorically that our people have no faith in the present internal inquiry which is a mere eye-wash. We wish to inform all the peoples of this country most humbly that true peace and genuine reconciliation can be achieved only by the ascertainment of the truth.
This convention expresses its deep concern on the state of those who were forced to dissappear during, prior to and after the end of the war. We appeal to the government and international mechanisms that those responsible for this situtation must be identified and punished immediately and all those who are still alive must be returned to their next of kin. Compensation must be paid in respect of those who are dead.
Thousands of Tamils have been displaced internally and also have taken residence outside the country as a result of the decades of violence unleashed on them and due to the war. This and the state aided colonisation schemes have changed the demography and the population percentage of our people substantially. Taking advantage of this, the Parliament seats in Jaffna district have been reduced from 9 to 6. Since this was reduction is caused by such artificial causes, we resolve that the number of seats should not be reduced at least until our people are able to resettle in their original places.
The government must honour the undertakings given to the Supreme Court and Parliament with regard to the resettlement in Valikamam North and Sampur and people must be resettled there as well as in all other lands that have been grabbed from our people. The land-grab taking place at present also must be halted immediately and the armed forces that have been stationed in our lands excessively must be withdrawn.
The draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) must be repealed immediately. All those arrested and detained under the provisions of this Act without any charge must be released forthwith. Cases filed undet the PTA must be withdrawn and amnesty should be granted to those serving sentences after conviction under the provisions of this Act. Former combatants who have been released must be integrated into the society and given all assistance such as education and job opportunities to lead useful lives in the future.
The suppression of media freedom must be removed and everyone must have the right to express their views and the right to criticise the government. The rampant corruption, dictatorship and family rule must be brought to an end and good governance restored. The 18th amendment to the constitution, which prevents this must be repealed, independent institutions established and the executive presidential system that centralises all power must be abolished.
This convention strongly condemns the majoritarian forces that have created feelings of intolerance on the basis of race, religion and language and the attacks on places of worship and the attitude that says that this country belongs only to one race, religion and language. We also condemn the government that deliberately ignores and actively encourages this trend. This agenda has been used to obliterate the racial, language and religious identities of the Tamil areas, to change the demography and to render a political solution unecessary. This conspiracy of the government must be abandoned immediately. The state aided colonisation must not only be halted, but it must be reversed as well. Our people who have settled overseas must return and dual citizenship must be granted to them.
The economic condition of the Tamil People is in a parlous state due to the government’s neglect and projects implemented purposely. This should be reversed. This Convention criticises the government for implementing discriminatory policies towards Tamil youth in the areas of education and employment. They are deliberately kept out of government recruitments. We condemn the government for misleading the youth towards harmful ways and demand that alcohol temperance and ban on narcotics should be implemented.
The dispute between the Tamil fishermen from India and Sri Lanka must not continue any further. We demand that the ‘bottom-trawling’ that destroys the marine resources and the sea bed be banned totally. This injurious method of fishing should abandoned and the fishermen from both coutries should be given all the necessary facilities to engage in traditional fishing methods and in deep sea fishing. The Indian Central Government, the Tamil Nadu State Government, the Sri Lankan Government and the Northern Provincial Council Government must act jointly in respect of this matter and find a solution. The people from the south coming and functioning with the assistance of the army and the navy must be stopped and our fishermen should be given all necessary assistance.
The exploitation of those who depend on the palmyrah should cease forthwith. The income derived from their labour must benefit only them and the intervention of the central Ministry in this regard must be prevented. The Thikkam distillery must be handed back to the employees and it must be given back to the Ministry of Co-operatives of the Norhtern Provincial Council.
The many natural resources like minerals, forests and sand in the Tamil areas must be preserved along with rain water. The environmental degradation due to personal gains must be arrested. The Iranaimadu Water Project will have to be re-formulated. The Arumugam Plan must be implemented. The farmers near the Iranamadu Tank must have priority over the water there. The excess water and the water from the implementation of the Arumugam Plan may be utilised for the water needs of Jaffna peninsula.
This convention reiterates that this country’s national question can be resolved only through maximum possible devolution of political power to the merged NorthEast province. However the government refuses to share any power with the North and the East and blocks the Chief Ministers and the board of ministers elected by the people, by appointing ex-military officers as governors to these provinces. This convention condemns this anti-democratic actions of this government and for running a parallel administration. This action of the government breaches the Constitution and the provisions in the Provincial Council Act. We also condemn the government for rejecting the sincere efforts of the Chief Minister of the North and for going back on the promises made to him. The local bodies and the provincial governments must be stregthened through actual devolution of power.
If the government continues with its present programme by suppressing our people, grabbing more land, destroy our people’s wealth, subject our women and children to abuse and keep postponing the achieving of a political solution so that in due time there will not be any necessity for a political solution, and does not change its course before the end of this year, the 15th National Convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi which met in Vavuniya on 5, 6, 7 September 2014 resolves to commence a non-violent struggle in the lines of Mahatma Gandhi from January next year. We appeal to all progressive forces in the country and the international community including India to come forward to support us in this struggle