R. Sampanthan, (MP,TNA)
There was a reference by my Friend, the Hon. Anura Dissanayake, the leader of the JVP, to international involvement in the issues in Sri Lanka. He made an appeal to the TNA in particular, that we should not rush to India; we should not rush to the international community and solicit their support because this is essentially a Sri Lankan problem and the resolution to this problem must be addressed locally. I cannot agree with him any more.
But I must also remind him that the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact was not signed in New Delhi; the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact was not signed in Washington and all other steps taken towards resolving the conflict in Sri Lanka amicably and peacefully were not taken in some European country.
Those were all taken in Sri Lanka.
What happened was whenever the Tamils agitated and performed ” satyagraha”, which means that ” satyam”, truth; you demand the truth and “graha” means that you bring upon the people concerned the necessary force to bring about that truth.
How do we do that? It is through ” ahimsa”, through peaceful means and through non-violence. We performed sathyagraha in 1961. We prevented government officers functioning in our districts. As a young lawyer, I was also held in custody with my leaders in Panagoda.
We know what happened. So, we did not rush to India; we did not rush to Washington; we did not rush to Europe. We wanted the issue to be solved in Sri Lanka. But, instead of solving the issue, we were subjected to violence, and that was the reason for the birth of the LTTE. The reason for the birth of the LTTE was that the issue was not solved amicably and peacefully in Sri Lanka and whenever the Tamils protested or agitated they were subjected to violence. That was the reason for the birth of the LTTE.
In our election manifesto in 1970, the Federal Party very clearly stated that we should oppose separation and called upon our people to defeat any candidate who contested on a separatist ticket. People like the late Prof. Suntharalingam and Mr. Navaratnam from Kayts were resoundingly defeated – forfeited their deposits – on the basis of the call by the Federal Party that we should not support separation and that we should defeat all persons who contested on that platform.
So, even the LTTE, in a sense, was created by you – by the leaders in this country who did not address this question. Tamil Eelam and the emergence of the LTTE were consequent to the failure on the part of the people in this country to address the Tamil question in a reasonable way and find a reasonable, workable and a durable political solution.
Even today, what we want is a solution within the framework of a united, undivided Sri Lanka that will enable us to live as equal citizens in this country and exercise real powers of governance without in any way adversely impacting on the unity or the integrity of this country in the areas in which we have lived for generations and centuries.
(- from the speech made by R. Sampanthan, MP on 23rd Oct during the parliamentary debate on the Geneva resolution)