By Sandun A. Jayasekera
The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) which swept the board in Saturday’s local council elections in the North said yesterday it would be impossible to reach a political solution and bring about lasting peace, justice and democracy in the North without the devolution of police and land powers.
Jaffna district parliamentarian and TNA spokesman Suresh Premachandra told Daily Mirror the TNA which won 18 of the 23 local councils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces was in a stronger position to negotiate with the government at the ongoing talks following the overwhelming mandate it received from the Tamil-speaking people.
“It’s unfortunate that the government has failed to understand fully and correctly the real problems facing the Tamil community and their aspirations. I wonder whether the government even realises the impact of the TNA’s electoral victory,” Mr. Premachandra said.
With regard to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s stance that police and land powers are non-negotiable, Mr. Premachandra said these two subjects were extremely necessary for lasting peace, justice, democracy and northern development.
“If the government continues to be adamant on police and land powers I do not see the need to continue the current dialogue,” Mr. Premchandra said. “The TNA is ready to accept a dignified solution to the ethnic problem within a united Sri Lanka. We need a serious dialogue with the government and the sad part of this is that the government has not understood this properly. I do not know how we could convince the government.”
With regard to allegations of war crimes during the last stages of the war, Mr. Premchandra said the government must heed the requests of the United Nations, Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch and the international community by setting up a credible local mechanism to investigate these allegations.
“If this is not done, no one can prevent Sri Lanka being called a ‘Pariah State’ in the eyes of the international community and organizations,” Mr. Premachandra said.
He emphasised the futility of appointing a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to work out proposals to resolve the national question apart from it being a time-wasting exercise.
“Arriving at an acceptable solution will be impossible with Sinhalese extremists like the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) in parliament,” he said.