Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF) Secretary – General Veerasingham Aanandasangaree has in a letter sent to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi been critical of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA).The letter is published in full below-
Hon. Narendra Modi,
Prime Minister of India,
Let Us Be Honest By Our People
I am the Secretary General of the Tamil United Liberation Front, a position held by the Late Mr. A. Amirthalingam before his assassination in 1989 . Due to my strong commitments to non-violence I was selected to receive the UNESCO’s Madanjeetsingh award for the Promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence for the year 2006. I also served as a Member of Parliament for 17 years.
The TULF was founded by the Late Hon. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam a Queen’s Council in 1972. Due to his strong commitments to Mahatma Gandhi’s policies, he was very much loved, respected and also affectionately referred to as ‘Eelahthu Gandhi.’ The TULF was left behind as a legacy, by the founder to his people, a brief history of which is given here to enlighten Your Honour .of certain vital matters related to our ethnic problem. The TULF that had been dealing with the Sri Lankan Ethnic issue from Smt. Indra Gandhi’s days has changed hands, under compelling circumstances and now being dealt with by a pro- LTTE group.
Among many others, the main purpose of forming the TULF was to bring together all sections of the Tamil speaking minorities of Sri Lanka under one banner. It was an urgent need at that time. When the Soulbury constitution, with which the country gained its independence, was being replaced in 1972 with the new Republican Constitution, in which even the few safe guards the minorities had were unjustifiably dropped.
Realizing the urgent need at that time, brushing aside the 23 years old political enmity, the late Hon. S.J.V. Chelvanayagam had with his onetime colleague the late Hon. G.G.Ponnambalam who was also a Queen’s Council and leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress founded by both of them in 1945, went to his residence and invited him to join him to meet the challenge, the Tamil community was facing due to the new developments.
Admirably unhesitant and respectfully the leader of the ACTC agreed to give full support for the move of the leader of the ITAK. As far as the Tamils were concerned this was a reunion of two Tamil political giants of great repute.
The entire Tamil Community rejoiced at the magnanimity shown by the two leaders who put aside their differences and re-joined to fight for a common cause.
It is on such a strong foundation the TULF was built, to serve the Tamil cause, as a permanent body and not meant to be meddled with by everybody. The TULF proved its acceptance by the Tamil people by winning all the Tamil majority seats except only one, which was lost by about 500 votes at the Parliamentary elections held in 1977.
A delegation claiming to be that of the TNA (Tamil National Alliance) , now supposed to be comprised of five political parties namely the ITAK,TELO,EPRLF,TULF,PLOTE met you recently. But this delegation that met you in India was comprised of four members from the ITAK and one each from the TELO and EPRLF with none from the PLOTE although its leader polled over 40,000 votes and came third at the recently held Northern Provincial Council elections. As usual they never discuss anything with the TULF the leader of which is in politics for more than 55 years. The reason is obviously on orders from their top.
Your Excellency, I am one who had been campaigning for an Indian Model as an alternative to a Federal Solution. It may not be out of place if I quote extracts from Editorials of three prestigious local papers:-
• Sunday Island of 12-03-2006 wound up its Editorial captioned “Anandasangaree’s Fomula” saying “The Indian Model is what Anandasangaree suggests. The majority of Lankans will accept that but whether the LTTE will abandon separatism is another question.
• The Morning Leader of 15-03-2006 in its Editorial captioned “The Anandasangaree Proposal” had commented “The Anandasangaree proposal in fact is a very practicable via media, if the opposing parties are prepared to accept it, But are they so prepared”?
• The Daily Mirror of March 16, 2006 in its Editorial captioned “Heed TULF leader’s appeal” had said “ Anandasangaree is a politician held in high esteem by many in the South, particularly by the JVP, as a moderate leader who has, throughout, opposed the LTTE’s violence and its dictatorial policies. It is, therefore, appropriate to pay due attention to what he has proposed.”
Your Excellency, I do not know what transpired at the meeting this delegation had with you. No local paper carried any details except some reference to your expectations advice etc. But after going through an interview given to the press by a Member of Parliament who was in the delegation, I hasten to deny, although belated, some references made by him relating to the relationship of the TNA with the LTTE and about the mandate the TNA repeatedly got from the Tamil People, through various elections, to speak for the Tamils. The relationship the TNA’s constituent parties have among themselves and with others are not at all cordial as claimed.
With regard to the TNA’s relationship with the LTTE, it was Mr. S. Senathirajah the President of the ITAK that the LTTE had made use of, to strengthen their position. He enjoyed the lion’s share in the National List Membership of the TULF in Parliament twice, which is very unusual.
Following that he won a seat to Parliament at the 2002 elections on the TULF ticket. By unfair means he revived the ITAK which was virtually defunct for a period of 26 years, from 1977 in which the founder died as President of the TULF till, 2003 when it was revived by him in proof of which a media report is quoted here as follows- “TULF MP Mavai Senathirajah who is in the process of reviving the Federal Party visited Killinochchi had meetings with the LTTE Deputy Political Commissar Thangan on 14-10-2003. The revival of the Federal party is being undertaken at the behest of the LTTE”. It is clear that Mr. Senathirajah had undertaken this task on the orders of the LTTE leader. It automatically follows that the move to oust me from the Presidentship of the TULF also was on the orders of the LTTE command. What is wrong is, his assisting a movement committed to violence to eradicate a party committed to non-violence.
It is the same story about the TNA as well. The TNA was started by four parties of which TULF was one. The TULF was replaced by ITAK without any reference to anybody or to the party concerned. All concerned parties should now accept that both the TNA and the ITAK had been revived by dishonest means on the instigation of the LTTE to look after their interest. It is this TNA that nominated candidates for all electoral districts in the North and in the East for the 2004 elections, Mr. Tamilselvan retaining half the number of slots in each one of the electoral districts. Of all the members elected to the 2004 Parliament, majority belonged to the LTTE.
Not only that, the worst part was the declaration the four secretaries of the four Parties made was carried in the manifesto issued by them for the 2004 Parliamentary elections. The signatories were M/S Mavai Senathirajah , G.G.Ponnambalam , Presanna Indrakumar, and Suresh Premachandren representing the ITAK, ACTC,TELO,and the EPRLF respectively.
English translation of the declaration which is in Tamils is given below:-
“Accepting the leadership of the LTTE as the National Leadership of the Tamil people and also accepting the LTTE as the real sole – representatives of the Tamil people, we honestly and firmly pledge to give our full support for the struggle the LTTE had undertaken on behalf of the Tamil Nation”.
Even important and responsible members of the ITAK did not realize the serious commitment they were making. The ITAK not only acted irresponsibly but also brought grave discredit to the TNA and the ITAK as a whole. If the background of the revivals of the TNA and the ITAK are known, the reaction of the International Community will be different.
Dealing with the Tamil question is no more a monopoly of either the TNA or the ITAK. There are several serious blunders the TNA had committed. The TNA changed the course of history by their conduct, one of which was, on the instructions of the LTTE, prevented the Tamils from taking part in the Presidential election held in 2005.
The other too was a similar blunder, in asking the Tamil people to vote for a particular Sinhala candidate which made most Sinhala people to unite and help another one to win and defeat TNA’s claim that only the Tamils can determine as to who will get elected as President.
To mention a 3rd incident the TNA refusing to meet the Indian foreign Secretary Shri Shiv Shankar Menon when asked to do so by him. At that time the war was at its high pitch and several innocent people were dying. If the meeting had taken place he would have advised them as to how to save the lives of thousands of men, women and children. The TNA must share the blame for these large scale deaths.
The declaration of the four secretaries of the alliance gave ample opportunities for the LTTE to commit atrocious crimes between April 2004 and May 18th 2009. Innumerable crimes had been committed resulting in the death of thousands, some of whom were Members of Parliament. According to TNA’s manifesto of 2004 the TNA and ITAK should accept responsibility for these crimes. This is the result of allowing novices to decide on crucial issues.
The claim of the TNA that voters had repeatedly given them the mandate through various elections, to negotiate with the government is not acceptable and misleading.
The 2004 general election was virtually conducted by the LTTE with little or no supervision by the government. There was large scale impersonation, threats and intimidation of voters by the LTTE and some won after their defeats was announced.
At the 2010 General Election the voting at various places varied between 9% and 19.85%. In Jaffna out of about 7,50,000 voters TNA polled only about 65,000 a mere 9%. This low percentage cannot be taken as a mandate. Furthermore polling at local elections cannot be taken as a mandate because the issues were different. In these matters too, the said Member of Parliament seems to have misled the Hon. Prime Minister’s team by concealing vital information.
Having waited so long by allowing the TNA to deal with our ethnic problem and having lost confidence in the TNA, the time has now come for all the other concerned parties to find an alternative.
The TULF was meant to be a permanent body left behind as a legacy to the Tamil people with the blessings of two other leaders Hon. G.G. Ponnambalam and Hon.S.Thondaman. Every Tamil has a right to claim it as one owned by Tamils. Everyone knows that the TULF was the creation of Thanthai Chelva, who virtually wound up his ITAK and brought the other two most senior leaders into his fold and shared his chair of the TULF with both of them.
Your Excellency, your advice must be taken seriously if we want a solution. Hence action should be taken forthwith to consult various political parties of Tamils and Tamil speaking people to know their views. The intention of meeting the party leaders is not to confront any one of them including the TNA and the ITAK, who should be warned of their links with the LTTE if they are serious in finding solutions. The sole purpose is to arrive at a consensus and to see to what extent we can compromise on.
It is very well known that I had been campaigning for an Indian model hardly opposed by anybody. Apart from this, various matters that cause us worry and concern also can be taken up at the meeting that I propose to convene shortly.
V. Aanandasangaree –
Secretary General -TULF.