Bid to bring ex-LTTE cadre into Tamil political mainstream
February 14, 2015 04:00 pm
N. Vithyatharan, former editor of popular pro-LTTE Tamil dailies Sudar Oli and Uthayan, has started a movement to bring into the Tamil political mainstream, former LTTE cadre and their supporters, who are either out rightly rejected or discriminated against by existing Tamil political organizations like the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
Speaking to CMR Thamil FM of Toronto, Canada, Vithyatharan said that the basic idea of his movement is to “recognize the sacrifices the LTTE had made for the Tamil cause” in the past, and use their sense of “commitment and dedication to the Tamil cause” in the on-going democratic and peaceful struggle to secure the Tamils’ rights.
He alleged that the 11,000 “rehabilitated” ex-Tiger cadre are still under strict military surveillance besides being discriminated against by post-war Tamil polity.
“If former militants are not brought into mainstream democratic and peaceful politics, they may return to violence,” he warned.
His movement is no threat to Sri Lanka’s security as it will work within the Lankan legal framework, Vithyatharan said. At the same time, nobody can expect the Tamils to abandon their struggle for democratic rights just to be on the right side of the powers-that-be, he added.
To Strengthen TNA
He clarified that the organization he will be forming will not be contesting elections, at least for the time being, but it will act as a pressure group vis-à-vis the TNA and other mainstream Tamil parties.
The idea is not to weaken the TNA or any other party working for the Tamil cause but to strengthen them by seeing that they do not abandon or dilute the Tamil cause or suppress any section of Tamil nationalists, he said.
Vithyatharan pointed out that the ITAK, which is the dominant group in the TNA, has been trying to portray itself as a peaceful party, unsullied by a bloody militant past, and has been discriminating against or even out rightly rejecting, ex-LTTE cadre, their sympathizers and collaborators. He himself has been a victim.
The other aim of the movement is to bring democracy into the TNA and the ITAK. According to Vithyatharan, decisions in the TNA and ITAK are taken by a select few unilaterally, and imposed on others in the name of unity. Such a decision making style might have been alright in an organization like the LTTE, but not in avowedly democratic organizations like the ITAK and TNA, he pointed out.
Expects Sinhalese Support
Asked if the Sinhalese majority in Southern Sri Lanka will not see the movement as an indication of a revival of the dreaded LTTE, Vithyatharan said: “My guess is that there will be more support for my cause in the South than in the Tamil areas!”
In explanation he said: “The Sinhalese cannot object to ex-militants being brought to the democratic mainstream because they had themselves magnanimously brought the militant JVP to the mainstream. Today, the once anti-Tamil JVP has become so democratic that it is voicing the Tamils’ demands more loudly than any other Sinhalese party!” – The New Indian Express