Colombo, February 13 (The New Indian Express): Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, alias Karuna Amman,who was formerly the LTTE’s Special Commander for Batticaloa and Amparai, says that his new party, Tamizhar Aikkiya Suthanthira Munnani ( Tamil United Freedom Front) is opting for “cooperative politics” (inakkapaadu arasiyal) in place of the current “confrontational politics” (muranpaadu arasiyal).
Speaking to Express on Monday, a day after the formation of the party TUFF, Karuna said that while some Tami parties and leaders desire only confrontation with Sri Lankan governments and the Sinhalese majority, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which has the largest number of Tamil members in parliament, is neither here nor there. It is also divided between those who want to do cooperative politics and those seeking confrontation.
On the one hand, the TNA cooperates with the government as a loyal opposition, and on the other it instigates the Tamils to show itself as a Tamil nationalistic party. The TNA has failed to use its influence as an ally of the government to solve the many issues confronting the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, Karuna charged.
He said that since coming to power in 2013 in the Northern Province and winning the parliamentary elections from the North and East in August 2015, the TNA has done precious little to address issues like the grabbing of land by the armed forces in the North; issues relating to war widows, the war wounded and the resettlement of LTTE cadres.
Karuna pointed out that the Tamils have a lot to learn from the Muslim parties which fight for their community’s rights and secure their demands even while being part of the government.
The former LTTE commander claimed that when he was in the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Deputy Minister for Rehabilitation and Vice President of Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), he did a lot for the Tamils but without antagonizing the majority Sinhalese community.
“I saw to it that the army cleared out of private lands in my province, the East. I saw to it that the post-war detention camps were closed at the earliest,” Karuna said.
On his party’s line on the devolution of power, a key demand of the Tamil parties, Karuna said that it would press for the implementation of the 13 th.Amendment (which followed the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987). But improvements could be made in it with the consent of all he added.
He blamed the TNA for opposing the 13 A when President Mahinda Rajapaksa said that he would even go beyond it and devolve more power to the Tamils. The TNA had fooled the Tamils by saying it will get more for them.
“When the TNA failed to deliver on its promise to the Tamil people to get a satisfactory political solution by 2016 , it should have resigned from parliament,” Karuna said.
“My party will cooperate with and interact with the government to secure the rights of the Tamil people. It will not indulge in confrontational politics and alienate the government and the Sinhalese majority or the Muslims. Innakkapaadu arasiyal (cooperative politics) will replace muranpaadu arasiyal ( confrontational politics),” he said.
Karuna said that his party will seek the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces because it is necessary for securing the rights of the Tamils.
“In the absence of the merger, the overall power of the Tamils will be less than it should be, and in the East, the Tamils will continue to lose their rights being just a third of the population,” he explained.
Asked if the Muslims of the East would accept a merger with the North when their share in the population would come down from 35 % to 12 %, Karuna said that the Muslims could be given a separate autonomous unit within a merged North and East.
“We can talk to the Muslims and come to a mutually acceptable arrangement. My party is not against any community,” he said.
(The featured image at the top is that of Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman)