TNA was formed by LTTE & contested December 2001 elections
Was TNA created by the LTTE in 2001? Yes.Press release on 22 Oct 2001 was signed by Sampanthan for TULF, N.Kumarakuruparan for ACTC, N. Srikantha for TELO & K.Premachandran for EPRLF. Why was TNA formed by LTTE in 2001? 9/11 sparked fears of actions against terrorist movements so TNA as LTTE’s political wing came into being. TNA issued its election manifesto on 12 November 2001 ahead of the 5thDecember 2001 elections.
TNA’s manifesto goes out to explain the history to the Tamil nationality covering past 52 years.
TNA uses ‘Citizenship & Franchise Laws’claiming it deprived hundreds and thousands of Tamils of recent Indian origin their citizenship & franchise rights.
TNA is referring to the ‘hundreds and thousands of South Indian indentured laborers brought by the Dutch and the British to work on plantations during colonial rule.
TNA must explain why it only makes reference to these Estate Tamils but never includes Estate Tamils in their demands and does not even contest in areas where these Estate Tamils live!
TNA next refers to ‘state aided colonization of the Tamil homeland with Sinhala people from the time of independence’
Again, TNA ignores that the Constitution of Sri Lanka guarantees the right of any citizen to live and reside where they like and no political party can prevent this. At the same time, TNA must also respond to how LTTE in late 1980s and 1990 evicted in a virtual ethnic cleansing the Sinhalese & Muslims who were living in the North even prior to independence. Affidavits of these thrown out Sinhalese were even sent to the OISL investigators. TNA has no right to declare any area as its ‘homeland’ or ‘habitat’ or deny Sinhalese or Muslims from living in the North. When statistics can showcase that 59% of Tamils have bought land and property outside of the North and East and live without issues is this not ‘Tamilization of Sinhala areas’ as per TNA’s same argument?
There is continued reference to the Official Language Act 1956 erroneously called “Sinhala Only Act” which completely ignores that Tamil was never an official or language of administration before independence or during independence to claim grievance. The demand for reversal of discrimination the Sinhala majority from the British had nothing to do with Tamils or against Tamils, it was only to demand the return of rights that the Sinhalese were denied under colonial rule. The divide and policy objectives of the colonials evaded correcting the historical wrongs & injustices to the Sinhala majority by falsely creating a notion that the Sinhalese demands were against Tamils which were fueled by the brown sahibs that the British had nurtured via their education system.
The Sinhalese demand of the British was never to deny Tamils but to give to the Sinhalese as well what the British was unfairly and disproportionately giving to the Tamils.
TNA next quotes STANDARDIZATION in university education. Again this too is a falsely drummed notion and this issue needs to also be linked to the 1957 Social Disabilities Act in which the then PM – SWRD Bandaranaike enabled low-caste Tamils to obtain education and enter university. This was fiercely objected to by the Tamils higher classes far more than the 1956 Official Language Act. In fact, after this Act was passed, the high caste Tamils did not allow the Tamil low caste children to sit on school chairs and they were made to sit and study on the floor. This was the Tamil caste system showing its true colours. The objection to the STANDARDIZATION was also because with low caste Tamils able to gain education, it meant they could also gain university entrance. This was a blow to the elite who were the only one’s enjoying university education. Standardization meant quotas given to the various districts and more low castes able to apply. Anyone wanting to know more about this argument unfairly used by the high caste Tamils must do a bit more research to find out the truth for themselves. Even the high class Sinhalese were not too much in favor of many Sinhalese also benefiting from university entrance. Standardization meant the privileged lot had to make way for others to also gain university education.
TNA makes reference to in-equal education facilities– completely ignoring that the best of missionary schools throughout colonial rule were in minority majority areas in particular North Sri Lanka. This was how minorities (who converted and studied in English) obtained colonial jobs and why at independence they secured more jobs than the Sinhalese. This was no fault of Tamils per se but part of the colonial divide and rule system. The question at independence was the continuance of the disproportionate and unfair system or to rectify the system to be fair by all. Obviously, it was natural that those who were unfairly benefitting by the colonial system would get annoyed.
TNA also claims Tamils suffer deprivations and economic impoverishments.
This argument can easily be dismissed by statistical proof of the roles held by Tamils in Public and Private sector, the businesses they own, the properties in the most exclusive areas around Sri Lanka. Completely false propaganda by TNA.
TNA also alleges discrimination in the public sector for Tamil youth
This is another myth but with a background. It was the LTTE that instilled fear in Tamils who were working in the public sector by shooting them dead. LTTE killed 3 Tamil mayors, LTTE assassinated Tamil politicians and public servants including principals, LTTE shot dead Tamil policemen on duty. As for Tamil youth, during LTTE heyday these young children were kidnapped and turned into child soldiers while affluent Tamils managed to go to foreign shores on asylum and as refugees. Naturally, Tamils could not join the public sector during this period because of fear of LTTE not because of any policy by the government not to induct them.
It is interesting that TNA refers to the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 14 May 1976 claiming it is to restore the ’sovereignty of the Tamil nation’. It was this resolution that called for Tamil youth to take up arms and which LTTE used as a catalyst to do so having rechristened itself from Tamil New Tigers formed in 1972 (22 May – Sri Lanka Republic Day) to LTTE.
TNA justifies LTTE militancy in its 2001 manifesto
“Tamil youth left with no alternative were driven to resort to an armed struggle”
TNA goes on to merge the quest for Tamil National rights with the LTTE’s armed struggle –virtually aligning LTTE’s armed movement to the Tamil National quest.
There is repeated reference by TNA to a ‘just solution to the Tamil national question’before solving anything, can TNA first clearly state what the PROBLEM IS.
TNA next refers to the demands by LTTE during the Thimpu Talks in Bhutan on 13 July 1985.
In so quoting LTTE’s demands in TNA’ manifesto, TNA is acknowledging the demands of the LTTE.
LTTE’s demands in 1985 were
- Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a distinct nationality
- Recognition of an identified Tamil Homeland & guarantee its territorial integrity
- Based on the above, recognition of the inalienable right of self-determination of the Tamil Nation
- Recognition of the right to full citizenship & other fundamental democratic rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country.
Questions arising from the 4 LTTE demands
- Tamils like all other nationalities are distinct, but there can’t be 2 sets of Tamils with same distinct features. Tamil Nadu Tamils also claim to be distinct – so how can the same Tamils be distinct in two different countries. Let us not forget the Tamils in Tamil Nadu sought self-determination first.
- Tamil Homeland demand in Sri Lanka also brings the question of inability to have 2 different Tamil homelands in 2 different countries for the same ethnic group.
- Tamils in Tamil Nadu want a Tamil homeland and Tamils in Sri Lanka want a Tamil Homeland. Why do Tamils in Tamil Nadu refer to Sri Lankan Tamils as ‘Our People’ and India is also using this as a slogan to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs if Tamils in Sri Lanka are distinct from Tamils in Tamil Nadu?
- The 4thdemand is irrelevant as all Tamils born in Sri Lanka are automatically citizens.
LTTE’s demand for an ‘identified Tamil Homeland’ (though not mentioning where it is, how big or its boundaries) is linked with TNA’s own statement in the 2001 election manifesto ‘we have demanded and struggled for an independent Tamil state as the answer to this problem’This statement by TNA naturally answers the solution to the Tamil National Question which is a quest for an independent Tamil state.
It is also interesting that TNA mentions the ‘tardiness of the Sri Lankan state’ to accept an international third party role in solving the conflict. In fact India arrived with a peace keeping force claiming to disarm LTTE 78 hours and proved a failure. Norway mediated the 2002 Cease Fire and the presence of a Nordic monitoring mission, which also proved a failure. So the foreign formulas did not bring any relief to the innocent victims of LTTE.
TNA’s 2001 manifesto was by an alliance of 4 Tamil parties
- Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF),
- All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC),
- Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO)
- Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF)
TNA’s 2001 manifesto made the following demands
- Immediate lifting of economic embargo in parts of the North East province (obviously this was to facilitate LTTE’s movement)
- Withdrawal of the residential & travel restrictions on Tamils
- Immediate cessation of war in the North East (a request made on behalf of LTTE)
- Immediate commencement of negotiations with the LTTE with involvement of an international third party
Another instance TNA associating itself with LTTE in the 2001 manifesto is when TNA states “unless meaningful negotiations are held with the LTTE no just solution can be found to the Tamil national question & that such negotiations should be held immediately only with the LTTE”.
TNA goes on to add “that in order to ensure that the negotiations are properly focused and are purposeful and successful, no parallel negotiations should take place with any other Tamil political formation”.
TNA goes on to demand in its 2001 manifesto that to facilitate the start of negotiations the GoSL should ‘lift the proscription imposed on the LTTE in Sri Lanka and thereby ensure such proscription does not constitute an impediment to the free and full participation of the LTTE at such negotiations on behalf of the Tamil nationality”.
TNA in November 2001 made this statement even after LTTE attack on Katunayake Airport & Air Force base on 24 July 2001 damaging aircrafts and injuring many.
TNA in its manifesto claims that it is contesting the general elections ‘in order to achieve the aims and objectives, outlined above’ and affirms that TNA will ‘campaign both nationally and internationally for the achievement of the said aims and objectives”.
TNA goes on to say that its alliance (TULF, ACTC, TELO & EPRLF) would ‘mobilize the Tamil-speaking people of the North East in order to achieve the said aims and objectives’.
Thus, even in 2001, the reference to Tamil-speaking people to link Muslims to the separatist quest was part of a bigger plan.
TNA 2001 manifesto asked voters in 5 districts (Jaffna, Vanni, Trincomalee, Batticoloa & Ampara) to vote for the Tamil Alliance symbol the rising sun.
This is the party that the diplomats, UN officials and others are holding discussions with!
Shenali D Waduge