Note: This was an article originally done by Fazeena Saleem and it was published in The Colombo Post on
Thamilselvan should have been tried for multiple murders and hung at the Galle Face Green - Ananda Sangaree
Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) president V. Anandasangaree says he can't understand why the culprits couldn't be brought to book. In
The following are excerpts from V. anandasangaree's interview with THE COLOMBO POST.
Q: Are you happy with the prevailing situation in the country?
A: Not at all. First of all, I'm greatly disappointment with the government on one matter, the ethnic issue. I have been repeatedly saying over a period of time that if this country is not going to find a solution for the problem within three months of the President coming to power, then we will never find a solution.
Soon after the President was elected, I told him to solve the problem within three or six months the latest. It is two years since he came to power. The more you delay, more problems will crop up, like the de-merger and issues like the JVP demanding the abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). All these problems are new ones because of the delay in finding a solution. This is not the first time a government has made such mistakes.
When Chandrika Bandaranaike came to power, she was the only one who got the largest majority in the history of Sri Lankan Presidential election. She got over 65% of the votes. She came to power with the promise of solving the problem. She delayed it or was made to delay. It ultimately went for six years and then another six years and that was the end of it. The same thing happened when J.R. Jayewardene was President. He was mandated by the people to solve the problem any way he wanted, but he didn't do it. It has been repeated over and over, as far as the ethnic issue is concerned. For the last fifty years this has been the situation.
Q: How do you see the escalation of hostilities?
A: That is very sickening. I can't understand why the culprits can't be brought to book. In
Once an Inspector very much loved by the people was hacked to death by the LTTE when he went to hold an inquiry. He was asked to come unarmed and without security and was hacked to death. I will not blame a single policeman in
Q: Have you lost faith in the political leadership and the opposition in
A: I can't say that because political leadership is up to the respective leaders. I only find fault for the delay in finding a solution.
Q: Do you think the Southern parties will come to a consensus to resolve the ethnic conflict?
A: This is a challenge. Forget about the Southern parties opposed to a solution. The people want a solution. I have told the President to go ahead with a reasonable solution and the people would be with him. He is the President elected for the entire country. It is wrong to say that it is the Southern people who elected the President. There is nothing called a government in the North and another in the South.
That is what we want to prevent. He is the President of the whole country and therefore has a duty to satisfy everybody. There is a wrong interpretation of democracy. Democracy is not the rule of the majority. It is the rule of the majority with the consent of the minority.
Q: Do you think the present government is genuinely committed to a political solution?
A: Yes. I think the President is very serious about it. I have discussed it several times with him. The President is very much interested in finding a solution. The main opposition United National Party is also committed to finding a solution. During the last election they faired well in the Tamil areas.
Q: Is there a collective leadership for the Tamil community?
A: I think there is. Forget about the Tamil National
I'm from Kilinochchi and I know the pain of the people. People weep over the telephone. Children have been forcibly taken by the LTTE. Girls from the upper class have been given compulsory training. At one stage, every family must give one member to the LTTE, but now every member has to go.
When you say collective leadership, take the TNA as one. The others like the TULF, PLOTE, EPRLF and the EPDP are committed to a solution. So there is a collective leadership. If there is violation by government forces or by the LTTE, we condemn them. The TNA doesn't do that.
Q: How progressive is your alliance with the People's Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) and Eelam People's Liberation Front (EPRLF- Padmanabha wing)?
A: We are committed to finding a solution. We have agreed to continue to fight to get a federal solution for the ethnic problem. I have seen highly educated people writing rubbish. We shouldn't forget the fact that this is a country belonging to the Tamils, the Sinhalese, the Muslims and everybody. Who came first and who came last is not the point. As educated people we shouldn't condemn others. This is a country where the Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims have lived for generations. Sixty million Tamils are living across the
Who came when is utterly irrelevant to the Sri Lankan problem, even if the Sinhalese claim their mothers had been Tamils. According to the Mahawamsa the two hundred followers of Vijeya, who came and formed the Sinhala community, as some radical Sinhalese claim, their mothers have been Tamils from
Q: What is the most acceptable solution in resolving the conflict?
A: We know what the problem is. It is fifty years old. The whole world knows what the problem is. The All Party Representative Committee (APRC) is sitting and they are the block. How can the APRC come to a consensus when people have radical views? So we know what the problem is. As committed at the
The whole world is expecting the country to come out with a federal solution. Use an alternative because some are allergic to the term 'federal' and unitary. So avoid those words. Just call it the Indian model or unity in diversity. The Indians are proud as they are united in diversity. Let us also have a constitution that will be accepted by the minority as well. As far as rights are concerned, there should be minority rights and majority rights. Rights should be equal to everybody and should be enjoyed without discrimination.
Whatever solution we find, it should be once and for all. There cannot be a solution in installments. We have taken fifty years to and are yet to solve the problem. If we are to settle it in installments it will take another fifty years to get the second installment and another fifty to get the other. By that time there would be some radicals in power. So whatever the solution, it should be the final one acceptable and reasonable to the Tamil community. As accepted by the international community, a federal solution or the Indian model.
Q: Can the LTTE be destroyed only by finding a political solution?
A: Every problem has a solution but concerned parties may not accept it as a solution. We are suggesting a federal solution, but the LTTE may not accept it. They won't accept it for two reasons. One is, if a solution is found the Indians will just come and take Prabhakaran away. He will have to face hundred years of imprisonment. Even if a separate state is given, Prabhakaran will find some excuse to get away from it. So, forget about Prabhakaran.
Satisfy the Tamils who are agreeable to a solution and for living in a united
Even the small support they have will vanish. Even people like Nedumaran and Vaiko in
For example, Thamilselvan who should have been tried for multiple murders and hung at the Galle Face Green is now being hailed as a hero by some Tamil Nadu politicians as they don't know what is happening here. Prabhakaran and Thamilselvan should have been tried for sending the 21 suicide bombers alone, but they are being glorified. If a reasonable solution is found then the LTTE can't exist.
Q: How would the budget help the Tamils in the North and East?
A: I don't see the budget from a Tamil point of view or Sinhala pint of view. Our country is rich in natural resources. No one will die of starvation. We must consider one thing. I don't justify the government allocating such a large amount of money for defence. But then how can you blame the government when a rebel organization starts destroying the airport and giving an impression to the world that they have a strong army?
The government is concerned about the security of the country and has to take that decision. If we are to find fault with the government for allocating such a large amount for defence, we must condemn the LTTE before doing that. In one night they caused losses of billions of rupees. So, without finding fault with the budget let us all get together and find a solution. The moment a solution is found; all what is spent on defence can be allocated for development. This is a war situation. We are not fighting against an ordinary rebel group. We are fighting against a group which has air power also.
Q: What else do you do apart of issuing statements and writing letters?
A: My letters have generally not been challenged by anybody. My writing had brought a big impact on the citizens of
Q: The media in Sri Lankan is under fire. Doesn't that mean democracy is under threat?
A: I strongly condemn those who meddle with the media. You have a right to write. But you see, we speak only about the English media, no one talks about the Tamil papers. Tamil papers enjoy more freedom than any other papers in the country. They have the liberty to write anything. They write all rubbish, they enjoy press freedom but no one speaks about that. As far as
No one should meddle with the media and the press also should see that they don't come out with unwanted things. People who are killing and threatening journalists also should think that this can happen to them also when things change. There is a proverb in Tamil that says just by hiding the comb you can't prevent a marriage. The bride can even come without dressing her hair. Threats will not prevent journalists from writing or editors from publishing.
Q: When you say the Tamil media has freedom, how do you see the Tamil journalists being killed and threatened?
A: I didn't look from that angle. But with my experience, I see that the Tamil journalists have the utmost freedom, and I will hold some of the newspapers responsible for this large number of killings. But they don't condemn. There isn't a Tamil paper that has condemned the killings by the LTTE. That's how I look at it. But I don't know why and who are punishing them. Whenever the LTTE makes a mistake the Tamil papers have to collectively condemn.
Q: A top international terrorism expert says the government should protect the democratic Tamil leaders much more than the Sinhala politicians. Are the democratic Tamil leaders happy with the protection given to them?
A: All members of parliament are having their own security. In my case I'm given more protection because the risk is different from the others. Take the TNA. Aren't they aware that all these are happening because of the LTTE? There are many people in their prisons. They are failing in their duty and I'm doing my duty. I'm not pro-government or anti-government. I'm doing my duty as a patriotic citizen of this country.
Q: When did you last visit the North?
A: I didn't visit the north for a long time. This is the type of democracy we have in this country. If I go to the north what is the guarantee that I will return safely?
Q: As a democratic Tamil leader, what is your message to the people of the country?
A: I'm fully confident that the people in this country want to live in peace. I'm happy that that the Sinhalese in the south are not harassing the minorities. The Tamils in the north and east are a new type of minority for them. The Muslims have been there for a long time and the Tamils are just moving and live across
Jaffna Tamils live along