HINDU SAYS SAMPANTHAN’S PARTY STILL RETAINS SEPARATE STATE notion in its constitution
Posted on May 28th, 2012

By Walter Jayawardhana

The Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (The tamil name for Sri Lanka Tamil Government Party) has refused to revisit its constitution which seeks the establishment of a separate stateat its 14th National Convention in Batticaloa recently charged the Hindu newspaper.

“In short, TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s gesture in Jaffna on May 1 “”‚ that of waving the Sri Lankan national flag for the first time, alongside United National Party chief Ranil Wickramasinghe “”‚ did not translate into his party endorsing his sentiment. But it reaffirmed its faith in Mr. Sampanthan by electing him as its president, even as indecision is steadily leading Tamil politics in Sri Lanka to the brink of irrelevance.”  

The Hindu further points out that the 6th amendment to the Sri Lanka constitution prohibits any party having one of its aims the establishment of a separate state in Sri Lanka.

The following is the full text of the Hindu report:

“The Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance “”‚ the lone credible representative of Tamil people in the Northern Province “”‚ has refused to revisit its constitution, which seeks the establishment of a separate state, at its 14th national convention in the Eastern headquarter town of Batticaloa.

“The Sixth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution, enacted in August 1983, prohibits political parties from having as one of their aims the establishment of a separate state. A petition was filed recently in the Supreme Court that sought the disqualification of the parties for retaining the demand for a separate state in their party documents.

“No. There was no move to amend the ITAK constitution,” TNA leader and MP M.A. Sumanthiran told The Hindu over phone. The ITAK has among its goals “establishing of a unitary Tamil State and a unitary Muslim State and achieving political, economical and cultural freedom of the Tamil speaking community”.

“In short, TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s gesture in Jaffna on May 1 “”‚ that of waving the Sri Lankan national flag for the first time, alongside United National Party chief Ranil Wickramasinghe “”‚ did not translate into his party endorsing his sentiment. But it reaffirmed its faith in Mr. Sampanthan by electing him as its president, even as indecision is steadily leading Tamil politics in Sri Lanka to the brink of irrelevance. Maavai Senathirajah was elected party general secretary.

“In resolutions passed at the Batticaloa meet, the ITAK demanded devolution of powers to the North and the East, taking it as a single unit. Asked if the ITAK had demanded re-merger of the Tamil majority Northern and Eastern Provinces, Mr. Sumanthiran said this was not the case. “North and East were considered a single unit,” he said, amplifying the diplomatic semantics, which the TNA loves dearly, at work.

“The ITAK highlighted some of the crucial issues that dominate the discourse in both the North and the East: it demanded that Sri Lanka demilitarise both the provinces; that lands grabbed from Tamils be given back to them; and a general amnesty for Tamils imprisoned for many years without charges. The ITAK, and other constituents of the TNA, are the only political parties that have constantly probed issues relating to rehabilitation and resettlement of Tamils after the war and have often been on collision course with the government and local authorities. “If these demands are not granted, we will set a time and date and launch a non-violent campaign, much like what Mahatma Gandhi did,” said Mr. Sumanthiran.

Change of venue

“The ITAK was forced to change its meeting venue at the last moment after the earlier venue was suddenly and inexplicably engulfed by fire. One source in Batticaloa claimed the place was fire-bombed. The meeting was being held in an area that is at the heart of a turf war between two former Tamil Tigers “”‚ the Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan (better known as Pillaiyan, who was once a child soldier) and Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (better known as Col. Karuna Amman, who was former Eastern Commander of the Tamil Tigers).

“Pillaiyan’s party, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal, was not in favour of ITAK holding the convention in Batticaloa. Posters had appeared in parts of Batticaloa against the convention.

“The meeting did go ahead, and all elections were held as per the constitution of ITAK. Among the prominent names, E. Saravanabhavan, MP, who runs the Uthayan newspaper, was elected secretary (rehabilitation and resettlement) and Sivagnanam Sreetharan, MP, was elected secretary (propaganda). As expected, M.A. Sumanthiran MP, was elected secretary (legal and foreign affairs).

ITAK’s clarification

“The ITAK constitution does not call for two seperate soverign countries for Tamils and Muslims, TNA leader M.A.Sumanthiran said, after reading The Hindu’s article in this website. The original is in Tamil (see PDF) and means autonomy or self-rule and not the creation of separate countries that the Sixth Amendment prohibits.”

2 Responses to “HINDU SAYS SAMPANTHAN’S PARTY STILL RETAINS SEPARATE STATE notion in its constitution”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Autonomy or self rule will include land rights, police rights, rights to bring in foreign exchange, right to operate ferries to and fro from Tamil Nadu (endless illegal migrants), etc. etc.

    And of course, the right to gain Free Education, Free Health Care, GoSL in Colombo centre spending on all that plus road repairs, water ways repairs, spending on all public institutions, etc.etc.

    So how does the Country protect itself when a unilateral declaration of independence is made by NE merged when the time is opportune ?

    Answer : Scrap the 13-A and devolve some powers to the District only.

  2. Nalliah Thayabharan Says:

    Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentary Group leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan said yesterday that the LTTE was a terrorist outfit which killed Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala leaders and its destruction was inevitable owing to the path it took.
    Participating in the committee stage debate on budget 2013, under the Defence Ministry heading, Rajavarothiam Sampanthan : “The LTTE was not created by Tamils but by successive governments in the country. There were legitimate reason for the LTTE to emerge, that was why it became a terrorist organization and started killing Tamil, Muslim and Sinhalese leaders and civilians. You call us LTTE proxies. Do you call us LTTE proxies because we did not get killed by the LTTE?
    “Nobody destroyed the LTTE. They destroyed themselves by not adhering to democracy and human rights. My late colleague Lakshman Kadirgamar was largely responsible for getting international support against the LTTE. If he was alive today, he would be horrified to see what is happening in post war Sri Lanka.
    “The 30 year war is over and the Tamil people want to put it behind them and move on with their lives.
    “There is a belief that Tamils do not want the army in the North and East. It is not right. We have never said we don’t want the army in the North and East”
    “What is wrong in a Tamil mother lighting a lamp to remember her dead son. What is wrong in remembering those who died in war? The JVP commemorates their heroes day and nobody complains about it. It is a fundamental right that one can remember. The army should not have entered the Jaffna University that day. The army was wrong. It was an unwarranted entrance and an unauthorized interference. I appeal to the government to look into the matter carefully and request that those students to be released. We do not want to get involved in any confrontation.

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