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JR, Premadasa betrayed the country- Pillayan

[Sunday Times.lk, Sunday, 24 October 2010 14:55 No Comment]

Chief Minister- Eastern Province, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan better know as ‘Pillayan’, on Wednesday suggested that the powers of the provincial councils should be strengthened with more powers to the provinces.

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Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan addressing the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission

“Government should allow to fully exercise the powers vested in the provincial councils,” the Chief minister told the Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission. “That is the only way we can win the hearts and minds of the people,” he said.

He said that, in the past, mistakes made by successive leaders had paved the way for the creation of armed groups. “This is an appropriate time for the government to take correct action to safeguard the rights of the citizens of this country, as the government currently has a two-thirds majority in Parliament,” he said.

“There are land issues in the Eastern Province. In the past, permits have been issued for lands in the Eastern Province, but due to the war situation, people fled the area. If those people return and demand their land, we will not be able to allocate the same land, as they have been already allocated to other persons.

“However, if persons in possession of the original deeds, return and demand their land, we can make arrangements to get back the land for them,” he said. “I am doing my best to solve the land issues in the area, and have visited some of the locations personally. I am working towards restoring ethnic harmony,” Mr. Chandrakanthan said.

Responding to a question about his reaction to Muslims chased away from the north, he said that Muslims were not chased from the east, but that he was willing to submit a full report on land issues to the commission.

“In Sampur, there are about 6,000 people living in camps. The coal power project backed by the Indians is coming up. We will benefit economically from the project, as the sea is deeper than in the Hambantota port area. But the people want to return to their original lands. I am trying to resettle them in other areas. However, if the people insist on returning to their old areas, it is only the President who can take a decision on the matter,” he said.

“In the 1990’s, the armed forces committed atrocities against the people. That made me join the LTTE. I have seen many bodies. In 1990, there was a group who killed people by slashing them with knives. Three of my classmates too were taken away. Some who worshipped seeking their release were shot. Therefore, the politicians who were responsible for these incidents should tender their apologies,” he added.

He was asked whether he shouldn’t tender an apology for the killing of 600 policemen in the east.
“As a former member of the LTTE, I can tender an apology. They were killed in June 1990, while I joined the LTTE in 1991. Therefore, it is not proper for me to tender an apology. The then leader Karuna (Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, currently a minister in the government) could tender his apology.
“Initially, S.J.V. Chelvanayagam formed the Thamil Arasu Katchchi, and signed a pact with former Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. But J.R. Jayewardene who was in the opposition opposed it.

He claimed the Tamils will have more rights and therefore, the pact was not implemented. Thereafter, former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake and Chelavanayagam signed another agreement. That too did not work out. Later, the District Development Councils were formed, and that too failed. The Tamil people never asked for separation, but opposition politicians gave distorted versions of the Tamil demands. As a result, there were atrocities against the Tamils. When the Tamil parties failed to fulfill their aspirations, armed Tamil groups sprang up. There were differences among the groups, which resulted in rival killings. Finally, the LTTE became the recognized group to achieve the Eelam goal”.
He said that, after former president Jaywardene formed the government, the provincial council system was introduced with the assistance of the Indians.

“The person who opposed the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayagam pact, eventually went beyond that and entered into an agreement with India to set up the provincial council system,” he said.
“However, then President Ranasinghe Premadasa opposed the provincial council system, and captured power. He provided the LTTE with weapons and sabotaged the functioning of the provincial councils.

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