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Lankan Government unfazed by Jaya’s return

[Express Buzz, Monday, 16 May 2011 09:51 No Comment]

The Sri Lankan government and the majority Sinhalese are unfazed by J Jayalalithaa’s coming back to power in Tamil Nadu. But the minority Tamils are somewhat divided, with one section being happy to see the DMK-Congress combine suffering a crushing defeat, and another feeling that the change of guard will not make any difference to New Delhi’s policy on the Lankan Tamil issue.

Cabinet spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said that statements made by TN politicians on the Lankan issue were of little or no importance for Sri Lanka. As a country, Lanka dealt with the Indian government in New Delhi and not with any constituent Indian State. And relations between Colombo and New Delhi were very cordial, he pointed out.

No Change Expected

The cabinet spokesman seemed to reflect the general mood in south Sri Lanka, home to the majority Sinhalese. There was only one comment on the Tamil Nadu election results in Colombo’s English language papers, and that too said that the change of guard would not mean any change in New Delhi’s Lanka policy.

“The bottom line is, for all the factoring-in of the Tamil Nadu factor, Delhi does what Delhi thinks is best for Delhi when it comes to Sri Lanka. Tamil Nadu will continue to be Delhi’s distant and poor cousin, good for crumbs, nothing more,” Malinda Seneviratne wrote in The Nation newspaper.

Prabath Sahabandu, editor of The Island, told Express that once in power, Jayalalithaa would became realistic and sober down.

“She will probably be battling her more radical allies on the Lankan issue, rather than taking on the Centre,” he predicted.

Tamils Encouraged

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that it was “encouraged” by the statement Jayalalithaa had made on the Lankan Tamils shortly after the announcement of the results.

“Saddled with 80,000 war widows and thousands of others rendered destitute by the war, we are looking to you for support,” the TNA said in a statement.

Virakesari Weekly said in an edit that the election results showed the anger of the people of Tamil Nadu against the Congress-DMK combine’s policy on Sri Lanka.

“Lankan Tamils may be indifferent to the election in Tamil Nadu, but the people of Tamil Nadu are not indifferent to the plight of the Lankan Tamils,” it said.

“The DMK’s defeat is divine retribution for not doing any thing meaningful to stop the war in May 2009 and prevent the killing of 40,000 innocent civilians,” commented J Sekaram, a leading businessman in Jaffna.

M K Sivajilingam, general secretary of the Tamil National Liberation Alliance (TNLA) and a former MP, said that the slaughter at Mullivaikkal in the last phase of the war in May 2009 could have been prevented if only the people of Tamil Nadu had given the present verdict in the May 13 Lok Sabha elections.

Dissenting Tamil Voices

However, Thinakkural urged Lankan Tamils not to be too swayed by Jayalalithaa’s rheroric. Casting doubt on the theory that the Lankan Tamil issue had been a decisive one in the Assembly elections, the paper said that if this were the case then Jayalalithaa would not have jettisoned staunch Eelam Tamil supporter, Vaiko, from her poll alliance.

Like the Sinhalese intelligentsia, a section of the Tamil intelligentsia also feels that nothing will change.

[Full Coverage]

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