“Inviting Chelliah Rajadurai to attend Thanthai Chelvanayakam’s 35th death anniversary is like inviting Karuna to the memorial event of Kumarappa and Pulendran, said M.K. Sivajilingam, the former TNA MP and the political leader of Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), calling the act of the invitation a betrayal to the Tamil struggle. Mr. Sivajilingam has called for a black flag protest if Mr. Rajadurai, a former stalwart of the ITAK, who broke with the ITAK/TULF line after the demise of SJV Chelvanayakam and joined with the SLFP, is invited for the Chelva memorial event.
How could a politician who betrayed the Tamil cause and who had joined hands with the Sri Lankan government party becomes a guest to attend the event, Mr. Sivajilingam questioned.
Many other Tamil politicians in the island have also opposed the invitation extended by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) hierarchy to former ITAK turned SLFP politician, C. Rajadurai, who is now 83 years old.
Rt Rev Dr S Jebanesan, the retired Bishop of the American Mission Church in Jaffna (Church of South India), is to preside the 35th death anniversary event of SJV Chelvanayakam on Thursday in Jaffna. Many religious dignitaries are also scheduled to address the event.
A microscopic but articulating section in the TNA harbours a thinking that Chelvanaykam’s Vaddukkoaddai Resolution was a wrong move. Whether it is this section that brings in Rajadurai is a question asked in Tamil political circles in Jaffna.
Mr Rajadurai, at one time, was looked upon as the most charismatic leader of the Ilangkaith Thamizh Arasuk Kadchi (ITAK). Coming from Batticaloa, before his defection to the SLFP, he was expected by the Eezham Tamils to lead the entire Tamil national movement in the North and East.
According to sections of his contemporaries in the ITAK at that time, Mr Rajadurai’s defection was not due to policy convictions, but due to personal animosities with the then leader of the TULF, Mr A. Amirthalingam.
Mr Sachi Srikantha, cites the following passages from Mr. V. Navaratnam, the former ITAK parliamentarian and founder of the Thamizhar Suyaadchik Kazhkam (Tamil Autonomy Party) in the late 1960s:
“C.Rajadurai had been a journalist on the editorial staff of the Sutantiran weekly newspaper. His scintillating Tamil oratory from platforms, and unswerving loyalty to the Federal Party and its ideal so long as Chelvanayakam was its leader, were an asset to the Party in building up its image. His contribution was not little in forging a unity between the Northern Province and Eastern Province Tamils through the medium of the Federal Party, and in overcoming the traditional Batticaloa-Jaffna prejudice.”
Mr Rajadurai can still make a great impact by making a confession and not by being carried away by hijacking political elements inside and outside of the island, new generation Tamil political circles in the island said. They cited the example of the DMK leader Mr M. Karunanidhi, reverting back to support the independence of Tamil Eelam.