In a political seminar organised in Jaffna by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian S. Sritharan on Sunday, which was addressed by both the US and Indian diplomats, TNA’s nominated parliamentarian, Mathiaparanam Abraham Sumanthiran, twice received applause from the audience, when he said that the TNA was participating in the talks with the Sri Lankan government with an understanding that there could be no solution within the unitary constitution. But he was suggesting that there is ‘something’ in the 13th Amendment, even though he seemed agreeing that there is ‘nothing’ in the 13th Amendment. As the IC, especially India and the USA want a united Sri Lanka, if the TNA is not showing agreement, it would lose international backing, he said. Neither the Tamil people nor the TNA did ask for Tamil Eelam, he replied to a question.
Political observers who attended the event said Sumanthiran’s address was indirectly hinting that the TNA was going to take part in the All Party Committee with the blessings of the opposition, and the presence of both the US and Indian embassy officials was a show of solidarity that TNA was having a strong international backing.
Paul M. Carter, the chief of political affairs section in the US embassy in Colombo and V. Mahalingam, the Deputy High Commissioner for India in Jaffna, participated the seminar.
Carter thanked TNA for inviting him, while Sritharan maintained that the seminar was organised by him in his individual capacity. Carter in his address said that the political solution should be acceptable ‘to all’.
Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met the Indian Prime Minister at his residence in New Delhi on Tuesday and both have agreed to work closely in expediting the ‘Sri Lankan’ peace process, by bringing the Tamil political parties to the negotiation table, media reports in Colombo said.
Sumanthiran was trying to imply to his defense that the IC was for TNA’s participation [in talks or APC] with pre-conditions and one such pre-condition is going to be that the solution cannot be found within a unitary Sri Lanka, but within a united Sri Lanka, observers said.
Sumanthiran was giving the impression that one needed to convince the IC that Colombo wouldn’t agree to anything acceptable within the united framework and that by participating the process of Rajapaksa and going after ICs line of thinking only the TNA could demonstrate the need for changes in the IC policies. If the change comes in then there would be a different solution, he implied that it could mean Tamil Eelam.
Sumanthiran hinted that the documents that made the bedrock of the post-Mu’l’livaaykkaal negotiations were Mangala Munasinghe proposals, 1995, 1997 and 2000 proposals of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) and the 2006 proposals of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s APRC.
Lecturer in Law at the University of Jaffna and civil society activist, Guruparan Kumaravadivel also was invited for the Seminar.
Mr. Guruparan in his address explained with clarity to the public why the 13 Amendment, 13 Plus etc., would not work.
If a referendum is conducted for all, the Sinhala masses would vote against any Amendment needed to effect any constitutional changes. Even the composition of judges in the SL Supreme Court would go against such a restructuring, Guruparan said, citing earlier examples.
Sinnathurai Varatharajan former lecturer in economics at the University of Peradeniya addressed the audience on the economic challenges faced by the island and the struggle for Tamil rights.
There was an array of questions at the seminar, which was a second session in line, titled “Contemporary political climate and the way forward to win Tamils’ social and political rights.”
When a senior woman asked what the TNA was asking as solution to the national question of Eezham Tamils, Sumanthiran responded by saying that the TNA was never claiming Tamil Eelam.
A journalist interfered seeking clarity, whether it was the TNAs position or the position of Eezham Tamils.
Then, Sumanthiran responded by saying neither the public nor the TNA did ask for Tamil Eelam. He referred to the 2010 election manifesto of the TNA, conveniently forgetting the fact it was a few in the TNA hierarchy, including himself, who had come up with the election manifesto despite facing public criticism. People had no choice other than electing the TNA based on its pre-Mu’l’livaaykkaal legacy.
TNA never made the denouncement of Eelam as the primary question as was in the case of the 1977 election that made the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution as the prime issue.
There were requests that the TNA should first seek repeal of the 6th Amendment to pave way for Tamils to speak freely on the issue.
The TNA election agenda was completely stage-managed especially by India and the USA and the TNA was agreeable to hoodwink of fabricating ‘public consent’ to the denouncement of Tamil Eelam, observers said.
While the need of the time is Eezham Tamils to demonstrate their will and ability in democratically constructing an alternative state of theirs in the island, and while this has to be proved in the East striking an agreement with the Muslims, the TNA leadership is going in a different direction, was a comment heard from new generation political activists attended the seminar.
Similarly the diaspora is wasting its energy in contentions over the Mu’l’livaaykkaal Day, while their guts have to be actually demonstrated in questioning the powers to the face, the activists in the island further said.