TNA leader blames it on translation

A deliberate false translation of its constitution is the reason the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) — the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — is being portrayed as a party that stood for secession of the Tamil parts from Sri Lanka, said TNA leader and MP M.A.Sumanthiran on Wednesday.

In a conversation with The Hindu, he said the sworn affidavit filed in the Supreme Court — the constitution of the party — which is in Tamil, was translated into English wrongly by a certified translator. This could only be done with motive, he said and added that the ITAK did not stand for a separate Tamil and a separate Muslim State in Sri Lanka. (A May 18 story in The Hindu had relied on the translated version of the ITAK constitution and sought the TNA’s comments).

The Sixth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution (enacted in August 1983) prohibits political parties from having as one of their aims establishment of a separate State. The petition was filed in the Supreme Court by a little known advocateJayantha Liyanage, the general secretary of Sinhala Jathika Peramuna (an unrecognised political party). He named the TNA, ITAK, Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) as parties having constitutions aimed at creating a separate state. His plea was to declare that the parties be automatically disqualified .

None of the Tamil parties, barring those that are part of the government now, ever made a secret of their love for a separate Tamil nation.

In the latest instance, at the ITAK convention in Batticaloa, TNA leader R.Sampanthan detailed the issues confronting the Tamils and ways to solve them. One relevant part went like this: “The struggle for the political rights of the Tamil nation has now entered an entirely new chapter…We must clearly prove to the international community that the Sri Lankan government, which has delayed for so long in giving the Tamil people their rights, has never made any genuine effort to do so. In other words — we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka. We must be patient until the international community realises for itself that the effort we are involved in is doomed to fail. To put it more strongly, the international community must realize through its own experience, without us having to tell them, that the racist Sri Lankan government will never come forward and give political power to the Tamil people in a united Sri Lanka.”

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