The Tamil civil society in the North, comprising of religious dignitaries, including the Mannaar Bishop, academics, doctors, student leaders and trade union activists, on Wednesday came with an open appeal urging the Tamil people to use the forthcoming Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections to reject those who have been opposed to Tamil national aspirations and to vote for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). Reminding that it is also essential to be selective on casting the preferential votes to those TNA candidates who have a real attachment and commitment to the Tamil national politics, the civil society appeal also rejected the crucial sections of TNA’s election manifesto as sending a wrong message of guidance to the Tamil people and to the international community.
Coming hard on TNA over the orientation of its election manifesto, the Tamil civil society denounced the Provincial Council system, both as a political solution and as a starter to a process towards a political solution.
“We have to be more careful on the election to the PC system that seeks to sabotage the struggle for our rights,” the appeal said stressing that Tamils cannot escape from the protracted genocide by simply replacing the SL Governor or acquiring the so-called powers stipulated in the 13th Amendment.
“We are saddened to note that the TNA has failed in their election manifesto in clarifying their political approach on the PC system vis-à-vis the political mechanism for arriving at a political solution,” the appeal noted.
Urging the people to be cautious about the “mischievous propaganda” by some candidates on what could be achieved by the elections, the Civil Society said that Tamils should realize that there are no powers in the provincial council under the 13th Amendment.
Urging for a holistic approach, beyond projecting party politics in taking forward the Tamil national aspirations, the civil society wanted the people to interpret the mandate of their vote to the TNA as a message of rejection of the political parties collaborating with the protracted genocidal programme of the Sri Lankan State.
After winning the elections for the Northern Provincial Council, the TNA should conceive a time-bound action plan placed open to the people and, if and when failing to achieve anything significant, it should be prepared to re-evaluate its continued participation in the PC system as a tactic to take forward the Tamil course.
The next stage of our struggle towards our political solution cannot be born through the PC system. The success of Tamil struggle depends on a responsive political and social mobilization of Tamil people, by rebuilding the social infrastructure of the Tamil Nation and by addressing the global geo-politics, the statement said.
The appeal also called on the people to firmly reject the ‘collaborative politics’ of ‘development’, which attempts to distort the rights oriented politics cause of the Tamils by projecting it that Tamils were only seeking ‘development’ and not their rights.
The people should realize that the so-called development projects conducted under the auspices of the Sri Lankan government in the Tamil homeland were challenging the independent existence of the Tamil nation, the civil society appeal said. A development, building the abilities of the Tamil people and developing the Tamils as a strong society, is absent in the Tamil homeland, the appeal said.
While the Eelam Tamils are gagged at home, the only support we have is the mobilization of Tamil Nadu and the diaspora Tamils. Even the meagre safety for our survival today and the global attention on us, are possible only because they are able to voice for our aspirations. The TNA should be thankful to them and find a honourable way to strengthen the Tamil aspirations by seeking to incorporate them [in the struggle]. Only then we can strengthen their real demands. One should not undermine their role, the appeal further said.
Despite having a signed copy of the statement, the representatives of the Tamil civil society could not release it to their people or media due to the gagged situation of freedom expression prevailing in the North.
However, Tamil activists for alternative politics in Jaffna, while welcoming the stand taken by the Tamil civil society, opined that it would have been helpful had the civil society in North come with this stand much earlier. Had the civil society been more direct and vocal in their criticism, that would have contributed to course correct the Establishment-centric approach of the TNA, they said.
The activists for alternative politics also urged the Tamil Nadu activists to take a careful note of some new opinion engineers, orientated to the agenda of the Establishments and are operating in South India in ‘pro-Eelam’ garb. Such opinion makers rushed to eulogise the TNA manifesto as Tamil-centric, while it is a draft of Colombo-centric minds directed by the Establishments, the activists in the island said.