Citing the recent elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and projecting it as a signal of Colombo beginning to deliver something, there was an effort to make many countries attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). To convince the heads of governments not to hesitate attending CHOGM, a message was also passed to the effect that the NPC Chief Minister would be invited to the meet. Had the Indian Prime Minister attended the CHOGM, coupled with this propaganda, the Tamil question would have been endorsed as an internal affair of Sri Lanka. But, this didn’t happen, thanks to the non-attendance by the Indian PM, said Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the leader of the Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) in Jaffna on Saturday.
However, by proceeding with Colombo as the venue of the CHOGM, the International Community has in fact ended up strengthening Colombo’s belief that regardless of whatever the disappointments the IC may have, the Powers would fall in line with the agenda serving their interests at the end of the day, the TNPF leader said, while responding to a question. One can easily witness this by observing the prevailing tendency in the South, he said.
The non-participation by India and the boycott by Canada and Mauritius was significant, according to Mr Gajendrakumar.
Ultimately, it is the people of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil diaspora, together with the participation of Eezham Tamils on the ground, who have to wage a joint struggle, as evidenced now, without being waylaid by the deceptive politics that one could gain something step-by-step by critically collaborating with the Sri Lankan State internally, the TNPF leader said.
While the British PM David Cameron was visiting Jaffna there were two different peaceful struggles being waged by the affected people, one at Valikaamam North and the other in front of Jaffna Public Library where he met the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
Responding to a question why the British PM disappointed the uprooted people and the families of missing persons waging a struggle seeking global attention, Mr Gajendrakumar admitted that it should have been the responsibility of the Tamil leaders, who should have taken the visiting PM to the meet the real victims. It would have made a big impact, he said. The British mission would also have been aware of the victims seeking attention of the British PM, he said.
Applauding the principled positions adopted by the Prime Minister of Canada and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr Gajendrakumar spoke about the significance of the role played by the Tamils of Tamil Nadu and Eezham Tamils and the Tamil diaspora.
Canadian Prime Minister had taken the decision in advance. Canada was not only clear about the Prime Minister boycotting the event. It also avoided to send any ministerial level delegate to the CHOGM conference, Mr Gajendrakumar said.
The role of Diaspora Tamils in Canada, like that of Tamils of Tamil Nadu, has been significant in enlightening the Canadian government.
The principled decision announced by the Prime Minister of Mauritius also has a similar significance, he said.
10% of the population in Mauritius are Tamils. Even though they don’t speak Tamil, they are firm in giving expression to their identity-based politics.
A 5-member delegation comprising Prof P. Ramasamy, the deputy chief minister of Penang in Malaysia, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, and the representatives attending the International Conference for Tamil Diaspora Solidarity held in Mauritius, were taken to meet the Foreign Minister of Mauritius on 08 November, Mr Gajendrakumar said.
At the meeting, the Foreign Minister of Mauritius said that their government had received information that Sri Lanka was on a right path engaging Tamils through holding the elections to the Northern Provincial Council after 26 years. It was held according to the wishes of Tamil people and that is why the international community was stressing it too in the resolution in Geneva, the FM of Mauritius told the Tamil delegation, Mr Gajendrakumar said.
Whatever the shortcomings may be, it was a positive step that the NPC election was held in the spirit of reconciliation. As such, one should not isolate Sri Lanka, was the impression the foreign minister of Mauritius had with the information he had received from Sri Lanka.
Secondly, the foreign minister had also been told that the Chief Minister of NPC would be attending the CHOGM, Mr Gajendrakumar said.
“We explained to the foreign minister of Mauritius that the Sri Lankan Government had in fact walked out of the bilateral negotiations it had with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and was pressurizing the TNA to take part in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) process. If the SL government was genuine towards real reconciliation, it should have honoured the bilateral approach with those representing the Tamil Nation. Had it been possible to resolve the Tamil national question through a Sri Lankan parliamentary select committee approach, the Tamil question would have been solved a long time ago. It is only when the Sri Lankan State regards Tamils as a nation and enters into genuine negotiations at a bilateral level, it would be possible to resolve the conflict and achieve reconciliation, we explained to Mauritius foreign minister,” Gajendrakumar said adding that the delegation pointed out the genocidal nature and the deteriorating situation on the ground.
Even though the Rajapaksa government was forced to cooperate with the provincial council system, which has been rejected by the Tamils, the Rajapaksa government remains confident that the world powers would succumb to its agenda at the end of the day [based on geopolitics], the Tamil delegation explained to the Mauritius foreign minister, Mr Gajendrakumar said.
The decision by Indian PM also had an impact on the decision by the Mauritius PM, Mr Gajaendrakumar said, adding that it was also a result of the struggle waged by the entire people of Tamil Nadu.
The Prime Minister of Mauritius went to the extent of taking the risk of sacrificing the benefits reaching his country as his presence in Colombo this time was significant to his country hosting the conference in 2015, the TNPF leader said.