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News Features  


 

Problems of Tamils need solutions—Anandasangaree
After a long silence, veteran Tamil politician and the leader of the TULF Anandasangaree, has released a written statement to all presidential candidates in Sri Lanka.
In his statement, Sangaree gives a set of proposals for implementation in the event of any one of them getting elected as the President of Sri Lanka.

Following is the full text of the letter.

The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) having very carefully considered all the aspects of the present political situation, decided to place before his Excellency the President and all the other presidential candidates, a set of proposals for implementation in the event of any one of them getting elected as the President of Sri Lanka.

The proposals of the TULF are nothing new and are not necessarily related to the rights of the minorities, but concerns every section of the people of Sri Lanka and for the promotion of good governance under which all the ethnic groups can enjoy all rights equally with the others. It is the candid view of the TULF to create a contented society wherein no one will feel superior or inferior to one another. People have short memories and we Sri Lankans are no exception. The problems we face in our country today have directly or indirectly affected everyone. The loss of several thousand lives, several billions worth of both public and private property and the unimaginable amount of money spent on the recently concluded war, several millions spent every day in the maintenance of camps and service personnel etc. should have taught all of us a very good lesson that we will never again want this situation to be repeated. This can be prevented only by sensible means and not by setting up army camps here and there, amidst a frustrated lot of people giving them a feeling that their 30 years of subjugation has not come to an end, but only replaced by another group. The TULF sincerely and strongly believes that implementation of the following proposals will put an end to the mess the country is now forced into. The TULF, therefore, pleads with every voter to pressurise the candidate of his or her choice at the forthcoming Presidential Election, to accept the following proposals which if accepted and implemented will lead to a lasting solution to the ethnic problem and bring back peace and tranquility for our people, and pave the way for the much needed unity and prosperity in the country.

The TULF being aware of the fate of section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution, the only safeguard the minorities had in it, strongly feel that any solution for the ethnic problem, if found under the Unitary System, may be subjected to review by a future Parliament and all efforts taken so far at heavy loss of life and property will go waste. The TULF during the past five years had been advocating for a solution under a Federal Constitution and have also offered to accept the Indian Model as the only alternative to a federal solution. This proposal should satisfy those who are opposed to both the Federal and Unitary Systems. The TULF is fully convinced that no acceptable solution can ever be found under the Unitary System.

The TULF does not believe that the merger of the North and the East will prove detrimental either to the country or to any ethnic group. Instead, it will help to promote good-will and communal harmony among various communities living there. The TULF is of the view that if it is left in the hands of the people of those two provinces, as promised by the Hon. Prime Minister in Parliament, a lot of misunderstandings could be cleared.

The TULF genuinely feels that the delay in re-settling the Internally Displaced Persons in their respective residences is very unfair. Whether they are Sinhalese, Muslims, Tamils, Tamils of Indian origin or of any other ethnic group, they should go back to their original places of residence before they were displaced. If the re-settlement is left in the hands of the respective Government Agents, re-settlement would have been completed by this time. The arrest and detention of the Kilinochchi G.A and some Grama Sevakas is delaying the re-settlement process.

Full compensation should be paid immediately for the loss of lives and properties of the IDPs be they Tamils, Muslims, Sinhalese or Tamils of Indian Origin.
Quick action should be taken to compile a list of missing and dead persons and other relevant details of those people who lived in the Vanni during the war.

Action should be taken to hand over the 10,000 odd children detained in rehabilitation camps, wrongfully branded as Tiger cadres. There may be a few of them who had joined the Tigers voluntarily, but all the others were forcibly recruited. What these children now need urgently are care and affection from the parents. Take steps to hand over these innocent children to their respective parents with any conditions, if necessary, so that the parents can decide as to what type of education their children really need. Most of these children, due to the war or for some other reasons like fear of conscription, had lost their schooling for a few years. The government should create opportunities for them to continue their studies. The Indian Government can be requested to accommodate a few hundred students for various courses in Tamil Nadu. One of the foreign secretaries from India during an official visit agreed to consider the TULF’s request for some Scholarships.

The activities of the Human Rights commission should be extended to the North to go into the abductions and killings of innocent people. Many are willing to give evidence to trace the culprits.
Now that the war is over and without even the slightest chance of the LTTE reviving, the high security zones should be disbanded and the houses within the high security zone handed over to the owners. Immediate action should be taken to compel the armed groups, now occupying houses forcibly, to return them to the owners or their heirs.

When hard-core LTTE cadre had escaped from the grip of the government and from the IDP camps, it is unfair to keep in detention, youths who are arrested and detained for very trivial offences that cannot be classified as offences in the proper sense. All of them should be released under a general amnesty and the PTA also should be repealed. Most people in The North and The East were compelled by the LTTE years back to contribute a fixed quantity of gold with a promise to return same on a future date. A few got their gold back but many did not. Apart from this, people had been pawning their articles and also depositing their money with the Elam Bank illegally run by the LTTE. All the gold and the cash recovered in Vanni belong to the people of The North and The East. Hence, whatever jewellery and cash recovered should be kept in custody until all claims are met.
A university for the Vanni should be set up forthwith to accommodate children who missed their admission for various universities during the past few years. Hence, at-least courses like agriculture and arts degrees should be started for the benefit of the Vanni students.

The business community in Vanni have lost everything and are now paupers. The government should ensure that all sub-agencies authorised dealership petrol stations etc should be given to those dealers who had them before they were displaced.

Two special units should be set up, one to take charge of the re-settlement of the unfortunate Muslims of the North who were displaced in 1992 and the other to re-settle the most unfortunate Tamils of Indian Origin who had migrated to Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Mullaithivu, more particularly between 1958 and 1983 from the Up Country region and from many other areas in the country.
Introduce in the statute book a strong chapter on fundamental rights with very severe penalties for violations.

Thanking You.
Yours Sincerely,
V. Anandasangaree,
The President
Tamil United Liberation Front