TULF leader writes to LTTE leader.
Mr. V. Prabaharan
My Dear Thamby,
I hope this letter will not surprise you. This is the third letter I am writing to you, although you had not replied to my earlier two letters.
You and I, like hundreds of thousands of Tamils living all over the world wish to see our People, settling down peacefully to lead normal life - so with the Singhalese and the Muslims. Thousands of our people had died without seeing the dawn of peace. We must see our people back to normal life during our lifetime. This is the ambition of everyone.
What happened between you and your Eastern military commander Karuna , we do not know but when I heard about the split I pleaded for unity between both of you and expressed my wish that the merger of the North and the East achieved with the greatest difficulty by TULF leaders should be retained at any cost. The rift between both of you is getting widened day by day to the detriment of the Tamil cause. I have very grave doubts of both factions getting together again, but I am fully convinced that the split has only weakened the efforts of several years of hard work and sacrifice of many. Hundreds of thousands of Tamil Youths had fled the country to seek refuge all over the world and several thousands had died in the battle front. The deaths of Singhalese and Muslim Youths are not small in number. Loss of civilian lives had exceeded sixty thousand. Countless number are in refugee camps in Sri Lanka and in India with no hopes of returning to their homes early. Several Thousand displaced persons still live at the mercy of their friends and relations with the pittance from the Government and some NGOs. Above all what people had lost and the damage to private and public property amounts to several Billions.
It is this estimation that prompted me to make this appeal to you to consider seriously the hard times ahead of you and of our people. Please cry halt to all meaningless killings whether they are in the North or in the East and take immediate steps to help to find a solution to our problem.
I am a very senior politician of Sri Lanka who had been in politics for nearly half a century. I had been associated in Parliament with the top-most leaders of almost all political parties in Sri Lanka including the late Mr S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Q.C. I was the last Tamil Politician who had the privilege of spending the last few days with the late Mr G.G. Ponnambalam Q.C the leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, before his demise. Therefore I think I have the right and the capacity to advise you on any matter relating to our problem in particular and that of the country in general. I hope you will give serious consideration for my advice, which, I assure you, will never be self-centred.
As a first step please come to some terms with Karuna and prevent the loss of valuable lives on both sides. Afterall both of you worked together for several years for a common cause.
Some of your supporters all over the world had selfishly used your name for their personal gains and had let you down on a number of occasions. The damage is done more by those who, having concealed their past, claim to be strong supporters of the LTTE. Put a stop to this forth-with.
I feel it is my duty to point out what is wrong and what is right. How can we expect any Government to agree to give majority representation for the LTTE in the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA). Whatever we demand the concerned parties must be in a position to concede.. This demand for majority representation in the ISGA for the LTTE will only be the first step towards de-merger of the North and the East. Don't forget that the Tamils Muslims and Singhalese who live in equal numbers in the Eastern Province will tend to oppose it and a demand of this nature will only increase the demand for de-merger of the North-East. The one and the only option available for the LTTE, if they want a majority, is to win-over the minority members in the ISGA. This will also help to earn the confidence of the minorities in the ISGA.
This demand will not only compel any Government to dodge the issue but will also deter the International Community from interfering in our problems. Every one knows that with the majority in the ISGA the Chair-Person, the Chief Administrator, for the North East and all his assistants also will be members of the LTTE. The Chair-Person having powers to suspend or terminate any such appointment will mean that the LTTE wants absolute control of the North and the East through the ISGA.
Will the Tamils agree for an administration of this nature? Will the Muslims and the Singhalese agree to a set up like this and can any Government survive after conceding this demand. The Muslims who had been living with us like brothers for hundreds of years were driven out of the Northern Province with hardly any of their possessions and their lifetime savings. They are still living as displaced persons in the Districts of Anuradhapura and Puttalam, in cadjan sheds, under pitiable conditions In the absence of an open invitation for them by you to return to their respective homes, do you think that one single Muslim will ever agree to come under the Self Governing Authority, dominated by the LTTE. What about the Singhalese who left the North and also constitute one third of the population in the East. The ISGA proposals in my view have aggravated our problems and have also diminished the hopes of early settlement.
You have asked for Elections to be held after five years of administration by the ISGA and have suggested that if no settlement is reached within five years an Independent Election Commission appointed by the ISGA shall conduct free and fair elections. Can this ever happen?
Much more could be said against the powers demanded for the ISGA. In short I would say that the L'I'TE had not submitted a proposal for the Government to consider the same seriously. When some of the proposal are not acceptable even to the 'Tamils of the North and the- East how can one expect the Government to consider these proposals. The LT'TE had not proved its impartiality in any field especially in the administration of Law and order. How do you expect the Singhalese, Muslims and Tamils to have faith in your Police and your courts? Don’t you think that this move is to bring the entire North and East under the control and subjugation of the LTTE? I do not think any member of the Singhala or Muslim or even the Tamil community will agree to these proposals. What People want today is a Democratic Rule.
If you are serious in bringing back peace to our people quickly please consider my suggestion very seriously. It will definitely yield very good and quick results to the satisfaction of everybody.
There are a number of countries that have solved the problems faced by the minorities in their respective countries, satisfactorily. Many such countries are awaiting at our doorstep with numerous aid packages ready to help us to find the solution to our problems. Countries like Canada, Germany, Switzerland and India are in the forefront, with their federal type of constitutions. If assistance is sought constitutional experts, not only from these countries but also from countries like UK, USA, France, Japan, Australia and such others, will be too happy to sit down with our local experts and work together to help us draft a constitution. The drafts that have been prepared and now in the cold-storage can also be examined. Our immediate neighbour, India had adopted a constitution and had successfully worked it for a fair length of time. The Indian pattern of devolution that had stood the test of times could also be considered as a model and if necessary with suitable variations on subjects that need special considerations.
A constitution so drafted cannot be easily rejected by anybody in Sri Lanka and I hope will be acceptable to all sections of the Sri Lankan people. The International Community in such a situation can even persuade or pressurise the opponents of such a draft constitution to accept it. The Ontario’s Ex- Premier Hon. Bob Ray who visited Sri Lanka recently and studied our problem thoroughly had said that federalism is the only solution to solve the Sri Lankan problems. He is not the only person of authority to have said so.
In conclusion I wish to tell you that we should now stop playing the same old record over and over again. The whole world knows what our problem is and what the acceptable solution would be. Hence without wasting time, conceding the fact that our people cannot and should not be allowed to suffer any more, take a quick decision to workout a solution with the support of the International Community with out any further delay. You have ample opportunities even now to win-over the minority Muslims and Singhalese in the North and East. You must also convince your own cadre that those who fought very bitterly for freedom should not deprive others of their freedom and bring them under their subjugation whether they are Singhalese Tamils or Muslims.
I have discussed this matter with a number of Tamil people in several countries during my recent visit and did not come across one single person who opposed it. I am also confident that the entire, if not a larger section of the Singhalese and Muslim communities also will welcome this proposal.
I assure you that this proposal will receive the support of almost every one in this country. If you come forward to accept it, my full co-operation will be available to you in this matter. Any problem that crops up during the implementation of this proposal with regard to the future of your cadre etc can be sorted out with the co-operation and mutual understanding of all concerned parties including the International Community.
Tamil United Liberation Front
Published: Thu Oct 14 19:14:15 EDT 2004