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PSC is the right forum to address Tamil issues

2014 Nov 23

Jaffna District Parliamentarian and General Secretary of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP), Douglas Devananda, says that he welcomed the Supreme Court determination that allowed President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the Presidential polls for the third time since he was the only leader to provide a dignified peace to the country where all people are treated equal.

In an interview with The Nation, he criticized the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for indulging in selfish politics that deprived the Tamil people of their rights, and misleading them through false claims. “The TNA should realize the reality and come to terms with it. They should not encourage external factors including the UN to interfere with Sri Lanka and should try to solve issues by discussions. The Government has always been open for discussions. They should use these opportunities to discuss and solve the issues,” he said.


Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q. The Supreme Court gave a decision that President Mahinda Rajapaksa can contest for a third time. What impact would that have on the people, especially those in the North and East?
Well, he is the person who ended the war and brought about peace in the country. Today, we have peace and an honorable peace at that. No one is above anyone today and the President has made sure that the people enjoy freedom to its fullest.
I have worked with previous presidents such as Ranasinghe Premadasa and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. No other person or president has done so much for the people in such a short span.

He has not only finished the war, but has also made sure that the people affected by the war do not feel left out.

He has ensured that the benefits of peace and development reach the people of the North. Therefore, the ruling of the Supreme Court that the President can contest for a third time is not only a boon for the Tamils, but for the entire country.

Q. Would you support his candidature as President?
Of course, I will.
Q. But do you say that the problems faced by the minorities, namely the Tamils have been addressed?
I wouldn’t say that Tamils do not have problems. We are yet to find a suitable and durable solution for the problems that we’ve been facing for decades. However, there is a way in which the issue should be approached.

Q. What do you mean by saying that it should be approached in the appropriate way?
In the past, we, especially the Tamil politicians, have approached the problem the wrong way, pulling the country into deep trouble which lasted for over three decades. Today, the situation is different. The war has ended and the political parties such as the TNA continue to stick to principles that created utter chaos in the country.

Q. Why do you think that they continue to be rigid despite the end of the war and change in political environment?
It is very simple. It is only for their own political benefits. They are being selfish. They go around complaining of military presence and land grab issues in the North. But secretly, they want these issues and problems remain. I have told this on previous occasions as well. They do not have a political future without these issues.

Q. How do you say that they do not have a political future without issues?
If you look at the TNA, it is a combination of several political parties and individuals. Before they joined to forge an alliance, they had contested individually under their respective political parties and lost elections. The likes of Sampanthan, Suresh Premachandran and Mavai Senathirajah were highly unsuccessful as individual politicians. The LTTE thought of a strategy to bring its ideologies to the political arena and picked them to form an alliance.
Today, there is no LTTE and they have to depend on whatever issues that they could find to keep them going.

Q. What do you suggest to solve these issues?
The TNA should realize the reality and come to terms with it. They should not encourage external factors including the UN to interfere with Sri Lanka and try to solve issues through discussions. The Government has always been open for discussions. They should use these opportunities to discuss and solve the issues. There were several opportunities in the past, including the Indo-Sri Lanka Pact, which were turned down and ignored by the Tamil leadership at the time. The irony is that the very people who criticized the pact want the 13th Amendment implemented.

Q. In your view, what is the most suitable way of solving the issue?
I stand by the stance of the Government. The Government is firm on its stance that the problem should be addressed and solved through the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC). The TNA should take part in the PSC, which has the representation of all political parties.

 

- See more at: http://www.nation.lk/edition/focus/item/35305-psc-is-the-right-forum-to-address-tamil-issues.html#sthash.MiUbVzWK.dpuf

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