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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2675

Child soldier turned Chief Minister to build harmonious relationship with Muslims and Sinhalese

Colombo, 17 May, (Asiantribune.com): “All necessary measures will be taken to bring about peace and harmony in the East. I will take all required steps to embrace Muslims and Sinhalese living in the East and ensure their security. As a first step, I will be making arrangements to meet the Muslim leaders of the East to dispel if and any doubts that loom in their hearts and minds about my genuine love and brotherly affection towards them, especially of those in the East, said Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, the just sworn-in Chief Minister for the Eastern Province.

The child soldier turned provincial Chief Minister was speaking to Asian Tribune just after he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, 33 years old youngest Chief Minister, was earlier a child soldier, abducted at his tender age of 14 years and given arms training by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and trained as another killing machine. Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan taking oath of officeSivanesathurai Chandrakanthan taking oath of office

In 2004 March, he along with V. Muralitharan, also known as Col. Karuna left the LTTE and was one of the founder members of TamilEela Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal. Later the outfit got rid of the word ‘Eelam’ and renamed it as Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal.

Chanthirakanthan led many successful battles against the LTTE in the Eastern Province and fought standing shoulder to shoulder with the Sri Lankan security forces to liberate the East.

He took over the leadership of the TMVP after Muralitharan left the country. As a first step he registered TMVP as a political party and successfully contested in the Local Government elections held in the Batticaloa district. Subsequently under Chanthirakanthan’s leadership, TMVP entered as one of the coalition partners with the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance and contested East Provincial Council election. Pillaiyan with President Mahinda Rajapakse Pillaiyan with President Mahinda Rajapakse

After swearing in as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council, he spoke with Asian Tribune.

He said, I want to bring about a good and sustainable relationship between the Tamils and the Muslims. To do that, he added, I have decided to meet the Muslim leaders and dispel their suspicion about the East Tamils and build cordial and brotherly relationship with them.

Therefore as a first step, I wish to meet these Muslim leaders. Almost all Muslim leaders are Ministers and if one of the leaders arranges a meeting in their Ministry office, inviting other Muslim leaders also for a discussion, I am prepared to participate and listen to them and to assure that I care to work with them. Chanthirakanthan with Gothabaya RajapakseChanthirakanthan with Gothabaya Rajapakse

Chanthirakanthan said as far as TMVP is concerned, we have already handed over all the underage children who were with us. As far as I am aware, there are no more underage children with us. If anyone points out as we have still underage children with us, then I am prepared to investigate and do the needful.

I want to provide opportunities for unemployed youths of the province to find for themselves suitable livelihood arrangements, Chanthirakanthan said.

Also he said that still there are thousands of Internally Displaced Persons in our midst. We will try our best to see that they are resettled in their respective villages and they have roof over their heads.

Chanthirakanthan said that he is thankful to President Mahinda Rajapakse and other Government leaders for the confidence they had on him by making him the Chief Minister of the East. He assured, I will try my best to live up to their expectations by dedicating fully and working for the well-being of the people of the East.Chanthirakanthan with Basil RajapakseChanthirakanthan with Basil Rajapakse

He said, my appointment as the Chief Minister is an eye opener for our Tamils brothers in the North. I think by now it will dawn on them that to undertake their day today business with the Government they have an option available for them. They have to come up to openly resist the Vanni Tigers and live peacefully. Eastern brothers are always there to assist them in their battle for freedom against the ruthless Prabakaran and his killing machinery.

He thanked the Buddhist clergies and the leaders of the Jathika Heela Urumiya for the support and the trust they had on him and for openly supporting him in his bid for the Chief Ministership.

Chanthirakanthan said that he was very sad to hear of the Colombo bomb blast and the death and injury of Police personnel and civilians. He said that he wishes to convey his condolence to the bereaved families and assured he will work with the Sri Lankan security forces and ensure the security of the Easterners.

The newly sworn in Chief Minister reiterated that with the help of the people of the East, he was able to defeat the Vanni Tigers democratically. He further said that he along with TMVP has entered the mainstream of politics and there is no turning back from the democratic mainstream.

When asked about MLAM Hisbullah’s statements before and after his swearing in as Chief Minister, Chanthirakanthan said he is not prepared to response to the accusations made by Hisbullah. He said Hisbullah is a person and not an organization and he is not the voice of the Muslims of the East. He said, there are many respected and well trusted Muslim leaders in the East. He also said I wanted to live peacefully and harmoniously with my Muslim brothers of the East and by responding to the unsubstantiated allegations, it would definitely create a provocative situation in the east. This is what Rauff Hakeem and UNP wanted and longing for. I can only appeal to Hisbullah not to fall into the trap of Rauff Hakeem and UNP and not to be provocative with communal speeches.

- Asian Tribune -

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