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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2395

Sumanthiran, - Know the truth and tell the truth

By V.Anandasangaree - Secretary General - TULF

Please bear with me for this short, letter which will otherwise run to several pages. When I entered into active politics in 1959 with my candidature at the Colombo Municipal Council elections, about 58 years back, you were not even born at that time.

You were also about 20 years junior to me, when you were called to the Bar in 1991. I had entered the legal profession 27 years before you.

I was not born with a Silver spoon in my mouth like you. Being one in a large family, my parents could educate me only up to the Senior School certificate, now replaced by G.C.E. (O/L).

The rest of my education, up to the Law College, was due to my personal efforts by giving tuitions and teaching in a primary School. I had to rough-out with several wants not affordable with my poor income. Will you believe that I gathered the required knowledge, only by making full use of the library, without owning a single text book on Law.

Furthermore I gave up practice as Lawyer and Notary to become a full time politician, soon after I got elected as a Member of Parliament in 1970.

Even in Parliament your entry to it was 40 years after me, that too on the National list. I hope this much about me will be enough for you and also will be useful to you to gauge my capacity, to understand the problems the country and its people are facing. I am sure if you had known these facts earlier your references to me on many occasions would have been honest and sensible.

I entered politics only to serve the people and not to earn money. The MP’s allowance at that time was only Rs 600 a month and in addition a clerical allowance of Rs 75 to employ a clerk.

I could survive on little farming I did. Seeing the enthusiasm I showed in social work and in the development of Killinochchi my father gave up all claims on me and virtually handed me over to the people of Killinochchi.

He brought me up as one committed to non-violence and brought me up as an honest and a courageous teetotaler and also taught me to face success and defeat equally.

The most competent authority to vouch for my honesty and integrity is Ex-President Her Excellency Chandirika Bandaranayake Kumarathunge whose offer of a nominated Membership in Parliament and on another occasion some financial assistance for my election campaign, both of which I declined to accept, although I needed both urgently.

This concern with my credibility as a Leader of a Political Party. Another such person was her successor in office His Excellency Mahinda Rajapakshe, whose offer of Governorship of the North also, was declined by me. I am in politics for nearly 60 years. I did not need much money for my campaigns which were organized by the constituents of Killinochchi, with contributions from the local supporters. I hardly received any contribution from anybody from the time a split occurred in the party in 2004. The only substantial contribution I received was fifty thousand rupees from a Party supporter of Germany during the 2010 General Election.

Apart from this I won the UNECO’s Madanjeet Singh award for the promotion of Tolerance and Non-violence for the year 2006 which carried a cash award of one hundred thousand dollars, at that time equivalent to ten million rupees. My political mission also was almost the same as the purpose for which the award was given. There were rumors deliberately spread among the people to the effect that I am financed by the government and some interested parties. All these are deliberate lies amounting to the assassination of my character and more a planned betrayal of the common people who are deprived of my services for more than thirteen years..

You are a lawyer and also a Member of Parliament, first nominated on the national list by the TNA, after the 2010 General Election. I should accept that some very important matters, of which you have no clear idea, will have to be cleared. In Point Pedro you was addressing new recruits to the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchchi (ITAK) which was virtually wound up by the founder Hon.S.J.V.Chelvanayagam two years before his demise.

The General Secretary of the ITAK the late Hon A.Amirthalingam kept the registration of the ITAK in force to prevent any misuse of the name and the symbol of the ITAK the ‘HOUSE’, as happened to the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC). The founder left the TULF as his legacy for the Tamil people. The ITAK to which you are now recruiting members was the creation of a self-interested person who, on the orders of a leader of an organization committed to violence, 28 years after the founder died. You as a budding Lawyer with many more years to go in politics should be very cautious in dealing with the public. If you give me an opportunity I can give a correct briefing about the ITAK to your new recruits and to several thousand innocent Tamils who are being misled, if an opportunity is given to me.

I did not run away with the symbol of the TULF the ‘Raising Sun’ as you claim. I rightfully retained the symbol of the ‘Raising Sun’ by going to Courts. When the Secretary General and senior vice President of the TULF at that time were making preparations to hold a meeting at Ampara, without my concurrence as the president of the TULF, for the purpose of passing a no confidence motion against me. They knew very well that Ampara was out of bounds for me due to the difference of opinion I had with the LTTE. This made me to go to Courts. I hope you will agree that I had to do it under compelling circumstances, as a sacred duty caste on me by the party and the founder. Having failed in their Court action the TNA decided to adopt the symbol of the Federal Party the ‘HOUSE’. You cannot be unaware as to what happened after that and at the general election of 2004. The TNA, it is more correct to say the ITAK disgracefully sought the help of an organization committed to violence to win the election, misleading the other three constituent parties of the TNA.

The cadre belonging to that group with over one hundred motorcycles, half of which without number plats, visited every nook an corner promoting the candidates of the TNA preventing the other rival parties from all types of campaign such as public meetings, house to house canvassing, distribution of leaflets, publication of advertisements of all the candidates of the TULF and some others in the North and the East. Some of the TULF candidates including me were prevented even from voting. The TNA won 22 seats including the two national list seats. A number of requests made by the various monitoring teams, some from abroad like the EU, Commonwealth etc, are still available with me. Request for a re poll was rejected by the Commissioner of Elections on the grounds that there was no provision in the law for such action. So please note that the victory of the TNA candidates should have been annulled or all such members so elected should have been removed, if necessary even by amending the election law.

But unfortunately the Tamils are the only group who had suffered in this manner. On an earlier occasion more than eight members elected in the Jaffna electoral District, polled less than thousand votes each. I don’t think any party which was in power at that time would have tolerated this if any community other than Tamil community had been deprived of their rights in this manner. Therefore please accept that it was the TNA using the symbol of the Federal Party the ‘HOUSE’ routed the most democratic Tamil party the TULF which once ordered all its 18 members to quit Parliament protesting against the extension of the term of office of Parliament by a referendum. You will be surprised to know that the TNA created world history by polling 95 percent of the votes polled. Surprisingly some who lost in the morning were declared elected in the evening. Some polled more than one hundred thousand votes disgracefully by fraudulent means like impersonation threat and intimidation. I am told that an area which used to be my vote bank, polled only eighteen votes. I used to get amused when some people who still say that those candidate who are rejected by the voters have no right to talk about any problem. I hope even you had made utterances to that effect without sparing me also. Do you still stand by it?

I do not know whether you are aware that I never wanted the LTTE to be destroyed. I only wanted them to mend their ways in dealing with human lives. I had to take this stand because I am strictly committed to non-violence as a great believer and a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and his policies. I wish to recall what Mr. R.Sampanthan Secretary General of TULF told me once and what my reply was to him when we were together in the same political party. He said, “Sangaree I also don’t accept the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil people. I don’t say that openly but why are you saying that openly”, for which my reply was, “Sam, if I also don’t say that, then who will tell it”. I hope you are aware that for all purposes, relating to the Tamils and their problems and for the purpose of negotiating with the government, I accepted the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil people. This was misinterpreted to the people as if I don’t accept their participation in solving our problems. I am sorry for the innocent people who had been made to believe that I am totally opposed to the LTTE. If you will go through some of my speeches made in Parliament you will be surprised when you read them. I quote one or two instances of the many references I made about the LTTE in Parliament.

On one occasion during the emergency debate in Parliament, looking at the Minister of Defence Anurudha Ratwatte I said, “even if you fight for ten years you will never re-capture Palai and capturing Elephant Pass will be a day dream” Surprisingly one reason the Trincomalee branch of which Mr.R.Sampanthan was President gave one reason for the no confidence motion against me was that I wanted Elephant Pass to be handed over to the armed forces.

This was a deliberate lie to undercut me. On another occasion I pointed out to the Minister that LTTE was not 40 miles away from Palali but only three to four miles away from Jaffna in Poonery. One day in Parliament in my reference to Thamby Prabhakaran I said that like Yazeer Arafath Prabhakaran also will go round the world soon while Mr.R.Sampanthan was seated next to me.

I have many more interesting stories about which you do not know I windup this letter and promise to come back to you over and over again in the future.

- Asian Tribune -

Sumanthiran, - Know the truth and tell the truth
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