The TMVP has given a request to the government to conduct eastern provincial council elections and before that to setup an interim council.
Because most of the eastern province is now under the control of the government this becomes an important matter.
The statement of TMVP that they are the only representatives of the Tamil people in the east has worried other Tamil political parties. Due to this they fear “brotherhood bloodshed”, something that happened in the past with the LTTE.
Also if the government doesn’t agree with their request will they resort to violence? Do they want a federal system of devolution or will they even ask for a separate state if their requests are not met? They have not clarified on this matter.
Such suspicions and questions are now important in the eastern ground situation.
Regarding this, when I spoke with a number of political parties there seems to be major differences in points of view.
Speaking with the TMVP spokesman:
Q The TMVP is talking about eastern provincial elections and interim council. Why is this?
A We are clear in this matter. Most part of eastern province is now under government forces. In this situation, we have much strength in the eastern part as representatives of eastern Tamil people. So we have to confirm our representation through an elections.
Q If there is an interim council are other tamil political parties and muslim and sinhalese parties going to participate and will they be included?
A We should include Muslim and Sinhalese community political parties in the east. Also we are the only representatives of the Tamil community in the east.
Speaking to a senior member of the Tamil Liberation Alliance, who did not wish to give his name:
Q The TMVP is talking about eastern provincial elections and interim council, and they are saying they are the only representatives of the Tamil community. What are your thoughts?
A This is the same story as the LTTE and from an LTTE school of thought.
Now the government has to decide will there be elections or not inside the eastern province. Current administration of the east is by the government now. So there is no need for an Interim Council.
Q If there are elections or an interim council, what is your position. Will you take part in this?
A All tamil political parties who are in the democratic process have to take part. If there is a secure environment, muslims, sinhalese and other parties should take part.
Speaking to JVP parliamentarian Muzamil
Q The TMVP is talking about eastern provincial elections and interim council. Is it possible in this situation?
A The eastern province must be separate from the northern province. This is our strong belief for a long time. However, the question is, are elections possible now? Because all part of eastern province hasn’t come under the control of government forces yet. Also peace talks will start in coming few days. If this happens the military operation in east will be stopped by the pressureÃ‚Â of the international community.
So the government can’t control the entire eastern province. So in this position an election or interim council is impossible.
Q In the past your party said that the LTTE should lay down arms, then you will be willing to discuss devolution. At the same time now the TMVP is armed. What is your position?
A If there are any groups or movement they have to lay down their weapons. This is our strong belief. This applies to TMVP also.
Speaking to Minister Basheer Segudhawood of SLMC
Q The TMVP is talking about eastern provincial elections and interim council. What are your thoughts?
A There must be elections in the east because a lot of political parties are still in the eastern province, so every party member who have to prove who are the real representatives of their communities. This will be the test to see whether they are recognized among the people.
At the same time there is no need for an interim council in the east.
Q If there are elections or an interim council are you willing to contact or participate in such a process?
A If there are elections we are ready to face them. But still we haven’t discussed regarding an interim council.
Q The Karuna’s faction is saying that they are the only representatives of the Tamil community. What are your thoughts?
A Like the SLMC, the TNA and TMVP and other parties are in eastern province. We can’t say anymore regarding the TMVP position.