Ampara, Batticaloa, Jaffna, Media and Communications, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Trincomalee

Alliance Of Parties In The East?

It was reported today that an alliance of political parties plan to jointly contest local govt elections in Batticaloa, but a closer look is revealing.
The report stated the following:

“An alliance of Tamil political parties has been formed to contest the upcoming local council elections in Batticaloa, EPDP leader and Minister Douglas Devananda said yesterday adding that a final decision on the party symbol and other details would be decided upon within the next few days.

Minister Devananda said the alliance was formed between the EPDP, TMVP (Pillayan faction), PLOTE and EPRLF (Varathar faction) following an invitation extended by the EPDP and an agreement was reached to that effect at a meeting held in Batticaloa on Saturday. “The alliance was formed following the meeting held between the area political leaders of the Tamil parties in Batticaloa on Saturday. The alliance will focus on the rights of Tamils in Batticaloa and the development of the district,” Minister Devananda told the Daily Mirror quoting a joint statement signed by the representatives of the parties at the weekend meeting.”

While the EPDP spokesman confirmed the same story to me, TMVP’s Pillayan however said that a decision had not been reached. He said that though such a discussion had taken place the TMVP position would be stated once a decision had been made.
A TMVP source told me that there were concerns that EPDP and the other parties were seen as mainly from the North while TMVP identified themselves as from the East. He added that the TMVP might not have the freedom to do political work in the north, if the situation was reversed.

  • Veedhur

    Since TMVP is named by the UN as child recruiters they should be banned from contesting elections – until they release all children.

  • Plain Truth

    To be fair, we will have to ban UNP and SLFP from contesting elections too for bringing Sri Lanka down through corruption and inefficiency.

  • Veedhur

    that would be the day, until then I’ll settle for war crimes, crime against humanity and genocide. One step at a time….unless one really does not care about child recruitment…

  • Please note that war crimes, crime against humanity and genocide have been done by both parties involved in the war.

  • JM

    TMVP and the Karuna/Pillayan armed group are just as separate as TNA and LTTE. If TMVP is to be banned, so should be TNA. Unlike the LTTE/TNA, TMVP has given up terrorism and separatism, and should be rewarded with being allowed to contest the elections.

  • Veedhur

    Yes of course….but LTTE (or its political front PFLT) is not contesting and it is only the TMVP that is contesting. Isn’t there any rules to govern recognition of political parties?

  • Veedhur

    The last I heard TMVP was recruiting children and Pillayan was its leader. As far as I know there is nothing called Karuna group/Pillayan group different from TMVP and vice versa. Both seem to have the same leader, same spokesperson, same commanders and same cadres. I have not heard TNA recruiting children though.

  • JM

    Our duty is not to push away new entrants to the democratic system and leave them no option but to resort to terrorism and violence. TNA openly, unequivocally and without reservation supports the actions and ideology of the LTTE. It has been allowed to contest several elections since its formation in 2001 despite this connection. TMVP has made commendable progress by accepting the sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka, and the essential multi-ethnic nature of the Eastern province. Although I don’t agree with their political views, we have a duty to allow them to voice these views through democratic means, rather than the violent methods currently employed by that group. If the JVP could make the transformation from a terrorist group to a mainstream political party, so can the TMVP. No one can oppose its participation in these elections and call for fresh peace talks with the much more violent, much more extreme LTTE.

    Happy new year.

  • Is it OK for LTTE to recruit children?

  • Veedhur

    It is not OK for any one to recruit children, LTTE included.

    Accepting sovereignty and multi-ethnic nature or coming forward to contest elections are no excuse for recruiting and continuing to recruit children. A responsible Government should not allow it and should be held accountable.

    One should not make the same mistakes that allowed LTTE to become what it is in world opinion – a terrorist organisation. You don’t want the TMVP and the Government to go in that direction.

  • That is my view too. I don’t know where you stand as far as your sincere support is concerned.

    The point I like to make is your statement shouldn’t be a political one, it should be a true and sincere statement. What I mean by political is, we don’t want to see that message coming from the tamilnet or NGO.

    The government has gone in that direction and we will see more of it as the war progresses and the political pressure is mounting on them to stop the war.

  • JM

    Veedhur, you’re right when you say that both LTTE and Karuna/Pillayan group forcibly recruit children, and that the government has a responsibility to stop this (along with other illegal activities of both groups). The government’s resources are limited, and most of it has to be utilised in fighting the LTTE, which is not only the primary enemy of the government, but also is, by any interpretation, the worse abuser of rights. Therefore the government sometimes tends to turn a blind-eye to child recruitment and other violations by the K/P-G. At present, K/P-G has no incentive to stop its illegal activities, and the government forces are unwilling to open another battle-front in the East by confronting them. Barring TMVP from contesting elections in alliance with less-violent mainstream Tamil political parties will not influence it to change for the better. Rather, with nothing to lose, it will only become worse. Legitimacy ultimately leads the way for moderation and democratisation. Also, TMVP knows that the government will not suffer them gladly once the LTTE is no longer a threat, so they would be anxious to make the transformation before that comes to pass.

    Another important factor to consider is that TMVP is not a registered political party and will only take part in the elections by having its individual members/supporters in the EPDP-PLOTE-TMVP-EPRLF(V) coaltion, and publicly endorsing that platform. So even if we wanted to, it is legally impossible to prevent the TMVP from directly participating in the elections because it was never going to anyway.