The Global Tamil Forum has called on all Tamils to cast their precious vote wisely at the forthcoming Parliamentary Election in Sri Lanka.
The GTF in a post published by the Canadian Tamil Congress said the Tamil people’s struggle for democratic rights in Sri Lanka has a long history and since independence the desire of Tamils to live as a free people has not been diminished by the many setbacks and the tests of endurance faced by Tamils in their onward march for justice, dignity and equality.
“The manner in which the Tamils of Sri Lanka fought for liberty underwent many changes over the decades. In the beginning the Federal party led the Tamil struggle with a programme of non-cooperation with the State based on the Ghandian model. The conspicuous lack of success of the non-violent movement to win equal rights led to an armed struggle that escalated into a 30 year civil war with the Sri Lankan state,” CTC post said.
CTC post noted that from the end of the civil war in May 2009, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has provided leadership to resist the actions of an unjust State and promote the aspirations of a beleaguered people by searching for cooperation to create a framework for a just society in which all Sri Lankan communities can live peacefully.
“In the last Parliament, the Tamil political leadership sensibly cooperated with other progressives in the South and with the help of the international community attempted to lay the foundations for a more equitable society by generating policies based on universal humanitarian principles and creating institutions to implement them. Progress unfortunately, was tardy and minimal. Whilst these small forward steps provided some breathing space they were insufficient to bring meaningful relief to the Sri Lankan Tamil community.”
CTC noted that the Sri Lankan political terrain is a difficult place to negotiate political outcomes based on universal humanitarian principles.
“The hallmark of the present political culture in Sri Lanka is the absence of the rule of law, a compromised judiciary, a submissive press and the militarisation of the executive. The current political structure is not conducive for meaningful change in the future for the establishment of a just and equitable society. We can see dark clouds gathering in the horizon which threaten to further weaken Sri Lankan society as a whole and particularly impact on the Tamils,” CTC said.
CTC noted that Tamils in Sri Lanka are a marginalised community and have specific political needs and aspirations but have limited electoral strength.
“It is vital that Tamil votes are not split and thereby weaken the community’s Parliamentary representation. It is therefore, important that the Tamils elect a principled and powerful group of parliamentarians who could represent the community in both the North and the East and effectively use their collective strength to advance Tamil communitys’ interests. At the present time, this could be achieved by strengthening the existing Tamil political leadership which is the TNA,” CTC said.
The TNA under the leadership of R. Sampanthan, has earned the recognition and respect of the international community including Canada, USA, EU, UK, Australia and India. It is widely accepted that it has carefully and consistently articulated the concerns, grievances and aspirations of the Tamil people.
The CTC has also worked closely with TNA and its spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran in particular at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. CTC has also worked with other TNA members on economic development efforts in the war affected Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka.
CTC appealed to all Tamil citizens is to cast their precious votes and cast it wisely, keeping the long-term interest of their community in mind.
Six nabbed with over 100 kg of ‘Ice’
By Norman Palihawadane and Ifham Nizam
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) yesterday arrested six suspects in the Sapugaskanda Rathgahawatta area with more than 100 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as Ice.
Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Ajith Rohana told the media that the PNB sleuths, acting on information elicited from a suspect in custody had found 91 packets of Ice.
A man in possession of 100 kilos of heroin was arrested in Modera during the weekend and revealed that a haul of Ice had been packed in plastic boxes.
The PNB seized more than 114 kilos of Ice from the possession of a single drug network.
According to the information elicited from the suspects, more than 100 kilos of Ice were found.
The PNB also arrested six persons including two women with 13 kilos of Ice, during an operation carried out in the Niwandama area in Ja-Ela on Sunday.
DIG Rohana said the ice had been packed in small plastic boxes and hidden in two school bags.
PM intervenes to iron out differences among coalition partners
By Norman Palihawadane
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said that he was confident that differences among the constituents of the SLPP coalition as regards the May Day celebrations and the next Provincial Council elections could be ironed out soon.
Leaders of all SLPP allied parties have been invited to a special meeting to be held at Temple Trees with the PM presiding on April 19.
Prime Minister Rajapaksa said it was natural for members of a political alliance to have their own standpoints and views on matters of national importance. “This is due to the different political ideologies and identities. It is not something new when it comes to political alliances world over. In a way, it shows that there is internal democracy within our alliance.
The PM said: “As a result of that the allied parties may express their own views on issues, but that does not mean there is a threat to the unity of the alliance. An alliance is more vibrant and stronger not when all the parties think on the same lines but when the member parties have different ideologies.”
Thilo Hoffman remembered
A copy of the book “Politics of a Rainforest: Battles to save Sinharaja” was handed over to Dominik Furgler, the Swiss Ambassador in Sri Lanka by the author of the book, Dr. Prasanna Cooray at the Swiss Embassy in Colombo last Tuesday, to be sent to the family of the late Thilo Hoffman in Switzerland.
Hoffman, a Swiss national, who made Sri Lanka his second home for six decades, was a pioneering environmental activist who led the battles to save Sinharaja from the front in the early 1970s, abreast with the likes of Iranganie Serasinghe, Kamanie Vitharana, Lynn De Alwis and Nihal Fernando of the “Ruk Rekaganno” fame. That was the era when the trees of Sinharaja were felled for the production of plywood by the then government. Hoffman was also a livewire of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society (WNPS) for a long time. Hoffman died in 2014 at the age of 92.
The book includes a chapter on Thilo Hoffman.
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