TNA demands ‘a measure of autonomy within a united, undivided Sri Lanka’

September 22, 2013 at 10:06 pm

September 22, 2013, 10:13 pm

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Having secured the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) with an  overwhelming majority at Saturday’s Provincial Council polls, the Ilankai Tamil  Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) aka TNA yesterday urged the government to ‘grant a  measure of autonomy to Tamil speaking people within a united undivided country.’

Saturday’s was the first Northern PC polls since the  introduction of the 13th Amendment, in accordance with the Indo-Lanka Accord,  signed on July 29, 1987.

TNA heavyweight M. A. Sumanthiran, MP, told The Island  that the government should ensure the newly elected NPC was given an opportunity  to exercise its powers in accordance with the 13th Amendment to the  Constitution.Nothing could be as important as allowing the NPC to exercise even  the limited powers it enjoyed under the present PC system, the MP said.  Saturday’s overwhelming verdict reflected the mood of Tamil speaking people in  spite of the UPFA’s relentless efforts to undermine the democratic process, the  MP said.

The TNA obtained a staggering 353,595 votes (78.48%) to secure  30 seats, while the UPFA and its constituent, the SLMC, obtained seven and one  seats respectively in the 38-member NPC.

Responding to a query, Sumanthiran pointed out that the TNA’s  achievement was bigger than even a two-thirds victory. “What we have achieved  under proportional representation is extraordinary. We hope the government as  well as the people will respect the verdict. The government can no longer ignore  the verdict at the NPC.”

The attorney-at-law said that the TNA expected the government to  engage in a meaningful discussion with the party in the wake of its historic  electoral victory. Sumanthiran said that the party would act responsibly to  pursue post-war national reconciliation.

When pointed out that the TNA as well as several other  organisations had repeatedly alleged that a free and fair election couldn’t be  held due to heavy presence of the military in the Jaffna peninsula, Sumanthiran  said that troops had intervened on behalf of those contesting on the UPFA  ticket. The MP alleged that some troops had fired in the air outside the Varani  College on the day of the polling when the TNA rushed to the scene after having  heard of trouble there. The MP alleged that troops positioned close to some  polling booths had chased away voters between 1.00 and 3.00 p.m.