by Arthur Wamanan
In an exclusive interview with The Nation, TNA Batticaloa District Parliamentarian P. Ariyanenthiran said no differences or different opinions within the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on the scheduled joint May Day rally in Jaffna. But, there was a major concern over the rally in the North to hold it under the leadership of the TNA and no others. He further said that India’s move to send a delegation would bring no good, as it was only a measure to pacify Sri Lanka after India’s support to the US in Geneva over the resolution against Sri Lanka.
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Following are excerpts.
Q. There were different opinions within the TNA regarding the May Day rally to be held in Jaffna. It was reported that you have opposed to the move of the alliance to join hands with the UNP. What is the exact situation?
There are no different opinions within the TNA with regard to the May Day rally. What we said was that we were opposed for the May Day rally to be held in Jaffna under the leadership of the UNP. We want the TNA to head the rally. That was our concern. Everything has been sorted out now. Several parties including Democratic People’s Front are joining the rally.
Q. But are you joining the rally in Jaffna?
No. We are not.
We have organised rallies in Batticaloa as well. Therefore, we will not be able to attend the rally in Jaffna?
Q. But don’t you think that could give an impression that there is a division within the alliance?
Not at all. We are conducting the rally as the TNA. Our members in the East will take part at the rally here while those representing the peninsula will participate in the rally in Jaffna. There is no issue.
Q. But, was not there a decision taken by the TNA leadership that everyone should take part in the Jaffna rally?
Yes. But, the TNA is not a party. It is an alliance. Therefore, each party has its right to express its views. We informed the leadership that we would not be taking part in Jaffna rally and the leadership accepted it. As I said before, there is no problem on this matter within the party.
The only issue we had was that any rally in the peninsula should be held under the leadership of the TNA and not under any other party.
Q. How do you look at the recent visit of the Indian delegation to Sri Lanka?
I do not think that it would do any good. I look at it as India’s way of pacifying Sri Lanka for supporting America at UN Human Rights Council. I do not see anything good coming out of the visit.
Q. Recently, politicians in Tamil Nadu including former chief minister M. Karunanidhi had called the UN to push for a referendum among the Tamils for Tamil Eelam. What do you have to say about this issue?
Well, this kind of calls has been made by Tamil Nadu politicians and members of the Diaspora. They have right to express their views and demands. We are not against such statements. We would welcome them if they benefit Tamil people.
Q. Several Tamil political parties got together after the war and formed a forum to address the short and long-term needs of the people affected by the conflict. What happened to it?
Yes. The forum functioned under the chairmanship of the likes of Douglas Devananda. But it could not continue for various reasons. Some of the members like Anandasangaree and Siddharthan have now joined the TNA, which was not part of the forum. courtesy: The nation