TULF moots federalism and LTTE
By Chris Kamalendran
TULF leader M. Sivasithamparam has proposed federalism as a solution to
the ethnic conflict and insists the LTTE be accepted as sole representatives
of the Tamil people.
The 78-year old Mr. Sivasithamparam who underwent medical treatment
in India for several years and returned to parliament this month, said
he believed only a truly federal system could solve the crisis though he
was not sure what the LTTE's stand would be.
Excerpts from an interview with The Sunday Times:
Q: The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has said the LTTE is the sole
representatives of the Tamils. Why do you say so ?
A: The reality is that a large majority of the Tamil people are
supportive of the LTTE and there can be no settlement without its participation.
If the LTTE says it will not negotiate unless it is recognised as the sole
representatives. I don't see why we shouldn't recognise it.
Q: By this are you subjugating yourselves to the LTTE - which has
not given up a claim for a separate state.
A: We have not subjugated ourselves to anybody. We will maintain
our individuality and carry on with what we think is right. Our voice has
been heard. Everybody knows our stand. What we say is in the present set
up, the only way to achieve a fair and lasting solution is by talking to
the LTTE. Do not waste time in talking to other people and water down the
demands. Everybody has to agree that without the LTTE a solution cannot
Q: Cannot the TNA which includes the TULF therefore be called 'Quislings'
of the LTTE ?
A: We are nobody's 'Quislings'. If you support a party it does
not mean a 'Quisling'. It means you agree with it and what should be implemented.
A 'Quisling' means a person who repeats what the master says. We are not
Q: Or is it that the LTTE has a gun at your back ? They have killed
your members and you are frightened.
A: I don't want to discuss the past. Various people have done
various things. Even governments have done various things. So let us look
at the present and the future.
Q: If the UNF Government sets up an interim administration in the
north and east, the TNA will surely play a dominant role in it. Even if
there are elections, the TNA will contest and probably win.
A: I don't know what the Interim Administration will be. I cannot
answer that question now.
Q: But will the TNA be only a front for the LTTE?
A: We are nobody's front.
Q: How do you see the chances of reaching a settlement?
A: We are hopeful . Signs are favourable but the path may be
Q: What effect would there be from the lifting of the embargo?
A: It's welcome. But it seems that officials on the spot are
not cooperating fully. To complete the picture the government should lift
the ban on petroleum products as well for the benefit of farmers and fisherfolk.
Q: How do you see it helping the peace process ?
A: The Tamil people will start to believe that they are being
treated as equal citizens.
Q: What do you see as India's role in the peace process ?
A: I can't speak for India. But as far as we are concerned we
will ask India to talk to the LTTE.
Q: In 1987 India intervened, the 13th Amendment was introduced and
the provincial councils setup. But the process did not work.
A: It did not work because the government played foul. The provisions
were not fully implemented.
Q: What type of solution do you think the LTTE envisages for the
ethnic crisis ?
A: I can't speak for the LTTE. But I believe something in the
form of a truly Federal system is the only way that this crisis could be
solved. That means except for communications, foreign relations and military
all the other matters should be given to the provincial administration.
Q: There could be opposition from the South, particularly from the
JVP and the Sihala Urumaya.
A: If they oppose we will have to go our way. If you do not want
to have a Federal system, which is the only solution found in many countries
with more than one nationality, please leave us alone and we will go our
Q: Originally the LTTE was fighting for a separate state, what are
the indications now ?
A: I don't know. Ask the LTTE. But it has made a clear statement
it is ready for a negotiated political settlement.
Q: Is there a genuine effort by the government now to solve the conflict
A: The most important move is to lift the ban on the LTTE. That
has still not been done. Other militant groups have not been disarmed.
Instead of waiting for the LTTE to explain its position the government
should say what the bottom line is.
Peace team to visit prisoners
Families of servicemen missing in action who will be visiting the North
on January 20 have received the green light from the LTTE to visit the
17 prisoners held by the rebels, an official said.
More than 3000 people are expected to go on a people's peace mission
to Wanni next Sunday after a stopover at Madhu where they will hand over
5,000 gift parcels to families in the area along with greeting cards sent
from the South.
E.P. Nanayakara, who heads an association of families of missing servicemen,
told The Sunday Times a ten-member delegation would go into the uncleared
area for talks with LTTE political wing leaders.
The move by the civilians comes amidst a new initiative by the government
to resume peace talks.
"We want to contribute to this process through people-to-people contact.
We want the war to end and our children to be released," Mr. Nanayakkara
said. The association is calling on people who support the peace initiative
to join in this campaign.
Probe before Seva Vanitha takeover
By Shelani Perera
The government is to probe the activities of the controversy ridden Seva
Vanitha movement before taking it over.
The Seva Vanitha Movement which was rocked by allegations of corruption
and misuse of funds during the past regime, is headed by the wife of the
President or the Prime Minister while its ministry branches are headed
by wives of ministers.
Women's Affairs Minister Amara Piyaseeli Ratnayake under whose ministry
the movement comes said that she had invited Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe's
wife, Maithree Wickremesinghe, to take over the movement, but said it would
be done after the ministry completed its probe.
She said the probe was being launched not to take action against any
wrongdoers but to streamline the movement and to restructure it in such
a way so that it could become more productive and service-oriented.
A controversy arose a few years ago, when the then secretary of the
movement Kusum Wickremanayake, wife of former Prime Minister Rathnasiri
Wickremanayake, and Treasurer Pamitha Jayakody traded charges.
Mine at Maligawatte house
Police yesterday recovered a six-kilo claymore mine from a house at Maligawatte
on information provided by a suspect in custody.
Bambalapitiya Police raided a house at '52 watte' in the Maradana Police
Meanwhile, Interior Minister John Amaratunga told The Sunday Times yesterday
that he believed the mine had been brought to Colombo to sabotage the ongoing
But he declined to rule out that it was targeted at a VIP. According
to police, the suspect had initially claimed he was a Muslim, but investigations
later revealed he was a Tamil.
Hot, Hot, Hota Hai!
Porn as a commodity never loses its demand, despite laws restricting or
banning its open sale.
To circumvent the long arm of the law, digital porn sellers have adopted
a new ruse to sell their hot stuff.
The Sunday Times is in possession of a soft porn video compact disc which
was being sold by hawkers at Kollupitiya. The VCD cover with a picture
of a girl said it contained Hindi songs. When an unsuspecting buyer who
bought the VCD titled 'Hot-Hot' played it at home, the first part contained
But the family man was in for a shock, when the second part showed nothing
but hard porn.
The Hindi music lover was in for more trouble, when his wife took him
to task for bringing home 'dirty' VCDs.
Will the authorities take any action to prevent such pornographic material
from being sold publicly?
Computer error penalises staff
By Tania Fernando
SriLankan Airlines employees who have been paid an additional allowance
for three successive months due to a computer error, have been warned that
if they do not pay back this amount within this month, they would be grounded
and the money would be recovered from their current allowances, according
to airline sources.
The airline had paid three months additional meal allowance to the staff
in July, August and September last year due to a computer error.
Airline sources said the warning was issued by Head of Service Delivery
Walter Riggans who had also thanked those who had settled the outstanding
amount. "The company made a mistake and now it is trying to harass us to
recover the money," a distraught staff member said, adding that the amounts
exceeded Rs. 100,000 in some instances.
Meanwhile, an airline official said the majority of the staff had already
paid back the overpayment.
"No decision has been made yet on what action would be taken against
employees refusing to pay back the money", the official said.
20 injured in train, bus crash
Twenty-one people were critically injured in a train-bus collision at Avissawella
The Avissawella bound Kelani Valley power set collided with the CTB
bus carrying more than 50 passengers at the Eswatte level crossing. Avissawella
hospital sources said most of the injured were females, and the more seriously
injured were transferred to Colombo.