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‘Tamils, not Tigers, are the issue’

world Updated: May 02, 2009 22:20 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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The LTTE’s days as a military force seem over, but the Tamil community needs to have a say in managing their own affairs if the decades-old ethnic problem in Sri Lanka is to be resolved, a top Tamil politician said on Saturday.

“The need of the hour is a federal constitution. Not one unitary in nature. We need to learn from the Indian model where power is divided between the centre and the states. A unitary constitution is bad news for the minorities in Sri Lanka,’’ V Anandasangaree, president of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), told Hindustan Times.

“It is the first time that the LTTE is so weak. The government is in a position of advantage and it is unlikely that it would consider talking (negotiating) with them,’’ he added.

“But the government has to appeal to the minorities,’’ he said, adding that countries like India, US, UK or Switzerland could help in getting the two sides together.

Anandasangaree said implementing the 13th amendment – which deals with regional devolution of administrative power as suggested by India — to the Lankan Constitution will not be enough. “The government will talk about implementing the 13th amendment. India has now suggested that the 13th amendment-and-something-more should be introduced. That will not help. Everybody has to be treated equally in this country,’’ the TULF chief — who lives in fortified house with more than 60 army commandos and policemen guarding him 24/7 — said.

If that does not happen, the future of the country is bleak, he said.

Anandasangaree called the elections in the former LTTE areas of the eastern province a farce. “The CM (Pillaiyan) is a thug. Karuna, former lieutenant of V Prabhakaran, is now a minister and vice-president in the ruling part. Absurd,’’ he said.

Keeping the developments in the east in mind, the government is expected to give a proposal after the north is cleared of LTTE to resolve the ethnic issue. ``But will we accept it? I am anti-LTTE. But I am also not a stooge of the government,’’ he said.