LTTE prevents TULF Prez from campaigning in Jaffna
TULF chief says he can't campaign due to threats to his life, reports PK Balachanddran.india Updated: Mar 26, 2004 13:41 IST
The LTTE is preventing V Anandasangaree, the president of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), from campaigning in the parliamentary elections in Jaffna district.
"I cannot go out and campaign because there is no guarantee that I will come back alive," Anandasangaree told Hindustan Times over the phone from his office in Jaffna on Thursday.
Because of a split in the TULF, Anandasangaree is fighting the elections as an independent candidate. The LTTE is supporting the rest of the TULF which is now part of the pro-LTTE Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
"LTTE activists are roaming the district in about 48 unmarked motorbikes, intimidating opposition workers and preventing people from interacting with us," he said.
The LTTE wants people to vote for the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) en masse to show the world that it is the "sole" representative of the Tamils of the North and East of Sri Lanka, the putative "Tamil Eelam". Anandasangaree does not accept the LTTE as the 'sole' representative of the Tamils.
"The LTTE is planning to rig the elections through massive impersonation.
Its agents are going to cast the votes of the displaced as well as the dead. It is collecting the voting cards issued in the name of displaced and dead persons for the purpose of impersonation. And this is a huge number because 50% of the 600,000 odd people of the Jaffna peninsula are either displaced or dead," Anandasangaree said.
According to him, the LTTE's activities are spearheaded by a small section of the students of Jaffna University.
The LTTE's political leader for Jaffna, Ilamparithi, was addressing government officials to secure their cooperation in rigging, Anandasangaree alleged.
The veteran Tamil parliamentarian said that he was pained to see the Sri Lankan election commission, the domestic monitoring agencies and the international community turning a blind eye to the patently undemocratic activities of the LTTE in these elections.
"My pleas to the international community had fallen on deaf ears," he said.
"Why should there be international monitors if they cannot assure free and fair elections?" Anandasangaree asked in anguish.
Meanwhile the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) has complained to the election commission and to the representatives of the European Union (EU) monitoring team that the LTTE was going to use the voting cards of displaced and dead people to rig the elections in areas under its control in the Wanni.
"The displaced and the dead run into thousands in the Wanni, which has suffered heavy displacement and casualties during the twenty year war," an EPDP spokesman said.
No policing can be done in the LTTE controlled areas of the Wanni to prevent impersonation because no government policeman is allowed to enter that area.
The EPDP spokesman charged that the LTTE was influencing the Election Commission to use government officers from the Wanni as polling agents in booths set up for voters from the LTTE-controlled areas.
"The officials from this area can be relied upon to turn a blind eye to the LTTE's impersonation because they are at the mercy of the LTTE," the EPDP spokesman said.
The EPDP also complains that the international monitors (from the EU and the Commonwealth) are too few to ensure a free and fair election.