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‘UNP should not be allowed to hijack the Tamils’ struggle’

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No matter what the result of Sri Lanka’s presidential election this weekend, neither of the leading candidates will meet Tamil demands for equal rights and accountability, writes journalist J S Tissainayagam in an article for the Asian Correspondent on Friday.

Ahead of tomorrow’s polls, Tissainayagam says that “the choice for the Tamils is between an unsympathetic candidate and an apathetic candidate”.

“The media is rife with dire predictions for the Tamils if Rajapaksa is elected,” he adds. “However, despite the reckless endorsement of Premadasa by the TNA, his victory or defeat will not help advance Tamil political goals either.

He goes on to add,

“If Premadasa is elected, it will have to be with robust Tamil and Muslim support to offset large numbers of Sinhala and some Muslim and Tamil votes cast for Rajapaksa. But assuming he garners solid Tamil support, it certain that Premadasa will be unable to satisfy Tamil core demands – even if he wants to – because his Sinhala vote base will be opposed to it.”

“A more ominous fate awaits the Tamils if Premadasa and his coalition lose the presidential election.”

“It is precisely because the UNP wanted President Mahinda Rajapaksa removed from power that it pretended to support the Tamils’ struggle for accountability before 2015 but has since opposed it.”

“Therefore, the UNP should not be allowed to hijack the Tamils’ struggle for democracy and human rights again. Nor should any Tamil political party be permitted to help the UNP to foist its agenda on the Tamils.”

“It is time that Tamils heed this uncomfortable reality and look at other democratic means of carrying forward their struggle rather than aligning themselves to Sinhala leaders and Sinhala political parties.”

Read the full text of his piece here.

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