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'Common Tamil candidate must uphold demand for independence referendum' - Vavuniya families of the disappeared

Tamil families of the disappeared in Vavuniya said that anyone who puts themselves forward as a common Tamil candidate for Sri Lanka’s presidential polls this year, must uphold the need for an independence referendum to fulfil the Tamil demand for self-determination. 

The Tamil families made the remarks as they held a vigil outside the Vavuniya main post office to mark the 43rd anniversary of the burning of the Jaffna Public Library. 

Some Tamil politicians have called for a united “common” candidate ahead of polls, which are set to take place later this year. The secretary of the Vavuniya Families of the Disappeared association Gopalakrishnan Rajkumar told reporters that if there was such a common candidate must not “bring harm to the efforts of Tamils for self-determination”.

Rajkumar said the Tamils should have “enough self-respect and support for the Tamils, and not to beg from the Sinhalese”.

He went on to single out Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) parliamentarians MA Sumanthiran and R Sampanthan, stating that both would be unsuitable candidates.

“Parlimenatiran Sumanthiran has divided the Tamils into two groups,” claimed Rajkumar. “He has used proxies to wage a case against his party. At one time he was for an international investigation while still working hand in hand with those (in the Sri Lankan government) who deny the same. He has previously said that his party was not committed to the LTTE ideology and now he turns up at Mullivaikkal to pay tribute to the Tamils and members of the LTTE. He is unsuitable to represent the Tamil people.” 

With polls scheduled for 2024, the Tamil National People’s Front has officially begun a campaign to call on Eelam Tamils to boycott the elections.

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