The Tamil vote in the North-East has fractured after the ‘slump’ of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said The Economist this week, however noted that there were areas of unity and said Tamil parliamentarians will have more areas of co-operation to come as the Sri Lankan govenrment embraces Sinhala chauvinist policies.
“Tamil hopes for an independent homeland were dashed in 2009, when the government defeated the Tamil Tigers, a ruthless separatist insurgency,” it said. “But many in the north still hanker for autonomy, as promised by amendments to the constitution adopted in 1987 but never fully implemented.”
TNA spokesperson M A Sumanthiran said that demise of its voter base was a “very serious setback” that came after the party “put all our eggs in one basket,” with the previous Sri Lankan regime.
“The result has been a fracturing of Tamil politics,” said The Economist, highlighting the election of the TMTK’s C V Wigneswaran and TNPF’s G Ponnambalan and S Kajendran.
“In his maiden speech in parliament, Mr Wigneswaran demanded self-determination for Tamils, who he insisted were “the first indigenous inhabitants of this country”, reigniting a long-running and futile argument over whether Sinhalese or Tamils could claim dibs on the island,” The Economist continued. “But that, says Singaravelu Kumaravel, a Tamil activist, is what many Tamils want: representatives who will rail on their behalf.”
“Despite their wildly divergent politics, all 13 Tamil mps signed a letter earlier this month to the president and another of his brothers, Chamal, who is minister for irrigation. It complained about “colonisation” in the form of government efforts to promote Sinhalese migration to Tamil areas,” it went on to note. “It will not be their last complaint.”
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