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TNA is not committed to LTTE ideology - Sumanthiran

The Tamil National Alliance MP MA Sumanthiran says the party has no allegiance to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and is not committed to their ideology, adding the TNA is not in favour of "terrorism".

Speaking to the Sunday Leader, Mr Sumanthiran said:

"[W]e do not have any allegiance to the LTTE nor are we committed to their ideology. We stand up for the rights of the Tamil people but we are not in favour of terrorism nor do we encourage it and everyone knows this."

Mr Sumanthiran also said there is no truth in rumours that the LTTE may return, saying the people are steadfast in not allowing "terrorism" to return.

"This is just an attempt by certain parties to create fear among the people. There is absolutely no truth in the claims that the LTTE is attempting to regroup. But even if there is such a move the people will not allow it or support it as it is they who have suffered the most during the war. Therefore the people are quite steadfast in not allowing such terrorism to begin again as they know that they will be the ones that are worst affected," he said.

The TNA, formed in 2001, officially backed the LTTE until 2009. Since the end of the armed conflict, the party leadership has offered contradicting views on its support for the organisation.

Only 2 weeks ago, TNA MP S Sritharan hailed the LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran as his leader. The MP had previously said the majority of the Tamils in the North-East support the ideals of the LTTE.

In the run-up to the Northern Provincial Council elections in 2013, many members of the TNA expressed pro-LTTE sentiments, with TNA leader R Sampanthan describing the LTTE as "freedom fighters", when asked whether he considered the organisation as "terrorists".

New government needs 'more time and space'

On the new government, the national list MP said although the party is not "totally happy" with progress, the government is moving in the right direction and needs more "time and space to rectify the shortcomings".

"This is a change that we ourselves worked for and we brought about, but we cannot say that we are totally happy with the way things are moving and we have our own concerns, especially concerning the return of normalcy to the North and the East, and things are not moving as fast as we would like it to move."

"However having said that, it should also be noted that this government is moving in the right direction. Hence we would urge the government to do more but we are certainly not going to pronounce that this government is a failure or anything like that, and we are certain they are moving in the right direction and they need a little more time to correct all the mistakes made. We have to give them that time and space to rectify the shortcomings and move in the right direction at the required pace."

Speaking to Ceylon Today, Mr Sumanthiran said he would quit politics if he lost at the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

"People will decide whether we come into power next time or not. We must bow down to that decision. Therefore if I lose the next election, I will quit politics. We must have the strength to do that," he said.

See related articles below:

Vote for liberation - Editorial (27 September 2013)

TG View: Representing 'extremism' (01 Dec 2013)

TNA sets out to win support of the masses (18 Sep 2013)

TNA's promises.. (02 Oct 2013)

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