|TNPF press conference 13/06/13. (Left to right: General Secretary Selvarajah Kajendran, President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, and Party Organiser Visva Manivannan)|
At press conference on Wednesday, the Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) slammed the notion that the 13th Amendment could be used in any way as a basis towards a political solution.
Speaking at the event, organised by the Jaffna Press Club, TNPF President Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam said:
"It [13th Amendment] cannot be used as a starting point. It cannot be used as an interim solution. It cannot be used as a final solution. There is no room for even any discussion on the possibility of using the 13th Amendment as part of a political solution."
Calling on the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) not undermine the Tamil nation's political aspirations by standing as a coalition party in the Northern Provincial Council election, the TNPF urged the TNA to put forward individuals as independent candidates, as means of safeguarding the Tamil people against the possibility of government parties or paramilitaries winning the election.
Recalling a closed meeting that took place between Indian officials including the Indian National Security Advisor, MK Narayanan and then Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon, and the TNA on the 20th and 21st May 2009, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam revealed that New Delhi had demanded that the Tamil people accept the 13th Amendment as the solution.
According to the TNPF leader, who was at the time within the TNA coalition as the General Secretary of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, when TNA members put forward reasons why the 13th Amendment could not be used as a basis to a political solution, MK Narayanan angrily retorted, 'India knows what is better for the Tamils more than the Tamils themselves'.
Excerpt (11:48) of the TNPF president's comments is translated below:
"Attempting to isolate and distance the LTTE from the [Tamil] people, the international community - it wasn't just India, but the then international community too - demanded acceptance of a federal solution within a united Sri Lanka. However, it was on the basis that they [LTTE] were not willing to accept this did they [international community] decide to denounce the LTTE as terrorists and destroy them. Today that LTTE is not present.
"Today a party that was democratically elected by the Tamil people is present. However, even to that party, it is not federalism that is being spoken of, but that the 13th Amendment within a unitary state - what cannot bring any means of devolution and was denounced by the Tamil people for the past 26 years - should be accepted as the solution."
"There are some that think it was the LTTE that did not understand it correctly. [They think] if the LTTE had acted 'diplomatically' then we could have achieved a federal solution, or some other solution. Yet, today the LTTE that was said to be impeding this, is not present. Those who you preferred have been elected as the [Tamil] representatives with an overwhelming victory. However, even to those that you trust, there is no talk of federalism."
"Even in today's situation, the Tamil people are being urged to accept the 13th Amendment within a united state - what was rejected and denounced by the Tamil people at every point in the past 26 years."