The Uthayan newspaper has hit back at Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson M A Sumanthiran’s claim that the paper had printed “totally false” news, calling his claims “baffling” and standing by a story on how the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) did not oppose the armed Tamil struggle.
The Uthayan had initially published news of how TNA leader R Sampanthan told TNA parliamentarians, including ITAK leader Mavai Senathirajah and PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Siddharthan, that the ITAK did not oppose the Tamil armed struggle and even told then-Indian premier Indira Gandhi in the 1980s that Delhi should not allow the armed struggle to lose.
“The news published on Uthayan was verified by all the parties present before being released,” Editor Thangarajah Pirabakaran told the Tamil Guardian.
Sumanthiran however, took to Twitter to state that the news was “false” and Sampanthan “told us no such thing”.
“Senathirajah, Selvam Adaikalanathan all attended and took part in the meeting,” continued Pirabakaran, noting that neither Sampanthan nor any of the other politicians present have denied his comments.
“Sumanthiran only joined in the middle of the meeting. However, those in the audience who saw the whole meeting, did not deny the news.”
“It is baffling,” he added.
Pirabakaran also questioned as to why Sumanthiran did not make any attempt to contact the paper regarding the story and instead took to Twitter, asking whether it was “the appropriate way to deny the authenticity of news published by a publication”.
Sampanthan himself has not denied the comments, Pirabakaran noted once more. “As far as Uthayan is aware, Sumanthiran is the spokesperson for the TNA not for the TNA leader, Sampanthan,” he concluded.