Anandasangaree clarifies position - Right of Reply
TULF President V.Anandasangaree has sent the following letter in response to the page 1 lead story in The Sunday Times of August 26 under the headline “Government sidelines Karuna, promotes new front in East”
“As a patriot I love my country and its people. My only mission today is not to look for good pasture but to strive hard to bring back peace and normalcy to our people. In this connection I have taken various steps including meeting his Excellency the President, the Prime Minister, Ministers, Leader of the Opposition, Leaders of various political parties, religious heads including the Mahanayakas of the Malwatta and Asgiriya chapters, heads of diplomatic missions and many others within Sri Lanka and outside the country. I have also written to the Secretary General of the United Nations and many others including a number of Heads of States. I did not fail to write to the LTTE too. Yet the LTTE is totally opposed to me and so are the supporters of the LTTE some of whom have their own websites especially to instigate the LTTE against me and to degrade me. As a result I face grave security risk. You will realise how difficult it would be for me to carry on my mission.
“The news item that appeared in your issue of Sunday 26th of August 2007 under the caption is ‘Government sidelines Karuna, promotes new front in East.’
“I assure that there is no secret understanding between me and the Government. First of all this is not a new Alliance at all. The TULF, the PLOTE and the EPRLF (Pathmanaba Group) had been working together for some time although no alliance had been officially formed. On the 9th of October myself, Mr.Sitharthan President of the PLOTE and Mr. Sritharan Secretary of the EPRLF (P) visited some Indian Leaders in New Delhi and in Chennai and issued a joint statement. Then again on the 18th of April 2007 we issued another statement on the “Tissa Vitharana Proposal” and also issued a call to all Political Parties and Social Groups that accept our stand to join hands with us. This invitation is still open even to the TMVP of Karuna. When the SLFP released their Proposal we issued a statement rejecting it. We have not assigned a name yet because we have not yet officially formed it. The name Democratic Tamil Alliance is somebody’s imagination.
“Lot of contradictory reports appear in the local and the foreign media about the situation in the East after the war ceased. I promised those who contacted me when I was in Europe, to visit Batticaloa and inform them of the situation prevailing there. On my return from Europe I requested H.E the President to arrange a visit for the three of us to Batticaloa and Vaharai. I had to include the other two mainly because the Members of Parliament supposed to be representing the East had not visited these areas after the war. Attending the DCC meeting is different from visiting a war-torn area after the war ceased. DCC meetings are usually held in one of the Committee rooms in Parliament in such a situation.
“In Batticaloa and Vaharai we could talk to every one very freely. We could meet Civil Groups, NGOs. INGOs, Heads of Departments, farmers and fisheries organisations, the Police, the Army and the STF personnel. We found out their grievances, put them in black and white and gave it to H.E the President. Copies of it were released to the press too.
During the casual discussion we had the President expressed his keenness in encouraging the Karuna Group to contest elections in the East. He does not have the slightest intention of sidelining the Karuna Group. He wants even the LTTE to come back to the democratic process. As for me I want every one to contribute to restore Democracy in our country.
“I am strongly of the opinion that the Government has no intention of replacing the Karuna Group with any other Group. Neither have we any such intention.
“Since the news item referred to here has caused a lot of misunderstanding and also caused severe damage to my cause, I earnestly request you to kindly clear the misunderstanding created, to enable me to proceed in my mission uninterrupted and to fulfil the same before I breathe my last.”
Reporters note: Mr. Anandasangaree does not deny the fact that that his new front is set to begin its election campaign in the Eastern Province for the impending elections and that the Government provided a helicopter to visit the area. The front is new to the Eastern Province and the visit was related to activities which the front hopes to undertake in the East.
PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Siddarthan who accompanied Mr. Anandasangaree has told The Sunday Times that their plans were to contest the upcoming Eastern elections, though Mr. Anandasangaree says he had contacted the President to arrange for the visit to the East because members of Parliament supposed to be representing the East had not visited the area after the war.
Mr. Anandasanagree also does not deny that they addressed a hurriedly summoned meeting in the East in which they met with the international NGO and local NGO representatives and listened to grievances and problems people in the area faced, promising to convey them back to the President.
Mr. Anandasangaree’s visit to the East should be taken in the context of the current political developments in the East as reported in The Sunday Times. The Sunday Times does not dispute the efforts made by Mr. Anandasangaree to bring peace and normalcy and that he is a patriot who loves his country and people.