TNA distances itself from Sampanthan, Sumanthiran over Independence Day

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Wednesday condemned its party leader R. Sampanthan and national list MP Sumanthiran for attending the 67 th Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday and said both have blatantly violated the traditional and longstanding position of the war-ravaged Tamil people at a crucial juncture.

The national television channels showed footages of TNA's parliamentary group leader Sampanthan and MP Sumanthiran in traditional attire, attending state ceremony of 67th Independence Day celebration along with several political party leaders, ministers, MPs, state officials and diplomats at the parliamentary grounds at Sri Jayewardenapura Kotte.

'Black Day'

This is for the first time since the introduction of the 1972 constitution that a senior leader from the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) or the Tamil Arasu Katchchi or the Tamil National Alliance attended the state celebrations of the Independence Day, which is still marked by the Tamils as a Black Day.

"It was not the decision of the TNA to attend this celebrations. We, in fact, told Sampanthan and Sumanthiran on the previous day not to attend, as it would have very serious implications in future. It is unbecoming for the TNA leader to go against the collective will of the affected Tamil people. We are extremely angry and disappointed with their participation," TNA spokesman and Jaffna District parliamentarian Suresh K. Premachandran said.

Disciplinary action

TNA's MP from Eastern Batticaloa district P. Ariyanenthiran said: "As far as the TNA is concerned, it is unacceptable for any of its members to take part in the Independence Day celebrations of the country, which has denied independence to its Tamil people.

"The TNA MPs are angry with their decision, which has not represented the position of the party," he said.

These two MPs are likely to face a disciplinary action  for grossly violating not only the position of party, but also the common position of the Tamil people.

The Tamil parties have been protesting against the 1972 Constitution since its inception as it maintains the unitary character of the state, which deny any justifiable solution to the ethnic Tamils within a united Sri Lanka. Since then, the Tamil leaders have been marking Sri Lanka's Independence Day as the Black Day.

"The Tamils have been systematically marginalised, suppressed and oppressed after the Independence in 1948 and ironically Mr. Sampanthan was one of the key Tamil political leaders when it was decided to mark February 4 as a Black Day. Nothing has changed and in fact has gone worse for the Tamils since then. We don't see any reason for Mr. Sampanthan or anybody from the main Tamil parties to violate the common Tamil stand after 43 long painful years," MP Premachandran said.

Describing it a very serious matter, the TNA spokesman said the action has raised "a moral question whether they can actually give leadership to the Tamil people any longer".

"The elections are coming, the people are going to question about this and we will have nothing to hide," he said.

©  JDS


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