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The Sangaree’s letter

By Maduranga Rathnayake

(January 01, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Could anything be more anachronistic? TULF’s V. Anandasangaree’s a few-days old letter to all our presidential candidates, of course in fact it is indirectly intended to be directly addressed to the main two candidates President Rajapakse and the General, has been unfortunately penned at a time when the content of the letter concerns the duo the least, as both have better things to do, and it is this total indifference at the Sinhala dominated centre to the real-time issues of the Tamil ethnic minority in the northern and eastern areas has been the root-cause of the, now crushed, Tamil rebellion cum terrorism.

For the people the end of the LTTE has brought personal and proprietary safety; for the Sinhala-Buddhists, in addition, it means a conceptual re-establishment of a unitary Sinhala-Buddhist state and this contentment dangerously re-enforces the belief in the non-necessity of any power sharing arrangement as it has always been perceived by the Sinhala-Buddhists only as an alternative to a military defeat of the LTTE. TULF see and urge an Indian-style federal state as the only solution to the issues of the northern and eastern Tamils. We are now back to square-one, to pre-LTTE period, of Tamil political leadership canvassing for a federal state as opposed to a Pirapaharanised separate Elam, to quote Anandasangaree’s own words “The TULF is fully convinced that no acceptable solution can ever be found under the Unitary system”, and the Sinhala-Buddhist majority finding no convincing reason at all now, with the total annihilation of the LTTE, to any form of power sharing much less a federal structure.

The TULF’s foremost claim, a federal state, today has become utterly unmarketable than ever before among the Sinhala-Buddhists as well as the Muslim community and thus both President Rajapakse and the General would not even in their wildest dreams want to seek people’s mandate for a federal state as to do so would be to dig their own graves; instead both main candidates have safely resorted to a mere rhetoric campaign on going-beyond the 13th Amendment as the perfect analgesic for the Tamils’ pains.

Though the many hundred-thousands of Tamils’ votes in the northern and eastern provinces could certainly make a difference at the January election, both main candidates are appreciating other methods of mustering those votes without getting involved in the issue of power sharing; while President Rajapakse is blessed with Hon. Karuna and the para-military Chief Minister Hon. Pillayan the General seems to rely on various anti-Rajapakse ethnic minority political forces.

The other demands set out in the letter too are, again unfortunately, utterly unmarketable to the present elated Sinhala-Buddhist majority society and both main candidates would find that to seek people’s mandate or even to record a casual acknowledgment of those demands would be suicidal. Among the many other demands are a couple of critical ones; The TULF urge the merger of now judicially separated northern and eastern provinces. They further demand the urgent dismantling of high security zones in these provinces. The only demand both candidates might be only too happy to comply with would be to re-settle the IDPs soon and grant compensation to them as it would not earn the wrath of the Sinhala-Buddhists.

The election campaign is driven on just one issue set by the common opposition; that is the exorcising of the corrupt the Rajapakse’s. Consequently the campaign is nothing but the common opposition’s harangues about corrupt Rajapakse’s and the government’s expensive drive of cleanliness. So in this election ambience V. Anandasangaree’s letter, though a mature audience would certainly take very seriously, would, in fact, be rendered a dead-letter.

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