| by Rajasingham Jayadevan
( August 4, 2013, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) With the provincial election fever progressively building up in the north, the controversial EPDP leader Douglas Devananda who is still to give up his paramilitary leadership and activities is gearing to woo the Tamil voters. With the TNA playing the major political masterstroke by appointing the respected retired Justice C V Wigeswaran as its Chief Ministerial candidate, the paramilitary leader has decided to take a back seat by not putting forward his name as the Chief Ministerial candidate. Instead, his arrogant and self promoting petty political advisor S Thavarajah has been used as a scapegoat to contest the election on behalf of the EPDP.
Douglas Devananda survived many attempts on his life by the LTTE but his holy alliance with the successive repressive governments and the compromising stand he has taken for his own survival has put him in the back seat in Tamil politics. Thanks to the LTTE, he had been elected to the parliament with meagre votes and held ministerial positions to extend his dictatorial way path as a paramilitary leader that is continuing even after the defeat of the LTTE.
His party is a money making machinery involved in all kinds of devious and despicable activities without any accountability to anyone. His financial empire is rooted in his authoritarian dictate that suits the states policy to keep the Tamils on the tab.
Douglas Devananda who comes from a troubled family was groomed to take a political path by his uncle and the veteran trade union leader K C Nythianantha. Though Douglas did not achieve even the basic O/L standards in education, his engagement in political activities in the 70’s following the introduction of the state policy of standardisation against the Tamils entering the universities was a consensus path the Tamil youngsters took to develop an arm struggle against the government. With formation of many Tamil militant organisations and LTTE ultimately taking control of the Tamil politics, other Tamil militant groups became marginalised. Douglas Devananda decided to serve the successive governments as he had no other alternative, otherwise he would have died like a beggar in the streets of Madurai or Chennai.
|EPDP’s S Thavaraja|
EPDP’s S Thavaraja’s political career started with the youth wing of the TULF’s Illaignar Peravai. Frustrated by lack of radicalisation of the TULF’s youth wing Thavarajah with few others formed the militant Eela Viduthalai Iyakkan (EVI). The objective of the EVI was to carry out an arm struggle against the government to win a separate state for the Tamils. EVI was the first Tamil organisation to take arms to spearhead a campaign of terror against the state. The second major bank robbery of the People Bank in Puloly was carried out by EVI. S Thavaraja was personally involved in the robbery. Cash and jewellery worth millions of Rupees were robbed from the bank. The robbery was executed successfully, as the robbers tracks were protected by the sympathetic Tamils understanding their cause. Those involved in the robbery were finally rounded up by the state police in Puttalam. Thavaraja & Co., were tortured to near death by the police and EVI arms struggle too came to a halt with their adventurous misadventure of Puloly People Bank robbery.
Of those involved in the EVI, Thavaraja continued with his political carrier on the sidelines, taking an anti-LTTE stance. His engagement with the EPDP gave him the financial stability by being in its payroll as political guru Douglas Devananda. Whether he would have paid a membership fee to this slacky paramilitary military party is not something difficult guess. Thavaraja claimed asylum in London and underwent a by-pass operation few years ago. Until his return to Sri Lanka, he was running a retail shop in the midlands in the UK funded by the EPDP’s clandestine finance.
EPDP came to being following the removal Douglas Devananda from the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF). If Douglas Devananda did not swim against the tides of mainstream political dictates of the Tamils, his fate would have been different. If he had joined the LTTE in the progressing militant path, he would have ended up in the grave yard of the LTTE. Having gone against the tide, has he gained any relief to the Tamil people on the whole, except some meagre benefits for few individuals?
Unfortunately he has created a lethal machinery of the EPDP for his own survival- a machinery that will cease with his demise. Good governance has the opposite meaning for Douglas Devananda and his clans. Having embroiled in the dirty money making paramilitary politics, he has no credibility to lead the Tamils that has faced the ravages for decades.
What is the status quo of Douglas Devananda and his EPDP?
- EPDP is still a lose paramilitary machinery outfit that is involved in anti-social and corrupt practices that undermines the core Tamil values. Even after the defeat of the LTTE, it has not changed. It is still forcefully occupying the Sridhar Theatre as its office in Jaffna for its activities. EPDP’s forceful occupation of a private property in the Eastern Province came to an end when a court order was obtained and the frail owner was put through a process of untold misery by the EPDP goons.
- EPDP or Douglas Devananda does not pay any taxes to the state on the taxable income earned on various commercial ventures that includes running a brothel in the Jaffna.
- Douglas Devananda is a persona non-grata in many countries. Unless he joins the bandwagon of the President of Sri Lanka to India his fate will be in the hands of the Indian political dictate and its judiciary.
- Even with his political clout with the government, he is unable to remove the Buddha statue in the precinct of a Hindu temple placed by the army in the Island of Velanai. He is now making an absurd claim that he will turn Jaffna a Singapore if his party is elected in the northern election. His very paramilitary controlling interest of the islets off Jaffna has made the atolls semi-baron lands to facilitate a process of Sinhalisation of the area.
- With regard to the fate of the 13th Amendment to the constitution, EPDP cannot think beyond becoming the Chief Minister to expand its paramilitary activities and its nefarious business enterprises. Its election success could only legalise its illegitimate activities with fire crackers and drum beating in Colombo.
- Douglas Devananda has not answered many claims of assassinations, rapes and involuntary disappearances of persons by its group. The death of famous radio announcer K S Raja and Douglas’s business rival and parliamentarian (Man-Ennai) Maheswaran are claims not investigated because of his involvement with the government.
- It is also claimed that Douglas Devananda is the initiator of the white van abductions that became a practice of the state intelligence machinery.
The Curriculum Vitae of Douglas Devananda is a very lengthy one if miniscule historical details are incorporated. Is Douglas Devanada burying his head in the sand and contesting the forthcoming northern election with the hope that he can win the election against untainted contestant of the TNA?
Only gilmart in the vote count can put Douglas in the throne.