| by Rajasingham Jayadevan

( January 26, 2014, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The British Tamil Forum (BTF) that is spearheading the work of the British Tamil Association (BTA) –the front of the LTTE in the UK until 2009 has opened up a debate on upholding democratic values by castigating its sister organisation Global Tamil Forum (GTF). The BTF’s outright effort is most welcome as much needed democratic debate is over due within the Tamil Diaspora to find a way forward to bring about unity, diversity, democracy, honesty and transparent dealings etc.

The BTF onslaught on the GTF is like the pot calling the kettle black. But the problem with BTF is that it is so grimy and contagious and thinks itself high above. Whilst thanking the BTF for its public outburst against the GTF, it is also expected from the BTF to disclose its own structural base and its office holders, whereas it is common knowledge who are spearheading the GTF. If one asks the Tamils in London who is the leader of the BTF, no one will have an answer. This is the predicament of the BTF with its constrained flag carrying crusaders in its support base.

Will the BTF publicly declare that its activists are LTTE’s ROOT Ravi, Nediyavan, TRO’s Reggie, LTTE’s UK fundraising head Thanam and many others, who were in the BTF that is now attempting to take outright control of other organisations, active in the Tamil Diaspora with its new brand name BTF? BTF’s effort to dent the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) by infusing unemployed cronies like Nimalan and others speaks of its lethal mission to unreservedly rubber stamp its authority on the Tamil Diaspora.

In the First place, the BTF has to be transparent in its own dealings. It must first declare its own status, evolvement, extent of its finances, CV of each of functionaries and account for the funds they collected from the Tamil people by way of loans to be returned as agreed when they were BTA. They must also declare the LTTE assets held in their names and their proxies and the extent of siphoning off of the funds and assets. Tamils do not want to experience a situation of BTF (former BTA) knocking at the doors of their homes demanding money and undertaking census for nefarious reasons- the very reasons that led to their clamp down when they were BTA by the British government in 2006-2009.

The BTA backed by the flag carrying cadres and sympathisers cannot be allowed to exert their control over the wider Tamil Diaspora any more. Tamil Tiger sacrifices must be acknowledged, remembered and also condemned for the wrongs and the Tamils must not be constrained to freely chose their way forward to live with dignity and honour as each and every Tamils have paid their share of the pain and suffering for a long time now.

This is where the GTF’s hands needs to be strengthened. Whatever criticism against GTF by the control freak, GTF has played an important role to bring about wider awareness about the issues facing the Tamils. In my engagement in meetings organised by third parties attended by GTF, I found the contribution by the GTF was far reaching, responsible and very assertive reflecting the ground realities and the mood of the world. This mature sense cannot be expected from the BTF as they still live in the yesteryears without reflecting the realities in the ground for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The underground operatives of the BTF, if allowed to extend their will, will lead to further failures of the Tamil Diaspora.

It is true that TGTE too must be allowed to function without the menacing influence of the BTF who are in the forefront to violate the very British libel and anti-terrorism laws in their heavy handed campaign work.

When BTF claim ‘Our consistent call for accountability, justice and freedom simply represents the wishes of British Tamils; it dismays us deeply that the Global Tamil Forum – which purports to represent Tamils across the world – sends such mixed, and unrepresentative, messages to the international community about the Tamil people’s aspirations’ one wonders whether BTF is trying to put itself on moral high grounds and their dismays are the true reflection of the wider Tamil opinion of the Diaspora Tamils. The majority of the Diaspora are silent because they do not wish to be involved in petty parochial politics when our people are facing innumerable problems as a result of the failures of the war for over three decades.

The BTF in its true character goes on to declare: ‘we hereby declare openly that we have been denied any representation on the GTF Board – i.e. that we play no part in the decision-making process at GTF; hence we publicly distance ourselves from any of GTF’s initiatives or actions’. What a threat and control freak mindset of the BTF. Good riddance of bad rubbish for the GTF. Having intruded into TGTE, they are now licking their wounds with the GTF. Tamils do not need such intimidations and it is time both GTF and TGTE stand up for the wider Tamil voices without succumbing to pressures that failed the Tamils.