ITAK has neglected rehabilitated LTTE cadres -Inbarasa
BY Mirudhula Thambiah
Current leader of the newly formed political party, Rehabilitated Liberation Tamil Tigers (RLTT) and former LTTE-Intelligence Operative Leader for Trincomalee, Kandaswamy Inbarasa alias Anbu said that leaders of Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) have neglected rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres during the past eight years.
"Rehabilitated LTTE members don't even have a house but these ITAK politicians are living a luxury life. What is the point in electing them? We sacrifice and they enjoy a luxurious life. This is unfair!" he said.
Following are excerpts of his Interview with Ceylon Today:
How do you view the interim report released by the Constitutional Reforms Steering Committee?
A: We must be able to obtain a suitable political solution for the entire Tamil community through constitutional reforms. We have observed the activities of the Tamil political representatives in recent times and we believe that there is a huge necessity to find a suitable solution through such reforms.
We will not hesitate to support the constitutional reforms if there is a suitable solution for the national question that satisfies the requirements of our people.
As a former cadre what exactly is your stand on power devolution?
A: The entire Tamil community is now expecting a suitable solution that will ensure power devolution in a merged North and East.
However, we do not see any progress in power devolution in a merged North and East. We struggled for the past 30 years for a suitable political solution.
Our people have so far not obtained any satisfying solution to fulfil their expectations. Therefore we formed our political party RLTT to represent our people. We will struggle democratically to win a suitable political solution for Tamil people with maximum power devolution.
Not only the Government, but our Tamil political representatives have also failed to fulfil the aspirations of our people. They do not show any progress as they promised. Everyone around the world knew that we struggled for our people for three decades. We actually took up arms for our people and not for any of individual needs. Our vision is to obtain equal rights for our people similar to the majority community of this country. LTTE Political Wing Leader Thamilselvan had once stated that the organization and its members are not against the Sinhala or Muslim communities. The only vision of the LTTE was to obtain equal rights. Even Leader Prabhakaran did not start the war to harm the majority community. He wanted all communities to live equally, thus he struggled to safeguard the rights of the Tamil speaking community. Our party wants a suitable political solution with equal rights. This is the only reason we formed a party at the beginning of this year.
ITAK is a popular political party that represents the people of the North and East. People would not have given them the mandate if party representatives failed to fulfil expectations. When people have given them the mandate, why does your party blame them?
A: Many are of the view that we have been cornered in the political arena. They may say we are LTTE members who have been defeated and may corner us. But we would stand up and say that we have not been defeated, we have entered the democratic path to serve our people.
Today Sampanthan had managed to secure the post of Opposition Leader. He is in this position due to the sacrifices made by our members and the people during the war. But he has failed to address the issues of the rehabilitated LTTE members. We are in a terrible situation without any support. We lack a livelihood, housing and other important facilities. Sampanthan never initiated a dialogue with us. He did not try to listen to our problems. He simply neglected us.
We have undergone rehabilitation for two years. Our families were neglected without any support. We know the pain of all political prisoners. If we had established ourselves in the political arena currently, we would have taken the necessary democratic steps to urge the Government to release them. It is our obligation to speak on behalf these prisoners and make sure they are released.
We are not in a position to appreciate Sampanthan or give him respect. He has neglected us. We have gone through a lot of misery during the last eight years after the end of war. We did not gain any assistance, nobody wanted to help us. We have sacrificed ourselves for the betterment of our people.
In 1994 Sampanthan was under the influence of the government, he was given a house and a vehicle. Our organization was dissatisfied with his stance. He was a politician groomed by our leader. LTTE Leader Prabhakaran said that intellectuals like Sampanthan should be protected even if he was not on the correct path at that time. Our community should safeguard our intellectuals, the leader said. Prabhakaran influenced the formation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as a coalition of some Tamil political parties like ITAK, TELO and EPRLF.
The LTTE leader campaigned for support for TNA in elections and people have not forgotten his assurances till date. Thus people decided to give their mandate to TNA by electing 16 parliamentarians from the North and East.
Now Sampanthan has forgotten the past. At the age of 84 he is now hosting a house warming party. The rehabilitated LTTE members don't have a house but these ITAK politicians are living a luxury life. What is the point in electing them? We sacrifice and they enjoy a luxurious life. This is unfair!
The former government did not treat us well with any livelihood assistance. Once we were taken for rehabilitation, our families were neglected. Some of the married women and men had to re-marry for security of their families. Once the previous partner returns from rehabilitation, he or she will be left alone in the society and their families are broken. We cannot forget the sad moments we faced. All the scars are still in our hearts.
Currently all those from the former government, who ill treated us are now paying for it.
Now the ITAK leaders are the same as betrayers like Mahaththaya and Karuna. Only during election campaigns they will use the tag of LTTE and the members. After the elections they will not even remember us.
These ITAK leaders know very well know that we are frustrated at being neglected, but not ready to speak to us regarding our issues. They are not willing to even hear us. Sampanthan is like DMK Leader Karunanidhi of Tamil Nadu. He is not willing give his leadership position to any other person until his death. Does he even know that most rehabilitated LTTE members are struggling like beggars? Who will be responsible for our tears?
You must be aware that three political parties have been formed so far to represent rehabilitated LTTE cadres and the Tamil community. Why do splits prevail among former LTTE cadres?
A: It is a one man show. A former key member of the LTTE, who was in the sea tigers, is now living abroad among Tamil Diaspora. He funded the first political party in the North, Crusaders for Democracy to represent the rehabilitated LTTE members. Later he himself created rumours that this party's members were dishonest and betraying the people. He eventually stopped funding this party.
Later he funded another political party with a separate fraction of the LTTE members and named it National Democratic Crusaders.
This key member of the LTTE is now having hopes to get hold of all the funds collected in favour of the rehabilitated LTTE members. Therefore he is now creating problems among the rehabilitated members.
However, our party was formed to unite all the rehabilitated LTTE members. We will raise our voice on behalf them and for the Tamil community.
Have you registered as a political party with the Department of Elections?
A: We submitted our applications. We clarified with the Commissioner if we can use the name Rehabilitated Liberation Tamil Tigers. He gave an explanation that there are no issues with the name as we have included the word 'Rehabilitated.'
So the Government of Good Governance is positive to your cause?
A: We are able to function independently and represent the LTTE members who have undergone rehabilitation. However, it was different in the former government, for by now we would been behind bars. We welcome this move and we are able to observe media freedom too.
Tell us about the convention your have scheduled in Kilinochchi?
A: We will hold a well organized convention in which almost 1500 former cadres will participate to join our political struggle.
Families of these cadres will also participate at the convention that is scheduled to be held in Kilinochchi. They will also discuss livelihood, housing, land and other problems faced by them since they were released from rehabilitation. At the conclusion of the event, we shall decide if we will continue in politics. We need people's support to travel forward in politics.
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