POST OF OPPOSITION LEADER
To: Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa,
Parliament of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
POST OF OPPOSITION LEADER
I write in regard to the proposal to designate Mr. R. Sampanthan Opposition Leader. I am firmly opposed to any such step. Mr. Sampanthan, both as a result of public statements made by him, as well as his membership in the Illangai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), has identified himself with certain agendas antithetical to the State, and making him Opposition Leader will put him in a position to pursue those agendas with greater ease, to the detriment of the State.
I wish to place on record the following concerns, which I trust will inform any decision to appoint Mr. Sampanthan Opposition Leader.
1) In May 2012, at the 14th National Convention of the Illangai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) held in Batticaloa, Mr. Sampanthan said, inter alia:
“The softening of our stance concerning certain issues, and the compromise we show in other issues, are diplomatic strategies to ensure that we do not alienate the international community. They are not indications that we have abandoned our fundamental objectives… .Our expectation for a solution to the sovereignty of the Tamil people is based on a political structure outside that of a unitary government, in a united Sri Lanka in which Tamil people have all the powers of government needed to live with self respect and self-sufficiency… .The current practices of the international community may give us an opportunity to achieve, without the loss of life, the soaring aspirations we were unable to achieve by armed struggle” (Text of Address by R. Sampanthan at 14th National Convention of ITAK, 27 May 2012, www.dbsjayaraj.com)
2) I wish to draw your attention to two portions of the aforesaid statement:
a) “The current practices of the international community may give us an opportunity to achieve, without the loss of life, the soaring aspirations we were unable to achieve by armed struggle”
b) “Our expectation for a solution to the sovereignty of the Tamil People is based on a political structure outside that of a unitary government, in a united Sri Lanka”
3) Since the “armed struggle” referred to in passage ‘a’ above was designed to attain a separate Tamil State within Sri Lanka, Mr. Sampanthan is clearly identifying himself with that goal, except that he wants to achieve it without loss of life.
4) The statement made in passage ‘b’ above, meanwhile, is almost an exact repetition of a statement that appears in the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976, the document generally recognized as the formal beginning of the separatist armed struggle. The passage in question is as follows:
“Whereas the proposals submitted to the Constituent Assembly by the Illangai Tamil Arasu Kadchi for maintaining the unity of the country while preserving the integrity of the Tamil people by the establishment of an autonomous Tamil State within the framework of a Federal Republic of Ceylon were summarily and totally rejected” (Vaddikoddai Resolution, 14 May 1976)
5) The Vaddukoddai Resolution is an indisputably separatist document, i.e. its ultimate aim is to facilitate the attaining of a separate Tamil State. Therefore, any reference in such a document to a Tamil State, once created, being part of a “united Sri Lanka” must mean that the Tamil State, though it may be temporarily “united” with the rest of Sri Lanka, will have the capacity to unilaterally secede.
6) Since Mr. Sampanthan has identified himself with the goals of the “armed struggle,” and since he has repeated a sentiment regarding a “united Sri Lanka” in almost the exact formulation used in the Vaddukoddai Resolution, it is clear that the “unity” he envisions is the same “unity” envisioned by Vaddukoddai Resolution, namely, the Tamil State (to be created) will be “united” with the rest of Sri Lanka for temporary purposes, but have the capacity for unilateral secession.
7) Mr. Sampanthan is a ranking member of Illangai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) whose Constitution, and Amendment to same, contain inter alia the following statements:
Constitution (Dated 20-5-1981)
Aim: In pursuance of the right of self-determination and as part of the United Federalist Sri Lanka, establishing an autonomous Tamil State and an autonomous Muslim State and achieving the political, economic and cultural emancipation of the Tamil speaking people of Sri Lanka.
Amendment (Dated 27-4-2008)
Aim: Introducing the sentence that says that full guarantee will be extended to the minority national groups that live within the autonomous State that will be established in the Tamil Homeland.
8) The Vaddukoddai Resolution, to which reference has been made earlier, contains the following final and climactic sentence:
“This Convention resolves that restoration and reconstitution of the Free, Sovereign, Secular, Socialist State of TAMIL EELAM, based on the right of self-determination inherent to every nation, has become inevitable in order to safeguard the very existence of the Tamil Nation in this country.”
9) I wish to draw your attention to two key elements in the quotations given above: first, the idea that the Tamil State to be created is to be so created by invoking the right of “self-determination”; and second, the invocation of nationhood (the reference to “Tamil nation” in the Vaddukoddai resolution, and the reference to “Ethnic nationalities”—as opposed to ethnic groups—in the Amendment to the Constitution).
10) I contend that, on account of the matters discussed above, the sentiments expressed in the relevant portions of the ITAK Constitution and Amendment on the one hand, and the sentiments expressed in the corresponding passage from the Vaddukoddai Resolution on the other, are identical.
11) Therefore, it is reasonable to suppose that, Mr. Sampanthan, a ranking member of ITAK, whose Constitution espouses the same goals as the Vaddukoddai Resolution, identifies himself with the aforesaid goals also.
12) On account of the matters discussed above, it is self-evident that having a person with the views of a Mr. Sampanthan as Opposition Leader will be detrimental to the State. Also in view of the above material Mr. Sampanthan, as the Leader of Opposition, would not enjoy the confidence of the Members of the Opposition.
13) I further consider that, on account of the seeming intimacy between Mr. Sampanthan’s sentiments (either expressed personally by him, or with which he can be associated as a result of his membership in ITAK) and sentiments expressed in the Vaddukoddai Resolution, a separatist document, Mr. Sampanthan must be required to clearly and unambiguously reject and renounce the Vaddukoddai Resolution, if he is to be considered for a post as important as that of Opposition Leader.
14) For your convenience, I attach herewith a copy of the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976, along with English translations of the relevant portions of the ITAK Constitution, and Amendment to same.
Rear Admiral (Dr.) Sarath Weerasekera VSV,RWP,USP,Ndc,Psc
Member of Parliament for Digamadulla.
Copy; All Party Leaders