DOUGLAS DEVANANDA SAYS THAT THE MURDER AND MAYHEM OF PRABHAKARAN
WOULD NOT LET PEOPLE TRUST HIM AS A FEDERALIST
By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles
Douglas Devananda, the leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) asked how could any body trust the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of accepting a federal structure of government for Sri Lanka when it killed TULF leader Appa Pillai Amirthalingam for allegedly giving up the concept of a separate state.
Appa Pillai Amirthalingam was the leader of the Sri Lanka Tamils who lead the former federal party as known in Tamil as the Ceylon Tamil Government Party, which merged, with the Tamil Congress to form the Tamil United Liberation Front. He was the Leader of Opposition in Sri Lanka parliament during the regime of J.R. Jayewardene.
Devananda, the leader of the foremost opposition party to the LTTE said that similar promises had been given to Rajiv Gandhi, Ranasinghe Premadasa, and Chandrika Kumaratunga by the LTTE before the promise of accepting federalism was given to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The EPDP leader reminded that it was during the Thailand talks the LTTE promised that it would not make use of school children for political purposes. Pointing out the promise was immediately broken Devananda said the LTTE leaders were never serious about their promises.
Douglas Devananda, who was being interviewed by the Sinhala service of the BBC said to the regimes of President Jayewardene, Premadasa and Kumaratunga were given the promise that Prabhakaran was willing to accept a viable alternative to separate state but he never kept them.
Asked what should Prabhakaran do for others to believe what he said Devananda told the interviewer that the worst anti-democratic activist, violator of human rights, and obstructionist to the implementation of multi-party polity in the Northern and Eastern provinces had been the LTTE leader. To accept a federal structure of government first of all he had to demonstrate not by mere words but by action that he was ready to tolerate opposition views, respect human rights by leaving children alone and accepting pluralism as a way of life for the Tamil people. He must stop extorting people and establishing illegal police stations and courthouses, he said. (EOM)