By showing a film exposing the atrocious activities of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cannot become a problem faced by the Tamils in general and in no way bring discredit to the entire Tamil race , said V. Ananda Sangaree the President of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) , considered the leader of the moderate Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The Tamil leader , who is a veteran ex-parliamentarian and described as one on the hit list of the LTTE, was speaking in reference to the `detained` film entitled Prabhakaran allegedly by a pro-LTTE political group at the Gemini colour laboratories in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
The film negatives were taken to the laboratories to process different language copies to be distributed in India and Sri Lanka. When the director of the film Thushara Peiris went to Chennai to collect the reels both negatives and positives, he was set upon by a pro-LTTE mob at the Gemini Colour Laboratories and his films snatched from him. Thereafter the alleged mob leader obtained a temporary restraining order from the courts to stop the release for a week arguing it would affect the whole Tamil race.
Ananda Sangaree said , `With all respect to the film producers of Tamil Nadu I wish to point out that every film produced in Tamil Nadu cannot be categorised as a `classical` one. There are thousands that can be classified as `classical`. But some films produced in Tamil Nadu and screened here, cannot be viewed together with children and grand-children. Some films, even a married couple cannot view together. But no Sinhalese organisation ever bothered to snatch away the copy of any film or bother to go to courts under any circumstances. The democratic rights are so much respected by the ordinary people.`
He further said that the `Tamils do face many problems. Those problems, no doubt, need a solution. Production of a film, exposing the LTTE`s atrocious activities, is not the problem the Tamils are facing today. I do not know this gentleman Mr. Thushara Peiris who produced the film `Prabaharan`. Neither I saw the film nor do I know what is contained in it. My information is that, this person is a moderate non-communal Sinhalese gentleman. In any case my contention is a few people who blindly support the LTTE, a ferocious and a ruthless terrorist organisation for reasons best known to them cannot bring discredit to the entire Tamil race that is proud of its culture and civilization. Let the law take its own course without some persons taking the law in to their own hands.`
The Sri Lankan Tamil leader said that he hoped that good sense will prevail and the film rolls will be returned to the owner on the orders of the court.
He further claimed, `I am aware that two film producers from India had come to Sri Lanka and had visited the LTTE leaders in Kilinochchi. They returned without getting behind the Iron Curtain to find out what type of life the Tamil people are leading under the LTTE and without speaking to any civilian. Even the facilitator Mr. Erik Solheim had no access to those areas. If so, how can the producers who visited Kilinochchi issue statements glorifying the LTTE merely based on the hospitality shown to them in Kilinochchi by the LTTE cadre, who have deprived our people of almost all their rights.
`The people who live in the LTTE controlled areas want to be liberated. Every family had already given over one son or daughter to the LTTE under threat and compulsion. The LTTE is now waiting to take the children who reach the age of 18 to joint their cadre. Only those, be it in India or elsewhere who are prepared to hand over one child from his or her family, to the LTTE to join the fighting cadre, have a right to talk in support of the LTTE and no other person has any moral right to do so. Let no one glorify the LTTE by sacrificing under compulsion, the children of poor parents of Kilinochchi and earn the good-will of the LTTE.
`I am the only one, of the entire Tamil politician in Sri Lanka, who had lived in Kilinochchi since 1959 and represented the Kilinochchi Electoral in Parliament for 14 years. I gave up my seat in Parliament protesting against the decision of the Government in 1983 to extend the term of Parliament by a full term of six years which is never done in any country except during a world war. It was I who got the Kilinochchi District carved out, from the Jaffna District. I know the sufferings of the people. My appeal to Tamil Nadu once again is to have sympathy for the Tamil people of Sri Lanka and to help to liberate them first from the LTTE and thereafter to help to find a solution to the ethnic problem. I plead to Tamil Nadu not to encourage the LTTE to continue their atrocious activities and to pressurise them to give up the demand for separation and to accept a Federal Solution or to accept the Indian Model of devolution.
`I had, on a number of occasions in the past made it clear to the Tamil Nadu Leaders that they have no moral right to demand a separate state of Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankans as a whole are much concerned in safeguarding the Sovereignty and Integrity of Sri Lanka as much as the Indians who are much concerned about the Sovereignty and Integrity of their country. Which ever party that had come to power in India at the Centre and in Tamil Nadu had not failed to declare that they will not support a division in Sri Lanka.
`Any one supporting the LTTE in Tamil Nadu can challenge any part of this letter as untrue or as an exaggerated version. More than half of the Sri Lankan Tamil population had left their traditional residences and are living in the South among the Sinhalese and the Muslims, peacefully. They left their homes mainly to save their children from compulsory recruitment by the LTTE to their fighting cadre. Many more had fled the country and sought asylum in various countries. Most of those who had come to India did so to save their children from the LTTE and to have them educated. All the Muslims living in the North were driven out, deprived of all their possession including their houses and jewellery. Even small children`s ear-studs had been removed and were allowed to take only Rs. 500/- each. They are now in the 17th year languishing in refugee camps in the south hoping to return to their homes one day soon.
`The children of leaders of the LTTE and of their spokesman are having their education abroad, while children of poor parents are recruited compulsorily and sent to the battle-front, with just two to three months training, where they die daily in large numbers. Very soon hardly one youth will be left alive in the LTTE held area.
`I take full responsibility for all what I have written here and I am prepare to meet any one and explain further. These facts can be verified from a few TNA Members of Parliament who are presently camping in Chennai. Tamil Nadu has a major roll to play in solving the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka by independent thinking and not by being miss-guided by the LTTE supporter.
`At a time when relationship between India and Sri Lanka should be strong, I fear that retention of the film `Prabhakaran` or delay in releasing it to the owner Mr. Thushara Peiris may cause a lot of embarrassment and loss of good-will detrimental to all of us. The Tamil speaking Deputy High Commissioner Mr. P. M. Amza attached to the Sri Lankan Mission in Chennai can help to save the situation.`