The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) seems to have lost its bearings since the decimation of the LTTE. Rudderless and adrift in the choppy seas of politics, it is now trying to align itself with New Delhi. Aware that nothing pleases India more than supplication, it is begging for India`s involvement in Sri Lanka`s rehabilitation and reconstruction programmes in a bigger way. Interestingly, the LTTE proxies have not turned to Tamil Nadu this time around for help, maybe because they are now convinced that there is no popular support for their cause in that state as evident from the rejection of Jayalalitha`s offer to create Eelam at the last election.
TNA MP R. Sampanthan is reported to have protested against the rehabilitation and resettlement programme being handled by the Sinhalese. At a meeting with Indian External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna, National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan and Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon in New Delhi on Sunday, Sampanthan said it was unacceptable for those programmes to be left exclusively in the hands of the majority Sinhala community.
The TNA is trying to create some bogey to justify its racist agenda. What`s wrong with the Sinhalese helping Tamils and vice versa? It is by involving themselves in the rehabilitation of war victims that the Sinhalese could see for themselves the real human cost of war. That is also one way of ethnic bridge building. The LTTE and its TNA proxies had psychologically isolated most Tamils in the North from the rest of the country by way of a prelude to their physical separation to be achieved by military means. Thus, the LTTE and the TNA generated enough racial hatred to power their separatist project, ably assisted, albeit unwittingly, in their endeavour by some southern politicians spewing anti-minority venom so as to find shortcuts to power.
At long last, the iron curtain has been pulled down and Tamils and their Sinhalese counterparts have got an opportunity to meet face to face free from fear of terrorism. Let them interact freely without being swayed by political bigots and understand one another better than they did in the past so that a solid foundation will be laid for the on-going effort to bring about racial amity and national integration, a task that is too dangerous to be left to external forces and their civil society proxies with a hidden agenda.
If Tamil political leaders have any apprehensions, fears, doubts and suspicions about the rehabilitation and resettlement programmes and the manner in which they are being handled, they certainly have a right to express their concerns and demand remedial action. However, the place for taking up such domestic issues is Colombo and not New Delhi.
When the LTTE was banished from the Eastern Province and resettlement process began, there were wild rumours that the government was planning colonisation schemes there on the pretext of resettlement of the displaced. Those canards have now been nailed effectively.
Those Tamil leaders now on a campaign to carry forward Prabhakaran`s abortive separatist project by political means are only supporting the cause of their equally rabid counterparts on the other extreme of the ethno-political spectrum, who are trying to gain a boost for their bankrupt communal project from the country`s victory over terrorism.
The political Prabhakarans (read those who are striving to achieve Eelam politically) ought to realise that they are toiling in vain and engaged in a self-defeating exercise.
One may wonder whether the TNA has any moral right to take up the cudgels for the displaced Tamils for two reasons. First, TNA politicians did nothing for civilians languishing under the LTTE`s jackboot. They did not even protest against the LTTE`s use of human shields and the various crimes against a captive populace such as child abductions and forcible conscription. Secondly, the TNA is without any popular mandate and it owes the election of its parliamentarians entirely to the LTTE which blatantly rigged the 2004 parliamentary polls to have them returned. The EU Election Observation Mission Sri Lanka 2004 had this to say in its final report on that election:
Overall, it would be fair to conclude that the 2004 elections were largely conducted in a democratic manner, apart from the North and the East. If the election results in the North and East had been a critical factor in determining who formed the government, it would have raised questions about the legitimacy of the final outcome. The events that took place in this part of Sri Lanka during the course of this election were totally unacceptable and are the antithesis of democracy.
The TNA and others of its ilk seem to fear that the government will make use of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects to eat into the traditional Tamil vote bank. Now that the North has been opened up and a massive development drive is underway, the government and its Tamil allies are sure to gain a great deal of political mileage in that part of the country as they did in the East.
The TNA, which is reeling from the defeat of the LTTE, will be faced with a double whammy in such an eventuality without either its terrorist friends around to stuff ballot boxes or popular support to win on its own. The next election is therefore a frightening proposition for the TNA leaders going places on a bogus mandate. Hence their frantic attempt to make a cat`s paw of New Delhi to pull political chestnuts from the fire!