The News Scroll 15 October 2019  Last Updated at 4:58 pm | Source: PTI

Sri Lankan Tamil parties to talk with presidential aspirants

Sri Lankan Tamil parties to talk with presidential aspirants
Colombo, Oct 15 (PTI) Tamil minority parties from the former conflict-torn north and east regions of Sri Lanka will meet presidential candidates of leading parties during the poll campaign ahead of the next month''s elections.

Leaders of some six different parties, including the main Tamil National Alliance, met on Monday in the northern province of Jaffna to try and reach a common accord to serve Tamil interests, party sources said.

However, the parleys organised by students unions of Jaffna and Batticaloa universities ended in a deadlock as parties failed to reach a common accord.

C V Wigneswaran, the former Tamil chief minister of the northern province, told reporters that five parties would consult the main presidential candidates on their concerns.

The ultra Tamil nationalist party Tamil National People''s Front''s (TNPF) demand for Tamils to stay away from voting in the election was rejected by the other five parties.

The party had also demanded abandoning of the constitutional reform ideas that came out in 2017 and dropping of the unitary character of the constitution to a federal form for the Tamil regions.

“We could not agree with two of the demands of TNPF. We have to move on now and cannot go back to make a new start from the beginning,” Wigneswaran said.

Both front-runners for the presidential post Sajith Premadasa from the ruling party and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa from the main opposition are wooing the Tamils for crucial votes which would see them go past the 50 per cent votes needed to be elected as president.

The majority Sinhala community are divided among them with perhaps Rajapaksa holding the edge over Premadasa on majority community support.

In the previous presidential election held in 2015, the Tamil minority vote played a decisive role in the victory of Maithripala Sirisena over the former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The Tamil parties supported the then opposition challenger Sirisena to make him address Tamil issues.

As a goodwill gesture toward the community, Sirisena did release some of the land held for military purposes. Yet the larger Tamil community remains dissatisfied with lack of action to address political grievances.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, while addressing reporters on Tuesday, denied Tamil party claims that a large number of Tamils had disappeared during the military campaign he spearheaded which ended in crushing the LTTE''s three-decade-old campaign for a separate Tamil homeland.

“All LTTErs who surrendered to the Army were rehabilitated and released into society. There is no evidence to back allegations that LTTE cadres who surrendered are missing,” Rajapaksa said.

He said his government would not honour the UN human rights council resolution which the Sirisena government had co-sponsored in September 2015.

“We will reject it”, Rajapaksa said.

The resolution had called for an international investigation into alleged war crimes committed by both government troops and the LTTE during the final phase of the conflict which ended in May 2009. PTI CORR RS AKJ RS

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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