Thaya Master, the media coordinator of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) till he surrendered to the Sri Lankan army at the end of Eelam War IV in 2009, is to contest the first-ever elections to the Northern Provincial Council expected to be held in September this year. He will be a candidate of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
Thaya Master, whose real name is Velayutham Thayanithi, told Express on Wednesday, that he had met the influential and powerful Lankan Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in Jaffna, along with 23 other Tamil political hopefuls.
When asked what made him plunge into politics after being a media man both during and after the war, Thaya said he had a political background as he was in the political wing of the LTTE. “However, my primary objective is to be of some help to the thousands of former cadre of the LTTE who are unable to make a decent living and be accepted by Tamil society even after they had been officially rehabilitated and reintegrated into society. A few have set up businesses or have jobs. But a number of them have failed in their efforts. Private employers fear that they may come under surveillance if they have an ex-LTTE cadre on their staff. As for women cadre, some have been rejected by society as they may have married out of caste while being in the LTTE,” he explained.
Why ruling party?
Thaya Master felt that he should be with the ruling party to be able to do something constructive for these people. He denounced the Tamil parties’ politics of rejection and confrontation as this would not help the Tamils. The Tamils should appreciate the goodwill gestures of the government, he said, pointing out that the army had built more than 1800 houses for Tamil IDPs including ex-LTTE cadre.
About the charge that the army was “grabbing” private lands of the Tamils in certain parts of the Northern Peninsula, he said that those whose lands had been taken away had the right to protest, but political parties should help the affected people find a solution to the conflict. They could get them an adequate compensation, he said.
When asked about the charge that the military presence in the North of the island nation was “heavy”, he said that it was “unsubstantiated.”