COLOMBO: Former militants of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and their supporters have decided to form a political party named “Crusaders for Democracy” and seek tickets from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to contest the August 17 Sri Lankan parliamentary elections.
Militants and their supporters from the Northern and Eastern districts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Batticaloa gathered outside the famous Nallur Kandswamy temple in Jaffna on Friday and took an oath to fight for the rights of the Tamil-speaking people by democratic means such as participation in elections through a political party to be known as “Crusaders for Democracy.”
CFD’s Coordinator Nadesapillai Vithyatharan said that a request will be made to the TNA to give nomination to at least two former militants in each of the districts of the Northern and Eastern provinces where the TNA holds sway.
Among the aims of the CFD are: the establishment of a new political culture and a new kind of Tamil leadership which will be marked by honesty and courage; speedy implementation of rehabilitation and livelihood programs; securing the release of Tamil political prisoners; and building bridges with fair and accommodative political elements and leaders in South Sri Lanka with a view to securing an amicable political settlement of the Tamil question.
However, despite its commitment to pursue the democratic path, the CFD is not regretful about its past involvement with the LTTE. The press release on its formation noted that Friday’s gathering was held at the place near the Nallur temple where “Thyagi” Thileepan of the LTTE fasted unto death to secure the rights of the Tamils when the Indian Peace Keeping Force held sway in Jaffna in 1987.
Athmalingam Ravindra alias Rupan, who had held high political and administrative positions in the LTTE both in Trincomalee district and in the Wanni from the early 1990s to May 2009, has already put in an application for a TNA ticket in Trincomalee district.