COLOMBO: M.K.Sivajilingam, a leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO), a member of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), and the prime mover of the February 10, 2015 NPC resolution condemning “genocide” of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, is contesting the August 17 Lankan parliamentary elections against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Kurunegala District.
Sivajilinagm told Express on Tuesday that he is not contesting as TELO or as part of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), but as an Independent. He has put up a list of candidates as an “Independent Group”.
Asked why he is contesting when he or his group has little or no chance of winning a seat in the overwhelmingly Sinhalese majority Kurunegala district, Sivajilingam said that the main idea is to draw the attention of the country and the world to the Tamil cause.
“I want to draw the attention of the Sinhalese masses to the need to settle the National Question, which is the Tamil question. I want to tell them that the Tamils do not want separation but only a fair amount of devolution within a united Sri Lanka.”
“I may not able to hold public meetings and go from house to house, but I will get a chance to speak to the voters through the time allotted on radio and TV and hold press conferences,” he said.
Denying that Rajapaksa alone is his opponent, Sivajilingam said that he is also opposing the present government led by President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.
“ While Rajapaksa was openly hostile to the Tamils, Sirisena and Wickremesinghe have neglected the Tamils after promising to meet their demands,” he said.
Though a member of TELO, which was anti-LTTE, Sivajilingam was the only Lankan Tamil who looked after Tiger chieftain Velupillai Prabhakaran’s parents, Thiruvengadam Velupillai and Parvathy Ammal, till their death, after Prabhakaran died fighting at Nandikadal in May 2009.
Other Tamils, including close blood relations of the slain leader, took no notice of his ageing and ailing mother. It was Sivajilingam who conducted Parvathy Ammal’s funeral.
TELO is part of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and yet the TNA leadership did not give a ticket to Sivajilingam.
“It seems the TNA leaders do not want active politicians and genuine field workers,” he said.