Ananthy Sasitharan (42), wife of Elilan and one of the top leaders of the LTTE, has bagged the second largest number of preferential votes among the candidates of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Jaffna in the September 21 elections to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC).
The firebrand mother of three girls was second only to former Supreme Court Justice C V Wigneswaran, the Chief Ministerial candidate of the TNA. While he bagged 1,32,255 preferential votes, Ananthy got 87,870, way above the third most popular party candidate, D Siddharthan, who got 39,715. She was in the limelight for her campaign to trace her husband and hundreds of other LTTE cadre who had surrendered to the Lankan army at the end of Eelam War IV in May 2009, before disappearing. A government servant for 22 years, Ananthy had submitted memoranda on the issue of disappearances to the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.
“This is not my victory, but the victory of the people. It is an expression of the awakening that is taking place among the Tamils,” Ananthy told Express on Sunday over phone from a hideout. She has been underground since the midnight of September 20, when a pro-government group, allegedly supported by the army, had attacked her residence-cum-office at Chulipuram.
Asked what she planned to do as an NPC member, Ananthy said she would use it to the maximum to uplift the victims of the war, especially women, to secure the release of Tamil detainees, and to trace missing persons. “I will go beyond the NPC and activate NGOs,” she said.
Ananthy is bitter with India for siding with the Lankan government during the war, but she has faith in TN. “The wound that India inflicted on Lankan Tamils is deep. But we have umbilical ties with the six crore Tamils of TN. Eventually, pressure from TN will force the Indian government to change its stand,” she said.