Leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), V. Anandasangaree last week questioned as to why the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was continuing to back the government despite failing to address the key issue of releasing privately owned lands back to their owners.

Arthur WamananThis comes in the wake of fresh protests by residents of Vattuvakal, Mulliavaikkal East last week who alleged that the Navy had once again commenced steps to take over their lands.

It was reported that the Navy had surveyed 617 acres of land that belonged to private owners. The residents, along with Provincial Council members of the TNA warned that they would launch a protest against such moves and call on the Government to halt such activities immediately.

“I am surprised that although the TNA had gone out of its way and extended its full cooperation to the government, why should the government cause embarrassment to them. This is an issue serious enough for the TNA to withdraw its support to the government,” Anandasangaree had said in his statement.

Anandasangaree claimed that such moves would rouse further tensions.

V. Anandasangaree
V. Anandasangaree

Government responds
Defence Minister, Ruwan Wijewardena is reported to have stated that the government had the rights to establish camps at any place to ensure national security. However, he had also said that a final decision on the Vattuvakal issue once the relevant government officers of the area submit their reports after having studied the ground situation.
On the question of why TNA is continuing to back the government despite its failure to address the issue on several cases, it should be noted that the government had in fact released a considerable area of privately owned land in several parts of the North back to their owners.

The fact that the present government has been more accommodative of the demands of the TNA than the previous regime would be a reason for the party to soft peddle on the government.  On the other hand, this is the best opportunity for the TNA and other Tamil parties to work with the government to create an understanding between both parties pertaining to the issues of the Tamil speaking people.

The release of privately owned lands back to the people has been one of the crucial demands of the TNA discussed in almost all national and international political platforms. Therefore, the recent development in Mulliavaikkal, the stage of the final phase of the war, comes as an important factor in the post war reconciliation process. Therefore, Anandasangaree’s point that the act was provocative is quite reasonable.

However, the TNA always has the option of talking to the government with regard to the issue and obtain clarity. There is no point in protesting each and every move. It would only create division and create more distrust among the people on the government.
It is up to the TNA and other political parties of the North to ensure that this issue does not aggravate further. At the same time, the government too should provide an explanation the people whenever such matters arise.

It is important that an explanation is given because the people too would feel included in the process.

Skeletal remains
Another development which created quite a buzz in the Northern Province was the recovery of two bone fragments from an abandoned well in Thiruketheeswaram, Mannar. Interestingly, the fragments were found in the well which is adjacent to the site of a mass grave from which skeletal remains of 96 persons were found earlier.

These recoveries are important in terms of the ongoing process to look into the issue of missing persons. The government intends to establish the Office on Missing Persons in the near future. The Presidential Commission appointed to look into the issue of missing persons too has carried out extensive work into the matter and has recorded statements and complaints from over 19,000 persons.

It is  therefore important that the process to locate missing persons takes into account these recoveries.