The Ezhuga Thamiz (Tamils Arise) event which was organized by the Tamil People’s Council (TPC) had created a strong reaction in the South mostly for the wrong reasons.
The event which was said to have been organized to bring out the grievances of the Tamil people ended up being the talking point because of the views expressed by the Northern Province Chief Minister, C.V. Wigneswaran and other politicians who had taken part at the event.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which had pledged its support to the government on its reconciliation efforts, had distanced itself from the event.
Wiggie and TNA
Wigneswaran was nominated by the TNA as the Chief Ministerial candidate at the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) elections that were held in 2013. Wigneswaran eventually won the election owing to the strong vote base of the TNA.
However, Wigneswaran’s relationship with the TNA was not smooth in the following years owing to several issues, including statements made in contradiction of the TNA policies. Though these contradictions were diplomatically dealt by the two parties concerned, the fact that there were frictions could not be mistaken.
Recently, Wigneswaran and TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran were involved in a heated exchange of words where the latter had called for the removal of the Chief Minister following certain remarks made against the TNA.
Even though the issue had died down afterwards, Wigneswaran’s relationship with the TNA continued to fluctuate due to several reasons. One of the allegations levelled against him was that he was acting according to the needs of the Diaspora.
TNA and the govt
The TNA however had expressed its displeasure over the manner in which the entire event was used as a platform for politicians to gain political mileage using the grievances of the people.
TNA Parliamentary Group Leader, and the Opposition Leader, R. Sampanthan stated that the party was supportive of the people since the grievances they expressed were legitimate.“The government needs to ensure that their grievances are addressed,” he said.
The TNA had been maintaining a cordial relationship with the present government since it had been accommodative of several of its demands. The TNA was instrumental in bringing the present regime into power.
Though the issues have not been met entirely, the TNA said that the discussions held with the government on issues such as releasing lands to owners, release of prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and probe into enforced disappearances were moving in a positive direction.
Addressing the grievances
Though many have criticized and commented on the Ezhuga Thamiz event, very few have actually looked at the grievances of the public.
One could question whether the event did justice to the people by bringing out their issues to the forefront.
What is discussed now is the statement of Wigneswaran, and not the legitimate concerns of the people who have been the victims of the war. The focus seems to have completely shifted on the politics behind the event rather than the people.
Concerns of fresh moves towards separatism have also been expressed after the event. The TNA correctly stated that the timing of the event was not right since the government was trying to accommodate the demands of the TNA into its agenda.
In addition, the drafting of a fresh Constitution is also underway. “We have not in anyway said that we have lost hope in the government or in the International community. There is a lot to be done and we will continue to engage in discussion with the government,” TNA’s General Secretary, Mawai Senathirajah said.