A new political front has been launched in Jaffna on Saturday December 19th 2015 with Northern Province chief minister Canagasabapathy Visvalingam Wigneswaran at the helm. The new front known as “Thamil Makkal Paeravai” in wamil and “Tamil Peoples Council” in English is viewed as a political alternative to the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) which is regarded as the premier political configuration of the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
Around 25 to 30 persons including the Chief minister CV Wigneswaran who was elected to office on the House symbol of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), Ex –parliamentarians Kandiah Premachandran(Suresh) of the EPRLF, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam of ACTC, Senior ITAK vice –president Prof. S. Sittambalam, Northern province councillor Sivanesan alias Bavaan of PLOTE,Dr. Poopalan Lakshman of the Jaffna Hospital,Batticaloa civil society secretary T. Vasantharajah and N.Vijayasuntharam Editor of “Valampuri”newspaper published in Jaffna were present at the inaugural meeting of the Tamil Peoples Council (TPC).Among others who participated in the meeting were religious leaders, professionals, academics ,NGO personnel and political civil society activists.
The meeting was held for selected invitees only in a ‘hush hush’atmosphere at the Jaffna public library from 5 pm to 9 pm. The media was debarred from being present at the meeting presided over by CV Wigneswaran. When Wigneswaran left the premises early at 8. 20 pm ,media personnel waiting outside the venue accosted the chief minister and inquired from him as to what was happening. Wigneswaran declined to answer media queries saying “Marupadiyum Naan Oomai” (I am dumb once again).
Likewise several others at the gathering also refused to answer questions saying media releases will be issued. However journalists managed to elicit brief statements from politicians Suresh Premachandran Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, civil society activist Vasantharajah and the Chief Hindu prelate of the Nalloor Aatheenam.
According to media communiqués Chief Minister Wigneswaran has been elected unanimously as head of the Tamil Peoples Council (TPC) with Dr. Lakshman and Mr. Vasantharajajah as co – chairs. An action committee comprising 22 members and a 4 member convening committee were also appointed. A website in English and Tamil has also been set up
The TPC is scheduled to meet on December 27th and form two sub – committees to be in charge of Political affairs and arts and cultural affairs respectively. It was also resolved to establish branches of the TPC in all districts of the Northern and Eastern provinces and in countries where there substantial numbers of Tamils reside.. A campaign to enlist members in all parts of Sri Lanka and abroad.
The political sub –committee will begin formulating a new political framework for the Sri Lankan Tamil people.
Following are the texts of press statements issued on behalf of the Tamil Peoples Council-
TPC Media Statement – One
The Tamil People’s Council is incepted in the presence of religious dignitaries and the Honourable chief minister for the Northern Province to look into the Tamil people’s wellbeing, safety and integrity.
The Tamil People’s Council (TPC) will be headed by Honourable C V Vigneswaran and co-chaired by Dr P Lakshman, Consultant Cardiologist at the Teaching Hospital, Jaffna and Mr T Vasantharajah, the secretary of the Batticaloa civil society.
A thirty-member council is formed with representations from experts from all areas including religious leader, professionals, civil societies and political parties. There will be several subcommittees which will look into all the problems faced by the Tamil People.
The subcommittees will work in a particular time frame towards a common goal and depending on the issues raised the number of experts and advisers representing the committees can expand. The subcommittees will meet regularly for discussion and the Convening committee will call the council meeting as and when the need arises to make major decisions.
The number of the council will not be limited to thirty people. This will expand further as there are discussions going on regarding the membership between the convening committee and some political parties along with civil societies.
Today (19.12.2015) is the inauguration day of the Tamil People’s Council and it pledges to function with truthfulness, righteousness and with no ulterior motive so that a conducive situation is established for the Tamil people.
TPC Media Statement –Two
The council consists of representatives and dignitaries from North and East of Sri Lanka. Currently the council consists 30 members including the Chief minister Hon. Justice C V Vigneswaran, leaders of political parties and civil organisation representatives from North and East. Leaders of other political parties and more civil forum members would be added to the council in the near future and the current council will do the needful on expediting the process.
1. Hon. Justice C V Vigneswaran – (Chief Minister, NPC)
2. Dr. P Lakshman – (Senior Cardiologist, Teaching Hospital, Jaffna)
3. Mr. T Vasantharajah – (Secretary, Batticaloa Civil Society)
Action Committee Members
4. Nallai Aathina Muthalvar
5. Sivasiri Saba Vasutheva Kurukkal
6. Rev. Fr. Jeyabalan Croos – (Diocese of Mannar)
7. Rev. Fr. S V B Mangalarajah –(President, Justice & Peace Commission)
8. Prof. C K Siththampalam – (Senior Vice President, TNA-Thamil Arasuk Katchchi)
9. Mr. D Siththarthan – (Leader, TNA-PLOTE)
10. Mr. Suresh Premachandran – (Leader, TNA-EPRLF)
11. Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam – (Leader, TNPF)
12. Prof. V P Sivanathan – (Patron, Jaffna Economist Association)
13. Dr. K Premakumar – (Fmr. Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Eastern University)
14. Mr. K Sathasivam – (Batticaloa)
15. Mr. S Somasundaram – (Treasurer, Batticaloa Civil Society)
16. Mr. Muraleetharan – (Trincomalee)
17. Mr. V Gopalapillai -(Amparai)
18. Dr. G Thirukumaran – (President, University Teachers Association, Jaffna)
19. Dr. A Saravanapavan – (Vice President, University Teachers Association, Jaffna)
20. Rev. Fr. Racichandran – (Diocese of Jaffna)
21. Mr. V Puvitharan – (President, Tamil Lawyers Association)
22. Mr. N Singam – (Secretary, Tamil Civil Society Forum)
23. Mr. N Inpanayagam – (National Fisheries Solidarity Movement)
24. Mr. M Sivamohan – (Iranamadu Farmers’ Organizations Federation)
25. Mr. Thevarajah – (President, Vavuniya Civil Society)
Office of Convening Committee
27. Dr. S Sivansuthan
28. Mr. N Vijayasuntharam
29. Mr. Alan Sathiadas
30. Mr. S Janarthanan
TPC Media Statement – Three
The council will form the below showed sub-committees based on priority based. Each Sub-committee will function independently and will consist of experts on that particular area.
As the highest priority, Political & Kalai Panpaadu Sub-committees will be formed from inception stage itself and start its function immediately as these are areas of high importance for Tamil in North and East of Sri Lanka.
The council will be electing a Sub-committee to develop a political framework for the Tamil question and this Sub-committee will start its functions on the 27th Dec. 2015. This sub-committee is expected to produce its initial outline within the 1st month and the draft would be consulted by international experts as well as published for public through various medium and their feedback will be also gathered. This bidirectional approach and transparency will enable the council to come up with a political framework that would be very much welcomed by the Tamil people for their long standing ethnic conflict within Sri Lanka.