The hoisting of the national flag at the UNP/TNA May Day rally in Jaffna has created uproar with some Tamil politicians being critical of the move while some others hailing it as a gesture of goodwill.
Democratic People’s Front Leader Mano Ganeshan said TNA leader Sampanthan had shown his political will for an undivided Sri Lanka by holding the national flag in Jaffna which he cited as the cultural capital of Tamils.
Mr. Ganeshan said Mr. Sampanthan had spoken about his Sri Lankan identity and dream.
“He is not the first Tamil democratic leader to do so. We only hope that he does not go down history as another Tamil democratic leader who failed to reach the Sinhala south by his political gestures. We now look for governments reciprocate action,” Mr. Ganeshan said.
Also, he said, “Mr. Sampanthan’s action has already displeased certain Tamil forces. The lion symbol is being considered as the symbol of aggression by them due to history. In this context the TNA leader has taken a courageous step. It should not go in the drain. He should not go down history as another Tamil democratic leader who failed to reach the Sinhala south by his goodwill gesticulations. It is the responsibility of the government of the day.
Tamil democratic leaders in the past were seeking political solutions within the radius of the united Sri Lanka. They respected the territorial integrity of the country. They demanded political power. Yet they distinguished between the separation of the country and separation of political powers. But their political gestures and goodwill messages were discarded by the successive governments of Sri Lanka led by both SLFP and UNP, he said.
Mr. Sampanthan as the leader of TNA has again taken the bold step in this post war era. The whole world is demanding reconciliation with political solution. The government should take the lead from Sampanthan’s signal. It is not only the reasonable step but also intelligent.
TULF leader V. Anandasangari said, in his view, Sri Lanka was not a contended society to hoist the national flag in this manner.
“Mr. Sampanthan might have hoisted the flag together with the UNP leader under accompanying circumstances. But, I do not think there is a contended society in Sri Lanka to hoist the national flag in this manner,” he said.
TELO political leader M.K. Sivajilingam said that there was no equal status for Tamils and therefore they cannot accept hoisting the national flag.
“We are second class citizens. We do not think we have a national flag as a result,” he said. (Kelum Bandara)