New non-violent group should replace LTTE: Tamil leader (Lead)

May 18th, 2009 - 8:15 pm ICT by IANS  

By Dipankar De Sarkar
London, May 18 (IANS) A new democratically-minded and non-violent group is needed to win the aspirations of Tamils in Sri Lanka following the defeat of the LTTE, a leading member of the Tamil diaspora in Britain said Monday.

“At the moment, there is mourning everywhere among the (Tamil) diaspora, but once we have had time to mourn and hold our memorials, we should sit down and chalk out the way forward,” said Thaya Idaikkadar, chairman of the British Tamil Councillors and Associates (BTCA).

“Members of the Tamil diaspora from all countries - Britain, Canada, Australia, France and Germany - need to sit down and put on their thinking caps.

“We need to take over the running of the political negotiations; we have to get together and negotiate with foreign governments and the Sri Lankan government,” he told IANS in an interview.

The remarks by Idaikkadar, whose influential group represents a large number of councillors and has been at the forefront of Tamil rallies in London, assume significance in the wake of the death of V. Prabhakaran, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supremo.

Idaikkadar said his first preference would be for the ban on the LTTE to be lifted in Western countries, failing which it would fall upon the diaspora to form a new group that would seek to achieve its aims through non-violent means.

In a significant departure from the LTTE’s modus operandi, where instructions were relayed to the diaspora from its headquarters in northeast Sri Lanka, Idaikkadar said the new group should take its decisions democratically and be mandated “by the Tamil people in Sri Lanka”.

“We need to get the authorisation of Tamils inside Sri Lanka that we are authorised to speak for them. We need their recognition.

“After that, Sri Lankan Tamil people have to agree to whatever decisions we take.”

He said the group must first agree its demands. Short of complete independence for a Tamil nation, he said the “Tamil diaspora will support” a region within Sri Lanka with a degree of political and economic autonomy, including rights over taxation and land.

Idaikkadar told IANS a new peaceful path was needed to achieve these aims, because “all successful freedom movements follow the course of a violent movement followed by non-violence”.

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