A leading diaspora group has called on the Tamil community to protect the hard-won gains of the past.
The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) noted that the Tamil community face monumental challenges today.
It said that the Rajapaksas-led political ‘movement’ does not have many parallels in Sri Lanka’s history.
“It relies entirely on Sinhala-Buddhist vote and highly insensitive to the concerns and aspirations of the minority communities. No commitment to accountability and reconciliation (withdrew from co-sponsorship of UNHRC resolution), increased militarisation of civil functions (military officers for every village in the North-East), and the appointment of all-Sinhala task force to ‘preserve the historical heritage of Sri Lanka’ in the multi-ethnic Eastern Province are a few examples. More ominous is the possibility of losing some of the fundamental reforms such as power devolution under 13th Amendment and the parity status for Tamil language,” the GTF said in a statement today.
GTF said that a major economic contraction Sri Lanka is expected to undergo could lead to intensifying authoritarianism and militarisation, and in all likelihood the minority communities will be used as scapegoats for the wrong doings of the powerful.
“The period ahead will test the capability of the Tamil political leadership. Forming effective partnerships with the elected representatives from all minority communities and with those from the majority community with progressive views could be critical, so is fostering effective engagement strategies with the international community and India,” GTF said.
GTRF noted that if the Rajapaksas are denied 2/3rd majority, such coalitions would be particularly powerful in preventing the constitution being amended on their own right.
The Tamil community was urged to protect its hard-won gains, while exploring opportunities for furthering its community interests.
“So, what should the Tamil community do at this election? First and foremost, ensure that people appreciate the significance of this election and the power of their vote – every vote matter. Second, no vote should be wasted on the multitude of independent groups and those representing country-wide parties, as these could only dilute the strength of the Tamil representation for future political engagements. Overly unrealistic agenda and an inward-looking insular political strategy is not the most suited in the present circumstances,” GTF said.
GTF appealed to every citizen of Sri Lanka, and the Tamil people in particular, to cast their precious votes and cast it wisely, keeping the long-term interest of the country and their political, economic and democratic rights in mind. (Colombo Gazette)