Crusaders for Democracy (CFD), an organisation of ex-LTTE cadre and their supporters, will be putting up ten former militants in the Jaffna-Kilinochchi electoral district for the 17 August Sri Lankan parliamentary elections, CFD coordinator N. Vithyatharan told the New Indian Express.
Following the rejection of their applications by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the most popular party in the Tamil-speaking areas of Northern and Eastern Lanka, the CFD decided to put its candidates up as independents, Vithyatharan said.
Asked why the CFD was not fielding candidates in the other districts of the North and East, Vithyatharan said that he had been told that fielding them might bring down the Tamils’ overall representation in Parliament.
Earlier, the TNA had rejected the ex-militants’ applications on several grounds.
“Firstly, the applications had arrived too late. Secondly, the TNA’s association with ex-LTTE personnel at this juncture will lead to the Mahinda Rajapaksa camp indulging in destructive propaganda against the TNA, dubbing it as a front of the LTTE. At a time when the TNA is trying to find a solution to the Tamil question with domestic and international support, any such propaganda will vitiate such efforts,” said former TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran.
Sumanthiran also said that the TNA wanted time to study the antecedents of the LTTE militants in question because there was a rumor that the group had been put up by sections of the Lankan military intelligence which are sympathetic to Rajapaksa.
“Once we are satisfied with the antecedents of an ex-militant, we can give him a ticket, but this can happen only in the case of future elections, not this one,” Sumanthiran said.
TNA Spokesman Suresh Premachandran said that some inquiries were conducted and it was found that the antecedents of the militants in question were shrouded in mystery. He also said that jailed and released LTTE cadres had to give an undertaking to the Government that they would not participate in politics.
Meanwhile, A. Ravindra, alias Rupan, a former political leader of the LTTE in Trincomalee District whose application was not entertained, issued a press release saying that he had applied even before Parliament was dissolved and had handed his application directly to TNA leader Mavai Senathirajah, but got no reply.
Rupan complained that though TNA leaders talk a lot about ex-militants’ right to lead normal lives, they do not visit jailed militants or enquire after their welfare after release.