Dr. Sara Dissanayake responds to Opposition Leader Sampanthan

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Dr. Sara Dissanayake, whose opinion article titled ‘Looking beyond the current political gridlock: Future of Tamil nationalist politics’ on 20 February saw a denial from  Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan (published yesterday) and has sent the following statement. 

With regards to the above, I wish to clarify my position:

1. While Hon. Sampanthan may not have intentionally boycotted the 70th Independence Day celebrations, I maintain the stance that the TNA’s decision not to participate can be inevitably interpreted as a boycott of the event, due to the following reason:

The celebration is the most important event of the nation, and the TNA is both an opposition party, and the largest political representation of the Tamil people in our country. To this end, citing election campaigns as a motive to not attend (while other contesting parties graced the occasion) is a weak excuse that can be inevitably perceived as a boycott of the event altogether. I trust that the TNA is fully aware of the implications of its absence, regardless of its reasons. 

Nonetheless, I humbly acknowledge the misleading expression of the phrase “TNA leader R. Sampanthan called for the boycott” in this instance.

2. I refer to the letter published in ‘Deport Brigadier Fernando: TNA Joins Diaspora Furore’, Colombo Telegraph, 10 February 2018 https://www.colombotelegraph.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Request-by-Diaspora-Organisations-Final-4.pdf. The letter addressed to UK Secretary of State Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, dated 9 February is signed off by TNA UK under a TNA logo (along with 12 other Tamil advocacy groups).

This letter was not signed off by any other specific TNA member, but by TNA as an entity, which Hon. Sampanthan leads and represents. As a leader of the TNA, Hon. Sampanthan would have acknowledged and approved the signing of the letter under the TNA banner. Therefore, I believe Hon. Sampanthan is directly responsible for the letter and there is no inaccuracy on my part.

I would appreciate if you could kindly convey my message to the parties concerned, and I apologise for any inconveniences and misunderstandings caused.