Having eaten into the Tamil National alliance (TNA) vote bank in the Jaffna peninsula at the recently concluded local government polls, the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) has launched a fresh campaign to pressure the international community to set up an international war crimes tribunal against Sri Lanka or refer the matter to the UN Security Council.
The TNPF has declared its intention to collect signatures in the northern and eastern provinces in support of its move ahead of forthcoming Geneva sessions.
Led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, the TNPF move has the backing of All Ceylon Tamil Congress and the Tamil People’s Council headed by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran.
In a twitter message, Ponnambalam has said: “TNPF and TPC will commence a signature campaign in North and East demanding Sri Lanka issue should be transferred to Security Council or an International Tribunal formed as the Government failed to implement UN Resolution 30/1 adopted in Oct 2015.”
Tamil sources in the north as well as overseas said that though Wigneswaran hadn’t commented on war crimes charges, he remained a key TPC figure.
Political sources said Western powers could exploit the situation in case turmoil over local government polls outcome threatened constitution making process. Close on the heels of local government polls victory; Joint Opposition/Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna declared that much weakened unity government wasn’t in a position to pursue the project to introduce a new Constitution.
Former External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told The Island that Sri Lanka couldn’t be expected to pursue the project in the wake of the change in the political landscape.
TNPF secured two urban councils in the Jaffna peninsula in addition to securing seven slots in the Jaffna Municipal Council. Sources pointed out that TNA was under pressure in the Jaffna MC as the EPDP has secured 10 seats. The TNA obtained 17 seats there.
Political sources said that the TNPF was gearing for Northern Provincial Council polls scheduled for later this year. However, Tamil sources pointed out that though TNPF made headway in urban areas, rural regions where former LTTE combatants resided remained with the TNA.
By Shamindra Ferdinando