Liberation for people in North soon - TMVP
The Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pukkikal (TMVP) said that the people of
the East were thankful to the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government and the
military for ending the fearful era under the clutches of the LTTE
The first woman Mayor of the Batticaloa district, Sivageetha
Prabakharan of the TMVP told the 'Sunday Observer' that the TMVP hopes
the Government would liberate the people in the North from the LTTE
"We wish that our people in the North too will breathe the air of
freedom soon," she said.
Pix by Vipula Amarasinghe
Agreeing that the TMVP still shelters children, she said that after
the split, the LTTE tortured the younger brothers of the TMVP carders.
Mayor Prabhakaran, who seeks Government assistance to develop the
district, assured that public money allocated for development would not
be allowed to be misused under her administration.
Here are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: How do you feel now with your new position as the first woman
Mayor of the Batticaloa Municipal Council?
A: I am very happy about this victory, personally and more
than that, this is a victory for democracy. This victory reveals the
trust that the people have on our party and us. As a whole it is a
victory of the whole Tamil community in the East. For years the Tamil
people in this region were left as political orphans. But now people
have given us the power. What I can say is that now they are not
political orphans. They have a new identity.
People of Batticaloa and the whole Eastern region had suffered
immensely for over two decades from the war and also from several
natural disasters. There are many needs to be fulfilled and we have high
hopes that the Government will do more for our people.
The TMVP also hopes that we will be able to fulfil the aspirations of
the people. I think this is a remarkable victory for our party.
Q: Now at this important moment you will be definitely remembering
your late father, the TNA candidate Rajan Sathiyamoorthy. How do you see
his political career?
A: Since the 1990s my father was involved in social service.
Being a good social worker he entered politics. He served the people and
from my childhood I was with my father. I learnt the needs of the people
while working with my father.
In 1994 he contested from the UNP. He lost the election and then
again in 2000 he contested from the UNP but he could not get a Seat.
Finally he was ready to contest under the TNA in 2004 but just two days
before the election he was brutally murdered by the LTTE terrorists.
After the peace agreement was signed many development projects took
place in the East as well as in the North. My father played a key role
with Karuna Amman, who was the Leader of the East. He was engaged in
several development activities in the East.
After the split with the outfit Karuna Amman decided to enter into
the democratic mainstream. So after the split Prabhakaran's hatred with
my father grew gradually and he did not want my father playing a key
Prabhakaran was a man with regionalist ideas, so he did not want to
see development projects taking place in the East too. My father, whose
ideas were not same as that of Prabhakaran, worked for the betterment of
the people of both regions.
Q: Is it true that your father was one of the pioneers who planned
A: No. Not at all. His service was not restricted only to the
East but to the North as well. He visited the North and work hard for
the benefit of Tamils in both regions. Karuna Amman broke away from the
outfit mainly because Prabhakaran did not want peace.
According to Karuna Amman he attended a meeting with Prabhakaran in
Vanni before they were going for peace talks. There he had told that "we
must use the peace talk period to strengthen our weaponry and the
cadres". Karuna Ammam found Prabhakaran did not want peace any more and
decided to leave the terrorist organisation.
Q: You said that Prabhakaran has regionalism ideas. Is this
resulted in treating the LTTE carders in East and North differently?
A: Yes. As I mentioned earlier he is a man with regionalist
ideas. This made him to treat carders in different ways. Though he
started his struggle with an objective later it turned into a struggle
of selfishness. Most of the members were not satisfied with that
situation. The LTTE terrorists are fascists.
Q: You named the LTTE as a fascist outfit. How does the TMVP
differ from fascism?
A: No. There is no room for diverse opinions within the LTTE.
Only one voice and those who express their views differently will be
killed the next day. The TMVP is totally different from this. People
have different ideologies.
Q: Prabhakaran's militancy began with gunning down the former
Jaffna Mayor Alfred Dorraiappa. Later several members of local bodies in
the North and East like former Mayor of Batticaloa Chelian Perimahanayam,
Sivapalan, Jaffna first woman Mayor Sarojini were assassinated by the
LTTE. In this background how safe are you in this hot seat?
A: Well, the LTTE is a terrorist outfit. They do not believe
in democracy. Prabhakaran does not believe and accept in diverse
opinions. The history tells that all. I am ready to face anything for
the betterment of my people.
I want to keep the trust that they keep in my party and me to serve
them. So I am prepared to face any challenge and the LTTE cannot stop
me. But I am happy to say that the Sri Lanka Police has provided me
Q: With the recent Local Government election democracy is
rekindled in the Eastern province. How do you describe the days when the
region was under the grip of the LTTE?
A: When the East was under the clutches of the LTTE, they
wanted every thing to happen at gunpoint. People suffered immensely.
There was a rigid rule at that time.
People did not have the opportunity of expressing their views freely.
The situation during that time was really dangerous. I believe now
people of the Eastern region breath fresh air, which was a golden result
of this election.
Q: Your father was a TNA candidate. Why did you decide to join the
new political party TMVP?
A: After my father's death I too had death threats. This
situation compelled me to flee the Batticaloa district. Meanwhile I
heard that Karuna Amman was going to form a political party. Then I
returned to Batticaloa and joined them.
I wanted to serve my father's people. Even after my father was
assassinated, over 24,000 people voted for him. So I thought it was my
duty to serve them. That is why I joined the TMVP and worked as its
General Secretary for some years.
Q: The TMVP is accused by international human rights organisations
for child conscription. You were a teacher. Did you support children to
join the TMVP or were you helpless?
A: No. We actually did not want children to join our group
because using children as soldiers is a great human rights violation. We
had discussed this issue with the UNICEF and other relevant
organisations several times. The truth is that we had many children who
had joined our organisation at the beginning because of the split in the
What had happened was when the elder brother joined the TMVP, the
young ones of that family were tortured by the LTTE. So they came
running to us seeking protection.
We were helpless and we could not do any thing other than sheltering
them. When the situation had improved, we, with the help of the UNICEF
and other organisations, handed over most of the children to their
Q: So are you saying that there are no child soldiers with the
A: There are some children with us even now. Most of them do
not have parents and they are orphans. We do not like to have children
as soldiers. If any social welfare group or an NGO come forward to put
them in a home, we are prepared to handover them. Then these children
will start their education or vocational training.
Until then we have to protect these children. We strongly believe
that today's children are tomorrow's leaders. I will shortly discuss
with the relevant NGOs and we will make some arrangements to address
Q: Do you know how many child soldiers are there with the TMVP
A: No. I cannot exactly give the figures but there are some
children with us as I mentioned earlier. .
Q: You said that as the Mayor you want to give priority to develop
the Batticaloa district. Are you satisfied with the development work
done under the Negenahira Navodaya?
A: This is a welcome move and especially Vakarai is a big
achievement under the Negenhira Navodaya. People of the East are happy
and they appreciate the project. But the need for more projects to
develop the region is there. I think in the near future we can fulfil
other requirements of the people.
As soon as the TMVP entered into the democratic political mainstream,
we identified the people's needs and submitted their requests for the
Government. I have met MP Basil Rajapaksa several times.
And then I have met Minister Karu Jayasuriya and even Governor Mohan
Wijewickrama. Through them we have submitted the needs of the people to
President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We have much hope under Negenahira Navodaya
We have collected data from various departments like fisheries and
agriculture. Then we have already submitted our proposals to the
relevant miniseries to develop the Batticaloa district under the
Q: What are your priorities and how do you think that you could
develop the Batticaloa district?
A: The first priority should go for developing roads and then
the drainage systems. There are many problems to be addressed in this
district, which suffered heavily.
The problems of the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) will also be
looked into. The IDPs are willing to go back to their own villages and
we have requested the relevant ministeries to speed the programs for the
Q: However, the TMVP was accused for committing murder, carrying arms
and abductions and also demanding ransoms. What is your comment?
A: From the day that Karuna Ammam entered into the political
mainstream we asked protection from the then President Chandrika
Bandaranike Kumaratunga. But the then government did not provide us
With the spilt, the LTTE started killing our members. We were
helpless and we were compelled to retain arms for self-defence. We
carried arms not to kill anyone but to fight against the LTTE to protect
our carders. We are prepared to lay down arms as soon as our security is
Q: The main accusation for the TMVP is that you won the election
at gunpoint. Can you deny this allegation?
A: Yes. I deny this allegation. We request those who make this
claim to visit us or contact us and make clarifications.
Q: But the TMVP armed carders had threatened the Jaffna people in
Batticaloa and demanded their support to the TMVP at the election and
threatened them to leave their villages if they cannot do so. Is this a
proof that the TMVP is still similar to the LTTE, which is fascist as
you claimed? How do you ensure their safety now?
A: We did not threaten Jaffna people at the election and it is
wrong. And we will not do that in the future either. While canversing I
had visited their houses. Because, though these families are from Jaffna
they have been living in the Batticaloa district for many years.
They are with us and the TMVP does not treat them indifferently. I
want to reiterate that the TMVP is not fascist like the LTTE. Therefore
I refute these allegations.
Q: It is reported that the TMVP bought polling cards and in some
instances your carders had taken the polling cards forcibly from the
residents. What is your comment?
A: I refuse these allegations because this election was a free
and fair election. We believe in democracy and we did not do any illegal
activity as such. What I see in these allegations is that these are by
those who do not wish to see the TMVP as a political party and our
victory too. These are malicious allegations.
Q: The President has pledged Rs. 6,000 million to develop the
Eastern region. To what extent can the TMVP assure that the allocation
for the Batticaloa district will not be misused under your tenure?
A: All the elected members will get together and discuss how
to use this money for the betterment of the people. I can assure that
this money will not be misused.
Q: What is your comment about liberating the Eastern region from
A: We should really be thankful to the Mahinda Rajapaksa
Government, the three forces and the Police for liberating the East from
the clutches of the LTTE. During that period people in the East lived in
No one could go against the LTTE and if somebody raised his or her
voice against the LTTE's views or criticised their activities, they
would have been killed by the LTTE the next day. Now we are free from
all terror. We breathe fresh air of freedom.
We lost lots of valuable lives during the last two decades. They died
for an unworthy cause. The Eelam of the LTTE is a mirage.
Q: How supportive was the Government for your party to enter into
A: Yes, we appreciate the support that the government extended
to us. As soon as we entered democracy we joined hands with the
Government to work for the people. As a result people of the East are
free of terrorism.
We think that our sisters and brothers and their parents in the North
under the clutches of the LTTE terrorists should be liberated soon. They
should also breathe the same air of freedom as in the Eastern region.
The need of the hour is to join with the Government and work for the
people. It is not the time to be in the Opposition and accusing each
Who is Sivageetha Prabhakaran...
The day she saw her father's bloodstained body, she silently swore to
follow his footsteps. She was determined to take care of his people, who
voted for him even after his death. Being the only daughter of the slain
politician, Rajan Sathiyamoorthy, who was killed brutally by the LTTE
just two days before the 2005 election, the young girl fled the place
that she was born and bred due to constant death threats from the LTTE
Having had the courage to swim against the tide of the world's
ruthless terrorist outfit, she joined the Karuna faction, which
abandoned the unrealisable dream - a separate land for Tamils and
entered into politics.
The girl had the dearly blessings of her mother Premadevi who wanted
her daughter to enter into politics to fill the void of her husband.
The elocution teacher - Sivageetha Prabhakaran - ended her struggle
to serve her father's voters by becoming the first woman Mayor of the
Batticaloa district last week.
Young Sivageetha, being an animal lover from her small days, always
wanted to become a veterinary surgeon. "Now I can take care of cattle
and cats and dogs in the Batticaloa district," the Mayor Sivageetha
Studied at St. Cecilia's Convent, she was her father's private
secretary and was 'trained' by her father to become a social worker. "I
can still remember the day our area was under floods. People were
displaced and helpless.
My father was very upset and he came home and asked me to join him
immediately. We both rushed to the area and did our best to the people,"
Still a 26-year-old youth, the Mayor Sivageetha beares high hopes.
She wanted to develop the Batticaloa district, which she said has
suffered a lot under the control of terrorists and also from natural
disasters. One of her main dreams is to transform Batticaloa into a
model city for the world to witness.
"I do not want to model it on any world city. I want it to be an
indigenous one." This is her dream!
Sivageetha who became the Mayor of the Batticaloa district after a
lapse of 14 years said she had to learn a lot in politics and even the
Married to a Prabakharan, a TMVP member, she said 'her Prabakharan'
is very much the opposite of the Prabhakaran, who is her father's
murderer and whom she hated the most.
"Two hearts differ," the young Mayor blushed out.