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Former LTTE members to contest in Sri Lanka parliamentary elections

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A group of former members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which has fielded 10 candidates in the Parliamentary elections, has urged India, United States and other Western countries to commend its decision to enter the fray.

Called “Crusaders for Democracy,” the group, in a statement issued on Wednesday, said that when the LTTE was involved in an armed struggle, these countries and the international community wanted it to give up arms and join the democratic mainstream.

N. Vithyatharan, coordinator of the group, said the candidates had been fielded as independents as the group could not be registered as a party.

Meanwhile, M.K. Shivajilingam, Member of the Northern Provincial Council and national organiser of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), has chosen to contest in the Kurunegala electoral district. Though he is aware that he has no chances for victory, he says he has done it in his individual capacity as a mark of protest against the presence of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who, the TELO leader says, is responsible for the alleged war crimes.

Karuna omitted

Former deputy leader of the LTTE, Vinayagamoorthy Muralidaran, popularly called Karuna, does not figure in the national list of candidates of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP)-led United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Mr Muralidaran, former Deputy Minister for Resettlement and SLFP vice chairman, told The Hindu that he had conveyed his unwillingness to enter the Parliament as the present political situation was “not favourable.” He said he did not want to be seen him as part of the political formation that sought to allow the re-emergence of Mr. Rajapaksa.

While the United National Party (UNP)-led United National Front for Good Governance has 12 candidates belonging to Tamils and Muslims, the UPFA’s list contains seven nominees of the minorities. Resettlement Minister D.M. Swaminathan, Disaster Management Minister A.H.M. Fowzie, State Minister M.T. Hasen Ali and Praba Ganesan have been named in the lists.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 5:01:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/former-ltte-members-to-contest-in-sri-lanka-parliamentary-elections/article7438023.ece

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