Tamil Nadu leaders playing “own politics” with Tamils’ issue, says Daya Master

Vaiko is spreading a “false propaganda” that Velupillai Prabakaran is alive, and other Tamil Nadu politicians talk about the rights of Sri Lankan Tamils “for their own politics,” says a former LTTE member who identified the body of his leader back in May 2009.

Dayanidhi, better known as Daya Master, who surrendered to the security forces days before the Sri Lankan war ended in 2009, and has since been “rehabilitated’’ by the government into a normal a life — with conditions attached — said there was absolutely no doubt that the LLTE leader was dead.

Dismissing talk of Tamil militancy rising again, he said the “only way” was for the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance to find a political solution for the Tamil community.

“There is no chance for the LTTE to regroup. Only politically, they can put some pressure from abroad through diaspora Tamils,” he said on a recent afternoon when The Hindu met him at the Jaffna television station in Kokkavil where he is employed.

Some in the Tamil community who harbour extremist views will dismiss his words as those of a turncoat. But in fact, Daya Master represents the fatigue — evident across Jaffna — of the majority of Sri Lankan Tamils with 30 years of militancy and extremism in pursuit of separatism that took the community to the brink of disaster.

Daya Master used to be in the Tamil Tigers political wing, acting as their media coordinator, translating for international journalists, diplomats and workers of international NGOs who swarmed northern Sri Lanka when it was controlled by the LTTE.

After his surrender, along with some civilians, he was taken to Colombo, subjected to extensive interrogation and put behind bars.

He has been out on bail since September 2009 . But charges “that we were members of the LTTE” are still pending against him, he says. On the last Sunday of every month, he reports to the Jaffna police , and he cannot leave the country.

His rehabilitation is a job at Dan TV, a pro-Sri Lankan government Jaffna television channel. With his teacher wife and five-year-old daughter, he lives in Point Pedro. His wife recently received an award from President Mahinda Rajapaksa for topping a qualifying exam for principals.

The 58-year-old former English teacher now describes himself as “only an employee” of the LTTE. With the same smile and certainty he had 10 years ago when he spoke of the LTTE’s Eelam dream, he speaks now about Prabakaran’s “mistakes”: two lost opportunities to make peace — in 1987, during the India-Sri Lanka Accord, and in 2002, during the Norwegian mediated ceasefire.

“On the political side, the LTTE should have come to a solution. That’s the problem. But, you understand? No one was there to say anything against HIS way,” he said, emphasising the pronoun, “including the commanders.”

He expressed puzzlement that some Tamil Nadu politicians such as the MDMK chief were still telling their followers that Prabakaran is alive.

“Why do they do this Vaiko is doing false propaganda. [Prabakaran] died. This is the truth – he’s no more… I saw the body. Me and Karuna [who rebelled against Prabakaran in 2004 and quit the LTTE] identified the body.”

He was critical of other Tamil Nadu political leaders too, including DMK leader M. Karunanidhi, and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

“Can we believe what [Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa] say now? They are saying some things only for doing their own politics. Tamil Nadu politicians have never been straightforward or spoken positively when it comes to Sri Lankan Tamils,” he said.

In the Northern Province, he said that there was a lot of development visible in all sectors. “Agriculture, construction etc. No one denies. The problem is political solution,” he says and hopes that the government and the Tamil National Alliance, which represents the majority of Tamils in parliament, will find a solution. “That’s the only way…Tamil people want solution.”

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 11:41:32 AM |

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