Sharp drop in Jaffna voters due to migration

P.Krishnaswamy, in the Sunday Observer, 5 June 2011

Tamil political leaders and analysts have expressed shock and dismay over the steep decline in the number of voters in theJaffnaelectoral district, as revealed in the Electoral Register for 2010. They said that the opportunistic Tamil leadership, who promoted secessionist policies, should be blamed for this unfortunate situation. They expressed concern over the sharp drop in the population of theJaffnadistrict which would have an adverse political, social and economic impact on the society unless a constructive political approach is adopted by the Tamil leadership.  According to the revised 2010 electoral register for theJaffnaelectoral district, comprising theJaffnaand Kilinochchi administrative districts, the number of registered voters is 484,791 as against 816,005 voters in the 2009 register. The difference of 331,214 is an astonishing 41 percent inspite of the number of eligible voters among the natural increase who would have been added to the 2010 register.Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Industries Development, EPDP leader and Jaffna parliamentarian Douglas Devananda told the Sunday Observer that the secessionist policies promoted by the pro-LTTE Tamil leadership, their outlook aimed at short-term political benefits and their failure to take advantage of several rare opportunities provided by successive governments for a political solution have mainly contributed to the current social and political instability of the Northern Tamil community.

The long drawn-out terrorist war against the State, the impact of the conflict, people’s constant displacement and their dispersal to different areas, he said that the Tamil leadership should adopt a practical and moderate political stand in the best interests of the future of the community.

Professor of Geography at the Peradeniya campus and political analyst N. Nandakumar said that the Tamil community of the North went astray due to lack of proper political guidance over the past three decades and that they were kept isolated from the rest of the country. The need of the hour is for the Tamil leadership to adopt a practical approach to help the Tamil community to maintain its status as a politically, economically and academically robust society, he said.

SLFP Chief Organiser for theJaffnadistrict and political analyst Angajan Ramanathan who expressed similar views said that the Tamil community can be politically and socially stabilised only by supporting the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Professor Emeritus of the Peradeniya Campus S.Thillainathan said that the political leadership is grossly to be blamed for this situation. The younger generation in the North is reluctant to settle down and work unlike their fathers and forefathers.

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