what is the crisis in the Tamil National Alliance?
The division of the TNA is clearly on political lines. After the military debacle of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), a wide gap is being created in the Tamil polity. This is symbolically depicted as the gap between the Diaspora Tamils and the Tamils living in Sri Lanka.
Robert Templer of the International Crisis Group says, "Most in the country are exhausted by decades of war and are more concerned with rebuilding their lives under difficult circumstances than in continuing the fight for an independent state. Without the LTTE to enforce a common political line, Tamil leaders in Sri Lanka are proposing substantial reforms within a united Sri Lanka."
But the gap exists within the people that live in the island too. You might not see it and you might misunderstand it since most of the Tamil nationalists that live in the country remain silent maintaining a low profile in fear of punishment.
In fact, the present TNA leaders appear to accept something beyond the Provincial Councils and to go for co-habitation with the Colombo government under favorable conditions. The split of the TNA is actually between those who have dropped the call for self-determination of the Tamils and those who still fight for it.
Self-determination literally means cessation although it does not essentially mean a separate state. That is for what thousands of Tamils gave their lives and there can be elements in the polity that do not wish to give up the will to fight for what their brethren gave their lives. They have the right to carry on their struggle and those who wish to give up the ideals for pragmatic solutions also have the right to do so.
But, the ball still remains in the court of the Sinhalese. Do they like to engage in a dialogue and a political process with at least the Tamils that looks moderate to them while they are looked down on as submissive leaders amidst some elements of their own polity?
TNA constituents like Federal Party, EPRLF and TELO that have now grabbed the grip loosened by the LTTE are in a liberal stand and they can be expected to come to a settlement with Colombo government under a liberal capitalist framework. This can happen easily if a coalition under United National Front comes to power. Ruling United National Freedom Alliance is far backward and antagonistic to reforms.