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LTTE issue warms up Illinois congressional District election

DUPLICITY: The mini polls to be held November 7 to elect a new House of representatives and a section of the Senate is keenly monitored by US voters on both sides, the Democrats and the Republicans.

The Lankan terrorist issue and how the incumbent Congressman Danny Davis made a surreptitious visit to the jungles of Vanni to meet and dine with the leaders of a deadliest terror organisation is being challenged by the young Republican Charles Hutchinson, a newcomer to politics who would be contesting the five time veteran.

When the news broke out of Danny Davis' visit, Sri Lankans expressed their outrage at the duplicity displayed by the co-chairs of donor countries, of which US plays a key role, at issuing admonishing statements to an elected government when it carries out military operations against the LTTE who target unarmed civilians and civilian gathering places such as temples, mosques and churches for dastardly acts of terror, ignore or turn a blind eye when their elected representatives make merry with the outfit for nine long days.

The Legislative branch of government in US is called the Congress, which has two tiers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. There are 100 Senators and 435 members in the House of Representatives.

The Senators are elected for a period of six years and the members of House of Representatives for 2 years.

Thus every two years one third of the senators and all members of Congress stand up for election. The election process takes place in November of every even year and the elected take oath in January of the following odd year.

The election to be held next week is for the 109th Congress.a Presently the Congress is (both the Senate and the House) controlled by the Republicans and many feel that Democrats may take control of both houses in the midst of President Bush's falling popularity rates and alleged sex scandals against key republican figures. One of few exceptions is the Congressional District 7 of Illinois. The incumbent Democrat Danny Davis, an African American, has been the representative since 1996.

The 65-year-old veteran is being challenged by the young Republican Charles Hutchinson, a white, who is a newcomer to politics. The electorate consists of an overwhelming majority of blacks (60%).

However, the newcomer Hutchinson has made remarkable inroads to Davis' comfortable majority by carrying on a concerted issue based campaign, Davis' indirect moral support to the Lankan terrorist organisation, being one.

Hutchinson's website www.freewebs.com/hutchinsonforcongress carries many news items and articles of atrocities committed by the ruthless organisation and questions how a US congressman could be duped to visit a banned terror headquarters, when US is grappling with its own war against terror. Following are some excerpts.

"Perhaps feeling empowered by a United States Congressman's visit or perhaps it's true that Tigers cannot change their stripes; the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) refused the offer of the Sri Lankan Government to come back to the table and talk peace.

Instead the LTTE (A rebel group known for terrorist acts, suicide bombers, and random violence that was visited by Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) in 2005) chose to fire mortars into Northern Sri Lanka.

Why a sitting U.S. Congressman would actively work to erode the name of the United States of America, in a time where many people feel that our good name is already on shaky ground, by associating himself, and thereby ALL OF US with a violent group such as the LTTE, is a question that should be answered at the ballot box.

Individual actions by Congressman who take it upon themselves to make terrorist groups feel good about themselves so that within 18 months of his visit, they break a long standing peace and ceasefire by bombing crowded civilian busses killing 64 people in the worst violence since 2002, and then refuse to talk peace with the Government, but rather fire mortars and attack the ambassador's car, the car of an independent and legitimate country, should not be tolerated by the great people of Illinois."

When more than 80 per cent of the blacks vote Democratic, with its 34 per cent white constituency's split vote, it is unlikely that Hutchinson would be victorious.

However, it is noteworthy to observe that a politicians irrational mind set to visit a terror organisation banned by the US and which has been carrying out an all out war against a friendly democratic country, is being thrashed out in a key electoral contest.


Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Sri Lanka

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