CLASSIFIED | POLITICS | TERRORISM | OPINION | VIEWS





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SRI LANKA- AND A "SEPARATE TAMIL KINGDOM"?

Dr Olga Mendis OAM
President Sinhala Cultural and Community Services Foundation.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Non-governmental Organisations at the 53rd Session of the UN Commission(1997) had called for an end to the "Sri Lanka - Tamil Eelam War" and a "withdrawl of Occupying forces from the Tamil Homeland"

Such terms are often heard nowadays in Sri Lanka.

So what is Tamil Eelam and where is this "Tamil Homeland?"

"The Broken Palmyra" a book written by TAMIL UNIVERSITY TEACHERS FROM JAFFNA (for which one of the authors paid with her life, at the hands of the LTTE), says,

"By 1976 the leading Tamil parties including the Federal Party of G.G.,Ponnambalam and Mr Thondaman’s Ceylon Workers Congress representing plantation Tamils, and Prof. Sunderalingam, a prominent Tamil nationalist, had combined to form the TULF (Tamil United Liberation Front). In this year (1976) was adopted the Vadukoddai Resolution which put forward an Independent State of Tamil Eelam as being the solution to the problems of the Tamils....... It can be safely assumed that there was no viable plan to fight for such a state........

Mr M. Tiruchelvam a senior member of the TULF who was in Colombo at the time the resolution for a separate state was adopted, sensing trouble, asked Mr Amirthalingam, "What is the meaning of this?" Mr Amirthalingam replied that, this resolution was adopted under pressure from the youth, and that when the time comes to negotiate with the government, a compromise can be reached. But it can be safely assumed there was no viable plan to fight for such a state. Having promised Tamil Eelam, the TULF kept on saying they had a secret plan..."(Broken Palmyra pg 16-18)

The Broken Palmyra continues: "Thus the Tamil burgeois leadership had to adopt the slogan of Tamil Eelam, the cry for a separate state for their political existence. But they had no concrete programme......Of course the Tamil nationalists could not pull the Eelam rabbit out of the parliamentary hat. The leadership had put forward a cry that they knew could never be fulfilled in a constitutional way, and Eelam had never been practicable with their class’s economical integration and dependency on the south..... They kept the people under an illusion, by such slogans, calling the TULF leader Chelvanayagam, the Mujibur of Eelam, and even hinted at taking arms from the election platforms. Critics of these slogans were called traitors to the "cause".......Tamil nationalists like their counterparts had a sense of superiority. Their historical build up from the feudal past was equally mythical and romantic. They were feeding their electorates and the youth with images of valour, preservation of race, language and a history heavily loaded with anti-Sinhalese, pro-Indian ingredients..... They attributed their high levels of literacy and education to their superior intelligence, as opposed to the Sinhalese, whom they claimed were lazy and less intellectually inclined. The anger that the old guard Tamil leadership felt against the Sinhalese domination was due to their perception of themselves as rulers in the past, now enslaved by an "alien people."(pp 338-9)

Tamil lawyer and former Minister for Home Affairs (1987) K.W. Devanayagam had said, there are large areas in Bintenne and Wewagampitiya (in Eastern Province) which had never been Tamil homelands. They were "Sinhalese and Kandyan for centuries." When he came to the east to practice as a lawyer 50 years earlier, there were hardly any Tamils around - "the Eastern province cannot be considered a Traditional Tamil Homeland." ("Indian Intervention" by Rohan Guneratne pg 169)

The Tamil historian, Rasanayagam, in his book "Ancient Jaffna" has said "Jaffna was occupied by Sinhalese earlier than by Tamils, is seen, not only in the place names but also in some of the habits and customs of the people."

Prof. Iyengar, in the preface he wrote to the "Ancient Jaffna" by Rasanayam (1962) rightly says, "Eelam is the ancient version of the Sinhala word Sihala or Sinhala. Therefore Eelam stands for the entirety of Ceylon".

That is correct. Sri Lanka was known as Heladipa, the island of the "Hela" people.

Ka, in Hela language means land. Hence Helanka was land of the Hela people. Later it became Elanka and finally Lanka by which name Sri Lanka was known to all Asian countries. So it is quite possible that Eelam refers to "Elanka or Lanka."

Historian Codrington also says, "place names in Jaffna indicate that it was held by the Sinhalese at no very remote date, and it was certainly part of the dominion of Parakramabahu I.....and colonisation of Jaffna by Tamils, cannot be of extreme antiquity." [Parakramabahu (1153-1186AD) - a Sinhala King ruled over entire Lanka.]

TAMIL EELAM or THAMIL EELAM and TAMIL HOMELANDS/KINGDOM are words that came into the Sri Lankan vocabulary only in the last 2 or 3 decades (around 1970s). And there is also talk of a TAMIL NATION!

Even the 60 million Tamils in South India do not call themselves a NATION!

The 77% Sinhalese do not call themselves a Nation. We, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and Burghers are one Sri Lankan Nation. Our Nationality we state as "Sri Lankan."

So how can 12% (2 million) Tamils call themselves a Tamil Nation?

In 1885 the Separatist movement began in South India. Angry that they were represented in the Presidency by "Brahamins", the south Indian Tamils in 1917 formed the JUSTICE PARTY and campaigned for a "non-Brahamin seat" in the Presidency. Next they formed the DRAVIDA KASAGAM PARTY against Hindi, the language of the north Indians, being imposed on them.

In 1944 Tamil Nadu (south India) raised the cry for separation. While other Indians and most Asian countries under the British, wanted the British to leave their countries as fast as possible, the South Indians pleaded with the English not to leave without granting them a separate state, called DRAVIDA DESAM (Tamil State) in which they included parts of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Malabar. But Tamil not being their language, the people in those states, resented being included in a "Dravida" State.

In 1958, Indian Tamils began rioting in Tamil Nadu and burnt the Indian Constitution. This made Nehru bring in the 16th Amendment to the Indian Constitution, which said that those running for office should uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India. This silenced the Indian Tamil leaders, but Sri Lankan Tamils began to get separatist ideas.

SRI LANKA is an island smaller than Tasmania or Ireland. It has a population of over 18 million(equal to that of Australia), consisting of 77% Sinhalese, mainly Buddhists; 12.6% Sri Lankan Tamils and 6.6% Indian Tamils mostly Hindus; and 7.7% Moors and Malays who are Islamists. The balance consists of Burghers, Indians, and others. The Burghers, some Sinhalese and some Tamils account for the 5.5% Christians.

The 6.6% Indian Tamils were brought in after the British took over Sri Lanka in 1815 to work in Tea plantations in the Central and southern regions, as indentured labour.

Sri Lankan Tamils include mainly those who came with the 17 or so Indian invasions from South India that plagued Sri Lanka since 200 BC, and then stayed behind.

The Invader came with a Tamil army from South India, killed the Sinhala King and sat on the Sinhala throne, and ruled over the Sinhala people. When attacked by the Sinhalese, the invader, if he escaped death, and some of his soldiers ran back to India. There is no mention of even a single of these Invaders running to this so-called Tamil Homeland in the north (almost walking distance away), or even asking for men or other help from this "so-called Tamil Homeland" in the north of Sri Lanka!

There is no mention in any ancient history, of any of these Tamil kings, while sitting on the Sinhala throne, (or even any of the many Sinhala kings), having any dealings - peaceful or otherwise, with this northern neighbour, the so-called Tamil Kingdom!

The Sinhala kings were fully occupied with their irrigation works and religious activities and the building of those huge religious monuments they have left behind. So they had to get down Tamil mercenaries from South India to fight their battles and family feuds It is strange that there is no mention of any king getting Tamil mercenaries from this so-called kingdom in the north, where they could have walked to!

Those Tamil soldiers who stayed behind, plus other mercenaries brought over from India by Sinhala kings, plus those who came for trade or crossed the 17-mile shallow Palk straits for fishing, make up the 12.6% Sri Lankan Tamils, now in Sri Lanka.

More than half of these 2 million Sri Lankan Tamils live in the south, among the Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers, owning houses in Colombo and in the south, running big businesses, hotels, professional businesses, small grocery shops and boutiques. Their clients include Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers

Tamils have been State Ministers, Sri Lankan Ambassadors, Professors and lecturers in Colombo Universities, specialist doctors, judges and lawyers in Colombo and the south. They had the same rights and liberties as the Sinhalese, Muslims and Burghers.

They got nothing less than the Sinhalese, and the75% Sinhalese got nothing more than what other ethnic groups got.

At the time the Ethnic war raised its ugly head, in 1983, Chief Justice Shervananda, Attorney General Pasupati, Inspector General of Police Rudra Rajasingham who later became Ambassador in Indonesia (and whose father was Senior Surgeon in Colombo Hospital); Minister of Rural Development C. Rajadurai; Minister of Home Affairs K.W.Devanayagam and the Ambassador in UK, were all Tamils. The Mayor of Colombo a few years ago was a Tamil. Even in the 1960s, four of the five Eye Surgeons at Colombo Eye Hospital, several Physicians, Surgeons and Obstetricians and the Professor of Surgery in Colombo, were Tamils.

The Tamils live and own land in all nine provinces of Sri Lanka. In Wellawatte, the southernmost postal area of Colombo, about 90% of the population are Tamil.

Tamils have Tamil schools, Tamil Churches, Hindu Temples and large numbers of Tamil shops in Colombo and other southern cities. The Tamils have two Universities in the North and East, almost entirely for the 12.6% Sri Lankan Tamils. In the other Universities in the south, where Sinhalese students have to compete for places with Tamils, Muslims and Burghers, there are a fair number of Tamil Students. But no Sinhalese have ever complained of this!

In 1981 just before the Ethnic war escalated, the 12.6 % Tamils accounted for 25% of those entering University for Medical studies, 24% for Dentistry, 40% for Veterinary Science. (The 6.6% Indian Tamils did not go for higher studies those days)

In 1980s the 12.6 % Tamils accounted for 34.9% engineers; 35% doctors; 38.8% Veterinary Surgeons and 33% Accounctants in Public service.

There is a recorded history of Sri Lanka spanning 2,500 years, of which the German Indologist, Wilhelm Geiger, wrote in 1982, "It is a well known fact that for hardly any part of the continent of India is there such an uninterupted historical tradition as for the island of Ceylon....."

Bishop R.S.Copelston in an address to the Royal Asiatic Society said, ".....Their (Sinhalese ) chronicles are the oldest I believe, and for centuries, the only histories in the Indian World.......... The Sinhalese Chronicles are distinctly historical in form and not epical..."("Mahawamsa" by Guruge pg 400)

The Tamil Historian S.G. Gunasegaram ( "The Tamil" vol.1 January 1955) says,

"Few people have had the good fortune to inherit such a comparatively reliable story of their hoary past, as the Sinhalese. The people of Ceylon in general and particularly the Sinhalese, are rightly proud of this ancient story of their long line of kings..... The Mahawamsa (ancient history of Sri Lanka) is superior, both in style and in content to the legendary chronicles........It is a book that should be in the library of EVERY EDUCATED CEYLONESE and should be read and re-read with understanding..." ("Mahawamsa" by Guruge pg 404)

These comments are made by responsible people, so the history must be reliable and far from fiction. Gunasegaram is a Tamil historian. Even Tamil historians do not make mention of anything comparable about "their" ancient Tamil kingdom in Sri Lanka!

Neither this 2,500 year old history, nor any of the other histories makes mention of a TAMIL KINGDOM/HOMELANDS except to say that Tamil invaders ruled over the Sinhalese from time to time, and that Tamil mercenaries were brought over by Sinhala Kings. Tamil being such an ancient language, it is surprising that there is no history of this Tamil nation or Kingdom. It is also surprising, when so many monuments and stone inscriptions have been left by Sinhala kings for over 2,500 years, there are no monuments or inscriptions left by this "so-called Tamil kingdom"in north Sri Lanka!

In 1938 Tamils wanted representation in Parliament to be 50% for the 75% Sinhalese, and 50% for the 25% other minorities.

No such request was ever made by any of the other minority groups- the Muslims, Malays and Burghers. So this 50% minority seats would have been for the Tamils! The British rightly refused this request. Even the Broken Palmyra written by Tamil University teachers, calls this, "an unreasonable demand!" (pg 12)

For the last 15 years a war has been waged for separation by Tamils who state they had an ancient Tamil kingdom called "Eelam", long before the Sinhalese came to Lanka from North India. This Tamil Kingdom or Tamil Homelands, is said to consist of the Northwest region, the North and east of Sri Lanka which constitutes one third of the land space, and two thirds of the coast line.

If they came before the Sinhalese why are they only Two Million with a kingdom confined to the north, while the Sinhalese have increased to fifteen million?

In 1984, two different Eelam Associations, one in Canada and one in Australia published two different Maps of their "ANCIENT EELAM."

The Australian Eelamists in their publication had included the Northwest, North and East of Sri Lanka. But the Canadian Eelamists went further. In a Map they had given to the PAN AM Calender they had included the northwest, North, East and the central parts of Sri Lanka, where live the Indian Tamils, who were brought in by British as indentured labour after 1815, to work in British Tea plantations.

.This shows that even "educated Eelamist Tamils" are not certain, or have not studied the boundaries of their "so-called ancient Tamil kingdom". That obviously proves, no such kingdom existed. This is as strange as the claim made by some Tamils that they came to Australia before Captain Cook, and it was they "who garlanded Captain Cook when he arrived in Australia."

The questions that come to ones mind are :

1) If Tamils came earlier than the Sinhalese, why are they only two million, while the Sinhalese, subject to decimation, both by recurrent epidemics of Malaria and at the hands of South Indian invaders, have become 13 million? Were Tamils less fertile?

2) Why did they, who were adventurous enough to leave their native soil and cross the seas, remain confined to the arid one-third of the island in the north, and allow the Sinhalese who admit they came in boatloads from North India around 600 BC, to spread themselves out over the salubrious two thirds of the island?

3). Could the Sinhalese have been so foolish, to establish a Kingdom around 400 BC in

Anuradhapura, and later in Polonnaruwa, when surrounding both these kingdoms on the west, north and east, there was this so called ANCIENT Tamil Kingdom? and Why did the Tamils allow the Sinhalese to build their capitals and all those enormous buildings just south of their Tamil homeland?

4). Could such a glorious Kingdom in Anuradhapura for 1400 years, from 400 BC to

1029 AD, with so much of irrigation works being undertaken, and where such huge solid monuments were built, have survived, if it was really closely surrounded by this so-called Tamil Kingdom, which has left no monuments at all?

How could the Sinhalese have built all those Buddhist Dagobas in Kantharodai in the heart of Jaffna Peninsula, and in the Eastern province, and how could large numbers of Inscriptions on stones, which tell of the deeds of the Sinhala Kings have been left for posterity in the North and East, if these areas were under the Tamils before the Sinhalese came to Sri Lanka.

5). It is an undisputed fact that (a) Emporer Asoka of India sent missionaries to SRI LANKA (Anurdhapura) and most ASIAN KINGDOMS like Thailand and Burma around 200 BC to spread the Buddhist doctrine of the greatest son of India, Lord Buddha. But strangely enough, he did not care to send one to this so-called ANCIENT Tamil Kingdom just north of the Anuradhapura kingdom.b) Asoka sent his son, a monk, and daughter Sangamitta, a Nun, to the Sinhala Kingdom in Anuradhapura where they lived and preached for 48 long years till they died. But they who came all the way from North India never cared, or thought of, going to this so-called Tamil kingdom just walking distance away!

WAS THIS DISCRIMINATION, by Asoka and his children against the Tamils?

6. Recorded history states that Sri Lanka was invaded as much as seventeen times by South Indian invaders. The first invasion around 230 BC, was by two brothers who ruled on the Sinhala throne over the Sinhala people for 22 years till they were killed by a Sinhala prince from the south. Ten years later, another South Indian, Elara, came and slew the Sinhala king, and ruled over the Sinhalese, on the Sinhala throne for 44 years. There is no mention of any transactions or treaties or aid, between these Tamil kings on the Sinhala throne and this Tamil kingdom, even when the Tamil kings were threatened by Sinhala princes from the South. It is strange that after 44 years on the Sinhala throne, Elara did not get help from this so-called Tamil kingdom to fight the Sinhalese, nor did he think of fleeing to the north to escape death. This proves no such kingdom existed, to which Elara could have gone for help!

7) Tamil being such an ancient language is it not surprising that there is no history nor inscriptions either in the North or East of Sri Lanka or in India, where mention is made of this so-called ANCIENT Tamil Kingdom in the north of Sri Lanka? The oldest Tamil Inscriptions left in Sri Lanka was by one King Parakramabahu I (a Sinhala King) who ruled over the entire island from AD 1153 to 1186. These referred to some wreckages off the coast of Jaffna. Another Tamil inscription found recently in Jaffna stated that the Sinhala King Vasabha (67-111 AD) ruled over Jaffna.

8) The only invasion mentioned as having come from the north of Sri Lanka was by one Chandrabhanu, who came from Malaya and tried to take over the Sinhala kingdom.in AD 1247. When he failed, he fled to Jaffna. History says he ruled in Jaffna for some time and then attacked the Sinhala kingdom from the north. This was the one and only attack on Sinhalese from the north and that too was by a Malayan. The second time he lost his life. This rule of his in Jaffna shows that there was no real "king of Jaffna" at the time, in 1247. The Sinhala king who was the real ruler of Jaffna was too far away in the south, to challenge or chase out Chandrabhanu!

However ancient Sri Lanka and India maintained friendly relations. It is mentioned that from ancient times Sinhala kings got down Indian princesses from India, when there were none suitable in Sri Lanka. But there is no mention of any being obtained from this supposed kingdom in the north of Sri Lanka! Thus when one of these Indian princesses did not bear children, the queen’s brothers succeeded to the Sinhala throne.

By this, the last four kings of Sri Lanka, from 1739 to 1815, were Nayakkar princes.

All these go to show, that there was no ancient Tamil Kingdom /Tamil Eelam/ Homeland in the North of Sri Lanka. So there can be no SRI LANKA - TAMIL EELAM WAR that these NGOs want stopped!

This tiny island, Sri Lanka, of 25,000 square miles can only exist as a Unitary State under one government. To the Sri Lankan government, all people living in Sri Lanka are "Sri Lankans belonging to one country."

That is why all Sri Lankan governments in the last 15 years have continued to send food and other essential supplies to the north, even though it was well known that the Tiger Terrorists took their share. "The only government which feeds the terrorists who are fighting it" remarked one UN official!

If Tamils had their own homeland, why did they not sign the Kandyan Convention and allow the Kandyan chiefs alone to sign the Convention which handed over the entire island to the British King in March 1815?

During the 133 years (1815 to 1948) that the British ruled over Sri Lanka as one country, why did not the Tamils demand to be treated separately?

Or when the British were leaving in 1948, why did not these Tamils, like the Tamils in South India, demand that they be given a spearate state? At that time the Sinhalese, Tamils, Burghers and Muslim politicians fought as one people, one nation, to get independence! All this goes to show, that that there could not have been a separate Tamil kingdom in Sri Lanka.

This war has brought on so much of suffering and misery to all her people-Tamils, Sinhalese, Muslims and the Burghers. It has taken the country 100 years back!

If all this money spent on this unnecessary war, was spent on improving the country, Sri Lanka today,would have been one of the better countries in South East Asia.

In fact in the early 1980s there were news items saying that foreign countries were looking towards having their conferences etc in Sri Lanka, because ‘the country is beautiful, climate is good, hotels are good and there is so much to see and enjoy on a trip to this Island Paradise.’

Those Tamil leaders who first wanted to separate this island, (who, according to the Tamil authors of Broken Palmyra, raised the "cry for a separate state for their political existence") are dead and gone -some killed by the very terrorists whom they fathered! The terrorist leader does not want to come to the negotiating table! He has said, "At no point will I contest an election or accept the Office of Chief Minister. The Liberation Tigers yearn for the motherland of Eelam " (Indian Intervention by Rohan Guneratne pg 216). He also had said "we will continue to fight for Eelam"

That means he will not serve under another person, under another government! So he must be the sole ruler in Sri Lanka or "in his state of Eelam in the north and east"

The LTTE and the government had promised Mr Olaru Ottunu that they would not attack civilians in this war. But even before Mr Ottunu could get back to the UN the Terrorists killed the highest civilian in the North- the newly elected Lady Mayor of Jaffna in her house in Jaffna, whose husband these terrorists killed in 1989, in her own home in Colombo, after coming there on appointment!

And even before the people could get over that shock, the next incumbent to that post was killed by a bomb attack on 11 September 1998.

In 1975 they began their killing spree, by killing the Mayor of Jaffna, Mr Alfred Duraiappa, whose fault apparently was to advised the youth against taking to arms!

We Sinhalese, never thought of Tamils as different from us. Whether Tamil, Muslim or Burgher we treated them as our equals. We studied with them. We worked with them. Many of our friends belong to these other ethnic groups. Our relatives have intermarried with them. We thought we were just one family, inspite of having different religions, different cultures, and different languages!

Due to ‘the divide and rule policy’ of the British, they established English schools in Tamil areas in the North. Thus, more Tamils studied English and got government jobs under the British rule. When the British left in 1948, the small Tamil minority of 12.6% had over 35% of government jobs, and they had to compete only with the Burghers for jobs. The majority Sinhalese, without an English education had to be content with the minor jobs! But the Sinhalese never complained!

Once the Sri Lankan government of Mr Bandaranaike (1956) made Sinhalese the Official language, more Sinhalese got government jobs and the Tamils then found, they had to compete with the Sinhalese.for jobs! This annoyed the Tamils.

In the 1950s the Tamils conceived the idea of a Tamil Nation! That conception led to the idea of a separate state and to the Vaddukodai Resolution (1976) and gave birth to ‘Eelam’, to which was then added the ideas of a "Tamil homeland/Tamil Kingdom."

They want the Northern Province and the Eastern Province. That consists of one third of the land, and two thirds of the coastline for 12.6% of the populaiton., to be separated by a "200 mile artificial border which will have to be policed for the rest of the life of this planet! Is this an acceptable or feasible proposition?

Besides, this demarcation of the island to NINE provinces without natural borders, was done by the British for administrative convenience. In the time of the Sinhala kings Sri Lanka had four divisions using natural boundaries -the rivers.

It is interesting to read what the Tamil Congress Manifesto of 1971 said. "THE ALL CEYLON TAMIL CONGRESS is sincerely and honestly convinced that Federation is bad for Ceylon and it would be worse for the Tamils........The Tamil speaking people must be clear in their own minds... Is it the objective of the Tamils that they live as equals with the Sinhalese, and enjoy the rights in all nine provinces of their motherland, or is it their objective that they should contain themselves within the narrow confines of the North and East? The Congress refuses to believe that Tamils will surrender their rights which they have so far enjoyed in the other (seven) provinces...." (1971 was the year the Vaddukodai Resolution was signed.)

Sir Vythilingam Doraisamy(a Tamil) who was Speaker in the State Council of Ceylon in 1931 said, "Never did I in my political career think of communalism when I advocated reforms. We Tamils, worked for the good of the whole island......Our safety lies in the safety of the Sinhalese race. Our freedom lies in the freedom of the Sinhalese. The policy of divide and rule shall not make us great.."

Mr E.R. Tambimuttu (Eastern Province Tamil Leader 1938) said, "We in the East feel our destiny is bound up with the destiny of the Sinhalese. I have in all my 15 years in this council believed that our progress in Ceylon does not depend on the 50/50 principle but in corporation and goodwill between us......."

Mr Justice Sansoni, a much respected Burgher Judge, in his report on the Inuqiry into the 1977 Racial Riots said, "........Nothing was further from the minds of the people of Sri Lanka throughout its history, than a divison of the country, under which separate areas will belong to a particular racial or language group......every inhabitant treated it as its own, as well as everybody else’s, and was proud to belong to it and own it. All races and religions regarded the entire island as their common home, for no part of it was separately owned by any group...... The establishment of a separate state to be owned and governed by any particuar group will affect and diminish the rights, powers and priviledges which are already invested in the entire population. It cannot be permitted and it will be strenously resisted, unless the entire nation gives its consent to such a change. Such consent will, if I correctly read the mood and temper of the nation, never be given and any attempt to establish a separate state will inevitably result in civil war and endless bloodshed." How prophetic he has been!

It is useful to also read what was in the editorial of The Calcutta Statesman, one of India’s respected Newspapers, on 21 October 1995, soon after the bombing of the oil installations in Colombo,

"Some conclusions can be drawn. The security of vital installations is not up to scratch, the response of the armed forces is not quick enough and the government should pay more attention to the morale of the civilian population. It must be said that, to the extent that this dastardly act is in retaliation to the apparent success of the Army operation (Riviresa I) in Jaffna, it is an index of the plight of the Tigers rather than an assertion of their strength. Those woolly-headed wets in the west, who look upon the Tigers and their campaign of violence as the assertion of minority rights, must think again. There is still far too much aid in money and equipment flowing to the rebels for the good of peace and democracy in that once happy island.

"India has a great share of the responsibility. At the risk of repetition it is necessary to assert that at a crucial time in the development of their separatist movement, this country provided unlimited assistance, well beyond what could be justified on humanitarian grounds, assuming that this could have been an argument. We were playing with fire and we knew it. Indira Gandhi did it for political advantage, disregarding national interests and in fact working in opposition to them. It is time to make amends. If the Tigers are a ruthless and determined force, with no scruples and less humanity, it is we who made this possible. Sacrificing a former Prime Minister, is not enough atonement."

Now let us read what Mr Asbjorn Eide, a highly respected human rights expert in UN Human Rights sub-commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, stated very recently(1998) in Geneva.

"I shall now turn from that case to that of Sri Lanka. Some of my colleagues have been here long enough to remember that I, in 1983, was the first to criticise the government of Sri Lanka for its lack of effective measures to investigate the causes of massacres against the Tamils in the summer of 1983, including the killing of prisoners in Welikada prison.......But very much has changed since then. Among the Tamils an extremely militant group has emerged, calling itself the Tigers, abbreviated to LTTE.

"Its leadership has developed an almost paranoid garrison mentality. That movement, particularly its leadership, respects no human rights. It engages in the most heinous crimes, using females, males and possibly even child-suicide bombers to create havoc and fear. Its killing is directed not only at the Sinhala enemies, including civilians and their religious temples, but also against their Tamil opponents, including the courageous Tamil woman who was recently the Mayor of Jaffna, until assasinated by the LTTE. Many Tamils including those who are struggling for devolution of power and the greater influence for the Tamils, live under the constant threat of assassination by the LTTE......

"What baffles me is, that there are still International NGOs who lend support to this movement. They are not supporting the Tamil cause, but an utterly undemocratic movement, unable to contemplate peace in any form.

"At present the LTTE are battling for the minds and the money of the expatriate Tamil community. In order to continue its fruitless and endless war, the Tigers depend on this external financial support to purchase weapons and other means. The International community, the International NGOs and governments should now convince Tamil communities in their respective countries that the way to achieve Tamil human rights is through accomodation, based on equality for all, in the island of Sri Lanka....."

It is sad to see that, having been able to migrate to these countries and get jobs due to the liberal free- education given to them by that little island of Sri Lanka, some agents of Tamil terrorists have not an atom of gratitude, leave alone love, left for their country of birth, which is struggling to feed their relatives and friends left in Sri Lanka, and even feeding the very terrorists whose cause they are espousing!

Otherwise why would anyone want to go to the extent of leaving leaflets on every chair of the foreign delegates who attended the Sri Lankan Trade Fair in Melbourne, asking them not to trade with Sri Lanka?

In these few pages, an attempt has been made to draw attention in a small way to what this little island is going through. Some Tamil political groups say they have given up the demand for separatism and have given up the idea of Eelam. But they still retain the E {Eelam) and the L (Liberation) in their names!

Recent Newspaper reports say there were New Year Cards printed by one of the so-called Eelam Groups that are supporting the government, which shows the picture of a Tiger overpowering a Lion. If these reports are true, it means some "Eelam" groups have not given up this desire for a Eelam to be carved out from the northern parts of the island. This is something the Sinhalese have to be conscious of all the time.

That is a reminder to Sri Lankans, about what what happened in the northern Provincial Council when Mr Varadarajah declared "Unilateral Declaration of Independence" and then fled the country.

Such things make one wonder whether even Devolution is going to help!


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