Genocide a national policy of Sri Lanka, says Tamil Nadu professor

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 26 January 2010, 11:59 GMT]
Genocide is a national policy to State in Sri Lanka since independence, says Professor Dheeran in Tamil Nadu in an article sent to TamilNet, citing the various facets, stages and sequences of State-orchestrated genocide against Tamils in the island, denying land, suffrage, polity, economy, culture and ultimately free physical existence. Eezham Tamils have more reasons to claim independence than many other such cases. The twist of the national question by the International Community only resulted in removal of guarantee against genocide. It paved way for China’s entry. The new equations provide new opportunities for the recognition of Tamil Eelam. The diaspora, free and powerful enough, should be steadfast in the only goal of liberation. Referendum is an international way to achieve it and efforts of re-mandating Vaddukkoaddai Resolution follow that line, he writes.

Prof. Dheeran
Prof. Dheeran
Dheeran was a professor in Tamil in Government colleges in Chennai.

His active participation in politics commenced from 1965 anti-hindi demonstration when he was a student leader. He took a leading role in the campaign for social justice in 1987.

His participation in a political struggle for the Vanniar community of nearly 20 million people in 1992, whereby he could successfully unite the then divided Vanniar and oppressed communities, cost him his job and led him to inaugurate the PMK party and continue as its president for 12 years. During this period, he simultaneously took up the cause of the Eelam Tamils in the political agenda of the PMK.

Full text of his article follows:

Why the claim of Tamil Eelam and its chances of success are unique?

“A stitch in times saves nine” says a proverb.

Vaddukkoddai Resolution (VR-1976):
Genocide is a ‘National Policy’ to the Sri Lankan Government since independence in 1948. When all political movements for equality and freedom failed, the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) in 1976 came out with the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution declaring that “the only solution and aspiration for Eelam Tamils is the establishment of a free and sovereign state of Tamil Eelam.” TULF requested Tamils in the North and East of the island to consider the 1977 general elections as a referendum to mandate the Resolution, which the Tamils overwhelmingly did.

Laws enacted to suppress Tamils’ liberation:
The Sri Lankan government responded to the Tamil mandate by the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979 which prohibited talk of session as an act of terrorism and by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution in 1983 that constitutionally declared talk of secession by its citizens from inside or outside of the country a serious punishable offence. Thus the Tamils were disenfranchised in pursuing democratic politics on their national question.

Cause for Tamil Millitancy:
When all democratic avenues were thus closed, the youth who wanted to pursue the Tamils’ political goals, had no other option other than to resort to militancy, even though senior politicians at that time were against it. The LTTE led by Mr. V.Pirapaharan was steadfast in the Tamil national goal and in the militant struggle against the Sri Lankan state chauvinism and thus received the entire support of the Tamil people.

Failure of Peace Talks:
During the course of the 30 years of war, on two occasions there were important peace talks. The Indian arranged talks in Thimphu in1985 and the Norwegian facilitated peace talks in Oslo following the February 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA). Both the talks have failed. Even substantial concessions on the part of Tamils could not able to make the powers to bear upon Colombo to come out with solutions. Other than initiating the peace talks to diffuse the momentum of the armed struggle of the militants, the international community never took any substantial steps for negotiated peace.

The liberation struggle and terrorism:
After the terror attacks on the Twin Towers in US in September 2001, the IC, to suit its interests, included geopolitically selective national liberation struggles as international terrorism, despite criticism by many political observers. This gave the opportunity for terrorist states to crush national liberation movements, in the guise of ‘democratically elected governments’.

The Mullivaikkal war (in May, 2009) though shows resemblances of victory for Colombo against the LTTE, has brought in serious questions in the international scene. The response of the Tamil Diaspora, in accordance with the request by Mr. V. Pirapaharan on his Heroes’ Day speech of 2008, is engagement in novel ways with all sections of international community to gain support for the cause of Tamil Eelam, but at the same time steadfastly sticking to the cause of Tamil Eelam that has not been surrendered in Mullivaaikkaal.

Independence through referendum:
Since 1990, 12 Countries including Slovenia, Eritrea, East Timor and Kosovo etc., got their independence by holding the referendum in their respective countries. It is in this context that VR has been linked to the same process.

The rationale behind the claim for Tamil Eelam:
The following facts would illustrate how the needs are much higher in conferring independence to Tamil Eelam compared to the independence of some other countries and how the demand for Tamil Eelam enjoys the unique position in the international scenario.

    A). Confirmed and authenticated genocide
    Since 1948 (Independence of Sri Lanka) Tamils have been forfeiting the means of livelihood in every aspect. The Sinhala colonization schemes of the State in Tamil homeland, changing demography and disrupting contiguity were the beginnings of territorial genocide.

    In 1949, the citizenship act disenfranchised about a million Tamils (Most of whom were repatriated to India from Sri Lanka). This was the beginning of official political genocide.

    In 1956, the Sinhala Only Act was the beginning of official cultural genocide.

    The 1958 ethnic pogrom against Tamils was the beginning of officially carried out physical and economic genocide.

    By the republican constitution of 1972, although Sri Lanka was a multi ethnic country the State became Sinhala-Buddhist.

    The higher education opportunities of Tamil students were truncated in the 1970s and later.

    The burning of Jaffna public library in 1981 by the ministers and forces of the government is a clear evidence for the motivation for genocide within the State.

    Innumerable instances such as the Nagarkoil aerial bombings and the mass graves of Chemmani are evidences to illustrate the various means by which prolonged genocide was carried out by successive governments: Murder, rape, torture, disappearances and other forms of persecution by the armed forces were regular features of life for Tamils in the last several decades.

    Well-planned, systematic and State-sponsored annihilation of Tamils was carried out through riots and ethnic pogroms of which the ones took place in 1958, 1977 and 1983 were internationally known.

    The pogroms made many affected Tamils to migrate outside as refugees.

    Through the pogroms the Sri Lanka government also made many Tamils to forfeit their residential rights in the capital Colombo.

    Even before the latest stage of the war, Tamils in non-combat zone were kept in open prisons and their movements were restricted. Tamils in the capital were targeted for extra-legal arrests, intimidation and evacuation.

    During the Liberation war, an estimated 35,000 Tamil Tigers as well as over 100,000 innocent civilians lost their lives under conditions where Sri Lankan armed forces violated the International regulations. The use of cluster bombs as well as phosphoric bombs on civilians was a regular feature. In Mullivaikkal alone men, women and children (who were given assurance by UN), placed in a safe-zone, were massacred then and there, with Sri Lankan artillery fire slaughtering over 20,000 innocent civilians.

    After the war, over 300,000 Tamil civilians were held in concentration camps for months without adequate food, water, medicine or toilet facilities and many were subjected to torture and rape.

    In recent years, four Tamil MP’s, over 20 Tamil journalists and many NGO’s (even international) were killed. Unsurprisingly, not a single person was ever accused or convicted by the Sri Lankan government, for any of these horrible crimes in spite of repeated requests by international governments and other bodies.

    The above events prove that the Sri Lankan Government had committed well-planned genocide on Tamils through cover up that they just killed only those who claimed Tamil Eelam (which may reduce their crime as political rather than genocidal and in turn may relieve them from any UN proceedings).

    The genocide that took place is denied and covered up by all parties of vested interests in order to nullify the righteousness of the independence of Tamil Eelam.

    The act of genocide by the Sri Lankan government on Tamils (whom it claims to be its own citizens) has to automatically lead to the formation of a separate Tamil Eelam.

    B. Development in technology and forensic medicines:
    Luckily, most of the above mentioned crimes can be proved today with the use of developed technology (mobile phones, satellite photography etc.) and modern forensic medical techniques. The recent display on Channel IV TV in UK and subsequent verdict by the jurists in Dublin can testify this. Our claims have to be substantiated through such unique advantages of present times.

    C. The approach during the Eelam struggle:
    Unlike as in the case of many other countries, the Tamil Eelam struggle was conducted in a systematic and logical sequence. Viz:

    1. During their earlier 30 years, the Tamils wished to solve the issue through parliamentary politics.
    2. This was followed by protest marches, demonstrations and other non-violent political agitations of the Gandhian style.
    3. Militancy by youth:
      When both of the above attempts failed, there was little choice other than militancy – as initiated by the restless youth (in spite of being discouraged by senior politicians). At that time, IC was paying lip service and did not give the due weight to the Tamil problem. Perhaps, they could have thought that Tamils were a passive people and could be easily subdued by the Sri Lankan Government. But sadly, when they woke up from this myth and realised the real situation, China was already on the door steps of Sri Lanka.
    4. Political democratic process:
      As forecast by the Tamil leader in his Heroes Day’s speech in 2008, that “the different forms of freedom struggles may vary, but never the objectives”, today the Tamil Diaspora has championed to take forward its leader’s mandate through various democratic ways, on an international scale. Viz: Re-mandating the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution, democratically elected Peoples Councils in the countries of the diaspora, and democratically elected Transnational Government. By these acts, they will widen their political horizon. On top of this, they have resolved to pursue with their legal manures to pin down and indict the Sri Lankan Government and its Army for war crimes, human rights violations and genocide. No doubt, such a democratic and legal approach will be welcome by the International Community, which in turn, will be forced to recognise Tamil Eelam.

    D. Tamils’ expertise in education:
    Level of education among Tamils and their intellectual potentialities in various branches of knowledge and professions will make their nation to successfully spearhead democratically orientated liberation struggle.

    E. The Threat of Terrorism:
    National liberation struggles were internationally accepted phenomena before 9/11. They were not confused with terrorism. The Tamil struggle was aiming only for the liberation of their homeland. By the result of its twisted approach to the national liberation struggle, the International Community has not guaranteed in anyway the prevention of persecution and genocide by the chauvinistic Sri Lankan State. Only by amicably recognizing Tamil Eelam a catastrophe in the island could be avoided. The same logic is applicable to many other liberation struggles of today.

    F. International Economic Crisis:
    Today, most of the countries can not afford to gamble with their economy or the politics of other countries unlike as in the case a few years ago – thanks to recession and the world economic crisis, which have affected almost every country. Hence, we can believe that even the developed countries will hesitate to interfere in the politics of Tamils anymore, as the risk can be too high (also as they have been once bitten!). This puts the Eelam struggle in the unique position today.

    G. Geographical and Political Imbalance:
    China’s “string of pearls” has almost encompassed large areas of the Indian Ocean as well as ports in Sri Lanka (Galle and Hambantotta). Such a move by China has nullified the efforts by India and its Western allies in maintaining their monopoly over the Indian Ocean. China’s entrenchment in Sri Lanka is a serious security threat to neighbouring India. If appropriately approached, the new equations could also in unique ways provide new opportunities for the recognition of Tamil Eelam.

    H. Remorse for the Crimes:
    The UN as well as those countries who joined hands during the Mullivaikkal war, now would have “discovered” that they were also accomplices in the war crimes as well as in human right violations and genocide. There are possibilities that as a matter of compensation and to get away from the indictment of war crimes some of them will be compelled to come out wit the gesture of recognising Tamil Eelam, even though the crimes committed on Tamils go beyond compensation.

    I. Tamil Eelam as a Historical Claim:
    At the advent of the Portuguese, the first colonial power in the island, Tamils had their own kingdom. Colonialism that took away the sovereignty from Tamils never restored it back to them when it conferred the so-called independence to Ceylon. The Tamil protests to the Donoughmore constitution of 1931 that paved way for All Sinhalese Cabinet, even when the British were still ruling, and the Tamil demands for federal solution in 1931 or power sharing on a 50:50 basis in 1948 at the time of independence were rejected by the British. As demonstrated by S J V Chelvanayagam in 1975 the Republican Constitution of 1972, was rejected by Tamils. The present constitution enacted in 1978 never provided an opportunity for Tamils to voice their aspirations as they had been disenfranchised on the national question by the 1979 Act and 1983 Amendment to the Constitution, mentioned earlier. Therefore the Tamils have a historically justifiable international case to claim the international community to restore independence and sovereignty to them.

    J. The Strength of the Diaspora:
    Today, about 1.5 million Eelam Tamils have settled in various parts of the world after escaping from the clutches of a genocidal Sri Lankan Government. Not only they have swiftly established themselves in their host countries academically, financially, socially and politically, but also they are firm in their commitment in supporting the claim for a separate Tamil Eelam for themselves as well as for their kith and kin. Their political, social and economic power as well as their international network, if effectively organised and deployed, would bring in a unique situation favourable for the liberation of Tamil Eelam.

Tamil Eelam could be the only goal for any meaningful emancipation of long-suffering Eezham Tamils and it is well within their reach. Today there may be a section of politicians who because of their circumstances and oppressive situations are unable to spell out the pulse of the people. They should adopt an understanding line of politics and should not detract the noble goal of Tamil Eelam. In the meantime, the responsibility squarely falls on the free Tamils all over the world to demonstrate their will power and determination to achieve liberation for them as well as to their posterity.

aruvinai enpa u'lavoa karuviyaan
kaalam a'rinthu cheyin
(Thirukku'ra'l: 483)

அருவினை என்ப உளவோ கருவியான்
காலம் அறிந்து செயின்
(திருக்குறள்: 483)

  1. Is there a difficult deed, if a person of means times one's action.
  2. Is there a difficult deed, if means deployed in timed action.


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