Feature Article

SLMC Chairman: Time for joint Tamil-Muslim efforts

[TamilNet, Monday, 22 June 2020, 18:17 GMT]
Intellectuals, civil society activists and politicians among the Tamils and the Muslims should jointly design a joint programme if their people are to exist with self-respect, said A.L. Abdul Majeed, the chairman of Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). The Tamils and Muslims are confronting an existential threat. The tendency is going to worsen further with dire consequences to their collective rights. His party favoured a merged North-East Province, Mr Majeed, who once served as a councillor in the merged province, said. The majority of the Muslim people in the de-merged North and East will follow suit if a convincing formula was to be conceived for their coexistence within the merged unit. India needs to be reminded of its historical responsibility in ensuring the merger, he added.

In a video interview to TamilNet this weekend, the SLMC Chairman was indirectly hinting that the responsibility rested with the actors who claim or aspire as the representatives of Eezham Tamils in the island.

The Sinhala colonisation of East started in 1931. All the attempts of colonisation, SL State-backed land grab, so-called archaeology conservation and demographic changes witnessed today is the continuation of the 1931 policy that intends to erase the belongingness of Tamils and Muslims in the East, Majeed observed.

The Sinhala Buddhist chauvinists are now making claims for 126 heritage sites in Ampaa'rai district alone. Various departments of the SL State have seized at least 65,000 acres of lands that belong to Muslims in Ampaa'rai, he said.

In Batticaloa, they claim at least fifty places and more than seventy in Trincomalee, he continued.

Furthermore, the Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinists seek to dismantle the customary laws that are specific to Tamils and Muslims in the island. They want to get rid of Theasa-vazhamai law of Tamils (‘Theasa Vazhamai’ means the conventions of the nation or country). They also want to do away with the customary laws of the Muslims. It is the intention behind "One country, One Law," slogan that stems from the extremist sections of Sinhala Buddhist monks.

The tendency is continuation of 1956 "Sinhala Only" policy as experienced by Tamil-speaking people when the late SWRD Bandaranaike became the puppet of the extremist monks.

The monks claimed his life even after he nullified the pact with Thanthai SJV Chelvanayakam.

Currently, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who took the oath of office at the place where Sinhala prince Dutugemenu killed the Tamil King Elara (Ellaa'lan), is the current puppet. Furthermore, Gotabaya is installing former military commanders to the positions at the helm of civil affairs.

Whether it is going to be a military rule or a constitutionally sanctioned military rule, is yet to be seen. But, what you can be sure that Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarian chauvinism is going to get even worse causing dire consequences to Tamils and Muslims, Abdul Majeed said.

He was also responding to questions on Tamil-speaking politicians, who collaborated with Colombo regimes in the past.

The responses, however, reveal the general lack of geopolitical perception among the Tamil-speaking politicians in the East.

Mr Majeed was fully backing the Sampanthan-Sumanthiran polity of the TNA.

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