By Eelaventhan Manickavasakar –
The ethnic issues of Eelam Tamils which birthed in 1956 due to the political insane frenzy of S.W.R.D Bandaranaike who legislated the ‘Sinhala only’ act and inaugurated the subsequent turmoils in the Sri Lankan politics. The hidden agenda of Sinhalisation, Buddhisitation and militarisation proceeded unabatingly supported with state sponsored communal riots in 1958,1977,1981,1983 and the genocide in 2009.
With ‘Mahawamsa mindset’ deeply embedded , all celebration talks, peace agreements and proposals had been discarded or breached due to opposition from the Sinhala-Buddhist feelings of opposite parties. There was hardly any political leader who took actions in the interests of all Sri Lankan citizens. All have been clutching the chauvinistic sentiments to grab the political crown.
Sadly, this scenario is nonetheless continuing and will continue unless and until some external forces interfere to restore suitable considering and sanity to the Sinhalese political leaders.
As far as the Tamils are concerned, they are nonetheless the second class citizens usually at the mercy of Sri Lankan Govts and the safety forces. Their sufferings are immense in brief, they underwent all sorts of treatment, a human particular person can be subject to: killings, torture, rape, displacements. Deaths by starvations, loss of life and limbs, widow hoods, orphans, mental illness, Traumas, massacres, degrading remedy and so on. The writer of this post is a victim and a witness to the above tortures specifically my arrest and torture below the prevention of terrorism act in 1979.
When the Tamil political leadership resorted to non-violent struggles they were very easily crushed by the security forces, whilst the armed struggle, a justifiable weapon, was decimated by Mahinda Rajapaksa with the help of 22 nations such as India.
Presently the Tamils are back to square one with TNA being the sole Tamil political force to get justice for the Tamils. The million dollar question now is : Is it attainable for them to deliver it and is it attainable by them to provide it. Sadly the answers for both queries are basically ‘no’ and “negative”.
The TNA, a mixture of different political parties with its leaders possessing divergent views and frequently conflicting opinions, is struggling to choose the correct and sensible path to liberate the Tamils from the oppressive hands of Sri Lanka’s Sinhala Govts. The senior leaders of TNA, Sampanthan and Mavai Senathirajah who had been after championing the solution of Thamil Eelam, have now offered an undertaking to uphold the Sri Lankan constitution and give up the cause of Thamil Eelam. They are certainly bound by the laws enacted by JR who created it an offence of treason, if any particular person calls for separation of Sri Lanka or Thamil Eelam. Even so T.N.A has the right to agitate for referendum and the right to self determination as endorsed and allowed in the U.N Charter. TNA is also facing the pressurising restraints of India which hangs on to the 13th amendment so as not to displease the Sri Lankan Govt while ignoring the immense sacrifices of Tamils throughout the past 60 years.
It is to be noted that this 13th amendment was currently rejected by the TNA as its is an empty formula of devolution of powers.
Coming to the existing circumstance in Sri Lanka a change of Govt from dictatorial to democratic features is now in power, thanks to the assistance of Tamils who voted for Maithiri only to inflict revenge on Mahinda for his inhuman treatment of Tamils for the duration of the war. Tamils do not have much faith in Maithiri who as a minister remained in Mahinda’s Govt and watched the genocide of Tamils, faithfully and loyalty to Mahinda.
Maithiri, seems as a excellent and humble particular person. But for the Tamils, “Appearances are deceptive”. It has to be noted that, Maithiri has so far in the course of the election or soon after becoming the president has not openly stated his position with regards to the Tamils troubles nor indicated his intention to solve it when and forever. As such , he can not be relied upon to provide the goods for Tamils. Furthermore, he has to be a president, listening to or even dictated to by the other parties and groups in his alliance of comfort.
It seems Ranil has been assigned the activity to deal with the Tamils issues. Ranil’s past record is not clean as he was instrumental in the destruction of Chandrika’s devolution proposals in 1994 which looked far better than the previous ones. It is only hoped that Ranil is now far more matured politically and acts in the interests of a nation and not succumb to the ‘ Sinhala- Buddhist-Mahavamsa mindset’. Even so, a word of caution is essential as far as the present Govt which includes Ranil.
Ranil and Maithiri and organization are determined best stay away from accountability for the safety forces and safeguard them from any prosecution by outside sources, like UN. Nonetheless, UN is proceeding with its investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity with its final report due on March 28th for submission to human rights council. Undoubtedly, the report will not free Sri Lanka and the military machine from any crimes. In this circumstance, Sri Lanka is facing the prospects of punitive measures from the planet physique and/or person states like U.K, U.S.A, and so forth.
It is consequently organic for the present Maithiri Ranil and Mangla Trio to take placating measures, to delay or even derail the UN commission’s report with false and empty assurances, like devolution of powers, some eye-pleasing acts of reconciliation like shifting or decreasing safety forces, or enabling some re-settlements of Tamils and vacating the properties occupied by the military.
Above methods are only measures to get rid of their illegalities and restore the snatched rights of impacted Tamil civilians.
The international community and UN have already learnt numerous bitter lessons from Sri Lanka and it is hoped that they will not fall for yet another tantrum of Sri Lanka in the course of the coming months. As far as tna is concerned, they have to get into sensible action and actions to advance the political agitation and fight. A hopeful waiting game with Maithiri or Ranil is as very good as a dead game as the prior bitter lessons and experiences are nothing but eve-openers, and undesirable precedents. The entrenched Sinhala domination more than the minorities is an unassailable stance in the political considering of Sri Lankan Govts, as evidenced in the previous, and it will be foolish to anticipate it to change for very good in the future.
It is clear that at present, Maithiri’s Govt has provided to priority to haul Mahinda’s empire to dock for the wrongdoings, bribery and corruption and so on and dusting out the stained offices occupied by his family and favourites. This cleaning procedure is expected to place an end to the political career of Rajapakses.
This is expected but the surprising calamity in this cleaning up is the Tamils troubles which is left, in Limbo untouched and permitted to be frozen with out any attempts to solve them. Naturally this is the most significant dilemma which is now internationalised due to the inconsiderate attitude of lack lustre and power hungry politicians whose interests are focused on winning elections and not on winning the hearts and minds of the Tamils.
Maithiri is fore warned that if he and his companions fail to grab the present chance with the goodwill of international community, they will be providing another just opportunity for the Tamils to resort to armed struggle which the world neighborhood wont object or stop.
It is the hope of all Sri Lankans particularly the traumatised Tamils, that the promised very good governance will not end with measures like returning homes and lands to dislocated Tamils, which were illegally seized, but consist of the swift release of Tamil political prisoners languishing in Jails, maintaining the soldiers inside barracks, stopping Sinhalese settlements but above all to offer you a dignified, just permanent solution which enables the Tamils to handle their own affairs in the North and East with minimal interference from the centre.
*M.K. Eelaventhan – Former Member of Parliament – Sri Lanka