CONGO CRISIS AND REFUGEE INTERNATIONAL

A POWERFUL VOICE FOR LIFESAVING ACTION BULLETIN
phone: [202] 828–0110 n facsimile: [202] 828–0819 n e-mail: ri@refintl.org n www.refugeesinternational.org n 1705 N Street, NW n Washington, DC 20036

Although the situation in the east has improved markedly over the past few years, there are still pockets of extreme insecurity, displacement, and need.In the southern part of Ituri District, in the far northeast of the country, 45,000 people are wedged into the village of Gety, having abandoned their homes and fields during fighting over the past few months between the Congolese national army (the FARDC) and local militias. Trapped due to the fighting, their lives are under increasing threat from lack of food, the most basic of humanitarian needs.

The security situation in Ituri remains unsteady despite the cease-fire agreements signed recently between the FARDC and various militias. While some militias, including Peter Karim, a Congolese rebel leader who kidnapped seven Nepalese United Nations peacekeepers in May of this year, have laid down their arms and signed a peace agreement with the government, disarming the rest of the armed groups in the area will be very difficult. In the home villages of those displaced in Gety, roughly 90% of the houses, schools, churches, and health centers have been destroyed. The 45,000 displaced in Gety now live in appalling sanitary conditions and are facing severe shortages of food. The most vulnerable are malnourished children. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that food supplies are running out, and the new distribution needs to take place immediately.
WFP had already delivered 50 tons of food to the displaced in Gety, out of the 410 tons needed for an initial distribution, as of mid-August. A WFP official wrote to Refugees International, “We are hoping there will be sufficient food to serve the ever-increasing numbers of those displaced who are in dire need of food assistance. A monthly need for internally displaced individuals and malnourished children in Gety is 1,300 metric tons of assorted food.” Gety is not the only area in need in Ituri, however. Those caught in the crossfire during the fighting fled to other villages as well, and to the district capital, Bunia. At the moment, WFP is transferring food from other areas of eastern DRC; WFP has also had to borrow food from its stocks in Sudan and Uganda to help in the process. A WFP official stated, “If we can get additional resources, we will do all we can to feed the IDPs, malnourished and other categories of vulnerable people. The constraint of low stocks does have an adverse effect on the beneficiaries and makes it difficult to measure impact of food aid.”
Due to the food shortage, WFP is forced to prioritize distributions: the primary concern is for those with special nutritional needs (malnourished children, pregnant and lactating women, and patients with HIV or AIDS) and particularly vulnerable groups (chronically ill patients in hospitals, hospitalized victims of sexual violence, institutionalized
orphans, and elderly individuals with no family support). In Bunia, WFP has managed to supply food to nutrition centers, in spite of the food crisis, but the situation elsewhere is desperate. The lack of food in Gety and other parts of Ituri is easily explained: WFP has not received the donations it needs to .

Democratic Republic of the Congo:
Update on the Gety Food Crisis in Ituri

The recent fighting in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), between the forces of President Kabila and Vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba threatens to distract world attention from the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the east of the country.While the United States and other donors have already made substantial contributions to meet humanitarian needs in the DRC over the past several
years, the crisis in Gety shows that more is needed. The elections are a positive step forward for the DRC; the world must redouble its efforts to make sure that the displaced have what they need to survive while the democratic process moves forward.

Refugees International Recommends:

The United States and other donors confer immediately with the World Food Programme to determine the best way to increase food stocks in the eastern DRC, and ensure the displaced in Gety and other parts of Ituri get the basic ration needed for survival.
MONUC build on the truce recently struck between the FARDC and local militias in southern Ituri, and ensure that the FARDC stops the abuses against civilians that has been fueling retribution by the militias.Uganda and others take steps to enforce the embargo on the illegal transfer of arms and natural resources to and from the DRC, in order to reduce the military capacity of the armed groups wreaking havoc in Ituri.
McCall Pierpaoli Fellow Emila Brkic, along with Advocate Rick Neal and consultant Nigel Pearson, just completed a one-month assessment mission in the DRC.

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POLITICAL REALITY IN LEBENON

Lebanon:
Refugees International’s Statement for Donors’ Conference

For 32 days, the Israeli Defense Forces bombed Lebanon in a campaign aimed at weakening Hezbollah. During this campaign, many civilian areas were severely damaged and it was extremely difficult for humanitarian aid to reach the most vulnerable. More than 1,000 people died, mostly Lebanese civilians, a third of whom were children, and almost one quarter of the total population was displaced. Although the hostilities officially ended August 14th and many of the displaced rapidly returned home, civilians continue to suffer severely from the consequences of the war. In this context, Refugees International welcomes the donor governments’ interest in contributing to the relief and reconstruction efforts in Lebanon.

In addition to the physical destruction from the conflict, the air, sea, and land blockade has meant that the entire country has suffered the consequences of the war. Billions of investment dollars have been lost and every sector of the Lebanese economy is feeling the impact. While the donors’ conference will address many of these needs, Refugees International has identified three areas that demand immediate action. For any return process to be viable, these issues need to be addressed with the technical and financial support of the international community.

First, an estimated 250,000 persons still remain displaced – both inside Lebanon and in other countries. While the bulk of the displaced people returned immediately after the ceasefire, there are still those who remain displaced as well as others who upon returning found that they had to leave again. They are unable to return, either due to fear of discrimination or because there is nowhere for them to return. Many have lost their means of income so are dependent on humanitarian assistance. Others are elderly, handicapped, or have chronic diseases that require costly medicines. As the attention of the country turns to reconstruction, Refugees International reminds the international community that the displaced people of Lebanon need assistance now and will continue to need assistance for months.

Secondly, mines and un-exploded ordinance (UXOs), including cluster bombs, pose very serious threats to the safety of Lebanese civilians, particularly in the south of Lebanon. Since the ceasefire, UXOs have killed eleven people and wounded over forty – many of them children. Many in the south depend on agriculture for their income and their fields are unusable until they are cleared. Mine risk education is crucial for children and schools cannot reopen until they are cleared from UXOs. De-mining activities, which have already begun, must be fully funded by the donor community.

Third, political parties and wealthy individuals are playing a huge role in the reconstruction of Lebanon. The Hezbollah political party is currently compensating people who have lost their homes with cash, and prominent families in Lebanon have stated that they will rebuild individual bridges or roads. However, these efforts should not replace those of the national government or render them irrelevant. The government of Lebanon must immediately begin reconstruction efforts that benefit all people. The reconstruction must not only focus on individual homes and the country’s infrastructure but most importantly in livelihoods, as an estimated 70% of the workforce has been directly or indirectly affected by the conflict. Only a national government can establish strategies to tackle these problems in a comprehensive fashion. The government of Lebanon is still weak and this reconstruction effort will be enormous. All donors must support the government of Lebanon in its efforts to rebuild the south.

Thankfully, unlike some post-conflict countries, Lebanon is a country with working institutions and a very strong national capacity. This capacity, which is reflected through the work of its civil society, was evident in the response to the crisis which prevented it from becoming a humanitarian disaster. Throughout the war, the Lebanese were the ones who provided the vast majority of the aid. While an international presence is necessary to ensure neutrality, it is essential that the international community encourages the government of Lebanon to take the lead in all relief and reconstruction efforts throughout the next phase. Refugees International believes that the international community must work to strengthen the government of Lebanon and provide it with the resources it needs to address these challenges. Not only is there local capacity in Lebanon, it is fundamental for the government’s credibility and for regional stability that it affirms itself as a central authority capable of dealing with this crisis.

Refugees International also strongly encourages donors to coordinate their efforts to strengthen the government of Lebanon’s capacity by working with local civil society groups. As the Lebanese government remains weakened by internal tensions and political concerns, donors are encouraged to request the establishment of transparent accountability mechanisms to ensure that donated funds are well distributed.

Finally, Refugees International would like to remind donors that the political reality in Lebanon can not be ignored. Hezbollah is the most active organization in the relief and reconstruction efforts in Lebanon. Donors must find ways to adapt their regulations so as to allow international organizations and NGOs to coordinate their efforts with Hezbollah, a recognized political party in the Lebanese government. It is only through coordination and information sharing with all actors that we can insure that the most vulnerable Lebanese are assisted.
 

DEMOCRACY SLEEPS : BURMESE REFUGEE WEEPS

Committee on International Relations
Subcommittee on International Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Human Rights
and Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
” Human Rights in Burma: Fifteen Years Post Military Coup “

HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS WASHINGTON, D.C October 1, 2003

TESTIMONY BY Naw Mu Si
Intern, Refugees International
1705 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for giving me this important opportunity to speak on behalf of millions of people in my country, especially for those who, by no means, could reach this floor to tell us the stories of their lives under the most brutal and racist military regime. 

I thank Senators McConnell and Feinstein, and the members of the United States Senate as well as the Congress, particularly Congressmen Joe Pitts, Tom Lantos, Henry Hyde, Peter King and other colleagues, for working so hard to get the Burma Freedom and Democracy Act passed. By supporting this legislation, a clear message was sent to the people of Burma that their struggle, our struggle, for freedom is well supported.

My name is Naw Mu Si and I am an ethnic Karen from Burma.  I was born in the Delta Region.  However, I actually grew up in the refugee camp along the Thai-Burma border as my parents were fleeing from the persecution by the military government.  I went to school in the refugee camp called Hway K’loke until I finished my high school in 1995. 

We are all aware of what happened to our leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters, on May 30, 2003. I think it is important that this Committee is also informed on what else has been happening simultaneously in and around the Thai-Burma border to the ethnic people of Burma.   

Recent reports from human rights and aid organizations along the Thai-Burma border indicate that the human rights situation is getting worse not only in Rangoon, but also it is worsening in frontiers that ethnic minorities call home.  My family, my father and siblings, continue to live in the refugee camp as well as inside Burmese forests.   

As a result of the ongoing war in minority group areas and deteriorating economic conditions in Burma, more than two million people have fled Burma to Thailand, excluding people who fled to India and Bangladesh, and an estimated 1.5 million more remain inside Burma as internally displaced people. Of the population that fled Burma, approximately 155,000 reside in refugee camps in Thailand and Bangladesh and several million more are forced to live as illegal migrant workers in Thailand, Bangladesh, India, China, and Malaysia.

Mr. Chairman, while working with EarthRights International in Thailand as a Women’s Rights Project Coordinator, I have documented hundreds of women’s human rights abuses committed by the military regime; most of the stories are hard to hear. Women, in particular, are singled out as human shields and mine sweepers during their tenure as forced laborers, as the regime’s army, the Tatmadaw, believe they are less likely to draw enemy fire, thus treating them as if they are expendable. Furthermore, women conscripted as forced laborers are sometimes required to perform twenty-four-hour guard duty, since they are deemed unfit for any other work. These women, as many other women engaged in forced labor, are often subject to sexual abuse including systematic rape at the hands of the soldiers.

For thousands of women from Burma’s ethnic minority groups, our social, economic, and cultural rights are diminished by our refugee status. Or, to be even more precise, if we are forced to flee our country due to oppression and persecution to Thailand, we are not even acknowledged the status of refugees, as Thailand has not signed the refugee convention. Socially, we are people without a country; economically, we are people without livelihoods; and culturally, we are people without a community. We cannot teach our children properly, and there is no chance to develop and propagate our culture. We cannot feed our families, and must rely on the well-meaning but insubstantial donations of kind-hearted NGOs. As this esteemed body well knows, human rights must go hand in hand with regular access to meals.
The Burmese regime has destroyed tens of thousands of villages deliberately in areas that were home to members of ethnic minorities. Mr. Chairman, the regime’s use of ethnic cleansing policies against the minorities, namely the Karen, Karenni, and Shan on its eastern border and the Rohingya on its western border, are well documented and qualify the regime to be held accountable for crimes against humanity. Ethnic cleansing, rape as an official tool of repression, heroin and HIV/AIDS as primary exports, and slave labor are only some of the crimes to mention under international law. Thousands upon thousands of civilians have died and continue to die in the course of this over-50-year old unacknowledged civil war.

It has also become clear to the world that rape is used expressly against non-Burman ethnic women as a weapon of war. This was most recently documented by Refugees International in their report, No Safe Place. In addition to the ever increasing number of refugees in the camps along the Thai-Burma border, the estimated one million or more internally displaced persons (IDPs) whose condition of existence is even below that of the poorest of human beings – illustrates the depth of humanitarian crisis in Burma. On a daily basis, these IDPs are literally hunted down like animals by the repressive Burmese army. The Public Health authority in Thailand complained repeatedly that illegal Burmese migrant workers are the human carriers of infectious and communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. The information that I have mentioned above is the result of military rule in Burma for decades.

Burma today has reached the highest state of emergency in its chaotic political history.  The current situation in my country is a test for the international community to challenge Burma’s pretend commitment to the cause of peace, freedom, and justice.  It is also a challenge for us, the people of Burma, to continue our resistance and to never give up on the hope – the hope for Burma as a free and prosperous country where diversity presents the beauty and uniqueness through the peoples and the cultures in Burma.

As a refugee from Burma, I would like to make four recommendations to help bring change to Burma. First, on behalf of the people in Burma, I would like to thank the United States for passing legislation increasing economic sanctions against Burma’s military regime. So, we would like to ask the United States again to not only simply put sanctions on Burma but also help pressure the neighboring countries in the ASEAN States to cooperate with the US on sanctions.

Second, the United States should press the United Nations Security Council to immediately take action on Burma by citing the urgent need for a nation-wide ceasefire; the United States should provide leadership here.

Third, the United States should consider earmarking funds for Internally Displaced People.  We have heard rumors that the United States is unlikely to do so. There are over one million people in Burma running for their lives in the jungles like animals; they urgently need help, perhaps, more than refugees who are currently in Thailand.

Finally, the United States should continue to pressure Thailand to allow refugees to enter Thailand and give them assistance and protection. We don’t want to cause problems for the Thais, but we have nowhere else to go. We are running for our lives.

Thank you very much for all of your support and leadership on this issue.  We hope you continue to help us until Freedom, Peace and Justice are achieved in Burma.
————————
courtesy : www.refugeesinternational.org

SPECIAL CATEGORY STATEHOOD FOR PONDICHERRY

IN A MEMORANDUM DATED 28.08.2001 TO UNION DEFENCE MINISTER GEORGE FERNANDES, DRAVIDA PERAVAI EXPRESSED ITS OPINION ON STATEHOOD DEMAND FOR PONDICHERRY

In a reply in Parliament the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Hon’ble Vidyasagar Rao had stated that the opinions of Pondicherry Government is sought on conferring statehood. In this connection, our party wants to submit the following views.

1.        It is true that Congress led Governments and DMK led governments passed unanimous resolutions, demanding statehood, and the desire to have more powers manifested in these resolutions. It is irony that in a territory where locol bodies existed for a 1000-year, the local body elections are stalled on one pretext or other. Thus, powers are sought not to percolate downwards, it becomes clear. The socalled expert committee set up locally had given a tailored report about the viability and sustainability of statehood in accordance with the dictates of the then ruling party. We urge the Union Government to constitute a comprehensive committee to study all aspects of statehood because those demanding statehood do not consider many vital factors. The grey areas are

a)       absence of  territorial contiguity

b)       problems of transfer of power yet not sorted out

c)       tax wars and tax evasions

d)       the tuning up of bureaucracy

e)       accountability to Centre and people

f)        untouched corruption

g)       Grass roots democracy butchered etc.

2.        Pondicherry State has no contigous territory. It comprises of 4 enclaves distanced and surrounded by different states, apart from each enclave yet to become a contigous area though from British and French colonial times exchanges between the colonial governments debated the dire need for such contiguity. For instance, Mahe is a tiny enclave surrounded by Kerala with a population of 37000 people electing two Members to our legislature. This tiny area houses 5 teashops and 6 ration shops, yet IMFL shops number 65. Moreover, the sales tax on liquor in Kerala is 85%. However, in Mahe if these IMFL dealers procure from Pondicherry Government owned distilleries it invites ZERO TAX. If they buy from other sources, the sales tax collectable is 35 %. In view of this vast difference in tax structure, we would even charge the Pondicherry Government to be indulging in tax wars with adjoining states to rob those states of their due revenue. It is a Bermuda’s triangle, wherein revenues meant for adjoining states are robbed and revenues meant for our tiny territory too not reaching its coffers. WE URGE THE CENTRAL COMMITTEE TO BE CONSTITUTED TO STUDY THE STATEHOOD STUDY THIS ASPECT. Appearing before the Committee sent by Union Finance Ministry, I as Convenor of 14 party and consumer organizations presented a memorandum stating that a report of the Superintendent of Police Vigilance and Anti_corruption is gathering dust in Chief Secretariat in spite of it listing out the modus operandi of the liquor lobby charges that 58 crores of revenue meant for our state is lost every year. Unless the money that could come to our coffers and that will go to adjoining states is quantified, the financial viability of statehood could not be studied in all its ramfications. Further, the liquor smugglers have antognized the people of Mahe, who had set up a Prohibition Council and started demanding, liberation from Pondicherry, by which they mean the liquor lobby and merger with their linguistic motherland Kerala. This is tip of the iceberg. The question of different enclaves just being used as smugglers paradise needs in depth study by NDA, Union Government and the committee we are demanding to study all aspects of statehood.

 3.        The Judicial system underwent real radical change and integration only with the recent interstate transfer of judicial officers with adjoining Tamil Nadu. To have a clean Government transfer of officials is necessary, but in Pondicherry, we have a peculiar cadre called Union Territory cadre of I.A.S officers. While almost all Union Territories with barely few getting statehood, the rationale behind transfer of I.A.S officers is lost. We have I.A.S officers staying for more than 30 years in our territory. We have more in number than that is permissible draining our reserves. The I.A.S manned public sector undertakings in our territory have been a burden on the Exchequer with mounting losses and which needs budgetary support for sustaining sick industries. These undertaking have refused to subject themselves to auditing by Comptroller and Auditor General. As in the case of judiciary, the inter state transfer with adjoining states must be considered for IAS and other cadre too, as an entrenched bureaucracy had played havoc with public good. Lt.Governors and Chief Secretaries were transferred but Personal Assistants remain entrenched in same seats for quarter century and more, thereby nourishing a bureaucracy that is unaccountable. Unless this change is brought out, we will not benefit if we gain statehood bidding adieu to U.T. status.

 4.        Many outcries was raised by certain parties over tax rationalization and introduction of Uniform Sales Tax.Our party had presented memorandums to Union Finance Minister Comrade Yashwant Sinha and to The Chief Ministers of Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Our main argument is that massive tax loot by bureaucracy –politician nexus in our territory resulted loss of crores to our coffers, and unless this nexus is broken, statehood will be of no use. Now only Uniform Sales Tax is introduced, yet for decade all goods in Pondicherry were sold at M.R.P prices only. Many items, the details are in our memorandum to Union Finance Ministry sponsored Committee headed by Srivatsava, SHOULD HAVE BEEN SOLD AT LESS PRICE IF THE BENEFITS HAD PERCOLATED DOWN TO CONSUMERS. Thus consumers were fooled and coffers were kept empty while sales tax evaders and their bureaucratic godfathers feathered their nests. The hue and cry now is not because people will have to pay more if UST is introduced, but the lobby that benifitted by this loot is left in lurch. Moreover, it is irony that CPM local unit too opposes UST mooted by Comrade Jyothi Basu and now by a Committee headed by Ashim Das gupta. A bogus Chamber of Commerce created by French Act and which has only 3 living members owns 16 crores worth of government property and now plans to float a trust out of such property. Our complaints to Lt.Governor and resultant enquiries had proved beyond an iota of doubt that the Pondicherry Chamber of Commerce is a dead institution whose term had lapsed 30 years back and its properties are to be taken over by Government.

So we urge that as we have done on the eve of Utharanchal getting special category status, THAT ONLY A SPECIAL CATEGORY STATUS STATEHOOD IS ECONOMICALLY VIABLE an even for THAT AN IN DEPTH STUDY TO PLUG ALL LOOPHOLES IN REVENUE AND TO AVERT ALL LOSSES BY MISMANAGEMENT BE FORERUNNERS IN THE EXERCISE, WHICH SHOULD NOT BE UNDERTAKEN IN HASTLY. 

 N.Nandhivarman General Secretary Dravida Peravai

Dravida Peravai First to Demand Asylum for Tibetan Leader Karmapa

“ASYLUM TO KARMAPA WILL MAR RELATIONS” With this headline “The New Indian Express” front page-all edition news describes the unhappiness by Chinese government over granting of asylum to 14 year old Tibetan spiritual leader Karmapa Rimpoche. Beneath that news in a box item “Asylum for Karmapa” was the UNI story from Pondicherry. January 11 of 2000.It is given as follows:

The Dravida Peravai, a political party here, today urged the Center to grant asylum to Karmapa. Dravida Peravai General Secretary N.Nandhivarman made this demand in a representation to External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh.[UNI] The full text of the memorandum is given here.

Today’s new stories reveal the escape of 14 year old Karmapa and his 24 year old sister with the help of 4 others negotiating 16000 feet snowbound mountain passes and trekking 900 miles from Tibet to India. We demand that Indian government must grant political asylum to the 14 year old Karmapa Lama Ugyen Trinley Dorje and his team.

Chinese staked their claim to Tibet on the marriage of a Tibetan King Sonsten Gampo to a Chinese Princess in the 17 th century. This claim lacked logic because the Tibetan King’s senior bride Princess Brikuti Devi of Nepal deserves first preference over Chinese Princess and thus the Chinese claim is unsustainable. Having failed to clinch their claim Chinese retreated to 13 th century evidences basing on the establishment of Mongol influence over Tibet. However Mongols are a different nation and Chinese have always considered them as aliens. In 1911 when the Nationalist Revolution toppled the Chi’ng dynasty, Sun Yatsen said that the ” China had been twice occupied by foreign powers, the first by Yuans ( Mongol emperors) and second by Chi’ngs ( Manchu emperors). In any case, the Mongol influence in Tibet came to an end in 1350, eighteen years before China overthrew them. It becomes evident that China is building a castle of lies to invade Tibet.

In 1949 when Nepal applied for U.N. Membership it cited its diplomatic relations with Tibet to prove that it was a sovereign state. The U.N. accepted this argument and thus effectively recognized Tibet’s status as a sovereign state. During the UN general assembly debate on Tibet Irish representative Frank Aitken stated ” For 1000 years or for a couple of 1000 years , at any rate Tibet was as free and fully in control of its own affairs as ant nation in this assembly and a thousand times more free to look after its own affairs than many of the nations here [ UN General assembly docs A/PV 898/1960;a/PV 1394, 1401, 1965 ]……………..

The lengthy letter ends with the appeal to Government of India ” Let us provide asylum to Karmapa Lama Ugyen Trinley Dorje and Gandhian land must not fail in its historical duty….

Tibetan Youth Congress  Joint Secretary Chockyong Wangchuk wrote to Dravida Peravai on 20 th January 2000 wherein he wrote ” The Central Committee of Tibetan Youth Congress would like to extend its sincere appreciation to your support and concern” Office of the Central Executive Committee, Post Office Meleod ganj, Dharmasala 176219, Himachal Pradesh India.

OPEN APPEAL TO PAZHA.NEDUMARAN

I respect you. I bow my head before your sacrifice. I am an insignificant person compared to your knowledge and world wide contacts. But someone had to speak. I had known leaders who have coteries around them and they will keep their eyes and ears shut from public opinion.That disease should not paralyse your thinking. Please forgive me if I am finding fault at you.

My leader and your leader in your student days, Aringnar Anna one day morning when he woke up from bed found wall writings calling him son of a prostitute. He ordered for a petromax light so that in night, the writings  be visible, and people could  read the venom split by his enemies. Anna stood for elections. Against him was a famous Doctor of Kanchipuram. In his election speeches Anna went on speaking high about the Doctor and his services to the people of Kanchipuram. In conclusion Anna would say in one line, if such a life saving doctor goes to assembly it will be a great loss to people, hence a jobless Annadurai can go, and spare the Doctor to serve the people of Kanchipuram. Anna won. That is how we should win enemies. We should persuade people.

From the days of Chera Chozha Pandiar, Tamil kings fought each other and Tamil unity became mirage chase, leaders like you will talk recalling history. But in our life what we have done to Tamil unity? Take for example the Ulaga Thamizhar Peramaiipu Conference.

DMK is ruling Tamil Nadu. It shares power in Center. After your release from Tada prison, Kalaignar M.Karunanithi gave DMK flag in your hands before television screen. The flag is not new to you. After all you are one of the founding members of Dravida Maanavar Munnetra Kazhagam, a forerunner to me.If you know Kalaignar better than me, you must be knowing his weakness for flattery. You could have invited him to Salem Conference and given him a title Aaroor Chozhar since he hails from Thiruvarur. At same time you could have given him THE TIGER FLAG OF CHOZHA EMPERORS in his hand and said Aaarur Chozhar will always be with Tigers.You missed a golden oppurtunity to win him to our side. You and me are not in office. We have to use people in office tactfully for our purposes.

Look at the practical approach of Dravida Kazhagam from the days of Periyar to the days of Aasiriyar Veeramani. They will support ruling parties and their positive approach works as is evident in the growth of their educational institutions, which will soon become University. If out of ego, if they had engaged in blame game, nothing could be achieved. Dravida Kazhagam supported K.Kamaraj to keep Rajaji away from office. Dravida Kazhagam backed Kamaraj to get schools and colleges thrown open for backward and oppressed classes. There is one dark spot in the life of Kamaraj. He adamently refused to rename Madras State as Tamil Nadu. A freedom fighter Sangaralinganaar fasted for 78 days and died for a cause which he could not win by his sacrifice. Only after DMK came to power in 1967, Aringnar Anna fulfilled that dream. You, a fierce Tamil nationalist are keeping mum on Kamaraj’s role and even started a party Gandhi Kamaraj National Congress. Why ? You did not want to wash dirty linen in public. You thought the other services of Kamaraj deserves due recognition and went silent on this matter. It is not wrong. I am not blaming you. I say you did the right thing.

May I ask you one question ? You know the saying “Kutram Parkin Sutram Illai” And why you people look at the dark side of Kalaignar. It is history that he is in power. Cant you people without hurting his feelings use him for fostering Tamil unity and getting LTTE its due place under the son. See how cunningly like slow poison, The Former External affairs Minister of Srilanka Lukshman Kadirgamar played his Tamil identity card to turn western countries and india against Ealam struggle.Instead of countering the misinformation, instead of trying innovative appraoches, you go on fighting establishments. That will help you sustain Maaveran title and your individual glory in history will be ensured.But the battle to win more minds to Ealam cause will be lost.

If you go on in this divisive politics, it will only make Sinhalese happy. They will be emboldened to even start a political party in India.We the followers of Periyar have rights to criticise Gods. And we never fear people in power. Rajiv Gandhi sent IPKF to Ealam. I wrote to him as ” The curse of our race will see the dawn of your doom” So since democracy permits public debate we are placing an open letter to you. It not to sully your image and to glorify us. It is to awaken your conscience. It is to make you think of the priorites ahead Eaalam , Eaalam and Eaalam, creating a Veerappa Nadu and hailing him as great Tamil patriot and such agendas can wait for a decade till Ealam is resolved.

TAMIL NADU IN PARLIAMENT

ARINGNAR ANNA ON TAMIL NADU

[Dravida Pervai happily reproduces the debate that took place in Rajya Sabha in May 1963. DMK Founder Aringnar Anna ultimately changed the name of Madras State as Tamil Nadu and fulfilled the centuries old desire of the Tamil Nation on his becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in 1967. In 1963 he spoke in Parliament on the question of renaming Tamil Nadu. You can find out the arguments advanced for and against and also note who opposed the renaming in order to understand the forces that played for and against Tamil nationalism]

 ANNA SPEAKS : 

Mr. Vice Chairman, I am rarely in full agreement with my friend Mr.Bhupesh Gupta, but today I rise to support him whole-heartedly, fully and sincerely. The only weakness of the Bill is that it is a non-official one. I would have liked an official Bill to be brought forward for this very necessary and very simple thing that would have satisfied millions of Tamilians in Tamil Nadu. Many arguments that were advanced against the Bill brought forward are perhaps more due to the colour of the mover rather than the arguments advanced for its support. One Honorable Member was saying that he was not moving a Bill, which the Madras State has asked him to move. I regret very much that sometimes it becomes necessary to explain some rudimentary principles. The Madras Government will never ask a non-official Bill to be brought forward on its behalf. If the state government wants the Bill to be brought forward, there are the state representatives in this Assembly and they would have brought it forward, and therefore, to say that the Bill cannot be supported just because the Madras Government has not asked Mr.Gupta to bring the Bill shows that their only argument to fight against the Bill is that their party or their State Government has not instructed them to act in this way. I can well understand the political tremor in their hearts, but that is no argument against this Bill. The arguments advanced by the sponsors of the Bill for renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu have not been answered by any one of the speakers who spoke about it.

Sheel Badra Yajee: I have answered it.

 Anna: I cannot understand- I very rarely understand- your language and, therefore, I do not know whether there is logic or not but I would say that some of the arguments advanced were not proper. One Honorable Member was saying that there are Telugu knowing people in Tamil Nadu, Malayalam and Kanarese speaking people and, therefore, to name Madras as Tamil Nadu will create a sort of tremor in their hearts. May I inform this House, through you, Sir, that all these arguments were advanced and shattered in my part of the country. All these arguments did not stand the onslaught of reason and logic. For the sake of informing this House I may inform you Sir, that on 24 th February 1961 the Leader of the House in the state assembly stood up to say that he was accepting part of the non official resolution brought forward not by the DMK or any other political party which is considered to be inimical to Congress, but by a PSP [Praja Socialist Party]Member. That PSP member brought forward a non official resolution for renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu and it was discussed many days and finally the then Finance Minister and the Leader of the House Mr.C.Subramaniam, stood up to say that he was accepting a part or the spirit of the resolution and added that thereafter all publications of the Madras government would appear in the name of Tamil Nadu Government. It is in such a way that all publications in Tamil in the Tamil Nadu government are being printed and published. As a matter of fact, after making the historic declaration on the floor of the Madras assembly on 24 th February, the very next day the Finance Minister had to present his budget and in presenting the budget, the opening words of the Finance Minister were: “ In consonance with the declaration made yesterday, I am now presenting to budget for Tamil Nadu.” Therefore all the arguments that Telugu speaking, the Malayalam speaking, and the Kanarese speaking people will be up against this change in name fall to ground because part of this has been accepted by the Government. The part relating to the amendment of Constitution, the word Madras to be deleted and the word Tamil Nadu to be inserted was not accepted. 

Therefore, even the Government much less by the Madras Congress leaders cannot accommodate the sentimental arguments advanced. Sir, I am really surprised to see how ill informed my Hon. friends are, those who advanced arguments against the Bill. One Hon. Member stated here that Kollegal is in Tamil Nadu. That Hon. Member unfortunately not present in the House at present. I may tell them and his friends may tell him, that Kollegal today is part of Mysore. It has been taken away from the composite State of Madras and after the formation of linguistic states, has gone to Mysore. If my Hon. friend is so ill informed about Kollegal, I am not surprised at his arguments that nowhere in Tamil literature does the word Tamil Nadu occur. A politician who cannot understand that Kollegal does not form part of Tamil Nadu cannot be expected to be conversant with Tamil literature. For the edification of the House and for his own edification, I will point out the names of certain books wherein the word Tamil Nadu is to be found. These are books written 1800 or 2000 years ago. I am reading the name in Tamil but the Hon. Member who made this allegation is a Tamilian Congressman and he can understand and the Hon. Deputy Minister who will be making the reply. She being also a Tamilian may tell him. The names of Paripaadal, Pathitrupathu and more popular names of Silapathigaram and Manimegalai. These are all Tamil classics written more than 1000 years ago and in Paripaadal it is stated “ Thandamizh veli Thamizh Naatu agamellam” which means Tamil Nadu that is surrounded by sweet Tamil on all three sides. In Pathitrupathu, a classic written about 1800 years it is stated “ Imizh kadal veli Thamizhagam” meaning Tamil Nadu which has got sea as boundary. In Silapathigaram it is stated “ Then Thamizh nannadu” meaning good Tamil Nadu and in Manimegalai it is stated“Sambutheevinul Tamizhaga marungil “ Tamil Nadu which is called Sambutheevu. If my Hon. Members would like to have more popular illustrations I would like to refer them to the poems of Poet Kamban and Sekkilar both of whom have definitely used the word Tamil Nadu. It was only afterwards that there were three kingdoms, the Cheranadu, The Cholanadu and the Pandyanadu. Tamil Nadu is to be found in the classics of Tamil. It is not that there is poverty of ideas in the classics. It only shows that my Hon. friend does not spend much thought or time over the Tamil classics. I may point out for the edification of this House that when the Congress government in Tamil Nadu purchased the Jaipur Palace at Ooty known as Aranmore Palace they immediately renamed the Palace as Thamizhagam. I am pointing this out to say that the Congress there is trying to assuage our feelings, is trying to carry Tamil Nadu people along with them by saying they have renamed the Aranmore Palace as Thamizhagam, that they are publishing all the Tamil manifestos as Tamil Nadu Government publications, that only for international correspondence they want the name “Madras”. They are not prepared to amend the Constitution. If the arguments advanced by some of the Tamil Nadu Congress people were to be read by the Chief Minister of Madras, he would turn around and say “ You too Brutus”. All the arguments advanced for not renaming it falls flat on the ground because even the Congress Government there does not approve of these arguments.

Another particular issue was raised here that the Bill is being brought forward only as a publicity stunt of the Communist party. Why don’t we appreciate the Communist Party for its sense of political expediency? Are not all political parties interested in getting political publicity? Is publicity a heinous crime? Why do you publish reports and books on Five-year plans? Is that not publicity done at public cost? Yet you accuse other political parties saying that this is publicity. But let me tell this House through you, that even though you defeat the Bill, he has gained that publicity. You are not going to rob him anymore of that publicity. When he comes to Tamil Nadu he can conveniently face Tamilians and say, “ I pleaded for you but it is the ruling party that let you down.” Therefore you have unawares walked into Mr.Gupta’s snare. I would have appreciated if the ruling party had approached Mr.Bhupesh Gupta and stated, “ Do not bring in this non-official Bill, we ourselves are interested in it, we will bring it forward.”

Then Mr.Santhanam pointed out that we have an uphill task in retaining Madras, we had to fight with so many people and we retained Madras. I can claim some amount of credit in that fight and when I was in the thick of that fight, I did not find Mr.Santhanam by my side.

Akbar Ali Khan: At the cost of Andhra

Anna:  With the consent of the Andhras, I can say that. That is because the present government there is providing even today, in the border areas, measures for safeguarding Telugu culture and for imparting Telugu language. Therefore though Madras has been taken by Tamilians, we have no enmity with the Andhras. But my friend Santhanam was saying that it was such an uphill task, retaining Madras that we would like to keep Madras. This is not a question of keeping Madras or giving it up. This is the question of keeping Madras in Tamilnadu and renaming the state as Tamil Nadu. Madras, after all is the capital city of Tamil Nadu, as Ahamadabad happens to be the capital city of Gujarat, as Chandigrah happens to be the capital city of Punjab. If this logic of naming the state after the name of capital city is to be followed, Kerala should be renamed Trivandrum, Andhra is to renamed Hyderabad, Punjab is to be renamed Chandigarh and Gujarat to be renamed Ahamadabad.

Bhubesh Gupta: And Bengal should be renamed Calcutta.

Anna: My government, my Congress government in Madras is interested in bilingualism. That is because its head Government is interested to have two names for everything, India that is Bharat, Jana gana mana and Vandhe Madaram. They always want to keep two blocks. Take something from here, take something from there. So the Madras government is having Tamil Nadu for the consumption of Tamilians and Madras for all India consumption. It is a very awkward word “ duplicity”. And that is why my friend Mr.Bhupesh Gupta was saying that some of the congress people talk in one way there and talk in another way here. No Congress can face a Tamilian audience and say that the name Madras should be retained. I challenge it.

T.S.Pattabhiraman {Madras}: We have faced it during the agitation of Tamil arasu Kazhagam and my friend knows it. What he is saying is complete travesty of facts.

Anna: I know how Pattabhiraman faces agitation. I wont say it. Let us not face each other as Congress and DMK. Let us face the Tamilian public on this single sanctified issue of renaming the state and if you carry along with you 51 percent of the people I am prepared to bow my head before you. This is not a party issue at all. The renaming of Madras as Tamil Nadu has been accepted by the Communist Party, by the DMK, by the PSP and you will be surprised, by the Madras branch of Swatantra Party too. Therefore all parties are one in this issue of renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu.

T.S.Pattabhiraman: None of them put it in their election manifesto.

Anna: I would present a copy of the DMK election manifesto to him tomorrow. I am sure Pattabhiraman knows Tamil. This issue has been an issue for more than 10 to 15 years. He was saying that only Tamil Arasu Kazhagam was fighting for it. It is true partially because it was only the Tamil arasu Kazhagam that started an agitation for it, but all other political parties were immensely intimately interested in this issue. They have printed it in their manifestos, in their political speeches and no District Conference of DMK took place without passing this resolution of renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu. Therefore it is not simply on the spur of the moment that I am pleading for it. My sorrow is that my friend Mr.Bhupesh Gupta had stolen the thunder from me by sponsoring this Bill. But for that, I would like to present before this House that this has been an issue all along in Tamil Nadu. And they have not answered Mr.Bhupesh Gupta; What do you loose by renaming Madras as Tamil Nadu? Nobody has answered that.

N.M.Lingam [Madras] Anyway what do you gain by renaming it as Tamil Nadu?

Anna: What do I gain? What have you gained by renaming Parliament as Lok Sabha? What have you gained by renaming Council of States as Rajya Sabha? What have you gained by renaming President as Rastrapathi? Therefore I say what do you loose? This is important because if you were to loose something precious, we would not press for it. If you do not loose something fundamental, we will press for it. The other point was raised, what do you gain? We gain satisfaction sentimentally; we gain satisfaction that an ancient name is inculcated in the hearts of millions and scores of millions of people. Is that not enough compensation for the small trouble of changing the name? Therefore all the arguments that have been advanced have been shattered.

They have advanced an apologetic argument saying that if the State government had come forward with this, we would have accepted this. And they are perfectly aware of the composition of the State legislature where the Congress party is in a majority. Would you ask the Congress member in Madras State legislature to vote for such a bill if it were to come there, without party whip? No

T.S.Pattabhiraman: Your party members could have brought forward a resolution in the House and changed the name. Why have you not done it for past seven or eight years?

Anna: I am coming to that. When we present such a bill to the Madras legislature, they say that if you want to rename, an amendment to the constitution is necessary and an amendment of the Constitution is possible only when you go to Parliament.

T.S.Pattabhiraman: I am saying a resolution, not a Bill. A resolution can be made.

Anna: I may say for the information of the Hon. Member that we pressed this point during the discussion on the non-official Bill of PSP. In fact we even staged a walk out. The DMK and Communist party joined together in the walk out. That is our numerical position there. When the non-official resolution was discussed in the Madras assembly we pressed for the constitutional amendment and the only explanation offered to us was that it was only possible at the level of Parliament. And when we come to Parliament we are asked to go back to the state legislature. We are asked to go to Parliament because you are entrenched in both places not because your logic is sound but simply because you are entrenched in both places.

G.Rajagopalan [Madras] We are entrenched because the people vote for us. It has been discussed even during elections. There had been fasts by certain members and one person even lost his life after fasting. Even after that we won elections. That shows the people still want as it is- not for the satisfaction of some politicians who want a slogan.

Anna: Madam Deputy Chairman, I am very glad that the discussion is becoming very interesting. But I may say for the information of the House that DMK has nothing to do with fasting. The fasting was undertaken by a non-party man, in fact a relative of the Chief minister of Madras Mr.Sankaralinga [Nadar}. And to say that in spite of fasting you have not changed shows how human you are. Therefore the question was discussed there. We were asked to go to Parliament. When we come to Parliament we are again sent back to legislature. In both places the answer is as my Hon. friend had stated, “ The people had voted for us”. Well that is a fact, a tragic fact, and a black fact that ought to be seen.

G.Rajagopalan: In spite of you tragedy is still there

T.S.Pattabhiraman: He says tragedy will be permanent. The tragedy of Congress getting a majority at every election will be a permanent feature and we are prepared to accommodate you.

Anna: Madam Deputy Chairman my friend was saying that this tragedy is going to be permanent. Woe to the country and to the people. That is all what I can say. But I would like to press this point that a Constitution amendment can be thought of and made only through Parliament. That is why we have approached The Parliament. If any amendment is brought forward on this or any suggestion is given that it should be circulated to gather public opinion, we take up that challenge. I do not ask you to take this as an election issue. Do not be afraid of that.

[Interruptions]

We are not making it an election issue. This is an issue to be taken to the people for getting their consent or otherwise. That is not going to affect your offices. Nobody thinks about that. You may remain there. This is not a question of analysis of our different parties. This is a question wherein a particular issue has to be referred to the public. Are you prepared for that? That is what we ask. You are not prepared for that and that is why I say

N.M.Anwar [Madras] Madam on a point of information I have got the highest respect and regard for my good friend Mr.annadurai. But will he kindly explain what there is in retaining the name Madras that has got such worldwide publicity? How is he going to meet that point of view? Where is the difficulty in retaining this worldwide name of Madras?

[Interruptions]

Anna: The only point in answer to the Hon. member Mr.anwar is this. What we gain is our sentimental satisfaction and status of our ancient land. If in Madras we change the name of China Bazaar into Nethaji Subhas Chandra Road nothing is changed in the street but something is changed in our thinking, in our soul, in our fibre. That is why we are pressing for it. not because we think that keeping Madras will be wrong.

N.M.Anwar: My question is not that. We agree that there is something good in calling it Tamil Nadu. But what is your allergy to Madras, which has got a worldwide publicity.

Anna: My allergy is if Madras is used as name of the state, you confuse the capital with the state. Madras is the name of the capital city. Tamil Nadu is the name that ought to be given to the state. There ought to be a distinction between the name of the state and its capital, and therefore, I whole-heartedly support the Bill brought forward and I would commend it to the House.

PROTECT FISHING RIGHTS AND LIVES OF TAMILS

INDIA URGED TO APPROACH INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE

 ON KACCHA THEEVU ISSUE

There is an urgent need to sue Srilankan Government in the International Court of Justice for compensation to 980 Indian fishermen killed in the International waters, as well as retrieval of the Katcha Theevu. It is will be appropriate to recall the words of our Present Prime Minister in the Parliament on 23 rd July 1974 (cols 186-201), when the then External Affairs Minister Swaran Singh made a statement on the Re Agreement between India and Srilanka on the boundary in the historical waters between the two countries and related matters.

Hon’ble Atal Bihari Vajpayee who strongly condemned the bartering away of Katcha Theevu, had said that the old mythological name for Katcha Theevu is VALI DEEP, the island where legendary Rama fought a mythological Vali. Dravida Peravai now reminds the Government headed by the same Atal Bihari Vajpayee to fulfill what he had once demanded while he was in opposition; namely retrieval of the Katcha Theevu islands from the Srilankan government. The lives of 980 of our fishermen is lost due to this agreement imposed during the darkest days of emergency and it is time that we scrap this agreement or take it to the International Court of Justice to get due compensation for our fishermen.

There has been precedents in international inter country matters where issues have been taken to the International Court of Justice.1). In the English Channel there is a rocked island known as Minquires-Enrou. They are far way from the British coast and were closer to the French coast. Since it was near its international waters France staked the claim over that island. Britain showed the documents in its possession and the basis of the documents in 1953 the International Court of Justice decided that this island belongs to Britain. As in this case the documentary proof will be in our favour and we will retrieve Katcha Theevu, is we approach the Court.2) An island Clipporton which was closer to Mexican coast actually belonged to France, and since it was far away from French soil no one visited there and hence Mexico claimed right over these islands. But the International Court of Justice decided in the favour of France.

3). Near Philipines an island Palmus Mianjus was in the possession of Spain. Spain one fine morning handed over that island to America. But Netherlands had rights over that island much before Spain had, and in view of this when this matter came before the Court, the Court decided in favour of Netherlands.

These are past precedents. We have recent judgements too wherein decisions by International Court of Justice had been impartial and in the interests of natural justice. Let me quote about a recent judgement in 2002.

The International Court of Justice, principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has today given (17.11.2002) Judgment in the case concerning sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan (Indonesia/Malaysia). In its Judgment, which is final, without appeal and binding for the Parties, the Court finds, by 16 votes to 1, that “sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan belongs to Malaysia”. Ligitan and Sipadan are two very small islands located in the Celebes Sea, off the northeast coast of the island of Borneo.

Reasoning of Court: The Court begins by recalling the complex historical background of the dispute between the Parties. It then examines the titles invoked by them. Indonesia’s claim to sovereignty over the islands is based primarily on a conventional title, the 1891 Convention between Great Britain and the Netherlands. Indonesia, thus, maintains that that Convention established the 4° 10′ north parallel of latitude as the dividing line between the British and Dutch possessions in the area where Ligitan and Sipadan are situated. As the disputed islands lie to the south of that parallel, “[I] t therefore follows that under the Convention title to those islands vested in the Netherlands, and now vests in Indonesia”. Malaysia, for its part, asserts that the 1891 Convention, when seen as a whole, clearly shows that Great Britain and the Netherlands sought by the Convention solely to clarify the boundary between their respective land possessions on the islands of Borneo and Sebatik, since the line of delimitation stops at the easternmost point of the latter island. After examining the 1891 Convention, the Court finds that the Convention, when read in context and in the light of its object and purpose, cannot be interpreted as establishing an allocation line determining sovereignty over the islands out to sea, to the east of the island of Sebatik, and as a result the Convention does not constitute a title on which Indonesia can found its claim to Ligitan and Sipadan. The Court states that this conclusion is confirmed both by the travaux préparatoires and by the subsequent conduct of the parties to the Convention. The Court further considers that the cartographic material submitted by the Parties in the case does not contradict that conclusion.

Having rejected this argument by Indonesia, the Court turns to consideration of the other titles on which Indonesia and Malaysia claim to found their sovereignty over the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan. The Court determines whether Indonesia or Malaysia obtained a title to the islands by succession. The Court begins in this connection by observing that, while the Parties both maintain that the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan were not terrae nullius during the period in question in the present case, they do so on the basis of diametrically opposed reasoning, each of them claiming to hold title to those islands. The Court does not accept Indonesia’s contention that it retained title to the islands as successor to the Netherlands, which allegedly acquired it through contracts concluded with the Sultan of Bulungan, the original title-holder. Nor does the Court accept Malaysia’s contention that it acquired sovereignty over the islands of Ligitan and Sipadan further to a series of alleged transfers of the title originally held by the former sovereign, the Sultan of Sulu, that title having allegedly passed in turn to Spain, the United States, Great Britain on behalf of the State of North Borneo, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and finally to Malaysia.

Having found that neither of the Parties has a treaty-based title to Ligitan and Sipadan, the Court next considers the question whether Indonesia or Malaysia could hold title to the disputed islands by virtue of the effectivités cited by them. In this regard, the Court determines whether the Parties’ claims to sovereignty are based on activities evidencing an actual, continued exercise of authority over the islands, i.e., the intention and will to act as sovereign. Indonesia cites in this regard a continuous presence of the Dutch and Indonesian navies in the vicinity of Ligitan and Sipadan. It adds that Indonesian fishermen have traditionally used the waters around the islands. In respect of the first of these arguments, it is the opinion of the Court that “it cannot be deduced [from the facts relied upon in the present proceedings] that the naval authorities concerned considered Ligitan and Sipadan and the surrounding waters to be under the sovereignty of the Netherlands or Indonesia”. As for the second argument, the Court considers that “activities by private persons cannot be seen as effectivités if they do not take place on the basis of official regulations or under governmental authority”. Having rejected Indonesia’s arguments based on its effectivités, the Court turns to consideration of the effectivités relied on by Malaysia. As evidence of its effective administration of the islands, Malaysia cites inter alia the measures taken by the North Borneo authorities to regulate and control the collecting of turtle eggs on Ligitan and Sipadan, an activity of some economic significance in the area at the time. It relies on the Turtle Preservation Ordinance of 1917 and maintains that the Ordinance “was applied until the 1950s at least” in the area of the two disputed islands. It further invokes the fact that the authorities of the colony of North Borneo constructed a lighthouse on Sipadan in 1962 and another on Ligitan in 1963, that those lighthouses exist to this day and that they have been maintained by Malaysian authorities since its independence. The Court notes that “the activities relied upon by Malaysia … are modest in number but … they are diverse in character and include legislative, administrative and quasi-judicial acts. They cover a considerable period of time and show a pattern revealing an intention to exercise State functions in respect of the two islands in the context of the administration of a wider range of islands”. The Court further states that “at the time when these activities were carried out, neither Indonesia nor its predecessor, the Netherlands, ever expressed its disagreement or protest”.

The Court concludes, on the basis of the effectivités referred to above, that “sovereignty over Pulau Ligitan and Pulau Sipadan belongs to Malaysia”.

There are many cases, which can be quoted. But the need here is to stress that India must revoke the Katcha Theevu agreement with Srilanka since it was imposed during emergency and take it to the International Court of Justice to establish India’s right over this island. Also As per clause 76 of the International Law of Seas 1982 ” The coastal state shall establish the outer edge of the continental margin wherever the same extends beyond 200 nautical miles from the base lines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured on sub marine ridges. The continental shelf shall not exceed 350 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.” Inview of this clause there is a necessity to redraw the territorial waters between India and Srilanka. So we have compulsions as per UN obligations to carve out our Exclusive Economic Zone, and while such opportunity is at our doorstep we must reopen the Katcha theevu issue with Srilanka and get it back.

Tamil Nadu assembly had passed many resolutions demanding the retrieval of Katcha Theevu, and the Miss J.Jayalalitha in a sudden reversal of assembly demand had favoured for taking Katcha theevu on lease.

This is a text of the memorandum submitted to Indian Defence Minister George Fernandes on 20.09.2003 which appeared in all editions of Dinamani. Now also the demand is relevent. Only one change, more fishermen had been killed by Srilankan navy since then. Pakistan only arrests our fishermen and for same violation Srilanka kills. India had failed to protect the fishing rights of Indian fishermen.The lives of 1000 fishermen is lost because of this agreement to barter Katcha theevu and it is time that we claim compensation from Srilanka for the lives lost apart from staking our rights to regain Katcha Theevu

N.Nandhivarman, General Secretary, Dravida Peravai

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PLANTATION TAMILS PLIGHT AS STATELESS PEOPLE

 TAMILS  OF INDIAN ORIGIN MADE STATELESS 

Daily Thanthi, the leading Tamil daily published a news about the National Executive meeting of Samata party to be held at Vijayawada on 15/16 th of June 2002 under the title “In Elangai Peace talks India should cooperate and strive together with Norway: Pondicherry Dravida Peravai urges” Pondicherry Dravida Peravai General Secretary Nandhivarman had told that India should work together with Norway in Srilankan peace talks.

Samata National Executive

Last time the National Executive of Samata party was held at Mysore on 8 th January 2001.After that a long interregnum was there. Meeting was postponed. Now on June 15 th and 16 th in the Lohia Nagar at Vijayawada, Siddhartha Hall the National Executive and National Council are meeting. In the high command of Samata Party’s National Executive three political parties were getting special invites from 1997. The Nagaland People’s party leader and former Chief Minister Mr.Vamuzo is no more. The Mizoram People’s Conference Leader and former Chief Minister Brigadier T.S.Sailo M.L.A could not attend due to ill health. Pondicherry Dravida Peravai alone continues to participate in the National Executive meetings and raising various issues of national importance. Before leaving for Vijayawada Dravida Peravai General Secretary Nandhivarman met the press people and told as follows:

It is not correct on the part of India to keep aloof from the peace talks and India must cooperate with Norway in the Srilankan peace talks. In between 1871 and 1881 when lot of coffee and tea estates mushroomed in Srilanka to work there lot of Tamils went from here. They constituted 10 percent of the Srilankan population. Donoughmore Commission constituted before independence told in 1928 that among the plantation labour 50 percent were permanently residing there. The Jackon Report of 1928 gave the figure at 60 percent. The Soul bury Commission constituted in 1946 told that 80 percent of plantation labour are permanently living in Srilanka.

Disenfranchisement

Donoughmore Commission recommended in 1928 that citizenship should be given to those who live there more than 5 years. Ceylonese Government did not accept the recommendation. A problem came to the fore. In 1940 both India and Ceylon deliberated this issue. In 1941 once again a bi-partite conference between India and Ceylon took place. The agreed agreement signed by both countries in the conference was not implemented by Ceylon. But in 1942 for the sake of economic development, the Government of Ceylon requested India to permit plantation labour to come to their country.

1947, in the first general election all plantation labour had voting rights. They supported the Ceylon Indian Congress and elected 7 members to Parliament. The plantation labour remained deciding factor in the victory of 20 Member of Parliament constituencies.

So the first Prime Minister T.S.Senanayaka brought an amendment to article 8 in 1948 and snatched the voting rights of plantation Tamils. Parliamentary Elections amendment Act 1949 was enacted; all Indian born Ceylonese citizens were removed from electoral rolls. This is how the voting rights of plantation labour who could send 7 members of parliament were disenfranchised. Then Indian born Ceylonese were told to apply for citizenship. Nearly 8,25,000 people applied for citizenship but only 1,00,000 persons were conferred with citizenship.

Pacts

To resolve this issue in 1953 Ceylonese Prime Minister Dudley Senanayaka and Indian Prime Minister Nehru had talks in London but in vain. In 1954 Ceylonese Prime Minister Sit John Kotewala and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru signed a pact, but it was not implemented.

In 1964 between Indian Prime Minister Lalbahadur Sastri and Ceylon Prime Minister Mrs.Bandaranaike signed a pact. Ceylon agreed to grant citizenship and India agreed to take back 5,25,000 persons.

Dravidian Parties have forgotten

Present day Americans were settlers from Europe. No European country foolishly signed a pact to take back these settlers. After signing such a pact India still has left 2,00,000 people in Ceylon. India is looking into the Srilankan problem as a problem between Ealam Tamils, the natives of that soil and forgets the plight of its own citizens in alien soil.

Dravidian parties too have forgotten the plantation labours who are our own sons of soil. To resolve the issue of plantation labour affected by the pact between two countries and to press for India’s participation in the peace talks we will deliberate at Vijayawada National executive, Nandhivarman told

 [Translation of news in Daily Thanthi 15.06.2002 page 6 Pondicherry Edition]