The Government of India and its bureaucrats are focusing their attention towards the Indo-Srilankan Pact of July 1987, and hoping its revival will bring relief to Eelam Tamils. They conveniently forget the past and are indulging in chasing the mirage. Let us remember and also refresh the think tanks of India on the failure of that accord and events that led to its failure.
The Indian Government must have known that Srilanka is always bent upon a military solution and is never for conflict resolution. The negotiations between 30th August 1985 to 19th December 1986 were going on, but during that period also Srilankan army was continuing its barbarian assaults on Eelam Tamils. India could not do anything. To teach Srilanka a lesson Government of India provided arms to Tamil militants and simultaneously lobbied among international community pinpointing the human rights violation and genocidal designs of Srilankan Government. In the middle of 1987 India intervened to provide humanitarian assistance and air lifted food supplies to Jaffna peninsula. This is the Rajiv Gandhi approach which unfortunately his widow Madam Sonia Gandhi had totally forgotten. Apart from lip services of Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee towards the starving internally displaced persons of Eelam, India is not repeating history by air lifting food supplies to the Tamils encircled in Mullaitheevu. Also the donations collected In Tamilnadu could not cool the starving stomachs of Eelam Tamils. We condemn this inhuman inaction of the Indian government in this grave hour while Eelam Tamils are bleeding and starving.
The airlift coupled with international pressure forced Srilanka to stop the hostilities in 1987. This time Srilanka is not stopping the hostilities because it is sure of Indian backing and hence ignores the concerns expressed by other nations.
Unless India arm twists Srilanka will not heed, 1987 Indo-Srilankan accord is a product of Indian coercion otherwise Srilanka would never have climbed down from its arrogant pursuit of war.
Indo-Srilanka accord paved the way for temporarily merging the Northern and Eastern provinces. To implement the accord then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi sent the Indian Peace Keeping Force. Simultaneously the now hated LTTE agreed for cessation of hostilities and began handing over of arms to IPKF. Then who broke the pact ? Who triggered the unrest again ? Who is responsible ? Let us all impartially look back. General Amnesty was granted under the accord by the Srilankan Government “to political and other prisoners then held in custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and other emergency laws, and to combatants, as well as to those persons accused, charged or convicted under these laws.” If only Srilankan Government had adhered to this general amnesty, the conflict could have been resolved. But Srilankan Government suddenly withheld amnesty to 1250 political prisoners, saying amnesty does not apply towards offences committed in areas other than North-East provinces.This culminated in LTTE suspending surrender of arms and led to LTTE and IPKF clashes.
Srilanka is known for its double speak. India never learnt lessons. After bartering away of Kacha Theevu islands to please and placate Srilanka, India dreamt that goodwill will prevail between both countries. The Kacha Theevu agreement foolishly drafted admits the rights of Indian fishermen to dry their nets in Kacha Theevu, but that does not mean Indians can fish near Kacha Theevu interpreted Srilanka in sadistic manner. By twisting the real intention of an agreement between two countries Srilanka till date goes on killing spree . It is national shame for India that it fails to protect the lives of Indian Tamil fishermen. India that seeks the handing over of Pakistani citizens who perpetuated terrorist attacks in Mumbai should have and must have sought the handing over of the Srilankan navy men to try them in Indian courts for their killings. Neither India sought compensation for the more than 1000 Indian Tamil fishermen killed by Srilankan navy. Srilanka cannot claim that it is killing terrorists. India cannot remain blind towards the killing of its own citizens.
The Srilankan Government is charged with genocide. It cannot justify the killings of Indian Tamil fishermen, who are not terrorists. Any Government with self respect and patriotism would have sued Srilanka in International Court of Justice to regain the Kacha Theevu Island. Or India could have taken the killings of Indian Tamils to United Nations. India that proclaims it handed over dossiers to more than 100 countries, must have sent dossiers about the excesses and brutality of Srilankan navy, which kills almost once in every few days just because they are Tamils. Without an iota of doubt the genocide of Srilankan Government could be proven in American courts or before International Court of Criminal Justice, if those who file cases against the genocide of Eelam Tamils could also add a chapter on Tamil fishermen killings. Sinhalese hate Tamils like Nazis hatred for Jews, hence the Indian Tamil too is killed, one could argue.
As Indian citizens we have another moral responsibility. While in USA, the largest democracy people voice their concern against excesses of American army in the occupied Iraq, we in India had remained deaf, dumb and blind over the excesses committed by the IPKF. The only bold gesture of protest in those days was the refusal of the then Tamilnadu Chief Minister Dr.Kalaignar M.Karunanithi to receive the Innocent People Killing Force on its arrival. Now evidences are surfacing with books speaking about those excesses. India should try those who committed offences in Martial Courts, if it wants to uphold its goodwill among the comity of nations about its moral high and Gandhian values nurtured since independence. Prof Daya Somasundaram`s book Scarred Minds :The Psychological Impact of War on Sri Lankan Tamils brings out details of the IPKF excesses. Prof Daya Somasundaram is the Professor of Psychiatry in the University of Jaffna and concurrently Consultant Psychiatrist, General (Teaching Hospital) Jaffna. He was one of the four authors of the book, Broken Palmyrah, which was critical of the LTTE, a co-author of Mental Health in Cambodia, where he served as a Consultant Psychiatrist .
The resolutions passed by Tamilnadu assembly on the plight of Eelam Tamils did not evoke any response in the Union Government. This necessitates the revival of the State Autonomy demand for which the Justice P.V.Rajamannar Commission gave its report in seventies to Tamilnadu Government. The State Autonomy Conference at Annanagar in 1970 where Punjab Chief Minister Gurnam Singh participated has been forgotten. We gave the state autonomy torch brought from Puducherry DMK in the hands of Dr.Kalaignar. The Maran-Chezhian Committee Report remains in archives. DMK must reconsider its strategies. Indian Constitution paves way for Kashmir alone enjoying superiority status over other states by way of Article 370. Tamilnadu is not secondary state. All states in India should enjoy equal powers. There cannot be different layers or class divisions. If in future Tamilnadu assembly resolutions had to be respected and responded without eroding the self respect of Tamil population in India, it is high time Tamilnadu demand extension of article 370 of Indian constitution to all states, more particularly to Tamilnadu.
The Indian Government which is neither clear in its mind nor has the political will to force Srilanka to arrive at the right solution, is building castes in air. Let me recall the Framework for Constitutional restructuring to end the ethnic conflict in India circulated in 1995 during the regime of Chandrika Kumaratunga. The key components are :
• Assuring the Unity of Srilanka through the powers of Executive President
• There should be two councils under the President, one for safeguarding the Constitution and other for minority interests.
• There shall be two parliaments, one for Sinhalese and one for Tamil eelam each with a Prime Minister and a cabinet assuring the rights of self determination of the two principle nationalities of Srilankan Tamils and Sinhalese .
• Srilankan armed forces shall comprise of three wings, namely Sinhala Ratta, Tamil Eelam army and a national coordinating army
• After constitutional restructuring people’s wish to resettle in place of their choice shall be supported by the state.
• The North and East shall be permanently merged. If necessary the areas of Padavil kulam, Thambankadavai East and Wilpattu be exchanged for District of Amparai.
• Abolition of Provincial Councils
These are matters that were discussed in those days. India even in its dreams will not be considering these. India wants Kashmir type elections and Varadaraja Permal type of Chief Ministers. The Island newspaper of Srilanka dated 6th March 1995 mentions the readiness of LTTE to abandon the demand for separate homeland and listed four cardinal principles for conflict resolution.
• The problems of Tamils should be accepted as national issue
• The Tamil people must be accepted as national entity
• The traditional homelands of Tamil should be accepted
• The rights and sovereignty of Tamils should be accepted.
None of these will be even debated now. The victors will offer the vanquished slavery on platter. India is pushing Tamils to become slaves to Sinhalese. India has no solution in its kitty that will not infringe the self respect of Eelam Tamils.
Indian Government or other Nations that show adamancy to accept the separate state demand of Tamils, have now started to get shocked by the genocidal war unleashed by Srilanka aimed at ethnic cleansing. This ethnic cleansing had been the single goal pursued by various Srilankan governments and political parties for nearly half a century.
Let me challenge the civilized democracies of this earth to touch their conscience and say whether they have forgotten the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Now let them read what Sinhalese Members of Parliament had spoken in their country’s Parliament. Can any Parliamentarian speak openly with impunity in any of the Parliaments or Senates of this Earth, in the manner in which Sinhalese Members of Parliament had spoken in past ?
Sinhalese Buddhist Member of Parliament from Kundasale Mr.D.M.Chandrapala, spoke in July 1981 in Srilankan Parliament : Quote “ Now Sir…. What should we do to this so called leader of Tamils ? If I were given powers, I would tie him to the nearest concrete post in this building and horse whip him till I raise him to his wits. Thereafter let anybody do anything he likes, throw him into the Biere[lake] or into the sea, because he will be so mutilated that I do not think there will be life in him “
This is the Srilankan Parliament under which India wants Eelam Tamils to elect members to hear on how they should be killed if they demand anything legitimate. Is it not subjugating Eelam Tamils to slavery in an Earth where Negroes were emancipated from slavery ?
Mr.G.V.Punchinilame, Sinhalese Buddhist Member of Parliament from Ratnapura to explain in Parliament on how cruelly Tamils should be tortured. Quote : “ Since yesterday morning, we have heard in this honorable house about the various types of punishment that should be meted out to them.[ Tamil Parliamentary leaders ]. The M.P for Panadura, Dr.Neville Fernando said that there was a punishment during the regime of Sinhalese kings, namely two areca nut posts are erected , the two posts are then drawn towards each other with a rope, then tie the each feet of the offender to each post and then cut the rope which will result in tearing apart the body. These people [Tamil M.P’s] should be punished that way.
Some members suggested that they should be put to death on the stake, some other members said their passports should be confiscated, still other members said they should be made to stand at Galle Face and shot. The people of this country want and the government is prepared to inflict these punishments on these people.
Before violence erupted or militarist movements took inception, when purely Tamils were pursuing democratic path demanding state autonomy through peaceful means, Srilankan Parliament had debated on how Tamil Members of Parliament should be killed and tortured. Such hatred possessed only by their predecessors, the Aryan Nazis, is inbuilt in the minds of Aryan Sinhalese. Cruelty is their creed. Barbarianism is their gospel. India which is now clandestinely crushing whatever little shield Tamils had is forcing them to go to an open air concentration camp. President Barrack Hussein Obama who felt ashamed of the inhuman behavior of American forces in Iraq is closing such dens of torture, whereas India wants entire Northern Province of Srilanka to be made an open garrison. The talk of political solution is the cruel joke of this century. To teach cannibals to behave in civilized manner if efforts are put, it will yield results. But the Sinhalese who inscribed their language letter Sri with hot irons in the forcibly exposed bare chests of Tamil women in fifties, Sinhalese who could pluck the eyes of freedom fighters within their prison and to crush it with their boots in sadistic arrogance, will torture the entire Tamil race. World watches helplessly when civilians are killed in so called safe zones. World watches while international agencies could not reach Tamils with medicines and food for internally displaced peoples. If under unitary Srilanka, Tamils are forced to live it will only be a life worse than a slave, and whoever moots that idea for whatever geo-political compulsion, will be placed as abettors of genocide before future generations and in history.
Before concluding, it is my duty to recall the words of then Srilankan President as published in Daily Telegraph of Srilanka on 11th July 1983. Mr.J.R.Jayawardane with whom innocent political novice Mr. Rajiv Gandhi inked an accord in 1987 had spoken in 1983, as follows :
“ I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people, now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or opinion. The more you put pressure in the North, the happier will the Sinhalese people be here. Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhalese people will be happy.”
This is Mr.Rajiv Gandhi’s favorite President Jayawardane. Now Manmohan Singh’s favorite President Mr.Mahinda Rajapakshe is implementing the mass starvation of Tamils and further finds glee in killings of internally displaced persons.
If India could succeed to bring together Pakistan occupied Kashmir and Jammu and Kashmir as one single unitary state, then they have the moral right to force Eelam Tamils to accept unitary state concept in Srilanka. If India’s diplomats like Mr.M.K.Narayanan and Mr.Shivshankar Menon could bring Israelites and Palestinians under single governance, single unitary Government, then India has the political proven will to preach Tamils to live with Sinhalese. If India could recall its own Father of Nation Mr.Mahatma Gandhi’s desire for a Unified India and Pakistan without a divide on religious lines, and if the current leaders with Gandhi tag preach unity of Akanda Bharat, which will please the BJP too, then they can force Eelam Tamils to live under one roof with Sinhalese. If India that helped the formation of Bangladesh could unite Bangladesh with West Bengal and recognize the legitimate right of Bengalis to be united as one entity to protect and promote their culture, then for which India’s External Affairs Minister could devote whole time to fulfill a demand that will elevate him to a highest pedestal in history. The concept of divorce is legally accepted if couples could not remain united. But Indian diplomats want killers and their victims to shake hands as if they played cricket match. The saying Nero fiddled while Rome was burning is outdated and need to be relegated to archives. The modern saying is Indians played cricket while Eelam Tamils are killed in genocide.
Let world powers with maturity ponder the imponderable solution India has in its sleeves. Indian Parliament will meet shortly. Speaking in one of the rallies Union Minister A. Raja of DMK had said that Eelam Tamil issue will echo in Parliament. We hope our Tamil Parliament members will seek ghost writers to prepare speeches since extempore orators like Aringnar Anna, Nanjil Manoharan, Era.Sezhian, S.S.Mariswamy, G.Viswanathan, K.Rajaram and people who can articulate are kept out of electoral contests and will keep their lungpower to use like Bihar members when they protested the assaults of their kinsmen in Maharastra.
42 political activists of Myanmar landed in the Windfall Island of India’s Andaman Islands in 1998, allegedly lured by a promise of getting a base for them there. On arrival, 6 of them were killed and 36 arrested reportedly by an Indian intelligence officer LT. Col. Grewal. Two of the arrested have gone missing. A book titled ‘Rouge Agent’ authored by Nandita Haksar and published by Penguin India is released in Delhi, Wednesday 11th February 2009, along with a protest demonstration demanding the release of the 34, languishing in the Indian prison for 11 years and requesting the UNHCR to grant them refugee status, Burma Centre in Delhi said.
Nandita Haksar, the author of the book, is an international human rights lawyer. The book is released by Dr Tint Swe of the exile government of the Union of Burma, headquartered in USA. “The people of Burma was also in negotiation with the Government of India through Lt Col V.J.S Grewal for a base in India in 1995 and after two years of negotiations they were invited to come to Landfall Island in Andaman. However on their arrival to Landfall Island on 10 Feb 1998, 36 of the Burmese freedom fighters were arrested while six were killed the same day. Out of the 36 arrested two have gone missing from Andaman Jail. The others were kept for 9 years in Port Blair and later transferred to Presidency Jail, Kolkata and continue to be imprisoned there”, a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister of India, from civil groups supporting Aung San Suu Kyi and requesting the release of the prisoners said.
This news once again demonstrates that bureaucrats still nourish colonial mentality and are never loyal to their political masters who keep a tab on the pulse of the people. We in India should feel ashamed of imprisoning freedom fighters for 11 years and India must tender public apology to the civilized democracies on earth for its sin to toeing the army rulers in Burma and perpetuators of genocide in Srilanka.