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Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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About the Conference - Tamil Eelam Supporters Co-Ordination Committee
Letter From The Home Minister of  India, 10 December 1997
Reply to the Home Minister by International Convention for Solidarity With the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka, 11 December 1997

George Fernandes M.P. , President, All India Samata Party

Presidential Speech - George Fernandes M.P.(President, All India Samata Party) -Conspiracy to suppress the truth
Australian delegate turned back - An Australian Human Rights activist, Mr. Yohan Myles who arrived in Delhi on 14th December to attend the conference was detained at the Delhi Airport by the immigration authorities. Mr. Myles had a valid visa to enter the country, but he was not told the grounds on which he was denied entry. After a 10 hour wait at the airport he was sent back to Australia. It is believed that he was refused entry because he happened to be a Tamil.
Concluding Speech - George Fernandes, M.P. - The Art of Divide and Rule
Letter to Secretary, UN Human Rights Commission, Geneva. Switzerland. from V.R. Krishna Iyer, Former Judge, Supreme Court, Chairman, National Committee for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka 15 March 1998.
George Fernandes Interview with Sunday Times, Colombo, 21 December 1997 "There is overwhelming support for LTTE in Tamil Nadu"
Conference Resolutions
Coverage of Conference by Hot Springs, London - Journal of Commitment Edited by S.Sivanayagam
List of Speakers
ஈழ விடுதலைப் போராட்டம் ஒரு வரலாற்றுக் கட்டாயம் - Pala Nedumaran, President, Tamil National Movement

The Tamils Cause Is Just- A.P. Venkateshwaran, Former Foreign Secretary of India

Human Rights Violations in Batticaloa - Joseph Pararajasingham M.P.
Accept International Mediation - Malcolm R. Grace, Amnesty-International, Australia
The Illusion of Devolution - Dr.S.Sathananthan
Nothing but, Genocide - K. Veeramani, General Secretary, Dravidar Kazhagam
Dr. Ira Janarathanam



International tamil conferences

International Convention for
Solidarity with Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka

Organised by Tamil Eelam Supporters Co-Ordination Committee
17/1, Narasimapuram, Mylapore, Chennai-600 004, INDIA

New Delhi, India

15 December 1997

International Convention for Solidarity with Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka, 1997
Gillies Piquois, International Commission of  Jurists, France
International Convention for Solidarity with Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka, 1997
Delegates from Tamil Nadu
International Convention for Solidarity with Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka, 1997

About the Conference
by Tamil Eelam Supporters Co-Ordination Committee

(The Government of India denied permission to the convention on the grounds of a security threat. The convenor George Fernandes M.P., decided to defy the ban. The convention was held in a Shamiana, quickly erected in the spacious lawn of Mr. Fernandes' residence. It was a break through convention.)

The crowning pinnacle of our effort was the holding of the "International Convention for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka", convened by Mr.George Fernandes. M.P., Leader of the Samata Party and Ex-Minister in Delhi on 14th December. The convention was to have been held at the FICCI auditorium, but permission to do so was denied by the Government of India on the grounds of a security threat. The Home Minister's letter mentioned that it has been brought to his notice that the LTTE was trying to reactivate their support base in Tamil Nadu-in the aftermath of US declaration calling them a terrorist organisation, and that the convention was being held at their behest. It also stated that reports indicated funds for the purpose were being channelled from US and Australia based LTTE leaders through Mr. Nedumaran. In denying this Mr. Fernandes pointed out this convention was announced in May following similar conventions in Bangalore, various parts of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry. One Newspaper speculated that LTTE leaders who were in hiding in Europe had slipped into India and that Mr. Nedumaran was bringing 200 Sri Lankan Tamils by Train from Chennai.

Mr.Fernandes called a largely attended press conference at which he condemned the Government's action and announced that he would defy the Government and hold the convention in a Shamiana hastily erected in his large garden. The controversy worked in favour of tremendous publicity for the convention. Some Newspapers mentioned that Mr. Fernandes would be arrested. The evening before the convention police in large numbers visited Mr. Fernandes's residence and looked behind hushes. According to Mr. Fernandes, One Australian delegate (Eelam Tamil) was deported.

On the day of the convention a large number of journalists and T.V.Crewmen attended the convention and the press conference threafter. Many conducted individual interviews with Messrs. Fernandes, Nedumaran and Joseph Pararajasingam, Leader of the TULF Parliamentary Group. BBC conducted telephone interviews which were broadcast every hour the following day. Several newspapers published accounts and photographs. We have clippings from 3 Hindi, Several English (Hindu, Hindustan Times, Statesman, Asian Age, Evening News, Times of India, National Herald, Indian Express) and Tamil (Viduthalai several days with one and a half pages on one day, Malai Chudar, Kathiravan, Dinamani, etc) newspapers. Some carried news regarding the convention for two or three days.

The convention was chaired by Mr.Fernandes who spoke on the background to the National problem in Sri Lanka, the current situation and criticised the lack of inaction by the Indian and other Governments. Mr. Pararajasingam who inaugurated the convention outlined the human rights situation in Eelam particularly in the Batticaloa district. Dr S. Sathananthan, Secretary of the Action group of Tamils in Colombo pointed out the shortcomings in the proposed constitutional draft to meet the aspirations of. Tamils of Eelam.

Other speakers included Mr.Malcolm Grace of Amnesty International and the International Commission of Jurists of Australia, who carried messages from Justices Enfield and David of Australia, Mr.Gilles Piques of the International commission of Jurists of France, Mr. A.P.Venkateswaran, Former External Affairs Secretary to the Government of India, General (Retired) Ashok K. Mehta of the IPKF, Mr. Veeramani, General Secretary of Dravida Kalagam, Mr. P.Nedumaran, President, Tamil National Movement and of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Supporters Coordination Committee, Dr. R. Janarthanam of Tamil Nadu and Mr. Nandivarman of Pondicherry.

Karen Parker cancelled her trip at the last minute, as she had to attend to some matters connected with the Suresh Case in Canada. Several messages of best wishes received from individuals and organisations were read.

Several resolutions were passed unanimously. The main resolution referred to the background to the problem, the current situation and made an appeal to the Indian Government, World Governments, and world communities to pressurise the Sri Lanka government to take certain actions and desist from others, and to negotiate a political solution under third party mediation. This was proposed from the Chair.

The resolution requesting Tamil political parties not to participate in Elections in Tamil Areas, till normalcy returns were proposed by Dr. Ashok Sastri of Uttar Pradesh. The resolution requesting the Indian Government to release all Sri Lanka Tamils in Prisons and grant them safe asylum till situation in Sri Lanka becomes conducive for their return was proposed by Mr. Deepthiman Ghosh of West Bengal.

The resolution to set up a National Committee for Solidarity with Eelam Tamils to organise similar conventions in all the State Capitals to educate the people on the situation facing Sri Lanka Tamils and to exert pressure on the Indian Government to take initiation to bring about a peaceful settlement through negotiations was proposed by Mr. Krishna Rao of Andhra Pradesh who undertook to hold a similar convention in Vijayawada in April after the elections. Justice Krishna Iyer was elected Chariman and Mr. George Fernandes as convenor of the National Committee.

Resolution regarding U.S. involvement in Sri Lanka and calling upon the Indian government to take steps to prevent any developments that will impinge on India's security interests was proposed by Dr. Shambu Saran Srivasta of Bihar.

The resolution requesting the Government of India not to prevent Eelam refugees from coming to India and to enable them to live their lives in human dignity was proposed by Prof. Balraj Kumar of Delhi.

The resolution stating that many provisions of the draft constitutions falls far short of the aspirations of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, and asking the Government of Sri Lanka to negotiate apolitical settlement with the LTTE on the basis of the four cordinal principles enunciated at Thimbu was proposed by Dr. Sa. Sathananthan of Eelam.

The resolution condemning the aspersions cast on Tamils, Sikhs and the Queen of Nepal by the Jain Commission Report was proposed by Mr. Chandra Mehta of Rajasthan. The full resolution can be found on the internet.

All the proposers other than Mr. Fernandes and Dr. Sathananthan confessed to their lack of knowledge of the true situation and vowed to help in the holding of conventions in their State capitals. Some even volunteer to refer to this issue during the forthcoming elections.

During the lunch interval, two street plays were performed by a professor from the Delhi University and his group. One depicted a lady representing Eelam in Chains being attacked by Sri Lankan Army, Mossad, CIA and Indian Government (in disguise) and the other, a song and dance drama on the same subject.

Over 300 delegates from Tamil Nadu, other Indian States, U.S.A., Sri Lanka and Australia attended the convention. Most delegates from Tamil Nadu came in special coaches attached to the Chennai-Delhi train, hung placards on their coaches, and raised slogans all along the way.

Almost all the organisations belonging to Tamil Eelam Liberation supporters co-ordination Committee were represented. The convention was rated a great success from the point of view of a first breakthrough outside Tamil Nadu, the propaganda value and potential of holding conventions in other states.

Presidential Speech - George Fernandes M.P. (President, All India Samata Party) -Conspiracy to suppress the truth

(Mr. George Fernandes, in his Presidential speech narrated the events that led to the denial of permission to the conference)

George Fernandes M.P. , President, All India Samata PartyAs the convenor of this convention it was first proposed by me on the 24th May 1997 at a mass rally in Pondicherry. It is necessary for me to make this point in the first place even before welcoming you because the Government of India and its Home Minister have trying to suggest that this convention is held here consequent upon the U.S.Government's declaring LTTE as a Terrorist Organisation. The Home Minister has made such an observation in his letter addressed to me in which he had suggested me that I should not organise or participate in this convention. I had not expected the Government of India to behave in the manner in which it has.

We have assembled here for a purpose that has been the concern of all those who care for human rights and we are aware of what is happening in Sri Lanka particularly the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. Such 'conferences have been held in Tamil Nadu, in Karnataka and have been held in New Delhi. But not in the shape of national or international convention but only in the shape of meetings, seminars or discussions about the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. The Government should be aware of all those meetings and conferences. The Home Minister who has signed the letter in which he has charged that Comrade Nedumaran is bringing money from Australia and US to organise this conference. He has said that the intelligence agencies are giving him such a report.

On May 24th last, in the public rally held in Pondicherry I announced that we are proposing to hold a conference in Delhi so that the cause of the Tamil people may be made known to the people of the country. We wanted to have it in Delhi because people in the capital should know what is happening there and what the Government of India is to do to resolve the situation that is prevailing in Sri Lanka. The Tamils are in the receiving end of strange terrorism and the human rights violation is taking place. But India has not said anything about the life of those who are at the receiving end of the terrorism.

I cannot believe that the Home Minister did not get the intelligence Report that such conferences are being organised. In fact this conference should have been organised during the last session of the Parliament and that was the original idea when I announced on the 24th may that I will hold the conference in New Delhi during the monsoon session of the Parliament. Because of my preoccupation with other activities it was not possible for us to keep my commitment to have it during the monsoon session and we choose the next session i.e. the winter session.

But you may be aware of the political developments that took place which finally formulated to the dissolution of the Parliament otherwise the Members of Parliament would have been present here to-day. The Rajya  Sabha has also been simultaneously adjourned. The Home Minister takes the position he took and finally to get the police to refuse permission to hold the conference in the FICCI Auditorium for which we had paid money. When there were only 24 hours left for the conference, they communicated their decision to deny permission to hold the conference. There is total lack of understanding. There must be motivation, or there must be forces behind for the decision. We had to cancel all the arrangements with loss of money which costs Rs.20,000 and had to abandon the arrangements made.

Now the police in their letter have told us that there are security implications which come in the way of giving permission to hold the conference in the FICCI Auditorium. When various security implications were there to hold the conference in the city hall, I would like to ask the Home minister as to what happened to those various security implications when we are meeting here now? There does not seem to be problems of Tamil People. She has not only promised but delivered all the facilities to enable them to stand up and fight.

When her son became the Prime Minister, he continued the policy . He too believed that the Tamil people had the just cause and he also provided all the resources and help. If the Tamil people just cause continued, when Rajiv Gandhi provided them all the help and support when did Tamil people cause in Sri Lanka seized to he just and right ? I would like to know the answer for this question from those who are attacking this convention and those who are acting at the behest of somebody alleging that the convention is being organised with the help of foreign money.

The Government of India needs to answer this question. I have been asking the same question to the Government of India publicly and privately and in public meetings. The only answer I have received is that things changed with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. No one has said that the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi was right. We all mourn the passing away of the leader of the Congress party. The country was in grief. But the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi does not change the situation of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka and their demand. The violation of human rights is not changed. I have been constantly telling the ruling establishment in our country that one person's sorrow cannot be the basis of formulating reaching a country's foreign policy. The country's policy towards fundamental issues which has been accepted almost two decades back. In this background the solution to the ongoing conflict will have to be found.

There is a global campaign that there is a new constitution and it provides devolution of powers. There is no devolution of power in the new Constitution.

The resolutions have been circulated. They have been prepared by the experts assembled here. I hope you will all discuss the same in detail and pass the resolutions unanimously.

Concluding Speech - Mr. George Fernandes - The Art of Divide and Rule

I commence my speech after paying tributes to Thiru Abdul Ravoop of Perambalur in TamilNadu who sacrificed his life for the cause of Eelam Tamils. I bow my head with respect to his memory.

This is not the first time in my life that I have been accused of getting foreign money. But this time they alleged that it was channelised through somebody else. Last time Mrs. Indira Gandhi made certain allegations against me. As you all know she imposed Emergency in June 1975 and in July she presented a White paper in the Lok Sabha. In that white paper she charged me that I have organised the Railway strike in this country and the strike in which 12 1 akhs workers participated . She also alleged that it was organised by me with the money given to me by C.I.A.

She maintained 14 months to make that charge and she had to impose an emergency to make that charge and when she made the charge, from the underground where I was fighting against the emergency. I wrote an open letter to her stating that "someday the emergency will be over, the people will overthrow you . I may stand at a roadside in the country and charging you with having been a liar but you be at the time have to explain the lies that you have uttered". Mrs. Gandhi had no reply to that because I had always believed that she is a congenital  liar and she made her charge on the Railway strike to which the present Home Minister Indrajit Guptha and his party and the Trade Union movement he headed along with the Communist Party of India were all part of my action Committee which I headed as Chairman and the Committee organised the strike. The thing that pains me is that the person who was the General Secretary of the Communist party of India, the person who has been my colleague in Parliament since 1967 and a person who had the Trade Unionist worked along with me in the Railway strike should have put the signature in the letter which is charging me with organising the convention with foreign money i.e.America and Australian money, my feeling is that my friend Indrajit Guptha is not dare to blame me and was trying to blame the movement of Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka. I think in the process he is trying to hide the shame ofthe Government which refuses to take up reasons of the Genocide which take place across the gulf of Mannar.

The Indian State has always believed in dividing people. Sometimes divide the Northern and Southern states, sometimes the Hindus and Muslims, sometimes dividing North Eastern tribal people and the rest. It has always believed, survived, and thrived on these divisions. We do not have answers to the problems of the people when you keep the whole establishment of the whole state at the service of the rich at the service of the exploiting class then you need to have targets with which you can keep the people divided. Keep the people fighting among themselves and the Indian state is perhaps the world's greatest expert in this art of divide and rule policy. I am grateful to comrade Veeramani whose observations that this conference has among other things achieved the whole concept of what we call as national integration by making the people of the North aware of the problems of the people of Tamil Eelam and making them become a part of the campaign to help the people in Tamil Eelam.

Comrade Nedumaran referred to the resolution of setting up of an all India Committee to continue this campaign which has began at the National level today. Without such a resolution being adopted in this convention, my colleagues who have come here from West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka have spontaneously started suggesting me that they would like to have similar conventions in their respective State capitals and I assure you that we shall be organising such conventions and we will be needing some of you from Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and from other countries. They can speak up for the people of Tamil Eelam in those conferences so that people across the country are made aware of what is happening in Sri Lanka and the dimensions of the struggle. I want to assure all of you that whatever obstacles are placed in our way, this campaign will spread all over the country and we will take responsibility for any consequences that may follow. I do not want to make any more time. I want to thank all of you who have made it possible for this conference to be very successful and very first national convention which in fact was an international convention..

I want to thank the comrade who have come from Sri Lanka here along with his wife. It has been my privilege to get to know them. I am sure that the common cause that has brought us together will keep us going together . Delegates from France and Australia have already left. I am grateful to them for taking pains to come here.

Letter From The Home Minister of  India, 10 December 1997

NEW DELHI-110 001.

December 10, 1997.

Dear Shri George Fernandes,

It has been brought to my notice that the LTTE, leadership based abroad are trying to reactivate their support base in Tamil Nadu in the aftermath of the US decision to declare the LTTE as a terrorist organization. With this objective in view, at the behest of LTTE Leadership, a Conference under the banner of "International Convention for Solidarity with Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka" is being organised in FICCI Auditorium, New Delhi on 14-12-1997. Reports received in this behalf also indicate that funds for the purpose are being channelised from US and Australia based LTTE leaders through Shri Nedumaran.

You seem to be actively associating yourself with this Conference. Since funding of the Conference to be attended by you is questionable, we would request you to reconsider your decision to organise and participate in the said conference.

With regards,

Yours sincerely,

Sd. Indrajit Gupta

Reply to the Home Minister by International Convention for Solidarity With the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka, 11 December 1997

International Convention for Solidarity With the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka
3, Krishnan Menon Marg, New Delhi-110 011
Fax : +91 11 379 3397 Ph(s): +91-11-301 7172
email: [email protected] 301 6035

December 11,1997.

Dear Shri Indrajit Gupta,

This refers to your D.O.letter No. 1-11-34/1/97-ISDI (A) marked secret/most immediate to Shri George Fernandes. As Mr. Fernandes is out of Delhi till late this evening he has authorized me as the Organizing Secretary of the "International Convention for Solidarity with Eelam Tamils in Sri Lanka" to respond to you.

First and foremost, we categorically state that this convention has no connection with the LTTE at all. Therefore the question of it being held at the behest of the LTTE or that funds for the purpose from US and Australia are being channelised through anyone connected with the convention does not arise. Such allegations and conclusions are wholly incorrect.

Similar conventions at a national level have already been held at Bangalore. Chennai and other cities of Tamil Nadu during this year. Very recently a conference on the same subject was held in New Delhi in which former Foreign Secretary Shri J.N.Dixit, Maj. Genl (Retd.) Ashok Mehta and others, participated. Visas have already been given to members of Parliament from Sri Lanka and distinguished jurists and constitutional experts from various countries to attend our conference.

We may also clarify that Mr. George Fernandes is the convenor of this conference and you would know that he is fully responsible for conducting this in our national interest. The issue of human rights for Sri Lankan Tamils has often been raised in our Parliament and is the subject of our conference

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Sd. Jaya Jaitly
Organising Secretary

Letter to Secretary, UN Human Rights Commission, Geneva, Switzerland. from V.R. Krishna Iyer, Former JUdge, Supreme Court, Chairman, National Committee for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka 15 March 1998.

 Respected Members of the Commission,

We, the Committee for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka wish to record our condemnation of the serious human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government and its security forces amounting to genocide, and express our disappointment at the virtual silence of the international community, a few honorable exceptions.

As you are no doubt aware, there is a war going on in Sri Lanka between the Sri Lankan government, representing the Sinhala nation and

the Tamil militants (L1 IL), representing the Tamil nation which is fighting a war of liberation. The Sri Lankan government. whose security forces are almost all Sinhalese, has been responsible for indiscriminate bombing, shelling, and strafing of Tamil areas causing immense loss of civilian life, limb and property. Since 1983. Over 50,000 Tamil civilians have been killed resulting in tens of thousands of widows and orphans. It has also resorted to indiscriminately arresting, torturing, raping and killing of Tamils. It has used rape, food and medicines as weapons of war. The embargo on food and medicines which has been in force since 1990 has only been partially lifted.

We enclose as Annexture 1, a copy of the main resolution passed at the "International Convention for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka" held in New Delhi on December 14, 1997 which gives you a background to the problem, what is happening in Sri Lanka, and an appeal to the world governments and the world community for action. The convention was attended by persons from various states of India and from a number of countries. Speakers at the convention included those from Australia, France and Sri Lanka-.

Sri Lankan security forces have a long history of serious human rights violations. A recently released report by the UN working Group on Disappearances states that Sri Lanka with a total of 11,513 disappearances ranks the second highest in the world. The violations of human rights have been documented in many reports such as by Amnesty International, Asia Watch, International Commission of Jurists, U.S. Committee for Refugees etc.

The Sri Lanka Country Report on Human Rights Practices released by the U.S. department of State on January 30, 1998 mentioned several human rights violations. Extracts from it are enclosed as Annexure II.

In a speech made at the Delhi Convention referred to earlier, Mr. J. Pararajasingham MP ( for the Batticaloa district of the Northeast Province of Sri Lanka) and leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front Parliamentary group listed several human rights violations against the Tamils. A copy of his speech is enclosed as Annexure III.

In a report of February 2 1998, Mr. Jack Arthey, Head of Christian Aid's South Asia Team, who visits Sri Lanka regularly and engages in doing refugee relief work there through 7 NGO's refers to the health crisis in the Vanni as deeply disturbing. The report states that there is severe malnutrition and alarming health problems among the internal refugees of some 700,000. Night blindness strikes children and there is a high incidence of diseases such as malaria, typhoid and scabies. Hookworm infection and anemia are common among the pregnant women, Maternity clinics are few, the roads are poor and there is no available means of transport.

Where hospitals exists, one doctor is often seeing 1,200 patients a day, states the report. Essential drugs are unavailable, or outdated and ineffective as medicines are among items restricted or banned under a government embargo.

The National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, consisting of eminent Sinhalese and Tamil non-political leaders stated recently that, because of the government embargo on food and medicine "the situation is both desperate and tragic, more so because it appears to be the result of deliberate policy". The Peace Council confirms the findings of Christian Aid and add tuberculosis to the list of diseases. Out of a sampling of 3,65,000 fever patients, 40% were found to have malaria, and of this 14% had brain damaging cerebral malaria. Third degree malnutrition beyond which level children develop extended stomachs, expanded livers and skinny frames was found to be around 40% in Mullaitivu district of Vanni. The report states that "the denial of basic needs of food, medicine and housing materials is morally unacceptable in a civilised society".

Despite the serious human rights violations, not one person responsible has been convicted. Most perpetrators continue in their previous positions or have been promoted, some to top leadership jobs in the security forces. As pointed out in the U.S. State Department's report, "their attitudes and practices have been slow to change". Court cases proceed very slowly and in some cases prosecution officials failed to be present during court proceedings. Report of Commissions of Inquiry into violations have not been made public. Because of these factors human rights continue to he violated with Impunity.

The above mentioned facts have been concealed to the outside world through restrictions on visits by media and other observers, both local and foreign, to Tamil areas. Many NGOs have been banned from operating and providing medical and food relief in these areas. Most recently a law was enacted to enable the government to monitor the activities of NGOs and permit its officials to visit the offices and attend meetings and NGOs.

The culpability of the government of Sri Lanka for these violations of International laws is even more account is taken of the impunity it has given to the perpetrators.

The International Community has, for far too long, accepted the assurance of the Sri Lankan government to improve its poor human rights record, blaming it on a few "bad apples" in the security forces. It is clear that the government promised count for little. We believe strongly that it is time for the international community to take a firm stand against the violations of human rights.

We are appreciative of the candid assessment by the U.S. of violations in its report on Sri Lanka in 1997. We wish to point out that India and the United Kingdom have a special responsibility in this regard in view of their historical ties to the victims. We appeal to them and other world governments to pressurise the Sri Lankan government to take the actions mentioned at the end of the resolution in Annexure 1.

With kind regards,

yours sincerely

sd.Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer



Members of Indian the Parliament

sd. Vaiko M.P., (M.D.M.K.)

sd. Cengi N. Ramachandran M.P., (M.D.M.K.)
sd. A, Ganesamurthy M.P., (M.D.M.K.)
sd. Digvijay Singh M.P., (Samata Party)

George Fernandes Interview with Sunday Times, Colombo, 21 December 1997

There is overwhelming support for LTTE in Tamil Nadu, Says George Fernandes

Excerpts from an interview with George Fernandes Samata party leader and an ally of the BJP by a special correspondent of the SUNDAY TIMES, Colombo, published in its issue of December 21, 1997.

ST: I take it that you are committed to an united India. This being so, how can you support the LTTE's demand for an independent Tamil Eel am?

GF: The Tamils had been fighting for a Federal system and equality for two decades using Gandhian methods. But these had borne no fruit. Their condition only worsened over time. A secular Sri Lanka became a Buddhist Sri Lanka, and primacy was given to Sinhala. All this militated against Tamil-Sinhala unity.

ST: Will not the movement for, or the formation of, Eelam trigger a secessionist movement in Tamil Nadu?

GF: This situation in India is different. We have a federal system, though it is still not perfect. Coalitions from regional parties have ruled from Delhi. Both the DMK and AIADMK have been part of Central governments. There is a State for the Tamils which they rule autonomously. There is no discrimination against Tamils or any other people, and there have been no ethnic programes.

ST: What according to you is the attitude of the DMK. It seems to go along with the government on the LTTE issue tamely?

GF: The DMK also feels that the attitude of the Central government is irrational, in as much as it is allowing a widow to determine foreign policy. But the DMK is afraid of taking a stand against this, as it might become an emotive issue, Indians could easily be moved by emotions. ST: Do you think that there is support for the Eelam issue and the LTTE in Tamil Nadu?

GF: There is overwhelming support. This will come to light if there is a referendum.

ST: Then why is it not being used to the hilt in elections by parties like the DMK and PMK? GF: That is because it has never been an election issue. Elections in Tamil Nadu have always been fought on other issues.

Conference Resolutions

Resolution :1- Raise Eelam Tamil issue in U.N.
(Proposed by Mr. George Fernandes)

Whereas there are two nations(Sinhalese and Tamil) in the island of Ceylon which occupy separate contiguous areas, which had separate kingdoms before the advent of western colonial powers and which were administered separately even by them until 1833, when the British brought the two nations under one administration for convenience:

Whereas on independence, power was handed to the Sinhala nation, and the Sinhalese discriminated against and oppressed the Tamils in every sphere of activity including education, language, employment, industrial and infrastructure development and land usage, as admitted by many Sinhalese including Presidents Jayawardane and Kumarantunga.

Whereas the demography of the Tamil homelands (as defined in the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord) was changed and continues to he changed by the state-aided colonization of those areas by the Sinhalese, and the driving away by Tamils and settling of Sinhalese in their homes:

Whereas the constitution was changed in 1972 and 1978 without Tamil participation giving pride of place to Buddhism and specifically stating the form of Government shall be unitary:

Whereas parliamentary protest, satyagraha (non-violent demonstrations), and dialogue did not redress Tamil Problems, but only produced repeated communal riots against Tamils with thousands killed and billions of rupees of property being destroyed culminating in the pogrom 1983.

Whereas, since the satyagraha of 1961, Tamil areas have been constantly under army occupation by the 99% Sinhala army, with currently over 200 camps:

Whereas after requesting a federal type of government and being refused, Tamils finally gave the mandate at the 1977 elections to restore the Tamil State, and when this was refused, and as a last resort, the youth took to arms to carry out the people's mandate:

Whereas all Tamil groups met with the Sri Lankan Government under the auspices of the Indian government in Thimpu, Bhutan and demanded four cardinal principles, namely, the recognition of Tamils as a nation, recognition of Tamil homeland, the right to self-determination for Tamils and citizenship for all Tamils who were made stateless, all of which were turned down:

Whereas since 1990 the government unleashed state terrorism against Tamils:

(a) Indiscriminately bombing, shelling and strafing of Tamil areas resolution in the destruction or damage to residences, schools, hospitals, places of worship, businesses and infrastructure, cut off electricity, telephone and water services and enforced on economic embargo on '72 items including food, medicine and other necessities besides those required for earning a living.

(b) Indiscriminately arresting, torturing, raping and killing of civilians resulting in over 50,0(X) Tamil civilian deaths to date, and over 8,50,000 leaving the island as refugees.

All of which amounts to genocide under the Convention on the Prevention and punishment of the Crime of Genocide to which the Sri Lankan Government is a signatory"

Whereas the government of Sri Lanka is following a scorched earth policy by destroying cultivated crops, damaging cultivate lands and burning large tracts of forest areas:

Whereas since April 1.995, state terrorism has intensified with the army capturing Tamil areas and conducting victory celebrations reminiscent of medieval times, and aggressively rounding up and arresting innocent civilians, making people flee their homes resulting in over 7,50,000 internal refugees suffering innumerable hardships due to lack of shelter, food and medicines, with many living under trees and dying due to lack of food and medicines particularly in areas not under control of government forces.

Whereas the government had enforced press censorship, refused entry to local foreign journalists to Tamil areas, and prevented NGOs from operating in those areas resulting in people outside these areas not being aware of conditions in them.

The convention resolves to appeal to the Government of India, other world governments, and the world community to pro-actively engage and pressurise the Sri Lankan Government to:

(a) Stop human rights violations such as the indiscriminate bombing, shelling and strafing of Tamil areas; the arrests, torture, rape and killing of innocent Tamil civilians; embargo on food, medicine and other necessities of life to Tamil areas;

Denial of care of refugees who have fled their homes by depriving them of adequate shelter, food and medicines;

(b) Desist from interfering with refugees leaving by boat to India;

(c) Permit NGOs to work in Tamil areas so that they may provide help to refugees;

(d) Allow journalists, both local and foreign, to visit the Tamil areas and report freely on the conditions there;

(e) Cease further colonization and settlement of Sinhalese in Tamil areas;

(f) Desist from destroying cultivated and cultivable lands and forests;

(g) Repeal and prevention of Terrorism Act and rescind the Emergency Regulations;

(h) Solve the national problem politically rather than pursue a military solution as the government is doing now.

(i) Withdraw the army from Tamil areas; and

(j) Negotiate with the LTTE(Who represent the Tamil people and who are fighting the liberation war on their behalf) under third party mediation.

The convention requests the Indian government to specifically take up this issue at United Nations fora, if other steps fail, to press the Sri Lankan Government to withdraw its forces from the occupied Tamil homeland and to initiate peace negotiations to end the conflict.

Resolution: 2-Draft constitution does not fulfil the Aspirations of Tamils.
(Proposed by Dr. Sathananthan, Sri Lankan)

Whereas the convention welcomes the Draft Constitution released by the Parliamentary Select Committee in November 1997.

The convention notes with regret that the regressive Article 76 of the 1978 Constitution has been retained in the Draft constitution as Article 92, to prevent devolution of legislative power;

-that the Draft Constitution further undermines the secular policy by institutionalising Buddhist religious predominance by setting up the Supreme Court of the Buddhist clergy in Article 7

-that the Draft Constitution dilutes further the admittedly insufficient provisions of the 1978 constitution:

-that the Draft Constitution violates the territorial integrity of the areas of historical habitation of the Tamil people by proposing to hold referendum in parts of the eastern region of the North-Eastern Province.

The Convention resolves

that many provisions of the Draft Constitution falls-far short of the minimum political aspirations of the Tamil people of Sri Lanka and calls upon

the Government of Sri Lanka to uphold the Four Cardinal principles enunciated at Thimpu in 1985 and to negotiate a political settlement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) on the basis of the Four Cardinal Principles.

Resolution: 3-Elections in Sri Lanka
(Proposed by Dr. Ashok Sastri, Uttar Pradesh)

The Convention resolves to request all Tamil political parties and other organizations in Sri Lanka not to participate in any elections in Tamil areas till normalcy returns to those areas and all registered voters can participate in free and fair elections. The convention believes that this can only happen if all displaced persons living in refugee camps, with friends and relatives and by the roadside and those driven away from their homes by security forces and others return to their homes. In addition, armed forces should withdraw from Tamils areas (or remain within barracks) and international observer missions should supervise such elections.

Resolution 4- Sri Lankan Tamils in Indian Prisions
(Proposed by Mr. Deepthiman Ghosh, West Bengal)

The Convention is concerned at the fate of the Sri Lankan Tamils who are detained in Indian prisons in Vishakhapatnam, Vellore Special Camp, Chingleput Special camp and elsewhere. It is particularly

distressed at the unlawful detention of nine Sri Lankan Tamils in Vishakhapatnam, whose case history is a sad commentary on the state of the rule of law in India. The nine were arrested on the high seas by the Indian navy and detained under TADA. The TADA court released them and passed strictures on the Indian navy authorities and the police for their lawless behaviour. The state appealed against heir release to the Supreme Court which also ordered their release and passed more strictures on the state. -They were released and again arrested under Foreigners Act and this time the Magistrate ordered their release. They were arrested for the third time under the National Security Act and are continuing to rot in Jail over four years. Those lodged in Vellore Special Camp are mostly invalids.

The convention calls upon the government to forthwith release these prisoners and provide them with safe asylum in the country till the situation in Sri Lanka becomes conducive for their return. Resolution-5 National Committee for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka (Proposed by Mr.. V.K. Krishna Rao, Andhra Pradesh)

The Convention resolves to set up a National Committee for Solidarity with the Eelam Tamils of Sri Lanka to continue with the work undertaken by this International convention. It further resolves that the National Committee take steps to organise conventions in all the state capitals to educate the people on the situation confronting the Sri Lankan Tamils, and to exert pressure on the India. Government to take initiatives to bring about an end to the armed conflict in Sri Lanka and a peaceful settlement through negotiations.

The committee may also set up Information Centre in Delhi and publish pamphlets and other publicity material highlighting the plight of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. It may also take other necessary steps in furtherance of its purpose.

The convention elects Mr. Justice Krishna Iyer as Chairman and George Fernandes as convenor of the committee with powers to co-opt other members.

Resolution 6- U.S. Involvement in Sri Lanka
(Proposed by Dr. Shambu Saran Srivasta, Bihar)

The Convention takes serious note of the involvement of US military in the ongoing operations by the Sinhala armed forces against the LTTE. The training provided to the Sinhala army by the US "Green Berets" is accompanied by a trade off in which the Sinhala government has made concessions to the US forces that will have adverse bearing on India's security concerns.

The convention calls upon the Government of India to take up this matter with both the Sinhala and US governments, and further necessary steps to prevent any developments in the region that impinge on India's security interests.

Resolution 7-Jain Commission Report
(Proposed by Mr. Chandra Mehta, Rajasthan)

The Convention condemns the aspersions cast by the Jain Commission on the Tamil people by branding them as anti-nationals. It also condemns similar aspersions cast tin the Sikh people. Its patently false charge against the Queen of Nepal of conspiring to kill Rajiv Gandhi has contributed to souring India's relations with a friendly and trustworthy neighbour.

The convention calls upon the government to reject the Jain Commission report, wind up the Commission, and assuage the hurt feelings of the Tamil and Sikh people and the Nepalese by making unqualified public apologies.

Resolution 8- Eelam Refugees in India
(Proposed by Prof. Balraj Kumar, Delhi)

The Eelam Tamils who have sought refugee in India from a genocidal war are treated like unwanted persons. They are not being given the basic minimum needs and facilities due to them under international conventions. They are not even given subsistence allowance and other facilities on par with refugees from other foreign countries.

The authorities are also trying to prevent the fleeing Eelam Tamils from reaching India's shores by driving them back, confiscating their boats etc with the help of the coast guard, the Tamil Nadu Police, etc.

The convention requests the Government of India and the Government of Tamil Nadu to enable the Eelam refugees live their lives in human dignity. It also requests them not to prevent the refugees from coming-to India, especially to Tamil Nadu.

List of Speakers

1. Mr. George Fernandes (President, All India Samata Party)

2. Mr. A.P. Venkateswaran (Former Foreign Secretary of India)

3. Ms. Jaya Jaitely (Organising Secretary, All India Samata Party)

4. Mr. Malcom. R Grace (Amnesty-International, Australia)

5. Mr. Gillies Piquois (Member, International Commission of  Jurists, France)

6. Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, M.P. (Leader, T.U.L.F, Parliamentary Group, Srilanka)

7. Dr.S. Sathananthan (Secy., Tamil Action Group, Colombo, Srilanka)

8. Major-General Ashok Metha (Rtd)

9. Dr. Balraj Kumar (New Delhi)

10. Mr. V. KrishnaRao (Andhra Pradesh)

11. Dr. Ashok Shastri (Uttar Pradesh)

12. Dr. Shambusaran Shri Vastara (Bihar)

13. Mr. Chandra Metha (Rajathan)

14. Mr. T.S.N. David Edward (West Bengal)

15. Mr. Deepthiman Gosh (West Bengal)

16. Mr. K. Veeramani (General - Secretary, Dravidar Kazhagam)

17. Mr. Pala Nedumaran (President, Tamils National Movement)

18. Mr. P. Maniyarasan (General Secretary, Tamil Desa Poduvudamai Katchi)

19. Mr. S. Melkiyor (President, Ulaikum Makkal Viduthalai Iyyakkam)

20. Dr. Janarthanam (President, World Tamil Youth Federation)

21. Mr. Thiyagu (President, Tamil-Tamils Movement)

22. Mr. Karmuhil (General –Secretary, Tamil Nadu Marxists-Leninist Party)

23. Mr. J. Anantharaj (President, Tamil Nadu Samata Party)

24. Mr. R. Alagiri (Convenor, Eelam Peoples Solidarity Movement, Pondicherry)

25. Mr. Kovai Paventhan (Convenor, Tamil Protection Committee, Karnataka)

26. Mr. Nandivarman (Dravidar Peravai, Pondicherry)



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