Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
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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Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State> Tamil Nadu > Tamil Nadu & the Tamil Eelam Freedom Struggle > Complaint to UN  of Acts of Genocide  Committed Against the Tamils of Sri Lanka - M.Karunanidhi > Tamils: a Trans State Nation - Tamil Nadu

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Complaint of Acts of Genocide  Committed
Against the Tamils of Sri Lanka

M.Karunanidhi,
President Dravida Munnetra Kalagam (DMK)
Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

15 August 1983

Madras Meeting
M.Karunanithi,  K.Veeramani, P.Nedumaran
at 27 August 1983 Rally in Chennai 
to protest against Genocide'83 in Sri Lanka


To: The Secretary General, United Nations,
New York - 10017,

U.S.A.

Your Excellency,

I, M.Karunanidhi, President of the D.M.K. Party and the Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of the Tamils of Sri Lanka, and millions of citizens of India, living in the State of Tamilnadu, which is physically separated from Sri Lanka only by a narrow stretch of sea of about 29 Kilometers, put our signatures to this Memorandum (containing 105 Volumes), bringing to the attention of the International Community through you, Sir, about the consistent pattern of gross violations of Human Rights and acts of genocide committed by the Government of Sri Lanka against its own citizens, who belong to an ethnic group called the Tamils, which reached its zenith during June/ July 1983.

We complain on reliable knowledge that during this period and earlier on, in order to destroy in whole or in part a national and racial group, namely the Tamils of Sri Lanka, the Tamils of Indian origin and the Tamils who are stateless (i.e. whose citizenship is yet to be decided) the Government of Sri Lanka, through its agencies, namely the Army, the Police, its para-military organisations, organised gangs of racist elements and the Party in power have committed and caused to be committed the following acts which are defined in Article II of the Convention of the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide:

(a) Killing members of the group;

(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;

(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

We further complain on reliable knowledge that the Government of Sri Lanka has committed (a) genocide (b) conspiracy to commit genocide (c) direct and public incitement to commit genocide (d) attempt to commit genocide and (e) complicity in genocide, which acts are punishable under Article III of the said convention to which Sri Lanka is a party.

A systematic pattern of genocide - to do away with the Tamils of Sri Lanka, their language, culture, their way of life and their rights-can be seen from some of the major schemes listed below:

Since Independence the Sinhalese who form the bulk of majority of the population started using the powers of the state to almost eliminate the Tamils altogether.

Their first target was the weaker section of the Tamils: the workers in the plantations. In the General Elections in 1947 they exercised their voting rights and secured seven seats in the Parliament of 95 members. The politicians of Sri Lanka then introduced the Citizenship Act of 1948 which made many of the plantation Tamils as 'Stateless persons' which is a violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10, 1948) : "Every one has the right to a nationality; no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality."

Thereby the majority of the poor Tamils were deprived of their citizenship and franchise. And those millions of Tamils are thereafter subjected to permanent discrimination on such invidious grounds as race and language and they are deprived and denied of their nationality and reduced to unprotected stateless persons without full participation in the process of Government.

Secondly, the Government of Sri Lanka launched another attack by a systematic planned colonisation of the traditional Tamil-majority areas by importing and settling Sinhala speaking people with the twin objectives of making the Tamils a minority in their own homelands and thus electing Tamil representatives to the Parliament from those areas difficult or impossible.

By the above measures the position of the Tamils was weakened and the Sinhalese representation in Parliament became predominant. Using this ill-gotten advantage the Government passed the 'Sinhala only Act,' making the Sinhala language as the sole official language to demote the Tamil Language, the mother-tongue of the Tamils, and to drive the Tamils out of public employment. It is pertinent to note that before Independence Sinhala and Tamil were the official Languages of the state.

Further, a policy was designed and implemented to deny the Tamils equal opportunities in public education.

Further a consistent pattern of genocide can be seen in the many out-breaks of ethnic violence that have taken place in the Island of Ceylon from the year 1956. Such major outbreaks are listed below:

1956: Anti-Tamil riots erupted prior to and after the passing of the Official Language Act in 1956, causing several deaths and loss of property to hundreds of Tamil residents in Sinhalese areas. The Sinhalese dominated police-force stood by as silent onlookers.

1958: Anti-Tamil riots broke out in May /June 1958 resulting in several deaths by mutilation , burinings and rape as well as loss to property by plunder and looting.

1961: Police and Military personnel unleashed violence on peaceful satyagrahis (civil disobedience campaigners) who were protesting the imposition of Sinhala as the official language in the Tamil-speaking areas. The Tamil speaking areas were placed under military occupation for several months thereafter. Several hundreds of persons were placed under preventive detention without charges being brought against them. The International Commission of Jurists published a statement on the position of the Tamil minority as a result of these developments.

1966: Anti-Tamil violence was stirred up, and organised by the opposition parties led by Mrs. Srimao Bandaranaike against the Tamil Regulations adopted by the Dudley Senanayake Government in January, 1966.

1972-77: This was part of the period when the entire Tamil-speaking areas of the north and the east were placed under virtual military rule. This was accompanied by arbitrary arrests, meaningless detentions without trial for indefinite lengths of time of innocent persons, harassment and looting of the civilian population by the military and the police. A peak in the abuse of power was reached when on 10th January 1974 during the 4th International Conference of Tamil Research held in Jaffna, the northen capital city of the Ceylon Tamils, the police launched "a violent and quite an unnecessary attack on unarmed citizens". An unofficial commission of inquiry headed by a non-Tamil retired Judge of the Supreme Court of Ceylon, (O.L.De Kretser) commented on "the tragic loss of lives, and the physical injuries and indignities to which men and women had been subject to on this night of terror" as a result of police action.

1976: Police firing at Tamil-Speaking Muslims, in a Mosque in Puttalam resulted in a number of deaths. Further incidents were reported against Muslims in other parts of the country. The Government declined to hold an inquiry.

1977: In August, 1977 the Tamils faced the worst violence so far. Due to the overwhelming support by the Tamil people for the formation of a separate State, as evinced by the result of the general elections held in July 1977. The hands of many Government supporters were seen in many instances of violence. The explosion of violence took place on the 19th of August soon after the speech of Mr.Jayewardene, then Prime Minister, in the Parliament on 18th August, 1977, offering "War" to the Tamil People, which was repeated every half-an-hour on the Government controlled radio.

In 1977 even the plantation workers were not spared. Their line rooms were burnt, their women were 'gang raped', their little possessions were looted. Evidence of some brutal 'gang rapes' have been recorded before the Commission that inquired into the events of 1977. Hundreds were killed and over 200,000 fled for safety to the traditional homelands of Tamils. Over 40,000 of the Plantation workers became destitutes and refugees. Nearly 100 temples were destroyed. The Tamils lost several hundreds of millions rupees worth of property.

The most significant fact in the 1977 pogrom was the participation of the security forces. In the south, Sinhalese people carried out the attack which the security forces encouraged, or failed to stop. In the North and East the security forces were the attackers and every principal town in the Tamil areas was attacked. The radio net work of the police was used to incite violence all over the island. Thus the Tamils were no longer safe even in their own traditional homelands.

1979: It is a matter of record that on the 11th July, 1979, Mr.J.R.Jayewardene, by then the President of Sri Lanka, issued a Hitler-like order to the Army Commander in charge of the Northern Region it will be your duty to eliminate .... the menace of terrorism more especially from the Jaffna district.... This task has to be performed by you and completed before the 31st December, 1979" and then they proclaimed a state of emergency under the Public Security Act and gave the Police and Armed forces the Power to dispose of the dead bodies without an inquest. This resulted in the indiscriminate arrest and torture of Tamil youths in Jaffna resulting in the death of 3 and the disappearance of another three. Police /Army set up a torture camp in the same residence as that of the commander (who is now the Commander of the Army). Hundreds of innocent Tamil youths who were politically active were rounded up, detained incommunicado and subjected to severe torture, and released after months as they were all innocent.

1981: The pattern of genocidal violence began to show clear evidence of State planning from 1981. Under the cover of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (modelled on the Terrorism Act of South Africa) many Tamils were taken into custody by groups of heavily armed police and Army personnel and beaten up in the presence of their family members, and subsequently taken to and detained incommunicado indefinitely in Army Camps and subjected to the worst forms of torture. The pogroms that took place in May/ June 1981 and August 1981 were planned and led by Government Ministers and members of Parliament.

On the 31st of May 1981 after an incident in which some unidentified persons opened fire on Police personnel during an election meeting, the police went on a rampage and burnt a part of Jaffna town, the house of the member of Parliament for Jaffna, and the office of the party of the Tamils called Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) as a reprisal. The Police also desecrated a Hindu temple and set fire to it. Innocent persons who were on the streets were indiscriminately assaulted. The fury of the Police personnel would appear to have cooled down when on the 1st June, the Inspector General of Police, the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Secretary to the Minister of Internal Security were sent by the President ostensibly to study the situation and help to bring it under control. However, on the night of the 1st June, Police personnel set fire to the PUBLIC LIBRARY of Jaffna, the best library in the Tamil areas and irreplacebale documents relating to Tamil Culture and History were destroyed.

The presence of high government officials and Ministers in Jaffna leads to the inference that it was government sponsored. This is nothing but an attempt at Cultural Genocide.

The plan also envisaged the destruction of the only Tamil Daily printed in the Tamil areas. These acts indicate that the destruction was not the result of mere rage, but a calculated one. A senior Minister .of the Government as reported in the Hansard, conceded in Parliament that the Public Library had been burnt by the Police.

1981 - Local Election

On the 2nd June, 1981, Minister Cyril Mathew and another Minister were in Jaffna to assist in the elections. On the 3rd night/4th morning 4 persons were shot and killed by Army and Police. Mr. Amirthalingam, Secretary of TULF and three other Members of Parliament were arrested and taken to an Army Camp. There is evidence that the Government planned to rig the elections to the Jaffna Development Council which however proved fruitless. A no confidence motion brought against these two ministers has not yet been debated.

1981 - August Pogrom

In August 1981 again there was serious violence in the Batticaloa and Amparai Districts. The Sinhalese colonists attacked the adjoining Tamil Villages and thousands living there were made homeless and they took refuge in temples and churches in other parts of the Tamil areas. In areas near Colombo the Tamil businessmen and workers were attacked. The worst attack was in the Ratnapura District. The victims were mainly the Plantation Tamils. The attack was well planned. The attackers were even in uniform and were led by prominent members of the ruling party. The display of brutality was difficult to surpass. "Gang raping" was again carried out. In one incident a group of persons who took refuge in the church at Kahawatta was attacked by a group of racists led by Police constable Gunapala and several were injured and some killed. In that attack a Sinhala racist known as "Mala Redda" cut up a Kahawatta trader by name Perumal, and drank his blood. Though Perumal was killed there are eye witnesses who speak to this incidents.

Over 40,000 plantation Tamils were displaced and most of them fled into the jungle between Ratnapura and Bogawantalawa.

1,000 families were helped by the Indian Government to leave the country. Several hundred moved to the North or the East as refugees. This attack on the Plantation Tamils was planned by Cabinet Ministers and other racists in the Government to terrorise

May 1983: In 1983 the scale of violence escalated beyond anyone's expectation. From the beginning of that year, there emerges a plan of violence against the plantation Tamil refugees in Vavuniya and the Tamils in the Trincomalee District with the object of driving the Tamils out of the Districts of Vavuniya and Trincomalee. Houses occupied by Plantation Tamil settlers in the Trincomalee District were set on fire by Government officials, and these persons were rendered homeless. Plantation Tamil settlers in the Vavuniya and Trincomalee Districts were also subjected to regular acts of intimidation and harassment so that these persons who had earlier been displaced as a result of communal violence in the plantation areas, would opt to leave India.

In May 1983 soon after a confrontation between some unknown youths and the Army, the Army went on rampage and burnt over 130 houses and 60 vehicles and other motor vehicles in the Kantharmadam area in Jaffna. They looted property valued at more than 71/2 million rupees and burnt a part of the Jaffna Bazaar (for the third time) and attacked every Tamil seen on the road and even fired into the Jaffna hospital.

Violence of an unprecedented nature broke out in the Universities in May, 1983. The Tamil students were mercilessly attacked, their belongings including books and notes were burnt by Sinhala students and driven out. This was repeated at the Engineering Faculty at Katubedda, Moratuwa and the Medical Faculty at Colombo. The object of the attack on Tamil students was to compel them not to compete for admission to the above universities, so that all places would be available for the Sinhala students.

June, 1983

In June 1983 Members of the armed forces and the Police burnt (it was burnt by the Police in 1977) and destroyed the office of the Gandhiyam society and the orphanage managed by them, The Gandhiyam Society is the main voluntary organisation helping the Plantation Tamil Refugees, the victims of August, 1977 and '81 pogroms. The Government wanted to destroy even these humanitarian organisations helping the refugees.

In June there were attacks on Tamils and their establishments by the Sinhalese people in several towns in the South. The trains and coaches plying to the North or East were attacked and looted.

It is clear that the final assault on the Tamils was planned for June/July, 1983. The killing of Tamils was greatly facilitated by the President proclaiming an Emergency Regulation under the Public Security Act, empowering the Police to dispose of dead bodies, even without an inquest. From that day onwards killings of Tamils went on unabated with many persons killed at Kurunagala, and Ratmalana. A prolonged pogrom was set in motion in Trincomalee which went on until the end of the month of July resulting in death of many Tamils and including women and children which has been recorded among many other deaths, and the destruction of over 600 houses, as well as shops and business premises and the destruction of many places of Hindu worship. These acts were done mainly by Sinhalese persons encouraged by the Police and Armed Forces.

July, 1983

The final phase of the State planned genocide on Tamils in Sri Lanka commenced with the arrest and rape of Six young Tamil girls at Mathagal in Jaffna by the Army. Three of the girls committed suicide. In anger the Tamil youths attacked the Army convoy from the Palaly Army Camp. In the shoot out, 13 of the Army men and one Tamil youth died.

On the 24th of July commenced the holocaust with the indiscriminate killing of 53 innocent Tamils in Jaffna by the Army. In certain places students were lined up and shot and killed by the army personnel. In certain other areas they were just pumping bullets at passing vehicles crowded with people and people in those vehicles died. In certain places they shot and killed people in their beds - a University lecturer by name Kalaparameshwaran and his aged father-in-law were killed, while they were sleeping in their house and even women were shot and killed this way.

On 24 July army personnel stopped a bus at Manipai near Jaffna, forced the passengers to get down and shot at them.

In another incident a bus coming from Colombo with tourists from Tamil Nadu, India was stopped near Jaffna hospital and attacked by armymen.

Houses of Tamils were attacked and ransacked by police and armymen at Kandarmadam and Tinnaveli in Jaffna district. The attack on the Tamils in Trincomalee started long before the violence in the rest of Sri Lanka broke out. It commenced on June 3, it was started by the army, and the police and the hoodlums were drawn in whenever it was necessary.

In certain instances the navy personnel acted directly; in certain places they had gone for some sort of investigation, ahead of the thugs, and made sure that there was no likelihood of any resistance, and arrested any young fellow who could offer any resistance. Then immediately, hard on their heels, thugs followed and set fire to houses.

There are evidences to show that one of the Assistant Secretaries of Mr.Cyril Mathew, the Minister of the Government of Sri Lanka was present and had discussions with the army and police personnel at the height of the troubles in Trincomalee.

On the night of the 24th the shops and houses of Tamils in Colombo in close proximity to the residence of the President, Mr.J.R.Jayewardene, were attacked by an organised group of racists. The police and all other service personnel not only did not maintain order but also joined in the attacks and most shops and houses in the Borella area in Colombo were looted and destroyed and the inmates were attacked. The army people gave hand-grenades to the Sinhalese and instigated them to attack the Tamils. Petrol was sprinkled over the bodies of the victims and they were set on fire on the streets.

In Colombo, in Badulla and other places wherever the looters were repulsed by the Tamils the Army intervened and shot and killed those who resisted the looters. This happened in Badulla where in front of a business place called Yogam Stores, 14 people who resisted - one Sundaram and his four sons and others - were shot and killed and tyres were piled on their bodies and they were all burnt beyond recognition, by the Army.

Here is a first-hand account of the massacre in Badulla in which the army and police were involved in the murder of 14 people, according to a survivor, Mrs. Silvamany Ganesan , aged 36, a mother of three children:

At about 10 A.M. on July 27, a crowd gathered outside a bus depot 100 yards away from her house attacking passing vehicles. When the police were telephonically informed to evacuate them no action was taken. The crowd then began to attack the home of her neighbour, Mr.Ramanathan -well-known locally as a camphor dealer. He fired at them without appearing to hit any one. A son of Mr.Ramanathan, aged 15, climbed on to the roof of their house carrying an umbrella - it was raining - and was shot by a soldier from

the street and fell to the ground. She fled to her aunt's house nearby with her children, hiding with them in the bathroom. She 'heard firing from outside and then an explosion. They ran out of the bath-room to find that the house was on fire. On the main road in front of Mr.Ramanathan's house there was a pile of bodies, including those of her husband, brother-in-law, father-in-law and her sister-in-law's husband. They all appeared to have gunshot wounds and she and her children - two daughters aged nine and seven and a son of five - were able to see her husband's intestines falling out and his head staved in. Her crippled and bedridden father-in-law and other relatives were shot and killed by the soldiers. The Ramanathan's menfolk had been hacked and beaten to death by the racist crowd. She and her children are willing to testify.

By early morning of 25th July, 1983 the organised racist group had attacked most Tamil shops and houses in Borella, Damatagoda and Narahenpita and the dead bodies of Tamils were seen on the roads but no action was taken to stop the violence.

On the morning of the 25th, members of the Government's paramilitary organisations from various parts of the country arrived in and around Colombo in Government vehicles with carefully prepared lists which gave details of all Tamil households and Tamil-owned business premises in Colombo and its suburbs. These groups having alighted from their vehicles stopped cars and collected petrol from them and went to Tamil shops and houses and attacked the inmates and set fire to them. In the process many by-standers joined in the violence and looted the shops and houses. All this went on with the police either looking on or actively encouraging the arsonists and looters .

A mini-bus of about 20 Tamils was stopped by the Sinhalese who poured petrol over it and set it on fire. All the doors were kept closed and several hundred Sinhalese watched the Tamils burning to death.

In many places the house-holders were thrown into the flames along with their belongings. Those who resisted or attempted to defend their property were dealt with by the armed forces and the police, who conveniently labelled them as tigers (i.e. members of the Tamil Liberation Movement) and shot or bayonnetted them to death. In the Sea Street area of Colombo there was an incident on the 29th where 21 Tamils who defended their property were gunned down by the Army and there are eye witnesses to the incident.

Despite the stringent censorship, and the fact that foreign correspondents were not allowed into the interior and hill country regions of Sri Lanka, the world press was able to report some of these gruesome episodes. Tourists too have made video recordings of some of the incidents such as the burning of 7 Tamils who were tied to the rail tracks and burnt to death at the Fort Railway Station. The presence of a well laid plan is substantiated by the fact that shortly after the organised groups commenced their attack in Colombo on the morning of the 25th, similar organised groups commenced attacks in various parts of the country and the pattern was the same for everywhere.

Thus was enacted on the 24th night a Crystal Nacht as in Nazi Germany. The collusion of the President and the Government was evidenced by the fact that while the town burnt through out the morning of the 25th, the Government's paramilitary men were rampaging through the city, and the Tamils were being openly butchered and killed on the streets and no curfew was imposed nor did the Government call upon the military or the Police to desist from participating in the orgy of violence or to restrain the mobs from doing so.

Although a curfew was finally imposed on the afternoon of Monday this was observed in the breach as the mobs sponsored by the Government during curfew hours continued to burn houses and business establishments of the Tamils that were not so far destroyed while looters followed behind taking away whatever was left undestroyed.

The violence that commenced on the 24th left many Tamils killed, thousands critically injured and more or less all the Tamils living in Sinhala areas (except in the estate areas in the hill country where there is a high concentration of Tamil population) displaced from their homes and living as destitutes in Refugee camps and all other places of temporary shelter.

The attitude of the Government and its official condonation of the genocide was explicitly conveyed by the President of the Republic of Sri Lanka when in a televised message to the nation (breaking his silence which had lasted 4 days since the orgy of violence began) , the President without expressing a single sentiment of sorrow for the sufferings endured by the Tamil people, and without a single word of condemnation of the hideous crime committed against humanity in the shape of an attack on innocent men, women and children only for the reason that they belonged to a particular ethnic or racial group, said that it was a just retribution for the killing of the 13 Sinhalese soldiers by members of the guerilla Tiger Organisation, and announced a new stringent law called the 6th Amendment to the Constitution making any demand for separation as offence, which in itself was a violation of not only the Right of Self Determination, but of Human Rights in general (as the new law provided for the provisions such as loss of property, inability to hold a passport, or sit for a public examination for anybody who did not sign a declaration disavowing separation) saying that it was now necessary for him to appease the Sinhala people.

Thus making it clear to the whole world that he no longer considered himself the President of the whole country but only of the Sinhala people, thereby explicitly showing to the world that the Government of Sri Lanka was committed to the policy of genocide as it no longer considered the members of the Tamil ethnic group as being a part of the nation, or as entitled to even the basic requisites of security of life and limb let alone the other human rights which have been set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in the Covenants of Human Rights and which the civilised world now recognises as forming part of the international law which binds all nations.

As a consequence of the televised speech the Sinhala mob who now found an explicit affirmation and approval of the violence of the last few days unleashed on the 29th another wave of terror in which further hundreds of Tamils were killed. For example nine Tamils were burnt alive at Colombo's main railway station. All nine died under horrific and agonising circumstances. Four more Tamils were burnt alive in two Colombo suburbs, two of them Edehiwela and two in Panchikawatha.

Mobs then went on the rampage seeking out and killing with swords and knives any Tamil person whom they could find, stopping cars on the roads, and pulling out persons who they found to be Tamils. In one instance a man taken out of a car was tied and his car was driven over him; a Catholic priest who is a monsignor of the Church was a witness to this episode. The orgy of violence then spread to the Hill country particularly to Badulla and Nuwara Eliya where hundreds of Indian Tamils were similarly beaten and killed and their homes and business establishments were burnt and looted.

While this orgy was going on violence against Tamils erupted even in the Tamil areas. On the 26th July the Navy personnel in Trincomalee had carried out a full scale attack on the Tamil inhabitants of this strategic town, including an attack on the house of the member of parliament. In Trincomalee, the navy personnel had gone on a planned rampage and within six hours, from 9.30 in the night to 3.30 in the early hours of the morning 150 navy personnel destroyed every Tamil-owned business establishment.

The object was to terrorise and chase out the Tamil inhabitants and change this town into a Sinhalese town with a well laid plan of making it no longer inhabitable by the members of this ethnic group and therefore falling within the definition of genocide set out in Article 2(3) of the convention.

It must be noted that not only did the navy personnel who led this attack together with the assistance of the army and police, destroy hundreds of Tamils business places and shops, and render thousands of people homeless but they also forcibly removed about 600 of the refugees in vehicles and put them back in the upcountry plantation districts from which they had emigrated after the pogrom of 1981.

In the course of this manoeuvre many families were separated, great sufferings were caused to these people who were left destitutes in the aforementioned areas either for the purpose of forcing them once again to work as slaves on the plantations from which they had been earlier driven out, or to make them once more victims of further racial violence. This action indicates that it was not merely an attack carried out in the heat of a riot, but part of a calculated plan to rid the Trincomalee District of Tamils.

Among the early victims of Sinhala violence was Mr . Sivasithambaram , Member of Parliament, Nallur and President of the Tamil United Liberation Front. His house and belongings in Colombo together with his vehicle were burnt to ashes.

The magnitude of the June/July 1983 pogroms against the Tamil people was colossal. Almost all industries of all Tamils and Indian Industrialists in and around Colombo were completely destroyed. The majority of the Tamil Business centres in Colombo was also destroyed. The total loss of life has been estimated to be several thousands. The Government figure of around 400 is ridiculously low. Several hundreds of persons originally said to be missing are. now confirmed to be dead.

One of the most abhorent acts committed in the course of the Government sponsored killings of Tamils was the killing of the 53 political Tamil prisoners in Welikade Prison on 25th July and again on 27th July, 1983. This act clearly shows the collusion of the Government, particularly in view of the fact that there was a second round of killings two days after the first. One of the prisoners killed was Mr.Kuttimani. His eyes were gouged out and one Sinhalese cut his tongue and drank his blood. They were all tortured and done to death by homicidal violence with the aid and approval of the State agencies. Those who escaped death are willing to testify. T

he story given out by the Government that the Sinhalese prisoners had got out of their cells and murdered the Tamil prisoners cannot be substantiated. It is also strange that the jailors did not do anything to restrain the killers. The attitude of the Government is shown by the fact that when a few days later some Tamil prisoners in Jaffna tried to escape, four of them were shot dead. The condonation of the Government in the killing of the Tamil prisoners was expressed by a Senior Minister of the government Mr.Lalith Athulathmudali, who stated at a refugee camp , and for which statement, there are a number of witnesses willing to give evidence, that the Sinhalese people were pacified only after the massacre at the Welikade Prison.

In the first week of September about 700 Sinhalese went to Vadamunai in the eastern district of Batticaloa in 40 Government vehicles and attacked Tamils of Indian origin from the plantations who had settled down there after the 1977 riots with the help of social service organisations. The raiders drove out 30 Tamil families and occupied their properties. Tamil leaders allege that the attack was directed by the ruling party's Member of Parliament from Uva.

The Government of Sri Lanka has taken over all the damaged and abandoned properties of the Tamils by an executive fiat, subsequently approved by parliament. If press statements issued by influential Ministers are any indication, the Government intends expropriating business and industries and other immovable properties of the Tamils and hand them over to the Sinhalese so that the "preponderence of Tamils in the commanding heights of our economy may be a thing of the past". This is an arbitrary deprivation of wealth of the Tamils with a clear intention to limit their resources, means of livelihood and enjoyment of income.

It is relevant to point out that the Ceylon Workers Congress which is the organisation representing the plantation workers of Indian origin who constitute one million persons and which is a constituent part of the Government represented by a cabinet minister, has made a statement saying that all the one million Tamils of Indian origin wish to be taken back to India as they fear that the Government is unable to provide them with security of person and property. The genuine fear of these one million people of their deliberate and systematic genocide by the State should be taken note of by the U.N.

Furthermore we aver that the victims have no remedy in the courts of Sri Lanka, in as much as the State itself is responsible for the violations of human rights and acts of genocide.

Thousands of Tamil people have been killed and tens of thousands of them have been under murderous attack and on the run for their lives. The brutality took the form of massacre of unarmed people outside and within prison walls, torture, targeted attacks on property including means of livelihood. What is worse, the timing of the 6th Amendment of their Constitution is such as to proclaim a decision to liquidate then and there the political organisation of the Tamil population which is a total suppression of an opposition party and a minority ethnic group.

In as much as genocide is a crime against Humanity, considering the declaration made by the Central Assembly of the UN in its resolutions 98 (i) dated 11th December, 1946 that genocide is a crime under international law, contrary to the spirit and aims of the United Nations, and condemned by the civilized world, and furthermore considering that the Draft Convention on State responsibility which has been recently drawn up by the International Law Commission affirms that a state can be responsible at International Law for both international crimes and international delicts and that genocide has been specifically categorised therein as an international crime for which the state is internationally responsible.

We call upon the Secretary General to take cognizance of the fact that the crime of genocide has been committed and is being continued and that the Government of Sri Lanka is either directly involved or is guilty of complicity in such genocide. These acts can have international repercussions as the same ethnic group is also found in the state of Tamil Nadu in India.

We request:-

a) that the Secretary General take action under Article 99 of the Charter of the United Nations.

b) in the alternative we request that this complaint be referred to the Human Rights Commission under the procedure set in ECOSOC resolution 1503 and that a fact finding body be constituted to go to Sri Lanka and make an on the spot investigation and submit a report.

c) in the event of such body giving a finding that the complaint of genocide is true, we ask that this report be submitted to the General Assembly and the Security Council, and sanctions be imposed on the guilty state under Chapter VII of the charter of the United Nations.

d) we also request that in the light of the complaint of genocide which makes it impossible for the Tamil people of the Island of Ceylon to live within the Sinhala state, the United Nations to call upon the Government of Sri Lanka to allow a plebescite to be held in the tradition Tamil homelands so that the Tamil people of Sri Lanka may exercise their right of self determination, which is one of the rights granted under the Human Right Covenants, to both of which Sri Lanka is a Party; and that such plebescite be held under the auspices of the United Nations.

Further, we request you to intervene and stop genocide of the ethnic minorities viz. the Tamils. in Sri Lanka and ensure protection of the lives, liberty and property by using if necessary sanctions on Sri Lanka.

Pray for United Nations immediate inquiry and punishment of persons responsible for genocide in Sri Lanka.

This Complaint is made after reliable knowledge of those incidents told and retold to many of us by those victims who escaped the genocide from Sri Lanka. The contents of this , complaint were explained in the local language to those millions who have put their signatures.

Assuring Your Excellency of our highest consideration,

We remain,
Yours sincerely,

(M.KARUNANIDHI),

Chairman of the Committee for the Protection of the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

 

 

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