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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings - Professor P Ramasamy > Tamils Demand Tamil Eelam >
Selected Writings -Prof P.Ramasamy
Tamils Demand Tamil Eelam
14 May 2000
It is becoming more and more apparent that the real solution to Tamils in Sri Lanka is the creation of an independent Tamil Eelam comprising areas in the north and east. The uncompromising stand adopted by the Sri Lankan establishment goes to show that only the taming of Tigers would be acceptable to them.
If the LTTE is weak and marginalized, then it is possible for the government with the help from some foreign powers to do so. But the government has really no choice because of late it has suffered devastating defeats in the Vanni and Jaffna areas. A few months back, the Tigers mauled the troops in ten over towns in the Vanni region. Recently, the so-called impenetrable Elephant Pass base, gateway to Jaffna fell to the Tigers a matter of few days. Today the LTTE is fast advancing towards the Tamil cultural capital of Jaffna and the Palaly airbase.
Although most observers are of the opinion that about 40,000 government troops might be possibly trapped by the Tiger advance, the President seems to be quite stubborn in not asking for troop withdrawal. Instead a few days back, she approached India for help. However, India having had intervened two times in the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict is quite shy to support the government.
Although military intervention has been ruled out by the National Democratic Alliance government of India, there is possibility that some humanitarian assistance will be provided if the situation gets worse. When India refused military intervention, the Sri Lankan government quickly established diplomatic relations with Israel so as to obtain military assistance in the form of sophisticated weapons to defeat the Tigers. Similarly China, Pakistan and Russia have been approached by the government for assistance to deal with the LTTE.
Countries other than India, might provide military assistance and advisory personnel, but they might not commit troops on behalf of the government. Since Sri Lanka comes under the sphere of India’s influence, there will be general reluctance for these powers to come into the country without the blessing of India.
Even though India has ruled out military intervention, it also concerned things might more complicated. For instance, if the military conflict continues, chances are that Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka might make their way to India. As it is, there are thousands of refugees already on Indian soil. So India is naturally worried about the flow of refugees into India and this could complicate law and order situation. Beyond this, India is also worried if it completely washes its hand from the Sri Lankan matters, other powers might step to fill the vacuum. There is fear that countries like Israel might act as proxy for the United States in terms of getting a foothold on the Sri Lankan soil to use the facility of Trincomalee port.
India is also concerned about the domestic situation. Three Tamil Nadu based political parties (DMK, MDMK, PMK) are components in the National Democratic Alliance government headed by the BJP. These parties have a long history of relationship with Tamils in Sri Lanka. Other than DMK which is the present ruling party in the state of Tamil Nadu, MDMK headed by Vaiko Gopalsamy and PMK under the leadership of Dr. Ramadass are known to be die-hard supporters of the LTTE.
Presently, these three political parties are playing a crucial role in preventing Indian from exercising its military option. While they have consented for India to provide humanitarian assistance, they are totally against military intervention. Vaiko and Ramadass have organised a number of gatherings in Tamil Nadu lately and have openly advocated that India recognise the formation of Tamil Eelam. Vaiko went to the extent of dismissing the argument that the formation of Tamil Eelam would ignite separatist tendencies in Tamil Nadu. On the contrary, he said if India does not recognise Tamil Eelam, then there is possibility that Tamils in India might not be pleased with the central government. All in all, Vaiko called the government of India to pave the way for the recognition of Tamil Eelam, the objective of the LTTE.
Although LTTE is banned in India, its recent victories against the government forces in Sri Lanka have enhanced its reputation in India. The assassination of India’s former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi apparently by a LTTE suicide bomber was the main factor that led India to ban the LTTE. Even Jayalalitha of ADMK who was quite instrumental in calling for the ban of LTTE after the death of Gandhi, has recently suggested that India should intervene in the Sri Lankan crises to bring about a negotiated settlement between the government and the LTTE.
There are indications that India is also changing its attitude towards the LTTE. Given the organization’s strong links with Tamils in India and elsewhere, India might be prepared to lift its ban.
Within the present government there are powerful supporters of the LTTE. For instance, defence minister George Fernandez is known to be very sympathetic to the organisation. Fernandez removed the former Indian naval chief a few years back because the latter allegedly sought to control the movement of LTTE in Indian territorial waters. Of course, as mentioned, three powerful Tamil parties with varying degrees of sympathy for the LTTE are components of the present government of India. It would be unthinkable that the Indian government would move to proscribe the activities of the Tigers without alienating Tamil leaders in India.
LTTE itself is no more a rag-tag guerrilla outfit. It commands considerable support from Tamils all over the world. Its publicity and fund-raising machinery is far more powerful that the government’s propaganda machinery. LTTE has numerous overseas bases and support centres.
The support from the Tamil Diaspora is overwhelming, although such information never really gets coverage in the media. Its professional stature is improving in the world.
In its recent assault of the Elephant Pass base, the LTTE despite overwhelming the army of nearly 20,000 soldiers refused to go for the over-kill. It allowed most the soldiers to escape. Unlike the Sri Lankan army which has a bad reputation for its indiscipline, the LTTE is a highly discipline organisations. It does not harm civilians. On many occasions, out of sheer goodwill it has released Sri Lankan soldiers from its captivity. Its cadres do not smoke or drink alcohol. Only after few years in the organisation that permission is given for them to marry. In short, the LTTE possesses a very highly motivated men and women who are ready to lay their lives for the creation of a Tamil homeland.
Following the capture of Elephant Pass base, Pallai and other small camps, the LTTE offered a temporary truce to the government for it to pull out its forces from Jaffna peninsula. This was a remarkable humanitarian exercise by the LTTE so that the government can withdraw its troops in safety. However, Kumaratunga has refused to accept this temporary truce and vowed that she would never yield Jaffna to the Tigers.
But the Tigers did warn the government that if the truce is not accepted then it has to face the serious consequences of conflict resulting in the death and expulsion of the army from Jaffna. Kumaratunga might obtain assistance from Israel or any other country, but the very fact that the army is going to face a humiliating defeat is certain. Innocent Sinhala youths recruited from the deep south will be sacrificed so that the Sinhala elite establishments can go on living a live of comfort and luxury.
The LTTE is prepared for the worst. They will never give up Jaffna, for it is the heart of Tamil homeland. Once the Jaffna comes under the control of the LTTE, there is strong possibility that it would announce the establishment of an independent Tamil Eelam.
According to some reliable sources, India might be the first country to recognise Tamil Eelam, followed by some Arab countries. Some of these Arab countries have been terribly hurt by the Sri Lankan government’s recognition of Israel, an arch enemy of freedom loving Muslim people. Even before an independent state of Palestine has been created, the Sri Lankan government has stabbed the PLO in the back. In this respect, support for the LTTE will be emanating from the Arab countries such as Libya, Iraq and Iran. Some Tamil organisations in Malaysia are already contemplating forming a committee to see the Malaysian foreign minister to pave the way for Malaysia to recognise Tamil Eelam.
In Europe, some delegations are being planned to explain the current situation in Sri Lanka so that these countries can provide early recognition of Tamil Eelam.
I would like to forward an urgent appeal to Tamils all over the world that we should not miss the present historic opportunity to present the case of an independent Tamil Eelam. We should get together in different national settings to form groups/committees and others to present our case to the various governments in power.
While we allow the LTTE to spearhead the military struggle, let us give them a help hand by providing moral and intellectual support for the establishment of Tamil Eelam. Let Tamil Eelam bring joy and happiness to Tamil people who have been long denied justice and freedom. Let true friendship develop between Tamil and Sinhala masses in the future.