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Sri Lanka Slaughter
R.K. Karanjia, Blitz, 6 August 1983
The brutal massacre of tamils in Sri Lanka has crossed all limits of tolerance, Jayawardene and his Yahoos should be thankful to God and Mrs. Gandhi that India is sending passenger ships to help them shift displaced Tamilians under threat of execution in Colombo to Jaffna, while providing them with food and relief.Any other country of our size and power - say Reagan's America, or even Thatcher's England - would, under much less provocation, have rushed gunboats to the little island with an ultimatum to its government to either halt the genocide or face punitive action.
Our anguish is fuelled by the fact that the most brutal - and obviously well organised - massacres took place within the confines of a prison located in the capital city. A prison is by definition a highest security establishment; this is particularly so of the Welikada prison which, even by official terminology of the Lankan government, is a "maximum security" establishment. Yet, not one but two gruesome massacres occur within its wall in the space of a week!
We, therefore, assert that what happened could never have happened without the active connivance of the prison authorities whose role, it would seem, was to provide "maximum security" to the murderers as they went about their mindless mayhem! Add to this the fact that Welikada, being a "maximum security" establishment, is directly controlled by the highest authorities, and what have you? The plain fact is that Jayawardene's government stands stained with innocent Tamil blood
Colombo may deny connivance, but there is no way it can feign ignorance. Even the farcical probe into the first prison incident had little option but to return a verdict of premeditated murder. To add insult to the genocidal crime, Jayawardene has proceeded to take action - not against the villains but against their victims! By banning the organisations of the Tamils, he has clearly held that unfortunate community responsible for getting itself butchered. Ironically, the over hundred Tamils so brutally annihilated in Welikada gaol were being held there as "terrorists".
It appears the Lanka President shares his American counterpart's definition of that term, as applying to all who fight for their democratic rights against an unjust, decrepit and decaying order. Even the leader of the Gandhian movement, Dr. Rajasundaram, who was slain in the second slaughter, was being held as a "terrorist" at Welikada!
LIKE all tinpot tyrants, this one believes that what is not published did not happen; and has proceeded to prove this fact in action by censoring all news reports and preventing the transmission of any radio-photos of the massacre of more than a thousand Tamilians from the island "THOU SHALT KILL BUT NOT TELL", he commands the media, in the delusion that he may be thus shielded from enraged world opinion.
To his eternal shame, instead of condemning the atrocities without reservations, as any civilized head of state would have done, Jayawardene has sought to justify them. According to him, the Sinhalese were only "reacting" to the atrocities of the Tamil "terrorists" over the last eight years! Does this justify the proscribing of a Gandhian movement and the murder of its leaders? Does it explain why the scene of the worst massacres was a prison where presumably are interned, elements who cannot be said to represent the general public, unless Jayawardene would like to insult his countrymen by holding no difference between the law-abiding. Lankan and the Welikada "criminals"? Does it explain why the senseless terror that now grips Sri Lanka came so swift on the heels of his own provocative verbal onslaught against the Tamils?
As a final insult to this friendly country, Jayawardene denied Foreign Minister Narasimha Rao permission to visit the refugee camps or interact with the victims, confirming the fact that the bestial fury that began as anti-tamil, has today become anti-Indian.
Thus far, the Indian Government has acted with commendable restraint and Narasimha Rao with his customary coolness. But let the Yahoos not push their luck too far lest outraged public sentiment push a reluctant government into action.
Jayawardene's simultaneous onslaught against the domestic Left as well as the Soviet Union and Socialist countries leaves one in no doubt as to whom the turmoil benefits. Jayawardene now echoes His Master's Voice at home. The scheme fits delightfully into Reagan's global crusade against all Left and progressive forces.
The present hostility towards Indian in his fief, coming atop naked attempts at destabilisation in Punjab and the North-East, reveals a clear pattern in current US strategy here: a hate campaign against this country to undermine its leadership of the non-aligned movement while also destabilise it internally.