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Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamils - a Trans State Nation  > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka Sri Lanka's Genocidal War '95 to 01: Introduction & Index > the Record Speaks...


Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01


"Q. Where do you go from here?
A. ...To defeat the LTTE you have to launch an all out attack (which would mean a lot of Tamil civilian casualties) and the place (Jaffna) will be wiped out.
Q. Is that possible? Can the Sri Lankan forces do it?
A. Ofcourse it is possible. That is what the IPKF tried to do." President Kumaratunga - Interview with India Today, 30 April 1995

The election of the new Peoples Alliance government in August 1994, the later election of Chandrika Kumaratunga as Sri Lanka President, and the vote that she received from the Sinhala people in support of the peace process, led to a wide spread belief that President Kumaratunga would take meaningful measures to end the 40 year oppression of the Tamil people - an oppression which had led to the rise of the lawful Tamil armed resistance movement.

However, even as President Kumaratunga spoke words of peace, Sinhala war drums were being sounded backstage. (see 'Sri Lanka's Peace Offensive 1994/95') Be that as it may, the true intent of the so called 'peace process' was revealed by President Kumaratunga herself in an interview reported in the Sinhala owned Sri Lanka Sunday Times, an year later, on 20 August 1995:

"I have studied and acquired considerable knowledge on guerrilla warfare when I was a student in Paris, and we knew how they would behave. We conducted talks on the basis that the LTTE would not agree to any peaceful settlement and lay down arms."

Whilst it may be significant that President Kumaratunga's Paris education had not extended to a study of the Kissinger negotiations which ended the conflict in Vietnam or for that matter the London negotiations which ended the guerrilla war in Zimbabwe, that which was more significant, was her frank admission that she did not participate in the peace talks with the object of reaching a 'peaceful settlement' because her Paris studies had convinced her that this was not possible with a guerrilla movement. What then were the talks with the LTTE about and why did she participate in them? What was her undisclosed agenda?

President Chandrika Kumaratunga's own appointee as Chairman of the Sri Lanka state television, Rupavahini, Mr.Vasantha Rajah, wrote with the knowledge of an insider in the Sri Lanka state controlled Sunday Observer on 25 June1995:

"... a hidden agenda seeped into the government's peace effort. Instead of making a genuine effort to cultivate confidence and trust with the Tiger leadership and exploring `common ground', the government got side tracked by a different strategy: to try and isolate the Tiger leadership from the Tamil masses so that the military could corner and defeat them."

"The military establishment, together with most Sinhala intellectuals and left wing politicians... had been preaching this was for some time. This became the aim of the Presidential initiative too. In other words the peace process began to resemble a tactical episode in the government's strategy to crush the Tigers. Indeed President Chandrika even spoke about such an intention publicly."

The good faith with which the Sri Lanka government conducted the talks will also appear from an interview with the BBC by Velupillai Pirabaharan, the Leader of the LTTE on 27 April 1995:

"In so far as the day to day problems of the Tamil people are concerned the Government dragged its feet for more than six months. On these issues, there were four rounds of talks and more than forty letters exchanged. Furthermore, we gave a two weeks deadline and that was further extended to three more weeks."

"If there was a genuine will on the part of the Government it would have lifted the bans and proceeded with the implementation within 24 hours. I think that if the Government had been sincere there would not have been any delays or difficulties."

The LTTE leader added in the same interview on 30 April 1995:

"Our doors for peace are still open. It is true that we are dissatisfied and disillusioned with the approach of the (Sri Lanka) Government. Yet we have not lost hope in the peace process. We are convinced that the Tamilnational question can be resolved by peaceful means. It is the (Sri Lanka)Government which should take the initiatives to resume the peace process."

But instead of moving to resume the peace process, President Kumaratunga, having used the talks as a 'tactical episode' in her attempt to quell Tamil resistance, now set about using the collapse of the talks as a legitimising cover for a planned genocidal onslaught on the Tamil people. President Kumaratunga who had campaigned for election on a platform for peace, openly declared that she proposed to achieve peace by waging war.

President Kumaratunga was frank. She declared in an interview with India Today on 30 April 1995:

"Q. Where do you go from here?

A. ...To defeat the LTTE you have to launch an all out attack (which would mean a lot of Tamil civilian casualties) and the place (Jaffna) will be wiped out.

Q. Is that possible? Can the Sri Lankan forces do it?

A. Ofcourse it is possible. That is what the IPKF tried to do."

The equanimity with which President Kumaratunga contemplated the prospect of 'wiping out' Jaffna was not different from the equanimity with which President J.R.Jayawardene declared two weeks before Genocide '83:

"I am not worried about the opinion of the Tamil people... now we cannot think of them, not about their lives or their opinion... the more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here... Really if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy." (President J.R.Jayawardene, Daily Telegraph, 11th July 1983)

Sinhala political leaders are sometimes disarmingly frank. On such occasions they should be taken at their word. In the same way as President Jayawardene's remarks in July 1983 served as a prelude to Genocide'83, President Kumaratunga's ruminations in April 1995 set the stage for the genocidal war that was launched on the Tamil people in May/June 1995.



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