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India & the Struggle for Tamil Eelam
India must stop assistance to Sri Lankan government: Thamil Chelven
C. Vinoj Kumar,
Sri Lanka is in the grip of an undeclared war. The
2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is on the verge of collapsing.
Hundreds have died in intermittent fighting between the two sides since the
beginning of this year. Both sides have accused each other of violating the CFA.
If the LTTE was accused of carrying out an attempt on the life of Sri Lanka
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the GoSL and pro-government paramilitary
groups face charges of having had a hand in the killings of pro-LTTE
Thamil Chelven: Our leader has explained our
policy position lucidly. He did not mention anything about leaving the CFA. He
had elaborated on how the government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has made the CFA
defunct by blatantly breaking its clauses through the occupation of Sampur and
Vaharai that were declared as our areas in the CFA. GoSL military also attempted
to move into our area from Muhamalai. It has
shelled our civilian settlements. Contravening CFA clauses, it has destroyed
normalcy in civilian life. It closed main highways and enforced economic
blockade on our people.
Thamil Chelven: It is the tradition of the GoSL to let loose an ethnic genocide on our people whenever our struggle gains strength politically or militarily. It is also its tradition to stage dramas to trap other countries in an illusion to hide its genocide programme and also to drive a wedge between us and countries like India. Rajapakse's latest Indian visit is part of this drama staged by the GoSL to handle the pressures from international community, in particular from the Tamils of Tamil Nadu.
Rajapakse is adopting the same racist approach of
all other Sinhala leaders. Among the Sinhala leadership, he is in fact showing
himself as one with extreme racial hatred against the Tamil community. He has
embarked on a drive to intensify his ethnic genocide. The purpose of his Indian
visit was to obtain military assistance. I believe his visit was a failure
because of the opposition to his visit from Tamil Nadu leaders and the firm
stand taken by the Indian Central government.
Thamil Chelven: Sri Lankan military has already killed more than 1,200
innocent civilians during the rule of President Rajapakse. Among those killed
are our political representatives, community leaders and journalists. We have
evidence to prove that Joseph Pararajasingam was killed by the Karuna
paramilitary group. Raviraj, a young and energetic member of parliament, who
voiced the rights of the Tamil people at many platforms, was shot within the
high security area in Colombo. He was killed by the Eelam People's Democratic
Party (EPDP) paramilitary group. We have evidence that this murder was carried
out with the full cooperation of the military.
Thamil Chelven: Had the Sinhala leaders respected international opinion the ethnic conflict would not have worsened to this degree. Whenever international community raised its concerns, GoSL acted deceptively to misguide them. It did not try to address the basic causes of the Tamil struggle and make an attempt to find a solution for it.
Rajapakse government is following the same path. It
would rather wipe out the Tamil people from this island and convert it into a
Sinhala Buddhist country according to the Buddhist ideology in this island. The
international community must go beyond simply expressing its condemnation and
take a strong stand against the GoSL. Only when it takes concrete actions such
as declaring the GoSL a terrorist state, and halting all its assistance to it,
the GoSL can be brought in line. Through past and present lessons we have learnt
that mere condemnations and concerns from the international community are not
going to be of any use.
Thamil Chelven: As far as our movement is
concerned we are very strong. As our national leader noted in the heroes' day
speech, when we came forward to undertake the peace efforts in 2001, we did so
from a position of strength. We had recaptured the Vanni mainland; and captured
the Elephant Pass military complex. It is from this position of strength we have
undertaken the peace efforts for the last six years. During these six years we
have defeated many plots against our struggle by the GoSL. They may think that
their military is strong because it did not face any losses for five years. For
us, our greatest strength is our people. Our struggle is a
self-defence struggle. We
are struggling to have a peaceful life devoid of military occupation. Our entire
people are behind us; this is our moral strength. No other powerful force can
defeat it. The environment has risen where the fake confidence of the GoSL will
be shattered. We have the competence and the strength to defeat the military
oppression. I firmly believe that we will achieve our goal very soon.
Thamil Chelven: This is clearly pushing Sri
Lanka into an economically weak situation. Blowing the size of the military
establishment out of proportion to its capacity, hoping to destroy the Tamils,
is in fact pushing Sri Lanka into abyss. Sri Lanka is buying large quantities of
weapons from Pakistan. It is creating a situation that threatens the stability
of this region. I do not believe that other countries in this region, including
India, are going to allow this conduct of the GoSL.
We have recently confirmed that GoSL is receiving
large quantities of military equipment and assistance from Pakistan. This is
dangerous and must be stopped. However, I do not believe such efforts by the
GoSL will provide victories to the GoSL. I believe there will be a backlash on
countries like Pakistan that assist the GoSL knowing well that GoSL is involved
in an ethnic genocide of the Tamils.
Thamil Chelven: These air force fighter
planes are not something that came into being only yesterday.Throughout our
struggle we have battled the GoSL air force, navy and the land-based forces. We
have faced this air force during 2000 when we retook the Vanni mainland and the
Elephant Pass military complex. In the end, we destroyed these fighter planes in
their own airport. That is the history known to everyone. Our leadership has
many strategies to defeat these mercenary forces. We will implement these
strategies to defeat them in the future. We are confident that no force however
powerful can defeat the moral strength of our people. We will win.
Thamil Chelven: GoSL violated some of the
important clauses in the CFA in an attempt to make it invalid. They have closed
main highways used by our people, particularly the A9 highway to Jaffna, and
subjected 600,000 people (in Jaffna) to misery. It has made the position of the
CFA very precarious. Neither the people nor the LTTE will continue to tolerate
such actions against the people by the GoSL. The people and the LTTE will
together defeat this action and set up our land route. This is the only option
open to us.
Thamil Chelven: The
constitution was not drafted with the cooperation and consent of the Tamil
people. On the contrary this constitution was drafted with the intention of
marginalising and destroying the Tamil people. Therefore, this constitution will
never give justice to the Tamil people. Tamil people have been struggling
against these Sri Lankan constitutions for the last 50 years. It is exactly this
constitution that has blocked even minor progresses made in the peace process.
Even minor structures created for carrying out humanitarian work (post-tsunami)
for our people were
blocked by the Sri Lankan courts citing this constitution. There are no
surprises here. Sri Lankan constitution is not going to accept any agreement or
resolutions that will benefit the Tamil people. This justice department reflects
the ethnically biased government and therefore it will always make decisions
against the Tamils. We cannot see any possibility for us to live together with
Sri Lanka. Our leader has lucidly expressed this by saying that this has urged
us to walk on the path towards our goal.
Thamil Chelven: They have expressed their
concerns only through condemnations. This will never bring the ethnically-biased
Sinhala Buddhist leaders in line. The GoSL has simply ignored these reports and
is continuing with its war against the Tamil people. Therefore, as I mentioned
earlier, the international community must take decisive concrete actions.
Thamil Chelven: Presently
the entire Tamil people on this globe are standing behind us in our
struggle. It is their support, participation and co-operation that are our
biggest strength. I do, therefore, believe that countries that respect justice
will in the future stand with us. I believe that the possibilities for this
eventuality have increased.
Thamil Chelven: The entire
Tamil population living
in Tamil Nadu
is opposed to the ethnic genocide currently let loose by the GoSL. They have
risen up with demands, that the ethnic genocide must be stopped, that their
brethren in Tamil Eelam must be protected, and that they must live with freedom
in their homeland. Since the chief minister represents the Tamils from the Tamil
Nadu, and his party is supporting the Central government, his view represents
the view of the entire Tamil Nadu Tamils. I believe the Central government too,
which by now would have understood the character of GoSL, will take a firm
decision regarding the GoSL.
Thamil Chelven: India is the regional power. Specifically it is a country where millions of our brethren live. Indian government must therefore understand the just aspirations of the Tamil people and give us moral support. India must stop giving all financial assistance to the GoSL and act to bring the GoSL in line. In addition, it must urge the international community to do the same. I also appeal to the international community to act with an understanding of the just aspirations of the Tamil people.