The parliamentary elections scheduled for 5th December 2001
will be an important landmark in the political history of the Tamil nationality.
It is imperative that the present situation of drift and uncertainty be ended
and that the Tamil national question be addressed with all the seriousness and
urgency it deserves.
A brief reiteration of the political experiences and history of the Tamil
nationality in the past fifty-two years since independence would be relevant.
The Citizenship and
Franchise Laws deprived hundreds of thousands of Tamils of recent Indian
origin, who were domiciled in Ceylon at independence, of their citizenship and
franchise rights. Though subsequent efforts were made to remedy this grave
injustice, more than three hundred thousand of these people have been compelled
to leave the country, while almost a hundred thousand yet remain stateless. This
has diminished the political strength and representation of the Tamil people.
colonization of the Tamil homeland with Sinhala people, from the time of
independence has continued unabated despite agreements entered into by
successive prime ministers with the Tamil political leadership, which if
implemented, would have brought to an end this pernicious practice, that
diminished the political strength and representation of the Tamil nationality,
in the Tamil homeland and also deprives them of vital resources in the areas of
their historical habitation. Successive governments have through the activities
of State-funded corporations and through the encouragement of unlawful
occupation of State land by the Sinhala people contributed to the worsening of
The harmful impact of state-aided Sinhala colonization of the Tamil homeland is
demonstrated by the inconvertible fact that while the natural increase of
Sinhala population-country wide-between 1948 (the year of independence) and 1981
(the year of the last available census) was 238 percent, the Sinhala population
in the eastern province increased during the same period by 883 percent. The
position now in the year 2001 is far worse than what it was in 1981.
The enactment of the
Sinhala Only legislation and the implementation of that policy for over
three decades, gravely impinged upon the employment and other opportunities of
the Tamil nationality in the administrative system and reduced the Tamil
nationality to a position of second class citizenship.
The dubious provision, by which Tamil was purported to be elevated to the same
status as Sinhala, remains a dead letter. The Sinhala language is yet the only
language used, even in some parts of the Tamil homeland. The resulting position
is that the status of the Tamil nationality in the administration yet continues
to remain the same.
admissions to university education in the 1970s embittered Tamil youth who
were deprived of equal opportunity to higher education. The district-wise
admission to university education now in force is weighted in favour of the
Sinhala nationality, and does not accord merit its rightful place in the higher
education system. Equal facilities are not provided to Tamil students in the
matter of the educational infrastructure and services. There is much frustration
within the Tamil nationality in the field of education. Non-recognition of
merit, deprivation of social development, and denial of economic opportunities,
step-motherly treatment in the fields of industries, agriculture and fisheries,
have led to social underdevelopment, and economic impoverishment of the Tamil
There is gross discrimination against Tamil youth in the field of public sector
employment. The same practice is spreading to private sector employment. Not
even three percent of the total employment is provided to the Tamil nationality
in the public sector. Such blatant discrimination against the Tamil nationality,
particularly Tamil youth, has continued for decades and successive governments
have been utterly insensitive to the legitimate grievances of the Tamil
nationality in this regard.
Racial pogroms against the Tamil nationality have been a regular phenomenon
since the 1950's.The Tamil nationality has lost lives by the tens of
thousands, many more have been grievously wounded and billions of rupees worth
of property owned by Tamils has been destroyed in the northeast and other parts
of the island.
religious worship, educational and cultural institutions including the
public library of
Jaffna were destroyed by the armed forces of the Sri Lankan State. The
disappearances of Tamil people, particularly Tamil youths, and
assault against Tamil females has been a continuing feature of the violence
unleashed against the Tamil nationality: some governments have even collaborated
with the perpetrators of violence.
and indiscriminate arrests of Tamil youth, prolonged detention under the
Terrorism Act and the
Emergency Regulations without trial, physical and mental torture, the
humiliation and insults inflicted on the Tamil nationality allegedly on grounds
of security, have been a continuing feature.
shelling both from land and sea into Tamil civilian settlements has resulted
in death and injury and in the substantial dislocation of the Tamil civilian
population, and the dreadful fear amongst non-combatant civilians that they
could be the victims of such bombing and shelling.
Having failed to resolve the Tamil national question, through negotiations, and
civil disobedience campaigns, such as the massive 'satyagraha' campaign in the
northeast in 1961,
when the repression
of the armed forces was unleashed on the Tamil nationality, and the Tamil
political leadership detained in an army camp, the
Vaddukoddai resolution was
adopted on 14th May 1976, for the restoration of the sovereignty of the Tamil
The position today is much worse than it was in 1976.
It was in this background and in the context of the
failure of successive governments to evolve a just solution to the Tamil
national question, that Tamil youth - left with no alternative - were driven to
resort to an
Even after the adoption of the Vaddukoddai resolution, and even after the
commencement of an armed struggle, the Tamil political leadership had always
been willing to, and has made every possible endeavour to negotiate a just
solution to the Tamil national question. The opportunities that thus became
available were not availed of by successive governments. There has thus been
dismal failure on the part of successive governments, during the past fifty
years, to evolve a just solution to the Tamil national question.
Consequently, it was inevitable, that the armed struggle gained in strength, and
Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam came to occupy a paramount position, and play a pivotal role in the
struggle of the Tamil nationality to win their rights. It would be futile not to
recognize this reality.
It would be relevant to recall the
statement made by the widely representative delegation of the Tamil
nationality on 13th July 1985 at
talks with representatives of the Sri Lankan government at Thimpu, Bhutan.
'It is our considered view that any meaningful solution to the national
question of the island must be based on the following four cardinal
1. Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a distinct nationality.
2. Recognition of an identified Tamil homeland and guarantee of its
3. Based on the above, recognition of the inalienable right of
self-determination of the Tamil nation.
4. Recognition of the right to full citizenship and other fundamental
democratic rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country.'
The statement went on to state - 'Different countries have fashioned
different systems of governments to ensure these principles. We have demanded
and struggled for an independent Tamil state as the answer to this problem
arising out of the denial of these basic rights of our people...
In view of our earnest desire for peace, we are prepared to give consideration
to any set of proposals in keeping with the above principles that the Sri Lanka
government might place before us'.
The Sri Lankan State has lacked comprehension and consistency in its purported
efforts to evolve a just solution to the Tamil national question. The sincerity
of the commitment of the Sri Lankan State has thereby been called into serious
question. By reason thereof, the Tamil nationality has encountered
hardship and suffering, valuable lives have been lost on all sides, and the
whole country has had to endure the multi-faceted adverse consequences of the
The seriously flawed policies of the Sri Lankan State in the past six years, of
claiming to 'conduct a war for peace’ and claiming 'that the war is being
conducted against the LTTE and not against the Tamil people' has aggravated the
situation and made a just solution to the Tamil national question even more
complex. We have consistently rejected these positions, and asserted that war
can never bring about peace, and that peace can only be achieved through
rational dialogue. We have also consistently asserted that any attempt to draw a
distinction between the LTTE and the Tamil people was meaningless, when there
was no aspect of Tamil civilian life which was not gravely impaired by the
continuance of the war, and that the war should therefore be ended. The
hollowness of these two slogans of the Sri Lankan State today stands fully
It is such misconceived thinking on the part of the Sri Lankan State, that
accepting an international third party role, in order to evolve a just
solution to the Tamil national question and the failure after the acceptance of
the Norwegian initiative to grasp opportunities that because available to
terminate the war, and further the negotiation process; and thereafter in the
stultification of the Norwegian initiative on frivolous pretexts and the
consequent frustration of the peace process.
The above factors have made it imperative for the Tamil nationality to formulate
a cohesive and coherent position in regard to their future political struggle.
The immediate aims and objectives of the Tamil Alliance comprising the Tamil
United Liberation Front (TULF), the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), the Tamil
Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and the Eelam People's Revolutionary
Liberation Front (EPRLF) are the following: -
i) The immediate lifting of the economic embargo currently in force in parts of
the northeast province
ii) The withdrawal of the residential and travel restrictions foisted on the
iii) The immediate cessation of the war being currently waged in the northeast
iv) The immediate commencement of the process of negotiations with the
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ( LTTE) with international third party
This Alliance also states that unless meaningful negotiations are held with the
L.T.T.E. no just solution can be found to the Tamil national question and that
such negotiations should be held immediately only with the LTTE. This Alliance
further states that in order to ensure that the negotiations are properly
focussed and are purposeful and successful, no parallel negotiations should take
place with any other Tamil political formation.
v) That to facilitate the commencement of such negotiations, steps should be
taken to lift the proscription imposed on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) in Sri Lanka, and thereby ensure such proscription does not constitute an
impediment to the free and full participation of the LTTE at such negotiations
on behalf of the Tamil nationality.
The Alliance contests the forthcoming parliamentary elections in order to
achieve the aims and objectives, outlines above, and will campaign both
nationally and internationally for the achievement of the said aims and
This Alliance will mobilize the Tamil-speaking people of the northeast, in order
to achieve the said aims and objectives.
The Tamil nationality is today at the crossroads, between despair as a result of
their present pathetic plight, and hope for a better tomorrow.
We urge the Tamil speaking voters to repose faith in the hope for a better
tomorrow, and extend their total support to the Tamil Alliance, by casting their
votes for the rising sun, the common symbol of the Tamil Alliance.