Sri Lanka And Tamil Eelam After Velupillai Prabhakaran

2Sri Lankan government and LTTE, both have concurred now that Velupillai Prabhakaran is dead. Sinhala chauvinists are jubilant and Sri Lankan government is more than satisfied. Tamils of  this island nation are demoralized. Elections of 15th Lok Sabha are over and a new government is in place in New Delhi. So politicians of Tamil Nadu are silent.

No one is grieving in India or in world over the demise of Velupillai Prabhakaran. He had a gory past and died in a equally gory way. I will be the last person to question Sri Lankan  government’s action. Any government worth it’s salt would do the same. Even in India, we reclaimed Lalgarh in West Bengal after fierce fight. Fighting for the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka is the constitutional duty of the government of the day. But using hapless Tamil people as human shield is deplorable. Independent U.N.O. observers made this public and now world has visual images of the battle. No sensible person in the world ever supported LTTE. But no one will ever support Tamils being used as human shields. Only God or Sri Lankan government can tell how many civilians have been butchered in the battle for Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu. On January 2, Kilinochchi, the political and administrative capital of LTTE was captured by Sri Lankan troops and after that battle for Mullaitivu started. To capture this base, which army lost to Tigers in 1996, army used civilians as human shields. LTTE is vanquished and the government of the day came victorious, but what about the innocent lives. 2,50,000 people hadbeen displaced from their homes and were caught between the military and the LTTE. The International committee of the Red Cross described it as a major humanitarian crisis and UN chief Ban Ki Moon said that he was deeply concerned about the safety and well-being of civilians. Red Cross, in their report admitted, that medical facilities  in the northern region are overwhelmed by hundreds of dead and scores of wounded. But Sri Lankan government was claiming that there had been zero civilian casualties. Now whom should I believe? Red Cross, Ban Ki Moon or the Government of Sri Lanka?

Let us give benefit of doubt to Sri Lankan government. Then the  pertinent question arises, what now? What about the rights of Tamil people? What about the devolution package? What about the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which stipulates the Establishment of provincial councils as per the provisions of the Indo-Sri Lanka accord of 1987. No one knows, what will happen to all these promises? Sinhal  chauvinism will raise it’s ugly head soon. Victory begets hubris and superiority complex. But it doesn’t mean that vanquished will always remain like that. If  president Mahinda Rajapakse shows magnanimity in victory, it will be good for the future of  Sri Lanka, but any show of hubris will ignite the cause of Eelam again. Sinhal chauvinists should know that victory is not perennial.


Sri Lanka:Fall of L.T.T.E. & Rise of Eilam

2Yesterday I wrote about the unfolding scenario in Sri Lanka. Since the third phase of election is still 4 days ahead, I am taking this opportunity to post another blog about Sri Lanka. The demise of Velupillai Prabhakaran is imminent with no redemption in sight. His control over the Tamil dominated northern and eastern part of Sri Lanka was total once upon a time. Presence of Sri Lankan government was abysmal. Tigers ran a parallel government from Kilinochchi, with it’s own courts, schools and civic administration. Today their kingdom in Kilinochchi lies in shambles. Town has been recaptured by the advancing Sri Lankan army. It is pertinent to remember that L.T.T.E. was able to thwart their attempts to capture the town for 10 long years. Today Kilinochchi is a ghost town and Tigers are confined to a small area near the town of Mullaitivu. Once they held 15,000 sq km of land, now their sway runs only over 10 sq km. The fall of L.T.T.E. is imminent and annihilation of it’s chief is apparent. But the real problem will start after that. Once Prabhakaran is gone and the dreaded Tigers vanquished for ever, the true face of Sinhal chauvinism will resurface again.  

Congress Party always acts in a myopic ways. I can understand their feelings about Tigers and Velupillai Prabhakaran, who ordered Rajiv Gandhi’s killing. They now shun L.T.T.E. completely. Not only that, it is alleged, their government is helping Sri Lankan army in all possible ways. China and Pakistan are also fishing in the troubled waters for their own ulterior motives. My feelings are neither for the Tegers nor for the well-being of Prabhakaran, my feelings are for  Sri Lankan Tamils. Sinhal majority people are enimical towards minority Tamil people. Few liberals in India opine that since we are facing such kind of menace ourselves, we should not sympathize with the Tamil rebels of Sri Lanka.

Let us examine this argument. India now has 31 provinces. B.J.P. govt. created three new states, when the demand was made. Creation of Telangana seems to be imminent. B.J.P. has promised to look into the matter of Gorkhaland, if elected. We do not feel threatend, if a demand is made for a new state. At the time of accesion, when doubts were raised that Kashmir’s culture and Kashmiriat might be endangered with the influx of outsiders, a special provision was made in the constitution and Kashmir is protected by article 370.  Not only that, even tiny Mizoram was also protected by a special constitutional provision at the time of Rajiv, Laldenga agreement. But in Sri Lanka, if Tamilians demanded self rule, they were called traitors. India has 22 constitutionaly recognized languages. But in Sri Lanka they refused to have two official languages. They made Sinhalese compulsory and the only language of Sri Lanka. In their own country, Tamilians were treated like second class citizen. We have a grievance redress system in place. Regular elections are held even in so called disturbed provinces. And even after this if few disgruntled elements want to secede from India, it cannot be compared with Sri Lankan Tamils. They have genuine grievances and Sri Lanka has no grievance redress system.

After Prabhakaran, these hapless Tamils will be at the mercy of their Sinhal masters. India has some responsibility towards them and she should not shirk her responsibility come what may. We cannot and should not view every thing through the prism of Congress. Who knows fall of L.T.T.E. could be the rise of Eilam. 


Sri Lanka:Tamil Tigers & Tamil People

2It’s election time in India and I did not want to comment on anything else. But events of  Sri Lanka forced me to deviate and hence I am posting my blog about the unfolding scene in Sri Lanka and sufferings of our Tamil brethren there. I admit it is a complex issue and Indian public is prejudiced, either in favour of the Tigers, or against the Tigers.

It all started almost two decades ago.  It was a movement for the independence of the northern and eastern territories of  Sri Lanka, dominated by Tamils. We, north Indians, do not understand the sentiments attached to this cause and we do not know and care for the background of this struggle also.

India’s contacts with Lanka or Simhal Dweep, as Sri Lanka used to be called in pre-historic days, started with Bhagwan Ram. Lanka, the golden kingdom of mythical Ravan, was conquered by Ram and Vibhishan was anointed the new ruler. After that she remained subservient to India for a very long time. Then after a long period of hiatus, Ashoka- the- great, sent his son Mahendra and daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka to spread Buddhism. Lankans accepted the principles of the Buddhism and even today Buddhism is the official religion of this island nation. During British era Ceylone, as Sri Lanka was called then, was part of India. For tea plantation and several other activities Brtishers brought Tamil labourers to Ceylone and they started settling there . Ceylone never said anything against Tamil people and never ever said that they should not be brought there and cannot settle there. Our Tamil brethren toiled hard and made Ceylone a very  prosperous nation. In those days  Britishers were lording over Simhals and Simhals were lording over Tamils. Before the independence of India, Ceylone was made an independent nation by British with ulterior motives and that to without deciding the fate of our Tamil brethren.

After independence Ceylone tried to move away from India. She was very close to China and Pakistan. Then she started suppressing Tamil people and Tamil language. Ceylone’s name was changed to Sri Lanka and Simhales was made the national language of the nation. Later on it was made  compulsory language for education. Tamils were living like a second class citizen. Buddhism, which preaches compassion, became cruel for these HinduTamils and the monks, who were supposed to be like a laughing, compassionate Buddha, became as bigot as Talibans, and forced the government to be firm with Tamils. Tamils were crushed, their protests marches were banned, cries were unheard . Buddhist monks, who were silent spectators, when Bamian Buddhas were blown to smithereens by Talibans, were very active during those days and helped the government in the humiliation and subjugation of Tamils.

Then struggle for Tamil Illam (Nation) began. L.T.T.E. and several other organisations took shape and they all started freedom movement. There were many Tamil leaders and half a dozen parties fighting for the cause. Velupillai Prabhakaran was just one of them. The movement for Illam is justified and we in India should support this cause.

Now we must understand the problem. To gain supremacy, Velupillai Prabhakaran killed each and every other Tamil leader. He finished every other party and in L.T.T.E. also, supressed all criticism and dissent with ruthless hand. He gained unquestioned supremacy and lordship over Tamil populace. And became a despot. When a naive, new  and inexperienced  Rajiv Gandhi was lured unnecessarily into this conflict by a willy Jayavardane, the then president of Sri Lanka, Prabhakaran, without understanding Rajiv’s motives, decided to kill him. He accomplished his aim with the help of his accomplices without caring about the repercussions. Now he is reaping the harvest.

We, in India, should and cannot forgive Velupillai Prabhakaran. He is a despot and ruthless autocrat and L.T.T.E. of today is a terrorist organization. They should be finished. But we must not forget our Tamil brothren. We are dutybound to help them. I vividly remember the atmosphere of Sri Lanka 25 years ago. Sri Lankan government, the Buddhist monks and majority Simhal population’s feelings toward Tamil minorities were enimical and they are enimical even now . Afer Prabhakaran’s elimination, Sri Lankan government, it’s army, monks and the majority Simhals will turn their fury towars the hapless Tamil populace. We can abandon Prabhakaran and L.T.T.E. but we cannot abandon our tamil brethren.

It is a complex issue and should be understood in it’s totality and with all the complexities. Tamil Tigers and Tamil people are different and should be treated differently.



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