ஒரு செய்தி

நவம்பர் 22, 2006

[புதினம்] யாரப்பா இங்க‌ இந்தியா தமிழனுக்கு உதவி செய்யிறது என்று சொல்லுறது?

Filed under: India,Politics,puthinam,Sri Lanka,Tamil Eelam,Tamil Nadu,Terrorism — CAPitalZ @ 1:59 பிப

ஈழப் பிரச்சனையில் இந்திய அரசாங்கம் இரட்டை வேடமிடுகிறது என்பதை தமிழக முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி புரிந்து கொண்டு துணை போகக்கூடாது என்று தமிழகத்தின் மூத்த ஊடகவியலாளர் சோலை வேண்டுகோள் விடுத்துள்ளார்.மறைந்த தமிழக முதல்வர் எம்.ஜி.ஆரின் மூத்த ஆலோசகரும் மூத்த ஊடகவியலாளருமான சோலை (வயது 75) குமுதம் குழுமத்தின் றிப்போர்ட்டர் வாரம் இருமுறை இதழில் எழுதியுள்ள கட்டுரை:

“இலங்கை இனச் சிக்கலில் தனது நிலையை மைய அரசு மறுபரிசீலனை செய்ய வேண்டும்” என்று முதல்வர் கலைஞர் தெரிவித்தார். பிரதமரைச் சந்திக்க மைய அமைச்சர் டி.ஆர். பாலுவையும் அனுப்பி வைத்தார்.

அதனைத் தொடர்ந்து கலைஞருக்கு, பிரதமர் மன்மோகன் சிங் கடிதம் எழுதியிருக்கிறார். இலங்கை வடக்கு, கிழக்குப் பகுதிகளில் ஏற்பட்டு வரும் சூழல்களைக் கருத்தில் கொண்டு, இந்திய அரசு 5,200 மெட்ரிக் தொன் அரிசியும், 1,500 மெட்ரிக் தொன் சர்க்கரையும் (சீனி) 300 மெட்ரிக் தொன் பால் பவுடரும் அனுப்பி வைக்கப்படும் என்று தெரிவித்திருக்கிறார்.

இந்த அறிவிப்பை தமிழகம் பெரும் ஆரவாரத்துடன் வரவேற்றது. ஈழத் தமிழர்களைத் தங்கள் உடன்பிறப்புக்களாகக் கருதும் தமிழ் மக்கள் மகிழ்ந்து போனார்கள். ஆனால், அதன் பின்னணியை அவர்கள் திரும்பிப் பார்க்க மறந்து விட்டார்கள்.

கொழும்பு – யாழ்ப்பாணம் நெடுஞ்சாலையை கடந்த ஐந்து மாதங்களாக, சிங்கள அரசு மூடிவிட்டது. அதனால், ஈழத்தில் குந்தியிருக்கின்ற ஒரு லட்சம் சிங்களத்துருப்புகளுக்கு, உணவுப் பொருள் செல்ல வழியில்லை. இந்தியாவிலிருந்து தமிழகக் கடற்கரையிலிருந்து உணவு செல்வதுதான் எளிது.

எனவே, இந்த உணவுப் பொருள்களை அனுப்பி உதவும்படி, சிங்கள அரசு இம்மாதத் தொடக்கத்தில் இந்தியாவைக் கேட்டுக் கொண்டது.

இலங்கையிலுள்ள இந்தியத் தூதரகத்தின் செய்தியாளர், நக்மா மல்லிக் இம்மாதம் 6 ஆம் தேதியன்று கொழும்பில் கூறியதை அப்படியே தருகிறோம்.

“இலங்கை அரசின் வேண்டுகோளை ஏற்று, யாழ்ப்பாணத்திற்கு உணவுப் பொருள்களை விநியோகம் செய்ய இந்தியா சம்மதித்துள்ளது. இந்திய அரசு நேரடியாக ஈடுபடாமல், தனியார் வர்த்தகர்கள் ஈடுபடுத்தப்படுவார்கள்.

இந்தியாவிலிருந்து பருப்பு மற்றும் சர்க்கரை ஏற்றுமதி செய்யத் தடை இருக்கிறது. இந்தத் தடை, இலங்கைக்கு உதவும் பொருட்டு விலக்கிக் கொள்ளப்படும். எனினும் சரக்குக் கப்பல்களின் பற்றாக்குறையால், இந்த ஏற்றுமதி தாமதமாகிறது!” இப்படி கொழும்பிலுள்ள இந்தியத் தூதரகம் தெரிவித்தது.

இதில் முன்னேற்றம் என்ன தெரியுமா? இந்தியாவிலிருந்து இலங்கையின் தனியார் வர்த்தகர்கள் வாங்குவதாக இருந்தது. தனியார் விற்பனை செய்வதை, மைய அரசு அனுமதிப்பதாக இருந்தது. கலைஞர் விடுத்த அறிக்கை, மைய அரசிற்குப் பழம் நழுவிப் பாலில் விழுந்த கதையாகி விட்டது. இனி சிங்கள அரசின் கோரிக்கையை ஏற்று, உணவுப் பொருள்களை இந்திய அரசே ஏற்றுமதி செய்யும் அல்லது அதற்கு வழி வகுக்கும்.

பசியாலும் பட்டினியாலும் செத்து மடியும் யாழ்ப்பாண மக்களுக்கு உதவுவதாக இருந்தால், பிரதமர் மன்மோகன் சிங் என்ன செய்திருக்க வேண்டும்? “மூடிக் கிடக்கும் யாழ்ப்பாண சாலையைத் திறந்து விடு” என்று சிங்கள அரசை வலியுறுத்தியிருக்க வேண்டும். இப்போது சிங்கள அரசின் கோரிக்கையை ஏற்று, உணவுப் பொருள்களை அனுப்புவதன் மூலம், யாழ்ப்பாணச் சாலை மூடப்பட்டதை நியாயப்படுத்துகிறார்களா?

யாழ்ப்பாணம் சாலை மூடப்பட்டதை எத்தனையோ நாடுகள் கண்டித்துவிட்டன. எத்தனையோ மனிதாபிமான அமைப்புக்கள் கண்டனம் தெரிவித்துவிட்டன. ஆனால், இன்றுவரை இந்திய அரசு வாயே திறக்கவில்லை.

அண்மையில் மத்திய நிதியமைச்சர் சிதம்பரம் கொழும்பு சென்றார். அளவளாவினார். “யாழ்ப்பாணச் சாலையைத் திறந்து விடுங்கள்” என்று வற்புறுத்துவதற்காகத்தான் அவர் கொழும்பிற்குப் பயணித்தார் என்று, நமது பேதை மனம் கற்பனை செய்தது.

கொழும்பிலிருந்து டெல்லி திரும்பினார். மத்திய அமைச்சரவை கூடியது. கூட்டத்தின் முடிவை சிதம்பரமே அறிவித்தார்.

மனிதாபிமான அடிப்படையில் இலங்கை அரசு கேட்கும் மைசூர் பருப்பும் பாசிப் பயறும் தொன் கணக்கில் (தடைநீக்கி) அனுப்பப்படும் என்று அறிவித்தார்.

தமிழ் நெஞ்சங்கள் அதிர்ந்து போயின. மனிதாபிமானத்தைத் தூக்கிலிட்டு, யாழ்ப்பாணச் சாலையை மூடிவிட்ட சிங்கள இனவாத அரசிற்கு, மனிதாபிமான அடிப்படையில் பருப்பு அனுப்புவது என்ற முடிவு விமர்சனத்திற்குள்ளானது. எனவே, நிதி அமைச்சகம் அடுத்த நாள் ஒரு வித்தார விளக்கம் தந்தது. மைய அரசு அனுப்பாது. தனியார் அனுப்புவார்கள் என்றது. யார் அனுப்பினால் என்ன? சிங்கள அரசின் கோரிக்கையை மைய அரசு ஏற்றுக் கொண்டது.

யாழ்ப்பாணத்திற்கென்று இந்திய அரசு அனுப்பும் உணவுப் பொருள்கள் எங்கே போய் இறங்கும்? ஈழத்தில் சிங்கள ராணுவக் கட்டுப்பாட்டுப் பகுதியில் போய் இறங்கும். மைய அரசு தெரிவித்திருக்கிறது.

இப்போது இருக்கின்ற நடைமுறை என்ன? யாழ்ப்பாணப் பகுதியில் இறக்கப்படும் உணவுப் பொருள்களில், 80 சதவிகிதத்தை சிங்கள ராணுவம் எடுத்துக் கொள்கிறது. ஆமாம். ஒரு லட்சம் துருப்புக்களுக்கு 80 சதவிகித உணவுப் பொருள்கள். ஐந்தரை லட்சம் மக்கள்தொகை கொண்ட யாழ்ப்பாணத்திற்கு 20 சதவிகித உணவுப் பொருள்கள். வேடிக்கையான_வேதனையான பங்கீடு. இதுதான் சிங்கள அரசின் நியாயம். எனவே, அங்கே ஒரு கிலோ அரிசி, 235 ரூபாய். ஒரு தீப்பெட்டி, 250 ரூபாய்.

இந்த உண்மை விரைவில் வெட்ட வெளிச்சமாகும். இது தெரியாமல், ஏதோ யாழ்ப்பாண மக்களுக்குத்தான் இந்திய அரசு உணவுப் பொருள்களை அனுப்புகிறது என்று நம்பி, அதனைச் செஞ்சிலுவைச் சங்கம் மூலம் விநியோகிக்க வேண்டும் என்று குரல் கொடுக்கிறார்கள்.

இலங்கையில் ஈழப் பரப்பில்தான், ஆழிப்பேரலைகளின் அழிவுகள் அதிகம். எனவே, சர்வதேச சமுதாயம் சுனாமி நிவாரண உதவி அளிக்க முன்வந்தது. ஆனால் சர்வதேச சமுதாயம் அனுப்பிய உதவியில், ஒரே ஒரு பொட்டலம் கூட, ஈழம் வந்து சேரவில்லை.

ஜனதா விமுக்திப் பெரமுன (ஜே.வி.பி) என்ற சிங்கள இனவாதக் கட்சி அதனைத் தடுத்துவிட்டது. ஈழத்திற்கு அனுப்பினால் ஆட்சி கவிழும் என்று அச்சுறுத்தியது. கலவரங்களைத் தூண்டக் காத்திருந்தது.

அந்தக் கட்சி, ராஜபக்சேக்களின் தோழமைக் கட்சி. அந்தக் கட்சியும் இன்னொரு சிங்கள இனவாதக் கட்சியும் அவரைத் தங்கள் கைதியாக வைத்திருக்கின்றன. அவருடைய சிம்மாசனம் நிலைக்க அந்த இனவாதக் கட்சிகளின் ஆதரவு அவருக்குத் தேவை. இந்தியாவை ஏகாதிபத்திய நாடாகச் சித்திரிப்பது அந்தக் கட்சிகளின் அரசியல். உலகம் அளித்த உதவியையே ஈழத்திற்கு வழங்க மறுத்தவர்கள், எப்படி இந்தியப் பொருள்களை மட்டும் அப்படியே யாழ்ப்பாணத்திற்கு அனுப்புவார்கள்?

இலங்கை இனச் சிக்கலில் இந்திய அரசு தமது நிலைமையை மறு பரிசீலனை செய்ய வேண்டும் என்று, முதல்வர் கலைஞர் வேண்டுகோள் விடுத்தார். அவருடைய உணர்வுதான் ஆறு கோடித் தமிழ் மக்களின் உணர்வு. அதுவே உலகத் தமிழர்களின் வேண்டுகோள்.

வாஜ்பாய் பிரதமராக இருக்கும்வரை, சிங்கள அரசிற்கு ஆயுதங்கள் அளிக்க மறுத்தார். இராணுவ உடன்பாடு காண மறுத்தார். தமிழகத்தின் உணர்வுகளுக்கு அவர் மதிப்பளித்தார். அந்த வகையில், அவர் உயர்ந்த மனிதர். மனிதாபிமானி, அரசியல் ஞானி என்பதனை மெய்ப்பித்தார்.

மன்மோகன் சிங் அரசு பதவி ஏற்றது. ஏற்கெனவே நடைபோட்ட பாதையிலிருந்து எல்லா வழிகளிலும் இந்தியா நழுவத் தொடங்கியது. ஈழப் பிரச்னையிலும் இடறி விழுந்தது. சிங்கள இனவாத அரசிற்கு டெல்லியில் மரியாதை கூடியது. அதன் பிரதிநிதிகள் ஏதோ மாமியார் வீட்டிற்கு வந்து செல்வது போல் வந்து செல்கிறார்கள்.

ஈழத்தை மயான பூமியாக்க, எந்த ஆயுதத்தையும் இந்தியா சிங்கள அரசிற்கு அளிக்கக் கூடாது என்று இந்திய கம்யூனிஸ்ட் கட்சி செயலாளர் பரதன், ம.தி.மு.க. பொதுச்செயலாளர் வைகோ, பாட்டாளி மக்கள் கட்சி நிறுவனர் ராமதாஸ் ஆகியோர் பிரதமரைக் கேட்டுக் கொண்டனர். சரி என்று அவரும் சொன்னார். பிரணாப் முகர்ஜியும் சொன்னார். நமக்கெல்லாம் ரொம்ப மகிழ்ச்சி.

இப்போது இந்தியக் கடற்படைத்தளபதி அருண்பிரகாஷ், அதிர்ச்சி தரும் செய்தியைச் சொல்லியிருக்கிறார்.

”இலங்கையின் இறையான்மை, பாதுகாப்பை உறுதி செய்வதற்காகக் கண்டிப்பான நடவடிக்கை எடுக்கும்படி மத்திய அரசிடமிருந்து எங்களுக்கு அறிவுறுத்தல்கள் வந்திருக்கின்றன. எனவே, சிங்களக் கடற்படைக்கு ராடார்கள், தளவாடங்கள், துப்பாக்கிகள் அளிக்கலாம் என்று முடிவு செய்திருக்கிறோம்” என்கிறார். அந்த முடிவு செயல்படுத்தப்படுகிறது.

கலைஞர் அவர்களே, இதுதான் மன்மோகன் சிங் அரசின் ஈழத்துக் கொள்கை. உங்கள் ஆட்சிக் காலத்தில் ஈழத்து மக்களுக்கு விடிவு ஏற்படவில்லையென்றால், அங்கே தமிழ் இனமே அழியும். தயவு செய்து நீங்கள் அதற்குத் துணைபோய் விடாதீர்கள் என்று தனது கட்டுரையில் சோலை தெரிவித்துள்ளார்.

ஈழப் பிரச்சனையில் இந்தியா இரட்டை வேடமிடுகிறது- முதல்வர் கருணாநிதி துணை போக வேண்டாம்: மூத்த ஊடகவியலாளர் சோலை

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ஒக்ரோபர் 17, 2006

Sri Lanka government rules out participation of separate Muslim delegation at peace talks

Filed under: Politics,Sri Lanka — CAPitalZ @ 9:20 பிப

The Sri Lankan government appears to have ruled out accommodating an independent Muslim delegation at peace talks on grounds that it cannot ‘agree to every demand put forward by the 57 registered political parties operating in the country.

Governments defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that, “Muslims are represented at peace talks in the form of Minister and National Unity Alliance leader Ms. Ferial Ashraff. There are 57 registered political parties that do not mean we have to send 57 people in addition to the government delegation.”

He noted that the demand put forward by several political parties including the country’s predominant Muslim party, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, to accommodate a separate independent Muslim delegation at peace talks ‘was not practical’.

“There are 57 registered party parties, if every single party says they would like to represent their people then it would mean we would have to send 57 people to talks. Even Karuna Amman says he should be accommodated because he represents the Eastern Tamils, then in time to come people from Matara will demand a separate representation on grounds that they are Southern Sinhalese, these demands are not practical,” the Minister said.

He suggested that instead these parties can put forward their proposals and recommendations to the All Party Conference and the All Party Representatives Committee. “These can be evaluated, but the public will at the end make the final decision on the country’s future,” he added.

Source:

Sri Lanka government rules out participation of separate Muslim delegation at peace talks

Teledrama “Sudu Kapuru Pethi” is banned in Sri Lanka

Filed under: Bad Remark,Politics,Sri Lanka — CAPitalZ @ 5:23 பிப

“I only found out about the ban by watching it on TV,” says Athula Peris, director of Sudu Kapuru Pethi.

“Rupavahini initially asked me to do it, but now some of the episodes have been taken off”.

a scene from Sudu Kapuru Pethi
SLRC says the teledrama is a ‘disgrace’ to security forces

Sudu Kapuru Pethi, which was set upon the ongoing conflict between the Sri Lankan government forces and the Tamil Tigers, was recently banned by the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SLRC).

The SLRC says the teledrama ‘disgraced’ the security forces at a time of war.

“Some parts of this teledrama brings disgrace to these soldiers and their self respect, on the other hand if we were to take episodes off and telecast it that would have been unfair on the audience so we had to discontinue it,” explains head of SLRC Newton Gunarathne.

Consent given

Award winning film director Somarathna Dissanayake’s Avasanda was also banned earlier by the SLRC.

A member of the ‘Manel Mal’ movement, that is organised for the well being of Army soldiers, Dissanayake says banning a teledrama for whatever reason is unacceptable.

Athula Peiris
“I still don’t know the exact reason why they stopped this teledrama”

“They gave their consent to these teledramas as suitable for the audience at first, and now they say they are not suitable. If it was suitable then it has to be suitable now” He said.

The teledrama on Sri Lanka soldiers abusing Tamil women was one of the reasons for the ban according to the director of the SLRC.

“Even though we have heard of soldiers abusing Tamil women in minor scales, the teledrama makes it look like every soldier is in the wrong” Newton Gunerathne told BBC Sandeshaya.

The teledrama was based upon the award winning novel Sudu Kapuru Pethi by Thushari Abesekara.

Abusing Tamil women

The writer says the story does not insult decent soldiers in any form.

“In one episode the character Revathi says that she is pregnant by the people who are there to save the country. I have not insulted the soldiers by this as this is a common issue in Sri Lanka.”

“This is about how women- Sinhalese or Tamil- get abused by men.” The author told bbcsinhala.com.

“If this teledrama can discourage the soldiers how did they win their battles last few weeks? This was broadcasting at the time they were fighting” questions a disappointed Athula Pieris.

ஒக்ரோபர் 1, 2006

Executive director of the Panos Canada disagrees with Canada’s decision to add the LTTE to its terrorism list

Filed under: Canada,LTTE,Politics,Sri Lanka,Tamil Eelam,tamils — CAPitalZ @ 1:02 பிப

The streets of Jaffna were lined with government soldiers. Posted every 50 metres, leaning up against pockmarked walls, or standing in the thin shadow of a tree in the blazing sun. They rode slowly by on bicycles, in the back of tractor trailers, and cruised past in truck convoys.

Within months of this early summer scene, the uneasy calm would erupt into open battle with the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the Tamil Tigers, or LTTE).

There were checkpoints all the way from Jaffna town southeast to the peninsula’s narrow Elephant Pass. Since 1998, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has had control of the Jaffna Peninsula, which curves toward India from the northern tip of this teardrop-shaped island. In a fierce but failed 2001 attempt to retake the area—the traditional heartland of Tamil culture—the LTTE wrestled away the strategic pass. The group also controls a swath of land directly below the peninsula, stretching across the north and down the east coast of Sri Lanka, effectively cutting off land access to Jaffna from government-controlled areas to the south.

Once through the buffer zone—maintained by the International Committee of the Red Cross just above the pass—and into LTTE territory, the government soldiers disappeared.

But there were LTTE “immigration officers” who checked my passport and read the letter of invitation from the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), which provides humanitarian services in LTTE areas. And there was a young woman in a smart blue-and-white uniform who searched my bag thoroughly—a customs officer for a country that does not exist.

We passed a Tamil Eelam district court, a school, and a police station before arriving in Kilinochchi, the administrative capital of the LTTE’s unofficial northern state within a state.

Although the Tigers call themselves freedom fighters, the rest of the world is increasingly labelling them terrorists. In a recent diplomatic blow, the European Union (EU) banned the organization, freezing its financial assets and barring it from fundraising. Canada, which has the largest expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil population in the world, added the group to its terrorism list in April. A brief news flash in Canada, the listing caused considerable consternation and rejoicing in Sri Lanka.

Countries such as India, Britain, and the U.S. banned the Tamil Tigers to prevent them from collecting money for military purposes among the Tamil diaspora.

Banning the LTTE was widely rejected among Tamil-Canadians and opposed by some security experts. Others welcomed the move as a sign that the new Conservative-led government was finally taking a hard line in the war on terrorism.

The LTTE says the terrorist label will undermine the peace process and block much-needed contributions to the TRO. The group retaliated by demanding the removal of 37 international ceasefire monitors from three EU countries, stationed there since the February 2002 signing of a “permanent” ceasefire agreement.

On a quiet night on the front porch of his Kilinochchi home, spokesman Thaya Master explained the LTTE’s position.

“The ceasefire agreement was signed between two equal parts: the LTTE and the government,” he said. “Now they put a ban on the LTTE. It’s a one-sided story. It’s not balanced, so how can we proceed with the peace process?”

What about LTTE tactics that led to the terrorist designation, like the use of suicide bombers?

“We have a suicide group, that’s true,” Master said, but he insisted the practice is justified as part of a military strategy.

It’s a fine distinction, which becomes even more blurred when the LTTE assassinates a head of state like former Indian prime minister Rajiv Ghandi.

A history of bad judgments fuels argument against the LTTE’s claims that it is a legitimate government: in 1990 the group, mostly Hindu, chased the minority Muslim population out of the Jaffna Peninsula; it also recruits child soldiers and kills civilians.

Jon Tinker, executive director of the Vancouver-based research group Panos Canada—which describes itself as an NGO devoted to working on issues of human security, pluralism, and peace-building—said he deplores some LTTE tactics but he still disagrees with Canada’s decision to add the group to its terrorism list.

“I don’t think there’s any question that the LTTE has carried out forms of political violence that many people think of as outrageous, but the same can be said of the Sri Lanka Army,” Tinker said during an interview at his UBC office.

The overarching question, according to Tinker—who is writing a book on terrorism and diasporas—is how one defines a terrorist.

“The rhetoric of the war on terror makes it easy to make glib judgments that one form of political violence is justified and another is not justified,” he said. “One of the biggest weaknesses of most definitions of terrorism is they exclude actions by the state.”

Such narrow definitions are out of touch with real-life experiences in a conflict zone, he argued.

“Whether it’s a tank rolling through Jaffna firing tank shells, or a bomb being detonated, the result is the same: people are blown to pieces,” said Tinker, who questioned the utility of “stigmatizing” one party with the terrorism label during critical peace negotiations.

Martin Collacott, Canada’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka from 1982 to 1986, argues the opposite.

“By not getting tough on them, particularly by letting them continue to raise funds in Canada, you take the responsibility for enabling the civil war to continue, because we were probably their biggest source of external funds,” said Collacott, now a fellow at the right-wing Fraser Institute in Vancouver, on the line from Ottawa. “As some people have put it, we have blood on our hands.”

The recent meltdown of the ceasefire agreement has been accompanied by finger-pointing on both sides.

There had been violations almost daily for months, but on June 15 tensions were ratcheted up when 64 people were killed in a bus explosion in central Sri Lanka. Most passengers were Sinhalese Buddhists, who make up the majority of the country’s population.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Sri Lankan forces have fought for years to control the Jaffna Peninsula, which is the centre of Tamil culture. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and Sri Lankan forces have fought for years to control the Jaffna Peninsula, which is the centre of Tamil culture.

The government blamed the rebels, and fighter jets strafed LTTE positions. By June 19, the LTTE and the SLA were exchanging heavy-weapons fire on the Jaffna Peninsula, which eventually opened up into another front in what some are calling a war.

The LTTE denied responsibility for the bus attack, blaming the government or forces backed by the government. Like so many events in Sri Lanka’s more than two-decades-long conflict, the details of the incident are sketchy and the facts murky. But the war is real enough, as is the poverty and displacement it creates.

In the town of Visvamadu, Tamil Tigers with drawn guns march in front of the flag-draped coffin of one of their peers, who was killed in a firefight with the Sri Lanka Army. Jared Ferrie photo.

In the village of Visvamadu, a funeral for an LTTE cadre killed in a firefight the day before blocked the road. A marching band of teenage girls led the procession, white dress uniforms shining in the midday sun.

At the graveyard, a thousand identical concrete graves splayed out around a monument, and an LTTE flag—a snarling tiger—flew at half-mast. The LTTE is big on monuments.

On our way to the coast, women sat in the schoolyard of each community, receiving arms training from female LTTE cadres. Large wooden clubs substituted for guns. The village men trained in the morning, I was told.

In Mullaittivu, houses were going up amongst rubble left by the 2004 tsunami, each one stamped with the TRO logo next to the door. Contributions from overseas Tamils as well as funding from foreign governments are paying to rebuild this quiet fishing community on the northeast coast. But 17 months after the tsunami, many people were still living in temporary camps, and construction was coming to a standstill as the government blockaded building supplies for fear, it said, that the LTTE might build new fortifications.

Soosaipillai Arasarednam worried that the tarp and thatch roof over his temporary home wouldn’t make it through another monsoon season.

Tigers’ spokesman Master claimed that preventing groups connected to the LTTE from raising money will undermine attempts to help victims of the tsunami and the conflict.

“It will affect the humanitarian work,” he said. “People will be reluctant to give money because of the ban.”

Lawrence Christie, the TRO’s planning director, was more optimistic about the issue. “I think the Canadian government will behave in a humanitarian manner, because it’s a humanitarian issue,” he said.

Inland, on the outskirts of Kilinochchi, children left homeless by the tsunami, war, and poverty live and study at a TRO-run home.

One corner of the young children’s quarters was reserved for those who arrived malnourished. They lay in bed listlessly as the healthy children pranced around, finally sending us off with a rendition of “Itsy-bitsy Spider,” first in English, then in Tamil.

Christie said that financial contributions from Canadian Tamils support children between ages six and 12 in the TRO home. The diaspora is the TRO’s most important source of money, according to Christie, and prospects would be grim if these funds dried up.

“If the Canadian government wants to starve the people and let them die…” he trailed off.

In fact, the government of Canada has a long history of delivering aid to LTTE areas. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) contributes to TRO-run programs, including demining the fields around Kilinochchi and manufacturing prosthetic legs for mine victims.

This work will continue despite the listing, according to CIDA.

“CIDA and its partners in Sri Lanka do not provide resources directly to the LTTE,” said spokeswoman Bronwen Cruden in a phone interview from Ottawa. “We carry out [activities] with the necessary diligence to continue to ensure that no CIDA funds are diverted to the LTTE.”

The Fraser Institute’s Collacott finds little reassurance in such reasoning.

“If an aid-delivery organization is identified closely with the Tamil Tigers, that would give me problems,” he said. “We’re in effect strengthening the Tigers’ hold and the ability to establish itself through that means.”

For Panos Canada’s Tinker, the same argument could be made for cutting off aid to projects run by the government of Sri Lanka.

“That cannot fail to be strengthening the ability of the Sri Lankan government to pursue this conflict,” he pointed out.

Whether listing the LTTE as a terrorist group will actually have any effect on its ability to fundraise in Canada is an open question. Although Canadians now face a possible 10 years in prison for knowingly contributing money to the LTTE through front groups, the government has yet to list any such groups.

Collacott said the government should take the next step and name them. He deplored the soft approach the Liberals took with the LTTE, accusing them of refusing to crack down because of substantial LTTE support in the Tamil-Canadian community.

“The Liberals were getting so much electoral support from Tamil Tiger supporters that they were not ever going to designate them as a terrorist group,” he said. “For anyone criticizing the Liberal government, they were a punching bag on this issue, because it was so obvious they should designate them a terrorist group and they just refused to.”

There are approximately 300,000 Tamils in Canada. About two thirds live in the Greater Toronto Area, where they form an important voting block in 10 ridings.

Collacott’s argument was brought forward in Parliament in 2000 by Conservative MP Monte Solberg (now Citizenship and Immigration Minister), who slammed then–finance minister Paul Martin for attending a fundraising dinner for the Federation of Associations of Canadian Tamils, which supposedly had ties to the LTTE.

“To condemn these people, to call them terrorists, is anti-Canadian,” Martin responded in the House. “There is Irish blood coursing through my veins, but that doesn’t mean I am a member of the IRA.”

The Liberals defended their policy by claiming that listing the LTTE as terrorists would undermine peace negotiations. (The already troubled negotiations would take a nose dive after Canada and the EU listed the group.)

When the Tories banned the Tigers, the National Post applauded the government. “Now, the Tories have placed national security above partisan interests,” the newspaper said in an April 8 editorial. Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day called the move “long overdue”.

But even if the government were to revert to Liberal hands, the LTTE’s standing in Canada might not improve. Liberal leadership front-runner Michael Ignatieff supports the ban, especially in light of a Human Rights Watch report this past spring detailing alleged LTTE extortion of Tamil-Canadians.

“It doesn’t matter much to me what’s going on in Sri Lanka. What matters to me is that Canadian citizens should never be intimidated or threatened by a political movement, period,” Ignatieff told the Straight in May when in Vancouver for a Liberal leadership forum. “Let me also make it clear that I am aware that the Sri Lankan government authorities are also guilty of human-rights abuses,” he added.

Tinker pointed out that the LTTE has never engaged in acts that could be considered terrorism outside of Sri Lanka or India, which had militarily intervened on the Sri Lankan government’s side at the time. And the charges of extorting Canadians are best left to the courts, he argued.

“If the picture that Human Rights Watch is painting is true, then the police forces have been somewhat underzealous in protecting the interests of Tamil-Canadians,” he said.

The Conservatives’ decision to categorize domestic police concerns as international terrorism points to a larger political current, Tinker suggested: “It’s one of a number of worrying signs that this administration is more willing than the last one to give an unthinking endorsement to the U.S. government’s concept of the war on terrorism.”

Master claimed that the charges of intimidation were drummed up by anti-LTTE elements in Canada. “We are not a terrorist group,” he insisted. “We have been fighting for the Tamil peoples’ rights for the past 20 years.”

Collacott was in Sri Lanka two decades ago when the civil war began with the LTTE’s killing of 13 high-ranking Sinhalese police officers. In retaliation, some Sinhalese in Colombo began killing Tamils and looting their homes and businesses. The atrocities drove many Tamils into the arms of the LTTE, which had previously been one of a number of somewhat obscure armed groups.

The riots also drove Tamils to other countries, including Canada, which opened up a special immigration program, Collacott recalled. “I was also, interestingly, a hero of the Tamils because I was the first head of mission to go up to Jaffna after the riots broke out,” he remembered.

Collacott met with the LTTE in his hotel room, but even then he had no illusions about the nature of the organization, he said. “It had already established itself as a terrorist organization in terms of assassinating moderate Tamils,” he claimed. “It certainly assassinated a lot of my moderate Tamil friends after that.”

Government forces used equally horrifying tactics, including death squads, as war raged on. And other factions committed further atrocities. More than 64,000 people died before a Norwegian-brokered ceasefire agreement in 2002.

But the agreement signed by the government and the LTTE “has broken down in all but name”, according to a June 5 report by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies.

“There is a serious danger that they are drifting back to an overt war, which is likely to be even bloodier than the last one,” the Centre warned.

The picture would darken even further. On August 14, government jets bombed a Tamil orphanage in the northeast, saying it was a training ground for child soldiers—a claim denied by the UN. When 17 humanitarian workers were massacred on August 7 in the northeastern town of Mutter, the UN and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission pointed the finger at government troops. The government denies the allegation.

In early June, Mahendren Rajthungam, the advertising manager of Uthayan, a Tamil-language newspaper in Jaffna, told me that conditions on the peninsula were almost as bad as before the ceasefire.

“It’s all gone in a circle,” he said, pointing to rising food and fuel costs, a stagnating economy, frustration about living under military occupation, and increasing violence. Just a month earlier, gunmen had burst into the newspaper’s offices and opened fire, killing two employees and seriously wounding the editor.

The government blamed “armed terrorists”, while groups like Reporters Without Borders pointed to the pro-government Eelam People’s Democratic Party, noting that the newspaper had carried a cartoon of the party’s leader the previous day.

Rajthungam declined to speculate on the reasons for the attack or who was responsible.

“Jaffna is a land of controversy,” he said simply.

Some say terror label prolongs Sri Lanka war

செப்ரெம்பர் 9, 2006

The forced evacuation of Muslims in 1989

Filed under: Bad Remark,Politics,Sri Lanka,Tamil Eelam — CAPitalZ @ 11:58 பிப

MUSLIMS & TAMIL EELAM
The forced evacuation of Muslims in 1989:
Some Reflections

Nadesan Satyendra, 1996

The forced evacuation of Muslims from Jaffna in 1989 raised important issues – not the least for those Tamils who were committed to the Tamil struggle for self determination. On the one hand the forced evacuation of thousands of Muslims from where they had lived for many decades was a humanitarian crisis. On the other hand, the military compulsions that the Tamil resistance faced, led to the decision that was taken. LTTE leader Pirabaharan, in an interview with the BBC in September 1994 had this to say:

” Jaffna is their (Muslim’s) own land. Unfortunately, difficult circumstances have rendered these Muslim people refugees. We very much regret that this has happened.”

What then were the ‘difficult circumstances’ that led to the evacuation? Again, was the action that was taken proportionate to the danger that the Muslim presence constituted to the Tamil struggle?

There may be three layers in which the issues may be usefully examined.

The first matter is the whole question of the Muslim identity. In the 1880s, for instance, attempts were made by Tamil politicians, such as Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan to show that Muslims were Tamils whose religion was Islam in the same way as other Tamils were Hindus or Christians.

In a paper entitled “The ethnology of the ‘Moors’ of Ceylon”, read before the prestigious Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Ramanathan contended, advancing physical, social and cultural evidence in his support, that the Muslims originated from South India and were of the same race as the one to which he belonged: in short, the Muslims were really a group of Tamils who had embraced a new religion, Islam. (Collective Identities, Nationalisms and Protest in modern Sri Lanka, edited Michael Roberts).

Ramanathan’s thesis caused grave consternation among the Muslims. Muslim critics did not deny that culturally there were points of similarity between the Muslims and Tamils – but they said that this was simply due the ‘inevitable process of acculturation of a minority people’. Again the use of Tamil as an everyday language by Muslims was explained on the basis that Tamil was ‘lingua franca’ of commerce in the South India ports and Sri Lanka ports. Further Muslims did not deny there was some admixture of Tamil and Muslim blood. But the crucial factor of difference from the Muslim point of view was the original Arabic descent of the Muslims.

The historical memories of a people and their heritage are in the end important determining factors in the creation of their ethnic identity. Tamil political parties in the 1950s and later failed to pay due regard to this separate identity. It was one thing to count Muslims as ‘Tamil speaking’ for action against the Sinhala Only law – it was another thing to insist that Muslims were Tamils.

Here, the response of the Muslim leader and Member of Parliament, Sir Razeek Fareed to Tamil leader Mr.A.Amirthalingam is indicative of the feelings that were aroused:

“Please do not worry about us. We are now separating ourselves absolutely from you. Please take this as notice and do not worry us any further. We know how to steer our boats – thanks for your steering all these days and to the rocks. Any attempt to bracket the Moors with the Tamils would amount to the political genocide of my race, the Moor community, by another race, the Tamil community… We will not tolerate being called a Tamil and that from South India. We the Moors, will fight to the last drop of our blood and our last breath to counter this falsehood (that we are Tamils)…”

This leads to the second layer.

It was this different group/ethnic identity that was exploited by the Sinhala government during the 1980s in the East. It was Sri Lanka’s deliberate policy (assisted by Mossad) to use Muslim Home Guards. The notorious Special Task Force worked hand in hand with these Home Guards. Despite some attempts by Tamil militant movements to recruit Muslims, such efforts did not in the end really take off – barring a few exceptions.

Again, the very fact that the Sri Lankan armed forces did not attack Muslim villages in the East, but only Tamil villages sowed further seeds of dissension. The Sinhala army used this tactic to build up support amongst Muslims. The scale of the attack launched by Sri Lanka in the 1980s is shown in the Report by Robert Kilroy-Silk, M.P. and Roger Sims, M.P, who visited Sri Lanka as members of a United Kingdom Parliamentary Human Rights Group in 1985:

“Witnesses also confirmed allegations made to us that whole villages (in the Eastern Province) have been emptied and neighbourhoods have been driven by the army from their homes and occupations and turned into refugees dependent on the government for dry rations… The human rights transgressed in such a course of action do not need to be detailed here…

“More important is that rightly or wrongly it tends to lend credibility to the view so frequently put to us that it is the Government’s objective either to drive the Tamils out of the north and east in sufficient numbers so as to reduce their majority in the north and in the east, a process that would be aided by the Government’s announced policy of settling armed Sinhalese people in former Tamil areas…or to drive the Tamils out altogether. We cannot make a judgement on this issue. We can say, without doubt, that the Government is driving Tamils from their homes and does intend to settle Sinhalese people in these areas. This, at least, lends support to the more extreme version believed by most Tamils.”

By October 1990, from Pottuvil in the Amparai District to Thenmaravadi in the Trincomalee District, the Government had succeeded in driving Tamils from their homes and settling Sinhala people in these areas. In these areas there are no settlements of Tamil people. The belongings in Tamil homes were looted by the army and by the so called Muslim Home Guards.

There was also a Sri Lanka ‘dirty tricks’ campaign. Within two weeks of the resumption of hostilities against the Premadsa led Sri Lanka Government in 1990, Associated Press Reported in the London Times, 23 June 1990

“Tamil guerillas hacked to death 62 Muslim villagers in eastern Sri Lanka yesterday, accusing them of being government informants, the Defence Ministry and an opposition Muslim leader said. The massacre at Nintavur came on the eleventh day of war between Tamil separatists and Sri Lankan forces for control of the northeast…The Defence Ministry said troops found the bodies of Muslim men, women and children in Nintavur. Military officials said rebels used knives to kill the villagers. Survivors said the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam raided the village early yesterday because they feared the residents would reveal their jungle hideaway, according to Mahroof Gani of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress an opposition party. He said that the rebels set fire to a mosque, looted and burnt down houses and left placards warning Muslims not to work for the government….”

The next day AP reported in the London Sunday Times, 24 June 1990:

“The military admitted yesterday that its report that Tamil Tiger separatists had hacked to death 62 Muslim men, women and children was false… They claimed their earlier report was based on faulty information from residents. The allegation was reported by international news agencies and appeared in newspapers around the world.”

Several more instances of the use of Muslims by Sri Lanka in its war against Tamil resistance can be given.

This leads to the third layer.

It is against the backdrop of the separate Muslim identity and the way it was exploited by the Sinhala government, that the pre emptive action taken against the Muslims in Jaffna may be usefully examined.

The resumption of the war with the Premadasa led Sri Lanka government in 1990 led to a heightened urgency to defend Jaffna against Sinhala attack. Apart from informers from Tamil quisling groups, the Muslims, with their divided loyalties and relatives in the East and in the South posed a special threat. Again, the Sri Lanka government, was well placed to exploit these divided loyalties by confining its attack only on the Tamils in the Peninsula, establishing its own links with Muslim merceneries and in this way recruiting Muslims as a fifth column within the Tamil heartland.

But ofcourse, not all Muslims were against the Tamil struggle – and here in lies the charge of ‘ethnic cleansing’. Ethnic cleansing is an emotive label, bringing memories of Hitler’s attack on the Jewish people. However, the internment of the Japanese Americans by the USA during the second world war is illustrative of the hard decisions that armed conflicts may sometimes force on the leaders of a people.

In early 1942, the United States was at war with Japan. Out of a fear of espionage by Japanese persons in the United States, the U.S. government placed severe restrictions on the rights of persons of Japanese ancestry during World War II. In the western states like California, US citizens of Japanese ethnic origin were subject to detention in guarded camps whether or not they were, as individuals, at all likely to engage in disloyal acts. These actions were taken with the unanimous concurrence of the various branches of the US government. The U.S. government argued that the military commander had authority from Congress and the President. The government also claimed there was no time, because of the imminent danger of air raids and invasion by Japanese forces, to determine the loyalty of individual Japanese.

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling on June 21, 1943 that upheld the government’s action. The Court found that under the war powers given to the President and Congress in Articles I and II of the U.S. Constitution, the President and Congress have wide discretion to determine the nature and extent of the danger during war and how to resist such danger. The Court concluded there was a “substantial basis” for the action taken and cited information about how Japanese had not assimilated into the white population, how Japanese children attended Japanese language schools believed to be sources of Japanese nationalistic propaganda, and how many Japanese American citizens were actually citizens of Japan also because Japan allowed dual citizenship. (Case of United States v. Gordon K. Hirabayashi – 320 U.S. 81)

Several years after the end of World War II (and America’s security concerns no longer existed) the US did apologise to the Japanese Americans for the action that had been taken against them.

In the case of the LTTE, it was a guerilla movement facing a Sri Lanka government which had already shown its willingness to exploit the Muslim ethnic identity, to indulge in dirty tricks and to recruit Muslim Home Guards, to quell Tamil resistance to Sinhala rule. To use the language of the US Supreme Court, many may conclude that there was a ‘substantial basis’ for the action taken by the LTTE to evacuate the Muslims from Jaffna.

Again, in the same way as the US Supreme Court was willing to accept the contention of the US government that ‘there was no time, because of the imminent danger of air raids and invasion by Japanese forces, to determine the loyalty of individual Japanese’ equally many may accept that, given the aerial bombardment of Jaffna, the threat of invading Sinhala armed forces and Sri Lanka’s ‘dirty tricks’ campaign, it was not realistic to expect the LTTE to determine the loyalty of individual Muslims before acting.

But that is not say that severe hardship was not caused to many Muslims who were required to evacuate. When conditions become more stable in Jaffna and the Sinhala army withdraws from the Tamil homeland, the time will also come for the return of Muslims to the peninsula. Here LTTE leader, Pirabaharan’s response in the 1994 BBC interview is relevant:

“Q.I recently visited a Muslim refugee camp in Puttalam. Those Muslims who you had required to leave Jaffna said with pain that they had lived in friendship and affection with the people of Jaffna. They have said that if it is promised that they will be protected, they would like to return to Jaffna. If a suitable climate prevails, will you agree to allow these Muslims to return to their land?A. Jaffna is their own land. Unfortunately, difficult circumstances have rendered these Muslim people refugees. We very much regret that this has happened. Today, because of the war situation, 300,000 Tamils are living as refugees in the Jaffna peninsula. Because the Sri Lanka Army has seized by force Tamil villages and settlements, particularly in the islands off the Jaffna peninsula and in west Valigamam, Tamils from these areas have had to leave their homes and become refugees, in their own homeland.

A substantial portion of these displaced Tamils have found asylum in places where Muslims had lived before. If the Sri Lanka Army evacuates from these Tamil villages which it had seized by force, these displaced Tamils will be able to return to their homes. If such a suitable climate is established, we will agree to the return of the Muslim people.”

 The forced evacuation of Muslims in 1989

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