General Elections Sri Lanka: What is India now up to with the Tamils?
“Opportunity for Sri Lankan Tamils to revisit their priorities”by N S Venkataraman certainly raises the question, if India is rolling out a new modus operandi, towards Tamils & Sri Lanka. If that is so, it necessitates all Sri Lankans to be alert. Ignorance and belief that India would not play any role in Tamil militancy was proved wrong when India provided ground, training, arms & safe haven to LTTE. That nightmare lasted virtually 30 years. In a terrain of no-LTTE militancy, what is India’s next move?
The author notes that Tamil parties have reduced & are continuing to advance arguments related to ‘past issues’. As per the author one of the prime issues is ‘genocide’. They may well like to prove what kind of genocide took place for certainly LTTE were killed but close to 300,000 Tamil civilians were saved. Genocide of LTTE as a grievance is rather strange given that more Tamils have been killed by LTTE than anyone cares to count. The author also needs to be corrected on categorizing Sri Lanka’s conflict as a ‘civil war’ – even the Darusman report described Sri Lanka’s conflict as a non-international armed conflict and LTTE was banned as a terrorist organization not only by Sri Lanka but by even India and 32 countries. That ban continues 11 years after vanquishing LTTE.
Well, isn’t it strange that India feigns ignorance for political placards that Tamil political parties hold! Is this new tone and shift following the secret meeting with Indian envoy & the TNA and the arrival of more Indian intel to change the course of the General Elections in Sri Lanka?
Have India & TNA realized that battering the bogus genocide card is no longer working or that Tamils are getting more than a bit tired of the pro-LTTE reference without looking into the welfare of the Tamils. Are the years India & TNA spent on white-washing LTTE now losing its sheen amongst the Tamil voters and is this eating into TNA vote base? How is India planning to salvage the situation? India will want to place an India-friendly party in the North and if possible in the East as well while also now maneuvering ways to exert influence in the Central Province. The Sri Lankan Government and policy makers must take serious note of the advances India is making into the deep terrain of Sri Lanka.
The author is finally bringing to the table that substantial number of Tamils lost their lives from fractions between different Tamil militant groups. India should know, India trained them in different locations and armed them too. India also holds responsibility for the death of Mahaththaya, the LTTE deputy leader who was exposed for being an Indian mole and was tortured to death by Prabakaran. India plotted to replace LTTE with a more India-friendly militant group. India also plotted to kill Prabakaran & replace him with another India-friendly Tamil leader. Eventually, the Indian PM was assassinated by LTTE contract in India itself.
Anyone turning ‘genocide’ into a casual trendy term are kindly requested to produce name lists of all the people supposed to be killed and by whom and how they died as well. The term genocide was used during the final phase not when LTTE & Militant groups were killing each other and not even when IPKF went on a killing spree as well. Will India call IPKF killings in Sri Lanka as genocide?
The theatrics and drama choreographed and orchestrated by not only India but West and their bandwagon of NGOs is an open secret. When these parties tell Tamils to hold placards they do so, when they tell Tamils to cry & protest, they do so. All this has been with the assurance of greener pastures to them. As many would have seen from the protests outside the Sri Lankan mission in the UK, these protestors are now dwindling. It was easy to count just about 30 persons. This is an important feature showing that even the LTTE Diaspora are moving on simply because their games are now getting exposed by people asking questions regarding ‘genocide’ that they cannot answer.
The author says “entire Sri Lanka has suffered due to the ‘civil’ war” – India must take key accountability for that suffering. Not only did India provide training ground for scores of Tamil militant groups, but India armed and financed them to cause mayhem in Sri Lanka. Not stopping there India went on to prevent Sri Lanka’s Armed Forces from capturing Prabakaran by whisking him off to Delhi where he was kept until the Indo-Lanka Accord was signed. This accord full of historical fallacies was used as a means to divide Sri Lanka and merge 2 provinces with aim to use militancy to secure an area that India could control (greater Eelam)
Things did not work out as planned however. The merged province was annulled after India’s local puppet declared UDI and fled for refuge while in 2006 the Supreme Court de-merged the 2 merged provinces. Three years later LTTE ground force was vanquished. India made quite a drama on the one hand presenting notion India was ‘concerned’ about the Tamils & then demanding Sri Lankan officials fly to Delhi to brief them on the progress of the military offensive.
For everyone including the Tamils to ‘look forward to the future’ India must lead the way. The author may like to read out his list of advice to India’s bureaucracy, the Indian Government & the intel units first. With the fall of LTTE, India also lost a significant component of ‘pressure’ it could exert but was quick to transfer that to demanding India play a major role in post-conflict Sri Lanka vis a vis a the future of displaced Tamils, presence of military, economic & development goals. Did it take till 10 years after the conflict ended & massive development measures were embarked for India to now realize & tell the Tamils to move on? Why couldn’t India have told this to Tamils when LTTE was defeated instead of cheering them on towards more dramatics against the Sri Lankan State?
A component of the Srima-Shashtri Pact was the choice given to Tamils to decide if they wished to remain in Sri Lanka or return to Tamil Nadu. If India deems that India can look after Tamils better than Sri Lanka, that same question should be posed to the Tamils & India must facilitate Tamils to relocate to India/Tamil Nadu. However, when Tamils are holding citizenship in Sri Lanka, they must live as per the Sri Lankan constitution & cultural ethos of Sri Lanka. They are not Tamils of India if they are holding citizenship Sri Lanka. Those that wish to claim they belong to India, India must embrace them & give Indian citizenship. Tamils cannot expect to have one foot in Sri Lanka and another foot in India/Tamil Nadu. The choice must be made & India must respect their choice once made. India cannot poke its nose into Sri Lanka’s internal affairs claiming Tamils are theirs. If that is so, then India must take ‘their Tamils’ to India. Every Tamil living in the North will know that they have enjoyed a better life post-LTTE defeat than under LTTE & Prabakaran.
It is welcome news that the author is suggesting Tamils need to stop searching for ‘separatism’ a notion India fed into them and inadvertently, we hope India has also stopped searching for separatism of Sri Lanka.
If India and other countries that arouse the minorities using various ploys & plots and allow minorities to assimilate and integrate, Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans would be happier and without conflict and building a prosperous future together. We all deserve better than what we have suffered by all the external parties that have doused the flames of division and separatism for their geopolitical benefit & advantage.
In forwarding a new narrative, we remain watchful as to what India’s new maneuvers are in dangling a new carrot to the Tamils.
Shenali D Waduge