(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
May 31, 2009
K Varadha Rajan
33-year long war between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE has finally
an end. Besides taking thousands of lives of fighters from both the
army and the
LTTE, this war has also led to untold miseries for the innocent Tamils
The post-independence history of this island nation has sadly been dominated by the clash of two hard line ideas –– one by the Sinhala hardliners who wanted a hegemonic, Sinhala supremacist State and another by the Tamil hardliners who strove for a separate State of Tamil Eelam. We have to turn the pages of history in order to understand the fundamental causes that led to these continuing conflicts in the island nation.
the independence of
Also due to the uneven, lopsided development pursued by the government, a number of agitations were held with various demands in the areas where Tamils lived. All those agitations held in the years 1956, 1958, 1978, 1981 and 1983 were brutally suppressed by the successive Sri Lankan governments. The worst was the chauvinistic killings that took place in July 1983 in which thousands of people were killed during the riots. It is a shame that not even a single person responsible for those killings, was punished even till date.
Sri Lankan Constitutional Amendment Act, 1972 is a classic example of
sectarian interests pursued by the government of
Such majoritarian approach of the rulers infuriated the people and their anger led to formation of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF). Hundreds of youth who were inspired by the Communist movement and anti-caste oppression movements in the nation entered into a struggle for their rights. This movement, which originated with the goal of formation of a “socialist Tamil Eelam” scattered into several smaller parties in due course.
STAND OF LTTE
TULF, which was formed by Selvanayagam, scattered into more than ten organisations such as LTTE, PLOTE, EPRLF, EROS, EPDP, TELO, etc These organisations also declared that they would take the path of armed struggle for achieving their goal.
An important aspect should be noted here. All these organisations originated from a divisive slogan of formation of a “separate Eelam”. But in due course, a proper understanding prevailed upon them and accordingly they changed their stand. This, of course, happened in several stages. Gradually they came to position that a new constitution must be evolved with additional powers devolved to the areas where Tamils lived.
But the LTTE called all these organisations as traitors and started armed conflicts with them. One could witness the sad spectacle of these organisations committing massacres to destroy their own brethren with an aim of eliminating each other. In particular, LTTE launched murderous attacks against all other movements and finished them in the process. More than 400 leaders and cadres of various Tamil organisations were shot dead by the LTTE so far. Important leaders like Padmanabha of EPRLF, Amirthalingam, Yogeswaran and Sami Thambi Muthu, MLA of TULF were among those who fell to the bullets of LTTE.
important reason in pushing the Tamil organisations towards armed
been the Jeyawardane government’s injection of Sinhalese chauvinism in
LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran has announced several times that
Eelam will be achieved through armed struggle. This struggle continued
33 years. But, finally the government of
main question now before all peace loving people is what must be done
at a political solution for this long lasting conflict in
The views expressed by Deva Gunasekara, general secretary, Communist Party of Sri Lanka, regarding Sri Lankan problem deserve to be mentioned here. He says: “As far as Leftists are concerned, we have been insisting that a solution for this problem should be found out quickly. This is a national problem. No particular political party can find a solution to this problem. This is the lesson we have learnt from history. We, the communists, are demanding that both important and bigger political parties should cooperate and take joint efforts to find out a solution to this problem.”
are the views of not only the Communist Party of Sri Lanka but also the
opinion of Tamils in
war has come to an end after resulting in a severe loss of lives and
of a large number of civilians and ordinary people. This being the
reality, when we analyse the total situation, it is imperative that a
for peace must be found out immediately. Only that will do good to all
It would be a blunder on the
part of the majority
Lankan government should come out immediately and ensure equal rights
(3) The Sri Lankan government should ensure supply of food, medicine etc., to the affected Tamil people through Red Cross and United Nations Organisation.
(4) The facilities available are abysmal. While providing relief is crucial, what is more important is the urgent need to resettle all the internally displaced persons in their original dwelling place as early as possible. There are some apprehensions that these displaced persons will be kept in camps for an indefinite period. There is also suspicion of a hidden government agenda to settle Sinhalese in the Wanni and to alter demographic patterns. Early resettlement can dispel this anxiety. This has to be followed by the re-settlement of all displaced people from all communities in the island.
(5) The government must reach out specifically to the Tamils. In the past, it alienated many Tamils through its obsession with the war. Now is the time to move away from capturing Tiger-controlled territory to capturing the hearts and minds of the Tamil people.
(6) The stringent security conditions must be gradually relaxed. Those detained without trial or charges being filed must be released. Security measures like checks and searches must be relaxed in a phased-out manner.
(7) A special financial package is necessary to help the people of the North and East reconstruct and develop their battered economy and shattered lives.
(8) Constitutionally, Tamil is now on a par with Sinhala as an official language. This however is not being implemented. Efforts should be under way to implement Tamil as an official language through the length and breadth of the country. An adequate number of Tamil-speaking officials must be recruited quickly to the public service.
(9) The government must go ahead with the unfinished task of nation building through genuine power sharing. Much valuable time has been lost and many opportunities squandered in the past.
then are the parameters within which a new beginning is possible in a