People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 37

September 11, 2011



CPI(M) Team Demand Early Political Solution


ON September 7, a delegation of CPI(M) leaders met the union minister Pranab Mukherjee, seeking the government of India’s intervention for a political settlement of the issues of Tamils in Sri Lanka and issued the following letter. They also submitted a memorandum for the demand, meant for onward transmission to the prime minister.


Led by CPI(M) Polit Bureau member, the delegation comprised CPI(M) Polit Bureau  member K Varadha Rajan, the party’s Tamilnadu state secretary G Ramakrishnan, Lok Sabha member P R Natarajan, and CPI(M) MLAs A Soundarajan, K Balakrishnan and M N S Venkatarajan.


Below we reproduce the text of the memorandum.

On behalf of the Tamilnadu state committee of the CPI(M) and the people of Tamilnadu we express our deep anguish on the unending travails of Tamils in Sri Lanka and submit the following for your kind perusal. More than 1,500 activists and leaders of CPI(M) from Tamilnadu, have reached New Delhi and are conducting a demonstration today outside the parliament seeking the government of India’s intervention for a political settlement of the issues of Tamils in Sri Lanka.


Right from 1948 when Sri Lanka attained independence, the approach of successive governments was discriminatory towards Tamil people. Over a period, all their rights were taken away and this led to their complete alienation from the mainstream.  From 1983, mass ethnic killings happened on a larger scale and the lives of Tamils were uprooted. This paved way for internal displacement and they became refugees in their own country. There was no serious attempt worth its name for a genuine political solution.


The armed conflict between the army and the LTTE continued for years, which had major consequences for the internally displaced people. Though two years have passed since the end of the armed conflict and the elimination of the LTTE, the Sri Lankan government has not taken any worthwhile steps to reach a political settlement and the suggestions emanating from them seem to delay and obstruct the whole process. The innocent people who are kept in a terrible condition in the relief camps continue to silently suffer. The Indian government’s contributions and assistance towards the resettlement of Tamils do not seem to reach them fully. An emergency like situation continues in Tamil areas and the presence of army is intimidating.


The UN secretary general’s advisory panel has found that war crimes and human rights violations have been committed on the Tamils both by the army and the LTTE in the last phase of the armed conflict. It is reported that more than 40,000 innocent Tamils were killed during the period. The rapes and sexual assaults on women, the brutal torture and cold blooded killings are indeed shocking.


In these circumstances, we appeal to you and the government of India to make all necessary efforts, utilising the diplomatic relations to ensure that a political settlement is arrived at, at the earliest, so that the Tamil minority can lead a life of dignity and as equal citizens within a united Sri Lanka. We place below some of the important steps that should be taken by the Sri Lankan government:


1) An independent high level committee must be constituted to go into the war crimes and human rights violations perpetrated by the Sri Lankan army.  This enquiry must be consistent with the Sri Lankan laws and the obligations of Sri Lanka to the international UN conventions. Accountability has to be fixed on individuals and penal actions need to be taken.


2) Tamil people especially youth who are being illegally detained must be immediately released.


3) Emergency laws should be repealed, army withdrawn to barracks and normal democratic life must be restored.


4) Those who are in the camps and others who are displaced must be resettled within a time frame and basic rights and economic assistance must be ensured.


5) The northern and eastern provinces where Tamil people live in large number must be merged and maximum autonomy has to be provided.  Administrative powers should be vested with such provincial governments in respect of police, land and so on. A broader political consultation has to be held and all necessary steps to be taken for a permanent political solution to the ethnic question.


6) They should be treated as equal citizens in all walks of life and Tamil language must be accorded equal status. Tamils must be recruited in all official positions including administrative, judiciary and police.


7) The government of India should ensure its relief (like housing etc) meant for Sri Lankan Tamils should reach them.