There is no denying of the fact that the Tamils in Sri Lanka have been at the receiving end by the successive Governments in power and targeted in the agenda of GENOCIDE including structural GENOCIDE since the time of independence in 1948. Their history since then is dotted with state discrimination and marginalization aided with legislations like the SINHALA ONLY ACT OF 1956 and more than 100 massacres of civilians by the Sri Lankan’s Security Forces and Sinhalese thugs, state sponsored pogroms in 1956, 1958, 1971, 1977, 1983, 1987, and the genocidal war between 2006-2009. Tamils history is marked with betrayals by Sinhala political leaders and their Governments, breaches of Pacts, agreements, promises and understandings reached with Tamil political parties and leaders since 1956. While all the Sinhala leaders and parties are united to achieve a pure SINHALA -BUDDHIST STATE, their resort to rivalry and competition as to who can achieve this faster than the others is the driving and underlying factor and motive to win the majority of the SINHALA-BUDDIST votes to capture the political power in Sri Lanka.
This process of GENOCIDE and assimilation of Tamils through BUDDHISISATION, SINHALISISATION AND MILITARIZATION has driven the Tamils to a state of fear, insecurity and uncertainty. This process has now drawn in the hidden agenda of the Government to hide and destroy the history and archaeological sites of Tamils which evidence their inhabitancy in Sri Lanka before B.C 500. A pure Sinhala Archaeological Task Force is now embarked on a mission to conduct searches, to concoct evidences and conclude the archaeological sites in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka as belonging to Buddhists as to stake the claim that the Eastern Province belongs to the Buddhists, thereby removing the “Historical Evidence of Tamils being the original inhabitants in the Eastern and Northern Provinces while Eastern Province is not their traditional homeland, a fact which was endorsed by India and Sri Lankan governments and recorded in the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.
It has to be stated that the position of the Tamils as far as political equal rights as equal citizens almost remains static, but on the contrary they are being driven to a state of desperation and possible slow and steady extinction. The plain truth is that the Tamil political parties and their leaders have miserably failed to stop the agenda of GENOCIDE due to their lacklustre, lethargic and insolvent attitude, lack of ground action, including staging of mass protests and agitations which would have been made possible had they had the political will and determination. Instead they focused their efforts and time to not to antagonize the Governments in power – under Mahinda Rajapakshe, Maithiripala Sirisena, Ranil Wickremasinghe and now Gotabaya Rajapaksa.s Government. Pretty well knowing the blotted past history of betrayals and chicanery of Sinhala political leaders, their choice to trust and acceptance of the betrayals is the other part of betrayals of Tamils and other causes.
It appears they are contented and happy with the perks and privileges granted to a Member of Parliament and appear to be occasionally breaking their silence by making occasional statements, speeches and rhetoric to cover up their deceptions and failings as fighters to achieve the national aspirations of Tamils, the main base of their political campaigns.
The last eleven years from 2009 – 2020 have kept the traumatized Tamils in a state of uncertainty, desperation and despondency. The plethora of problems and painful memories are still haunting and raking them.
A few of those problems which remain intact and becoming worse are as follows:-
- No sign of withdrawal or reduction of the Security Forces stationed in the North to the ratio of one soldier to every four civilians [01: 04] even though the UN and International community demanded this.
- The Security Forces are still occupying 3207 Acres of civilian lands – mostly fertile lands for agriculture and coastal areas thereby depriving the livelihood of farmers and fishermen.
- Delaying the release of the Tamil political prisoners who are languishing in the jail – some for more than 10-15 years without trial who were arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act, [PTA} The request by the European Union and the UNHRC is still not honoured.
- The Government continues to build Buddhist Viharas and Buddha statues in the North and East where few/no Buddhist live. On the other hand there are still thousands of refugees living in camps without even basic needs.
- The Government has so far failed to investigate war crimes even though it accepted to conduct its own investigation to the UNHRC [UNHRC Resolution 30/1] and now it seems to withdraw from this promise and disregard this UNHRC Resolution
- The Office of the Missing Persons is now defunct and the fate of thousands of missing persons is in dark. [The Paranagama’s Commission received more than 23,000 complaints and it has been put on back burner] The mothers and relatives of the missing persons are on sit-in protest for more than 2300 days demanding to know the whereabouts of their loved ones.
- No genuine steps have been made so far to find a just and durable political solution to the burning problems faced by the Tamils since independence. The Sinhala-Buddhist Majority Governments since 1948 made several Pacts, undertakings and promises and nothing is fulfilled due to the pressure from the Maha Sanga, Buddhist clergies, extremist Sinhalese political leaders and racist Sinhala Buddhist people.
- Sri Lankan Government is accelerating its agenda to promote Buddhisisaion, Sinhalisisation and Militarization in the North and East to create a BUDDHIST -SINHALA STATE [The agenda and the dream of the Maha Sanga and Buddhist clergy] On the other hand the North and East is neglected and no developments or actions to reduce the poverty and unemployment in the North and East.
Statement of President, Prime Minister and leading Buddhist Monks reiterate that ‘SRI LANKA IS A BUDDHIST COUNTRY’’ justifying their genocidal measures against the minorities.
The persisting problems of Tamils have so far not been effectively and seriously handled by the Tamil National Alliance and other Tamil political parties, all of them appear to be contented with rhetoric speeches, condemnation with requests to the present Rajapakshe’s family Government pretty well knowing that all their wailings and pleas will be like blowing trumpet in the ears of a dumb person.
The empty performance and lethargic conduct of Tamil leaders only provided the vacuum and fertile source for the entry of Sinhala Political Parties and leaders to the North and East whose hands are blood stained being accused of having committed war crimes, crimes against humanity amounting to genocide.
Tamil National Alliance’s hobnobbing and flirtation with the “Good Governance” produced nothing constructive for the Tamils politically or economically from 2015 to 2019. Tamil parties and leaders fell in to unexplainable silence and were in a state of coma and hibernation. There were hardly any political activities or aggressive actions taken on the ground to advance the causes of Tamils. The tragedy is that the civilians have been assigned and forced to organize and stage protests and agitations when their lands are marked for seizures or when Buddha Viharas and statues are planned to be erected. In all these instances, they have successfully thwarted the moves of Government and Security Forces. Besides, Tamil National Alliance has weakened the Nationalism and eroded their aspirations for which they have been punished with reduced number of members of Parliament. It is high time the Tamil National Alliance to rise to the occasion to prevent their slow demise, failing which, they will go down in the history as the executioners of Tamil Nationalism and accomplices to the gradual extinction of Tamils,
Another discordant factor is the incurable chronic disunity which has been afflicting the Tamil parties and their leaders who cry out Tamil Nationalism but failing to pursue the national aspirations of the Tamils united with one voice while TNA is riddled with in-house disorder which continues to weaken the political strength of Tamils, the new parties and their leaders which sprang up exploiting the disunity and insolent performance of TNA are themselves engaged in a political battle of rivalry boost their own image and popularity vying for electoral votes and as replacement for TNA.
The new TMNF is lead by Justice C.V. Wigneswaran has resorted to recalling the ancient history of Tamils to strengthen his position and increase the vote bank. This could help to sustain and keep the momentum of Tamil Nationalism TNMF led by Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam has staged some protests calling the attention of Tam il mass.
Sadly the naked truth is that no Tamil leader or party has laid out any agenda foor ground map to pursue the National aspirations and put a break on the Genicidal agenda of Sinhalisisation, Buddhisisation and Militarization. The Tamil parties and their leaders are under obligation to be united and speak with one voice to advance the causes of Tamils. The need of the hour is a permanent, sincere and dedicated united Tamil front and not temporary unities for specific occasions accompanied with stirring speeches and statements.
ACTIONS LIKE SIT-IN PROTESTS, SATHIYAGARKAS INVOLVING THE MASSES SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS.
Thambu Kanagasabai: LLM [London] Former Lecturer in Law, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka.