Sri Lanka

It is high time for the United Kingdom to recognize its failure and realize that the sufferings of the Tamils started immediately after the British left Sri Lanka in 1948 and find justice and freedom to the oppressed Tamils who are now at a great loss of lives, land, resources, human rights etc.

United Kingdom knows well that Sri Lanka is an Island that once [before the British conquest of Jaffna Kingdom consisted of different Kingdoms – Sinhala and Tamil inhabited from time immemorial by two peoples who spoke different languages, belonged to different faiths, with different historical antecedents and living in exclusive and traditional areas of habitation. North and East of Sri Lanka] The British joined the Tamils Kingdom {Jaffna Kingdom] and the Sinhala Kingdom into one unitary polity in 1833 for their own administrative convenience. As long as British rule lasted, the two communities had reason to believe they were equals. But once the common ruler departed, the sheer disparity in numbers enabled the Sinhalese to grab the political power into their hands.

It should and must be noted that if the British rulers had devised a constitutional mechanism that provided for TAMILS to share at the centre as a matter of rights the Tamils at least the traditional and historical homelands of the Tamils would have been protected. The state sponsored colonization schemes in the North and East were purposefully implemented to change the demography of Tamils homeland. The Soulbury Commission failed to prove in their Constitution any fool-proof protection for the Tamils’ hope. Instead, they included a section “Section 29” which stated, ‘No law shall make persons of any community or religion liable to disabilities or restriction to which persons of other communities or religions are made liable or confer on person of any community or religion, any privilege or advantage which is not confined on persons or other communities or religion”. But this Section 29 was removed in the Constitution of 1972 by the majoritarian Sinhala/Buddhist regime.

Because the British left Sri Lanka after giving the entire  powers to the majoritarian Sinhala/Buddhist rulers without any safeguard for the Tamil people the Tamils were treated as second class citizens. This gave way for the Sinhala/Buddhist rulers to enact laws affecting the existence of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Even several Pacts, pledges, undertakings by the Sinhalese leaders to share power were torn away due to the opposition by the Buddhist Clergy, Maha Sanga and the racist Sinhalese leaders.

CEYLON CITIZENSHIP ACT NO 18 OF 1948

Immediately after the Independence from the British on 4th February 1948, the above Act was passed by the Sinhalese Majoritarian Government to deprive over a million Tamils of Indian Origin to disfranchise and take away their right to vote. This Act reduced the number of Tamil Members in the Parliament, and the Indian Origin Tamils were treated as third class citizens aas they lost their right to vote and could not send a representative to the Parliament.

SINHALA ONLY ACT OF 1956’  Act No 33 of 1956
This Act was passed in the Parliament against the unanimous opposition of entire Tamil people who wanted a place of honor for their own language.  Thereby the Government has struck a grievous blow at the unity of Sri Lanka, which stands divided today.

BANDARANAYAKE -CHELVANAYAGAM PACT OF 1957

Following Tamil peaceful agitation over a million Tamils being stripped of citizenship and Sinhala being made the official language, the Sinhala Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranayake entered a Pact with Tamil leader S.J.V. Chelvanayagam. The Tamil leaders compromised for the pace But the Pact was unilaterally abrogated by the PM due to the opposition by the Buddhist Monks and racist Sinhalese leaders.

DUDLEY SENANAYAKE – CHELVANAYAKAM PACT 0F 1965- On March 24 1965 Another Tamil Leader S.J.Chelvanayagam, promising to redress Tamil grievances, in return for Tamil support for, the PM’s party to form the government. After four years on April 9, 1969, the Tamil leadership withdrew support for the government due to the government’s inaction to solve the problems of the Tamils.

TAMIL UNITED FRONT PLEA TO COMMONWEALTH NATIONS  1974

Having failed to stem the tide of discriminatory policies and acts of by the successive Sinhala dominated governments, the Tamil representatives appealed to the British Commonwealth Nations for help. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth did not respond.

THE VADDUKODDAI RESOLUTION OF 1976

The peaceful non-violent struggle and pleas went unheard. Finally the Tamil United Front representing all Tamils adopted  a Resolution on May 14, 1976, to secede from the state of Sri Lanka. This Convention directs Action Committee of the Tamil United Liberation Front to formulate a plan of action and launch without undue delay the struggle for winning the sovereignty and freedom of the Tamil Nation [TAMIL EELAM]

THE TAMIL UNITED LIBERATION FRONT ELECTION MANIFESTO  1977

All Tamil political parties contested the general Elections of 1977, under the common banner of the Tamil United Liberation Front [TULF won an overwhelming majority of votes from the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka [Tamil Homeland] – considered as a mandate for secession from Sri Lanka and to form the independent sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM.

THE THIMPU DECLARATION OF 1985

A joint statement made by the Tamil delegation at the Indian brokered peace negotiation on 13th July 1985 in Bhutan capital.

  1. Recognition of the Tamils of Sri Lanka as a nation
  2. Recognition of the existence of an identified homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka
  3. Recognition of the right of self determination of the Tamil nation.
  4. Recognition of the right of citizenship and the fundamental rights of all Tamils who look upon the island as their country/
  5. THE INDO-SRI LANKA ACCORD OF 1987
  6. While this Accord appears to be a permanent and durable solution to re-establish the traditional relations between India and Sri Lanka, India refuses to recognize the political reality of Tamil nationalism and remains unwilling to lend its powerful support to secure a constitutional structure in Sri Lanka which recognises the political forces of Tamil nationalism and Tamil interests.

It should be noted that the Tamil leaders like Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan and Sir Ponnambalem Arunachalem were in the forefront and argued for independence of Ceylon {Sri Lanka] If the Tamil leaders demanded back their Jaffna Kingdom which existed until 1833 the Tamils would not be in this miserable situation living like third class citizen under a majoritarian racist Sinhala/Buddhist regime. [The British amalgamated the Sinhala Kingdoms and Tamil Kingdom as one unit for their easy administration but failed to hand over the Tamil Kingdom to the Tamils to rule.

A FEDERAL SOLUTION WITHIN PROPER LIMITS, AND SUBJECT TO PROPER SAFEGUARDS, FAR FROM DIVIDING A COUNTRY WHICH IS ALREADY DIVIDED, IS ONE OF THE BEST-KNOWN METHODS OF BRINGING ABOUT UNITY IN A DIVIDED COUNTRY.

Kumarathasan Rasingam  –  Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Org.


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