Postcolonial Sri Lanka has become worse than it was during the colonial period. The sad history of February 4th – the day of independence to the Sinhalese has turned out to be a BLACK DAY to the Tamils.
The Citizenship Act of 1948 – 49 and the state sponsored settlements of Sinhala people in the areas where Tamils were dominant are applied together as a tool of the “fear of extinction” by successive governments. The Tamils believed that the settlements were aimed at causing a demographic change and thus reducing the Tamil majority in the Northern and Eastern provinces that were considered as fundamental for their survival as an ethnic group.
February 4th is again a grim reminder to the Tamils that they lost their political freedom on this Black Day 72 years ago. It is the day Sinhala hegemonic rule was imposed on the unsuspecting Tamils by ungrateful Sinhalese leaders.
The hopes of the Tamil people that they would be treated on equal terms within a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic, multi-religious and multi-cultural polity – in which they will find the political space to live in freedom and dignity – have been rudely shattered. Over the years, Tamils have been brutally reduced to the status of third class citizens by being deprived of their basic human rights. A million Hill country Tamils lost their citizenship and franchise rights in 1948/49.
Through systematic state-sponsored Sinhalese colonization of our traditional Tamil homeland, the demographic composition of the Northeast has been drastically altered in favour of the Sinhalese. This process has been accelerated now as never before. The recent demerger of the Northeast province area is another move to complete the process of Sinhalization of the Northeast and to nullify Tamils of the concept of homeland. Tamils in the Northeast continue to be oppressed under the jackboot of an occupation army.
For over 30 years, democratically elected Tamil leaders protested such oppression through non-violent, democratic, and peaceful means. The just demands of the Tamil people were answered with military repression and state terrorism. Promises were made, but never fulfilled; the agreements and pacts entered became dead letters.
The friction between the two peoples (the Sinhalese nation and the Tamil Eelam nation) finally emerged as a major conflict leading to the demand for secession at the 1977 Parliamentary elections. The Tamils overwhelmingly voted for a mandate to create the state of Tamil Eelam. The Sri Lankan Government, however, continued its repression, state terrorism and flagrant violations of human rights. It is this brutalisation that led the Tamils to take up arms to defend themselves during the war, the Sri Lanka government banned both domestic and foreign media from visiting the war zone and reporting independently. The world at large was kept in the dark with only the news put out by the Government, which was one sided and biased. This war was a war without witness.
In conclusion it is apt to mention that India is the regional super power and the closest neighbor and India has a Tamil constituency of over seventy million people. In addition to this India still houses tens of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees and therefore, India has legitimate reasons why she should encourage progress with all those issues.
The Tamils in Sri Lanka, India and all over the world [more than 85 million people] request the Tamil Nadu Government and the Central Government of India to consider the plight of the Eelam Tamils and consider taking up any one of the following actions to free the Eelam Tamils from the brutal and racist Sinhala Government.
1. Self-determination in the North and East – for the people of the land to decide their future as stipulated in the UN Charter.
2. Implement the Indo/Ceylon Accord of 1987 fully with land and police powers and nullify the powers of the Governor who as the agent of the Government enjoys more powers than the elected Chief Minister and other Ministers.
3. A federal system of Government as practised in India, Canada, Scotland, Switzerland and other countries where there is multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic and multicultural countries.
4. For the protection of Tamils in the North and East and for the security of India’s south an independent state of Tamil Eelam is important to stop China’s influence in the North of Sri Lanka. Eelam Tamils are always with India and their strong religious, linguistic, cultural links are similar to India.
INDIA AS A NEIGHBOUR AND SUPERPOWER IN THE SOUTH EAST ASIA SHOULD AND MUST GIVE PRIORITY FOR ITS SECURITY DUE TO THE CHINESE INTERESTS IN SETTING UP ITS ESTABLISHMENTS IN THE SOUTH IS NOW MOVING STEADILY TOWARDS NORTH – THE BACKYARD OF INDIA.
Kumarathasan Rasingam, Secretary, Tamil Canadian Elders for Human Rights Ort.