From: BR Haran
Subject: Tamil Weekly "Thuglak" on Sri Lankan Tamil issue - 1
Thuglak' in Sri Lanka – Part 1
The Protests being carried out here………… the opinions prevailing in Sri Lanka"
This article says that almost all the parties in Tamil Nadu, except the Congress party, stress the 'Tamil Eelam demand' in support of the protests of the students. The Buddhist monks are attacked here. Pilgrims coming here are chased away. Sri Lankan government establishments are attacked. Even the students without any political background also raise voice in support of Tamil Eelam.
What the Tamils and the Tamil daily newspapers in Sri Lanka opinion about the ongoing pro-Sri Lankan Tamils' protests here? Our reporters have personally went to Sri Lanka, visited places like Colombo, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Pudhukudiruppu, Mullivaikkal, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Kandy etc., and met with the Tamils and Tamil leaders there during their 6-day trip. Moreover they – with the cooperation of the GoSL – met with army officials, Tamil women who have joined the Sri Lanka Army carders and former Tigers staying at the rehabilitation Centre and had discussions with them, recorded their conversations in audio and video tapes and brought those tapes here. Opinions of some of the Sri Lankan Tamils appear in the first chapter of this small article written by our reporters with regard to the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka.
V. Dhanapalasingan (Editor, Dinakural Daily) Jaffna Tamil
"We don't take the protests of the Tamil Nadu politicians seriously. They adopt several stands in the Sri Lanka issue for getting the votes. However the protest of the students is an emotional one and we respect it very much. However, before they protest, they should know in advance about our needs and then protest accordingly. As otherwise, if our need is different from their demand then it will bring a defeat to all. We have given up our 'Tamil Eelam" demand. In spite of all the past experiences, if we take this demand in our hands, it will ruin the future of the remaining Tamils. It is an impossible demand in the prevailing situation. We feel that the Tamils in Tamil Nadu should not force anything on us without consulting with us as we feel that the GoSL should not impose anything on us which are not acceptable to us. We respect your love but it should benefit us anyway".
V. Ananda Sangaree (Secretary, TULF)
"Indian Tamils were the ones who had raised the Independent Tamil Nadu demand even before we had started it. However, you yourselves had given it up, got used to the system of "State Government vested with Powers" and live under this rule with satisfaction and peace. The Tamils here too like this only. It would be appreciated if your protest is aimed at achieving this for us. Some Sinhala leaders may commit some errors for their political gains. However, majority of the Sinhalese are good people and it is very wrong to attack them in Tamil Nadu. It should not happen in the land where Mahatma Gandhi was born. It will only affect us further more".
Yogeswary Patgunarasa (Mayor, Jaffna)
"Tamil Nadu, where around 80 million of Tamils live, cannot be converted into a separate State. The Tamils in Tamil Nadu should think as to how it is possible to demand a separate State for a few lakhs of Tamils, out of 20 million population of the nation, just in the North and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, excluding the Muslim Tamils, Up-Country Tamils and the Indian origin Tamils? Everyone, except the Tigers and their close supporters, had given up the "Tamil Eelam" demand long back. Raising this demand once again now, will only help to divert even the remaining dreams of the future of Sri Lankan Tamils. Don't believe the rumours roaming around in Tamil Nadu. We are the ones living here. You visit here and see the situation. Kindly understand the fact that there are chances that the form of your protest will only spell more troubles for us, instead of doing good to us".
Ganga (Bus operator, Jaffna
"Four years had gone since the conclusion of the war. At least one of us would have staged a fasting protest here, if only we had thought that independent (Tamil) Eelam was the only solution, is it not? At least one of us would have immolated, is it not? Did you receive any such news so far? It is not known as to why the youth in Tamil Nadu commit suicide (for us) . Will Delhi convert Tamil Nadu, which has the same size of Sri Lanka , into a separate State? Then how can we demand for an area, which is very very smaller in size than Tamil Nadu, as a separate State? We have just started living peacefully after leading a hell of a life, in the name of 'war' for the past 30 years. Help us for a political solution. Prepare India for it. This is the real help which you can extend to us".
A Tamil Journalist (on the condition of anonymity)
"This is my request to the students in Tamil Nadu; Some politicians in Tamil Nadu, even after knowing well that their 'demand for a separate State' will never taste success in Tamil Nadu, are not willing to give up their wish and now try to impose their wish on you (students) as well on us. Don't succumb to the provocation of those politicians, who are anxious to enjoy the benefits from the Members of Tamil Diaspora and spoil your educational career. Some ordinary political leaders, who can't get even a 2 digit seat if they approach a political alliance, sacrifice your lives for their political stability. The lives of our youth, already lost in this land (Sri Lanka), are enough. You do not loose your life there. It is impossible here for a separate State. If you want to do good for us, please demonstrate for demands like political solutions, equal rights for Tamils etc. This is the reality here. This alone will help us. You are loving us but what benefit will you get by declaring the nation, where we live, as an enemy nation? Where the people here will go for rice, dhal, oil, soap, cloths etc., if an economic sanction is imposed on Sri Lanka? These things will come to us through other nations and prices too will go up. Many intermediaries will earn big profits in the process. Are you expecting this?".
Kilinochchi V. Sahadevan (Leader of Forum for war –affected people)
"I kindly invite the protesting students in Tamil Nadu to come here once to visit the people and then devise the demands for which they protest. Wrongly–guided protests cause bad things instead of good things. 90000 widows are here. In our forum alone, we have 2244 families who had lost all their properties in the war. Eelam is impossible even in the dreams hereafter. Instead, things like rehabilitation projects to help the widows, affected by the war, to bring up their kids, houses for those who lost them, land for those who had lost them, compensation to those who had lost their business etc. are the need of the hour for us. Your lost property can be found only if it is searched in the same place where you lost it. We can get compensation for the actions of the Rajapaksa-led Government from that Government only. Awarding punishment for him and detaining him in the prison is not important. Restoration of our lives is more important than that. We can get at least some compensation, only if we demand from him. The Government is a coalition of 18 parties and he can be pressurized through many of these allies. Many Tamil parties in his alliance too can put pressure on him. If anyone captures powers next, they may wash their hands by saying it is between "you (Tamils) and them (Rajapaksa's Government). Hence the smart diplomacy is only to negotiate, as far as possible, with this present Government and get back our lost lives. We request that your protest should only assist our goal and not becoming stumbling blocks to it".
R. Yogarajan, (UNP, Prime Opposition Party)
"The independent Tamil Eelam demand, which began in a non–violent way in 1970s, became a arms struggle in 1980s. However, that demand was gradually abandoned among the people who were affected by war continuously. Only the tigers had favoured it. People have started moving towards a political solution. 82% Sinhalese had expressed opinion in favour of Tamils only, in a survey conducted among the Sinhalese on "giving an appropriate political solution to the Tamils". The Sinhala Government may act for politics but the Sinhala people are not like that. It is very very wrong to attack the Sinhalese touring there (Tamil Nadu). The fact, that no attack was carried out on the Tamils here even after photographs and videos on the strong attacks carried out on Buddhist monks (in Tamil Nadu) were released by the media, is a strong testimony to the peace prevailing here. At least, hereafter such things should not take place in Tamil Nadu. Whenever singers and film artists visit Sri Lanka you oppose them and brand them as 'traitors of Tamils". In what way it is justified? Whom they are going to make happy with their performance? Shouldn't a Tamil here listen to Tamil music? Shouldn't we see those music directors and singers in person and enjoy? It is big mistake to apply this (bad) attitude even in games like cricket, athletics etc".
Douglas Devananda (Sri Lanka Minister )
"The Tamil Nadu students should think, not through emotions but by keeping in mind the practical possibilities. If it is argued that attacking the Sinhalese and Buddhist monks, who visit a place (Tamil Nadu) where majority of people are Tamils, is justified, then attacks on Tamils in a land (Sri Lanka) where 72% of the population are Sinhalese, too would become a justifiable act here. Please don't give room for it".
Up-country Tamils, Kandy
"Tamils and Sinhalese live in union here. Whenever reports, carrying news on the attacks on Sinhalese and Buddhist monks and the Sri Lankan establishments in Tamil Nadu, come out we do not get out of our houses on that day due to fear and stay indoors. So your actions shouldn't affect our lives, is it not? Hence, give up carrying out such attacks. We request you to think in such a way to help our growth, political solution and economic development".
A Sinhalese (who did not disclose his name and talks in Tamil )
"It is surprising to see the protests in Tamil Nadu stressing for the separation of Sri Lanka, instead of demanding to convert Tamil Nadu as a separate State. Can India declare an 'independent Kashmir", if all the students in Pakistan stage strong protests for it? The same situation lies here as well. Sri Lanka is an already a small nation. Hence, what is the use of separating it into many parts? If Jaffna Tamils are given separate State, they will not allow Indian origin Tamils and up-country Tamils to live with them there. Then we have to give another separate State to them. Then we have to give separate State to the 14% Tamil-speaking Muslims. A considerable number of Christians are among the Sinhalese as well. If they demand for a separate State, we have to give them one too. Are these things possible"?
[An article on the 'visit to Sri Lanka', which exposes the ground reality in Sri Lanka, will be published in the next edition of this magazine]
The above article has also quoted from Sri Lanka Tamil Dailies under a separate Box New Item titled "Voice of the Tamil Daily Newspapers in Sri Lanka
N. Nadesan [an extract from his article appearing at page 5 of "Dinamurasu" a Sri Lanka–based Tamil Daily dated 1-4-2013)
"In the past, Prabhakaran had done the most foolish act of making 1.5 crores Sinhalese to forge enmity with us and subsequently made the Indians too to become our enemies by assassinating Rajiv Gandhi. However, the politicians in Tamil Nadu now carry out an act against Sri Lankan Tamils, which is worse than the above foolishness of Prabakaran. They provoke the 60 crores Buddhists all over the globe and their governments against the Sri Lanka Tamils by attacking and harming the Buddhist monks visiting Tamil Nadu. If you doubt my words, then see the list of nations which had adopted the pro-GoSL and neutral views while voting for the "Geneva resolution". The GoSL gets strength from your activities only. Don't provoke the Sinhala Chauvinism. We have to shed our blood once again then".
Mano Ganesan [President, DPF) says in an Interview to "Dinakural", a Sri Lankan daily, dated 31.03.2013)
"A resolution, that a public referendum on Tamil Eelam should be held, has been proposed at the Tamil Nadu State Assembly. There is no clarification where the voting has to take place. In the past there was an area which was ruled by the LTTE. If only this resolution had come at that time it would have been very appropriate. When you make a statement from Tamil Nadu on a political solution and the goals meant for the welfare of the Tamils in Sri Lanka, it should be done after coming to a good understanding with the political leaderships of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. However, it seems that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and the protesting students have not discussed anything with the Sir Lanka-based Tamils, is it not? Human Rights violation is the mega medicine which shakes the present world. However, the international community will not welcome the political demands like independent nations, public referendum etc., when they are proposed in the prevailing situation and these demands will not get the support of international Human Rights forums as well. Indian Government too will reject them. Just see, even the Indian Central Minister himself has rejected the resolutions of the Tamil Nadu Assembly. Tamil Nadu should leave the political solution demand to the Sri Lanka Tamil leaderships. Whether it is a provincial council or federal system or coalition rule or a separate State! Whatever it may be, let the leadership of the Tamils in Sri Lanka decide it. Let the students of Tamil Nadu and the Assembly take forward the protests and resolutions by giving importance to the 'violation of human rights' issue".
© THUGLAK, 2013