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'Tamil Troubles'

by Gen. Ashok K. Mehta, The Asian Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2007

We ask the assistance of our readers to retrieve the original article by Gen. Mehta to which this screed is a response. - Ed. Comm.

“If the president (Mahinda Rajapaksa) is serious about stopping the fighting, he’ll take a new track, and think seriously about creating a Tamil homeland.”


A reponse to Ashok K. Mehta, Retd. Major General, Indian Army
Asoka Weerasinghe Ottawa. Canada

July 26, 2007

The Wall Street Journal Asia
Hong Kong

Re. The Opinion Editorial ‘Tamil Troubles’, when an Indian like Ashok K.
Mehta the retired Major General of the Indian army promotes the creation of a Tamil Homeland for Prabhakaran and his people, then India better watch out as it would be creating problems with dangerous consequences for herself. Mehta says, “If the president (Mahinda Rajapaksa) is serious about stopping the fighting, he’ll take a new track, and think seriously about creating a Tamil homeland.”

In fact what Mehta is proposing is the second ‘homeland’ for one generic people, the Tamils, within the Indian continent – the legitimate Tamil homeland in Tamil Nadu where 61 million Tamils live and the ‘bastard’ Tamil homeland for under a million people in Sri Lanka’s North separated by a narrow expanse of water stretching 18 miles in the Palk Straits.

I purposely said less than one million Tamils, because the rest of the Tamils living in the south of Sri Lanka amongst the majority Sinhalese enjoying a rich life, owning prime real estate, the best of jobs and businesses, educating their children at International schools and universities in the South, and inter-marrying with the Sinhalese, would understandably tell Mehta, “Are you kidding? We certainly do not want to abandon all this luxury and go North to your proposed Tamil homeland – No way Hozay!” That is a reality check for Mehta, and it is that simple.

This is not a ‘news flash’ any more. India knows that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE aka Tamil Tigers) is a terrorist organization, and an India’s creation since it was India’s Indira Gandhi who had TELO, EPRLF, PLOTE and EROS cadres trained at military camps at Chakrata, near Dehra Dun in Uttar Pradesh and the LTTE cadres trained at Karnataka (Bangalore cantonment) at Uttar Pradesh, in late 1983, without realizing at the time that her goal would be harmful to India’s strategic interests. The LTTE’s bonding and cooperation with ULFA, Naxalites, PWG, DK, and Maoists in Nepal would make this terrorist organization anti-India in a sinister way. Hence India has a responsibility not to create another Tamil homeland, as India would be destined to be in trouble, but to help Sri Lanka to nip their possible enemy in the bud.

Mehta also says that, “…as well as refugees fleeing to India’s southern province Tamil Nadu, may even raise the question of Indian intervention.” If he is inferring to military invention, all what I have to say is “what nonsense”. India learnt an embarrassing lesson once in the late 1980s, and I doubt that she might try her bully-boy tactics behaving like a sadist by deriving immense pleasure watching her puny neighbour shaking like a leaf in an autumn breeze, when India’s French-built Mirage 2000 bombers streak over Sri Lankan heads once again.

The former Army General A.S. Kalkat, said in 1990 that India would be ill-advised to be involved, militarily, with Sri Lanka. Apart from the 1,200 Indian lives lost in 1987, the Indian peacekeeping force was immensely unpopular not only in Tamil Nadu and the Jaffna peninsula but also among the Sinhalese majority who considered it a violation of their country’s sovereignty. With that encounter General Kalkat announced his concern that India’s military interference in Sri Lanka would only end up as India’s Vietnam. This is another Indian military person talking, which makes sense to me than what Mehta had to say.

So the best option for India, however much she has an itch to render her bully-boy hegemonic role in this conflict, is to let Colombo do its own dirty work, and keep India’s nose out of it. With India’s arrogance with ‘we are holier than thou’ attitude, she will ultimately be the pariah among her neighbouring states in the Indian continent.

However, if India is smart enough, New Delhi should always allow herself to be counted on to render good neighbourly help to Sri Lanka because both sovereign states have a shared belief that religion, ethnicity and language cannot be the basis for secession, however surreptitiously the plan is cloaked under the pretext of creating the second Tamil “homeland” in the Indian continent.

Asoka Weerasinghe
Ottawa. Canada


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