Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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Federalism or Partition of the NorthEast?

Sri Lanka has to decide now!

by J.P. Santhiapillai

Federal unity is a system of government in which several states or provinces unite, but keep considerable control over their own internal affairs.

The crux of the ethnic problem lies with the occupation of the Sinhalese armed forces, with their own vested interests, in the Tamil territories terrorizing the Tamils, while there is no occupation of the Tamil militants in the Sinhalese areas terrorizing the Sinhalese. Tamils, making every endeavor, vie with the ethno-religious chauvinistic Sinhalese armed forces to get their land back. These forces have crept into the NorthEast territorys and made a hell-hole of it, where once peace and harmony prevailed.

Army camps and High Security Zones choke Jaffna (photo courtesy TamilNet)


Pogroms, ethnic cleansing and other atrocities against civilians

It has to be remembered that catastrophic disasters were unleashed on the Tamils by the Sinhalese rulers during the outbreak of communal violence of ‘Black July” 1983 in the Sinhalese areas, followed up by  atrocities perpetrated over the years on the Tamils by the Sinhalese armed forces in the NorthEast. The aggressive anti-Tamil Sinhalese rule has been the motivating and contributory factor for the large-scale exoduses of the Tamils in hundreds of thousands to escape either death in organized periodic pogroms by Sinhalese mobs, entrapment in the crossfire or detention, harassment, torture and indiscriminate aerial attacks by the armed forces.

These refugees fled in a desperate plight to North America and the European countries such as U.K., Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy. These countries magnanimously volunteered to shelter them, and look after their uplift, betterment and progress in life, and thus the Tamil Diasporas have dawned in all those countries by the inflow of Tamil refugees. Tamils who fled to India could not enjoy any facilities similar to those which were provided to the Tamil asylum seekers in North America and the other Western countries.

Tamils, those left behind, struggle undauntedly from within their territory with the aspiration for their “homeland, nationhood and self-rule.” Aggressive armed forces have usurped control of the area to suppress and subdue the Tamils hegemonistically by being within the Tamil homeland and depriving the Tamils of their rights. There are no words to express the current plight of the people who eked out a meager existence in straitened circumstances even before the ethnic conflict by toiling hard in the fields or sea or by doing odd jobs.

Refugees & their duties

Those who fled Sri Lanka, undergoing the experience of a roller-coaster ride in order to save their lives from a campaign of genocide perpetrated by the Sri Lankan Sinhalese armed forces, should naturally be very concerned about the threats faced by their brethren in Sri Lanka on a day-to-day basis. To suit their financial standing, some members of expatriate families fund their brethren who are struggling to survive in the NorthEast on a voluntary basis, while others choose not to. It is the Agents of Paramilitary Groups and stooges of the GOSL who trot out ridiculous excuses leveling false accusations against those who spearhead any awareness activities with regard to the untold hardships undergone by their brethren in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka.

While the expatriates are mindful of the fair and humane treatment they received from the countries of adoption on humanitarian grounds, they also feel it a bounden duty thrust upon them, to consider on humanitarian grounds their kith and kin and brethren displaced or in desperate plight within their homeland under the aggression of the Sinhalese armed forces, and to help them in whatever way possible to alleviate their physical and mental torment.

It is a blight on the Tamil community when any Tamils collaborate with Sinhalese state terrorism to suppress the struggle of the Tamils for freedom in their homeland. The erstwhile 'Eelam fighters', now turned  renegades and turncoats, are reared by the Sinhalese state, lured with attractive remuneration, perquisites, state protection with all privileges possible and enticed into the state-sponsored paramilitary groups.

Because of the prolongation of this struggle without a lasting solution, men, women, young and old with children are killed, maimed, mangled or displaced with the destruction of their own properties, besides the public properties relevant to them such as churches, schools and so on. Further, children are left orphaned, men and women are left widowed in tens of thousands while more than 30,000 families inclusive of children are displaced from their legally owned properties within the Tamil homeland itself because of an occupation by the Sinhalese army.

Some of the expatriates feel that their position depends on the war. When they fled the country, the blame was put on the aggression of the Sinhalese governments. Now when they feel that, if there is no war, the majority of the bogus asylum seekers will be deported from Western countries, they attempt to put the blame on those who lead the freedom struggle. These Tamils must stop their double standards and come out of their cocoon to adhere to the truth.

Federalism or partition

Before it is far too late, it has to be realized that, if a federal rule is not implemented in Sri Lanka, as Palestine was partitioned into Palestine and Israel in 1948, Sri Lanka also will have its day of partition into Sinhalese Sri Lanka and Tamil Eelam. Even during the freedom struggle with West Pakistan, when East Pakistanis could not withstand the attack of the West Pakistani forces and fled to India, India went to the extent of waging a war against West Pakistan to rescue East Pakistan and thereby Bangladesh was born.

Federal unity is a system of government in which several states or provinces unite, but keep considerable control over their own internal affairs. If a federal government is not be feasible in Sri Lanka, the only viable alternative would be the formation of Tamil Eelam in the NorthEast, with recognition of its existence and independence by the international community as done recently in the year 2002 with regard to East Timor.

A community with its own linguistic identity and identifiable homeland is free to determine its political status by virtue of the right to self-determination, pursue its economic, social and cultural development, and establish its self-autonomy, self-determination and self-identity in conformity with the United Nations' Charter, together with accepted International norms and standards.

We can have two States in Sri Lanka, which is approx. 65,610 

Many of the UN Member states actually smaller than either the future Sinhalese Sri Lanka - approx. 46,777 - or Thamileelam - approx. 18,833 - (in order of Area) are as follows:

Fiji, Kuwait, Swaziland, East Timor, Vanuatu, Qatar, Gambia The, Jamaica, Lebanon, Cyprus, Brunei, Cape Verde, Luxembourg, Comoros, Mauritius, Singapore and so on. 

The militants fought for the reacquisition of Tamil Land in the name of the entire Tamil population of the country, acquired the land and have been holding it under their sovereignty for well over four years. The areas of their domain have been acknowledged and recognized by the Sri-Lankan government, when it signed a peace treaty with the Tigers on 22.02.2002, specifying the borders. In this territory the rules enacted by the Tiger regime prevails. There are special courts of law, a full administrative cadre, financial institutions, police, army, navy and the air force in full function. A system of taxation provides the extra finances needed to construct, repair and modernize the infrastructure. New plans are afoot to rejuvenate the economy, eradicate antiquated social beliefs and unacceptable handicaps imposed by age-old rules and behaviour and to modernize and invigorate the economy. The evidence of a prevailing separate state can be witnessed when one observes the defacto behaviour of the Sri-Lankan government in obtaining prior permission of Tiger authority when it comes to crossing the territory, transporting foreign and local dignitaries from and to the territory, etc. The call of the day is to recognise what prevails there and to pave the way for a separate Tamil Land.

Majority rule

Population-wise, in Sri Lanka, the majoritarian Sinhalese community is the most numerous and exercises its most oppressive and cruel rule over the minorities. The Sinhalese community by virtue of their majoritarian status and voting strength could arrive at any decision of their own at any referendum and defeat any opinions or proposals voiced by the Tamil community with regard to their aspirations and fundamental rights.

Further, their representatives in the legislative assembly can enact any law or frame any constitution unilaterally at any time to the advantage of the Sinhalese community only, based on their voting strength, overwhelming the opinions or proposals put forward by the Tamils.

The Buddhist Sinhalese have framed the defective Sri Lankan Constitution that is in effect without any consideration for the protection of the rights and aspirations of the different ethnic groups in Sri Lanka. Further, the constitution is replete with flaws, besides being partial towards the Sinhalese and discriminatory towards the Tamils.

1)  This is amply demonstrated by the fact that the Republican Constitution of 1972 robbed the minorities of even the scanty safeguards against discrimination provided under Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution introduced at independence in 1948.

2) The Government and the Tamil militants framed a “joint mechanism’ to alleviate the sufferings of the Tamil victims of the tsunami disaster and that also has been jeopardized by the Sri Lankan Jurisdiction on the grounds that it is inconsistent with the constitution. Further, the heartless in the Sinhalese community have also not allowed even humanitarian aid to reach them.

3) The incumbent President jettisoned all the aspirations of the Tamils for peace by prioritizing war and captured power with his formula called “Mahinda Chinthanaya” which emphasizes “no Norway, no federal constitution, no right to Homeland, no self-determination, no nation-hood for Tamils, no PTOMS, no recognition as sole partner in negotiation and no Oslo as venue for talks.”

4) The objective of a Cease Fire Agreement being framed, conflicting parties signing and peace brokering co-chairs to the peace process subscribing to it, with the coverage of the world media to make it known to the entire world, is all lost, if the Agreement is violated or not honored to the letter.

5) Under the prevailing circumstances, it will not be a surprise if the Sri Lankan jurisdiction gives an order that the Ceasefire Agreement signed on 22/02/2002 is null and void and ultra vires to the Buddhist Sinhalese constitution. If the Agreement thus goes to the dustbin, a war would be imminent. Further, it would mean that all the authentic government officials who had already sworn an oath of allegiance to the constitution and subsequently got involved either in the enactment of the CFA or in the implementation of it, acquiescing in the proposals embodied therein, have committed an offence which is tantamount to a violation of the constitution.

It has to be borne in mind that, in any country, only in the absence of racial, linguistic, cultural or religious dominance, can democracy prevail and the rule of the people, for the people and by the people survive. It is now a peremptory requirement that the constitution and the laws of Sri Lanka should undergo a complete restructuring to satisfy the rights and aspirations of all of the people of the country and the needs of the day.

Guns vs butter

It is not understood as to why the Sri Lankan government is amassing sophisticated weaponry and armaments when it could very well, by settling the contentious issues with the Tamils in the country, avoid the colossal wastage of money spent on weapons and utilize it for the development of the country.

The Sri Lankan armed forces are not capable of waging a war to overpower any country in this world and purely in existence to terrorize the Tamil community within Sri Lanka. Even during the insurgencies of the Sinhalese JVP extremists in the Sinhalese areas, the governments’ forces never resorted to indiscriminate attacks by way of aerial blitz and strafing and shelling from naval ships as done in the Tamil homeland.

I wish to press home the fact to all concerned that there is no war between the Sinhalese community and the Tamil community.
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