Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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An Exchange of Letters between a Nephew and his Uncle

by TamilNation, September 5, 2006

Much can be done by us “to stop these atrocities.” Every bit counts, and little drops can make it all flow. “REACH OUT” should be the motto.

Dear Mama [Uncle],

The Government is systematically killing the young Tamil population all over the North-East utilising our Tamil "brothers." What we do to stop these atrocities? The so-called international community cannot be depended upon for any justice for the Tamils. Only God and a "Miracle" can help us. I wonder what the LTTE's plans are for the future.

Regards, Thamby


Dear Nephew,

First, to answer your concerns:

Successive Sinhala Governments have been “systematically killing the young Tamil population all over the North-East.”  This is nothing new. It should have become obvious to us all at least by 1981, if not in 1958, 1977 and 1979, when Inpam and his cousin were murdered by Sri Lanka Forces and thrown on the beach, as a prelude to enacting the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).

“Utilizing our Tamil ‘Brothers’ for killing the young Tamils..” also is nothing new. As you well know, it all started in the early Eighties with both Sinhala and Indian leaders offering irresistible 'goodies' to the likes of PLOTE Uma Maheswaran and the EPRLF's Varatharaja Perumal. Every time, the ‘price and prizes’ offered become irresistibly higher and higher, and now it stands at the EPDF crown and the treasure chest being bandied about in Karuna’s name. The Tamils should expect more “ Ettappans” vying with Devananda and other goons for “..killing the young Tamils”.

India’s non-involvement in the Tamils’ problems, until 1964 (the Srimavo- Shastri Pact time – see below), and inaction till the late seventies, Indira Gandhi’s hurried interest in strengthening Eelam Tamil handsRajiv Gandhi’s ‘missed’ adventure and their aftermath, etc., should have made it clear to us all that the so-called 'international community' (fishing in troubled waters) cannot be depended upon for any justice for the Tamils. The international community ’s impotence, or unwillingness to take a firm stand, or intervene meaningfully on any issue, over the last 55 months, is well known, too.

As I might have mentioned to you before, almost all of the members of the international community who exhibit interest in the ethnic conflict will want, understandably, to curry favor with the Sri Lankan Government, working assiduously towards their own selfish agendas. In addition to the countries that have ‘listed’ the LTTE as “terrorists,” there are Pakistan, China, et. al.waiting in the queue to provide military support to serve their own ends, and here we have Japan and others flooding the Colombo market with second hand motor vehicles and non-essentials.  It is futile for us, therefore, to expect all these ‘do gooders’ to come to the rescue of the battered Tamils.

I have, however, not given up on the international community, and I press on periodically sending news clips, articles and appeals to selected embassies, international bodies, and even Erik Sollheim, in the hope that these appeals might wake some up and create a guilt feeling, which might prompt one or more into action.

I would not place too much faith in “Only God and a ‘Miracle’ can help us.” Neither would I lose sleep, pondering over “what the LTTE's plans are for the future.” Much can be done by us “to stop these atrocities.” Every bit counts, and little drops can make it all flow. “REACH OUT” should be the motto. The “Knock and it shall open” phenomenon will certainly work for all of us.

Look out and find 3 to 4 persons around you in whom you have confidence, who think alike, those you can work with, and those who care for the Tamil people in the North-East. Follow your friends or become their leader/guide in this divine effort. You now have the Miracle in your hands.

Also look for three to four people back at Home through whom you could work the ‘miracle.’ Knock at the door and you will notice the hands ‘reaching out’ for your help – the miracle.

Regards, Mama


Attachment: Indian Involvement

• 1948: The Ceylon Citizenship Act, though providing the qualifications to be a citizen, was designed to disqualify persons of Indian origin. The provision said that “only a person born in Ceylon prior to the date of the Act coming into force, of a father born in Ceylon could be recognised as a citizen.” This decitizenized all persons of Indian origin since proof of birth of two generations was necessary.

• 1949: Enactment of Indian and Pakistani (Residents) Citizenship Bill. It laid down qualifications for citizenship as registered citizens (sic). The qualifications inherent in the bill were designed to deny citizenship.

• 1951: 237,034 applications requesting citizenship for 825,000 (90%) persons of Indian origin were made. Majority of applications were rejected as many were unable to produce evidence of birth in Sri Lanka, to provide proof of uninterrupted residency or to provide proof of an assured income.

• 1956: Elections too proved negative to the Indian origin people since they had no strength to field candidates.

• 1960: The government of Mrs. Bandaranaike created a nominated representation for the people of Indian origin and appointed Savumiamoorthy Thondaman to Parliament.

• 1964: Mrs. Bandaranaike moved to solve the citizenship problem in keeping with the Sinhala thinking that persons of Indian origin should return to India. India, then led by Lal Bahadur Shastri agreed to this move by agreeing to accept 525, 000 back to India. Sri Lanka had agreed to grant citizenship to 300,000 persons leaving the future of 150,000 people to be settled later.

• 1974: A further bartering was done under the Sirima (Sic) Indira Gandhi agreement, dividing the balance people between the two countries.

• 1965: The UNP government too nominated Savumiamoorthy Thondaman to Parliament in return for his support to defeat the government of Mrs. Bandaranaike.

• 1977: Savumiamoorthy Thondaman contested the Nuwara Eliya – Maskeliya multi member seat and was elected to Parliament as the third member. After thirty years since 1947 a member was elected to parliament by the people of Indian origin.

• 1978 to 1988: Thondaman made several representations for the expeditious grant of citizenship under the two Indo Ceylon Agreements. He also urged that persons who were left out of the two agreements be granted Sri Lankan citizenship. Only 506, 000 persons applied for Indian citizenship out of the 600,000 envisaged under the agreements.

• 1988: Grant of Citizenship to Stateless Persons (Special Provisions) Act No. 39 of 1988 was presented to Parliament by Premadasa and passed. This was opposed by the SLFP who voted against it. The people of Indian origin who were until then deprived of the rights flowing from citizenship were overwhelmed by their achieving their long dreamed goal.

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