Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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India Takes Tamil Support for Granted

by Vettivel, Sept. 26, 2006

Many Tamil circles believe that the bad relationship between India and Tamil Eelam is because of the Rajiv killing. People who think this way may need to look at the Thimpu talks where India applied its maximum pressure on the Tamils.

The Indian Prime Minister refused to meet the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), yet India is still showing support to Sinhala-dominated Sri Lankan state terrorists, even after Pakistan intelligence involvement is exposed. The message is that whoever demands attention, rather than politely asking and whoever has many outside links is more important than those who constantly and honestly provide support to India.

Have the Tamils had any relationship with Japan, China, Pakistan, or the US? The answer is a very clear NO, and so, then, why should India need to pay attention to the Tamils? India knows very well that the Tamils will not go and seek its rivals' support; thus it assumes that the Tamils have no choice other than supporting India. Even Indian politicians continue to show ignorance on this point.

In current world politics, it is very important to keep good links with many actors, because a party should show that it has other options available in place, if it wants to get better treatment. Having links to many actors doesn’t mean dishonesty. Instead, it will lead to a very strong support base. Tamils must create better links with Japan, China, Pakistan, and any other major actors as much as possible, and then talk to India and make the point.

Tamil Eelam’s relationship with Tamil Nadu is quite different to its relationship with India. Tamils should clearly differentiate these two relationships; otherwise, this type of disappointment will be unavoidable in the future as well. Tamil Eelam has to keep a very tight and friendly relationship with Tamil Nadu in all circumstances. However, there is no need to keep the same policies with the Indian government, since some of the Indian government decisions are normally against the Tamil Nadu policymakers’ decisions.

Thileepan is being remembered this week since this is the nineteenth anniversary of his bereavement. Many western world diplomats may not want to know about the non-violent protest against Gandhi’s country. Gandhi’s non-violent protests were well known and well received by the world. Many praise India and give credit to India. In a true sense, this is really, rather, a credit to the British because it is the British who respected the non-violent protests. Had Gandhi done a hunger strike against India, the present Indian government might even have left him to die. My comment is not certainly an insult to Gandhi. People who do not agree with this argument must take some time to read about Thileepan’s fast to death protest against India in 1987. Thileepan was a fighter and fought many battles, but he chose to fast to death in non-violent protest against India, because many Tamils believed Gandhi’s India respects peace and non-violent protest.

But all these beliefs were shattered when Thileepan died after 12 days of his fast-to-death campaign. The true face of Indian policies was exposed. This incident clearly showed that the type of protest is decided by the enemy. Two months after Thileepan's death, fighting broke out between Tamils and the Indian military. There were more than 7000 Tamils killed, many Tamil women were raped, and many disabled. Finally, the Indian military left with humiliation, and Tamil Nadu's chief minister refused to welcome the returning force. India never apologizes for the more than 7000 Tamil civilians killed.

Two years later, a Tamil woman killed Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had been the commander-in-chief during the Indian military's fight against the Tamils. This fight made the Indian hierarchy furious and they decided to work against Tamil interests. The argument is not that we need to compare the losses, but to mention that both sides - India and Tamil Eelam - did lose many lives during that bitter period, either caused by someone's fault or bad diplomacy.

Many Tamil circles believe that the bad relationship between India and Tamil Eelam is because of the Rajiv killing. People who think this way may need to look at the Thimpu talks where India applied its maximum pressure on the Tamils.

The strength of the relationship between two parties mostly depends on one's impotency and on mutual benefits, rather than true loyalty. The Sri Lankan state terrorists keep relationships with most of the India’s rivals, but still India wants to continue supporting the Sri Lankan state terrorists because India knows if it doesn’t, someone else will benefit. In the case of Tamils, the Tamils do not keep relationships with others except India. Tamils treat India’s enemy as its own enemy. The Indian government sees this as a weakness rather than loyalty or friendship.

Therefore, it is time for Tamils to consider other possible partners, and then show a friendly face to India, and this time the Indian government will respect and will show more interest to create a new relationship with Tamils.

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