Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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In the Aftermath of Geneva 2

by Kavin

Now the Sri Lankan government feels the danger of holding onto the “Palaly” base, which is important for their hidden military agenda for which they are waiting for an auspicious time. The only way they can hold this camp is using the Tamil civilians as a safety ring for their base, as well as to their movement in the sea. That’s what it is all about as most people think.


Entry and  exit points in the A-9 road

A9 Highway

Another episode of the series of sagas that are being staged by the Sri Lankan Sinhalese government directed at the international community has ended abruptly, much to the disappointment of the suffering Tamils, as well as to the facilitators, who are diligently trying their best to end this civil war in a peaceful manner. In particular, the lack of progress is most disappointing to those who are actually being held captive in the open jail created by the Srilankan government by the sudden closing of the A9 highway.

It must have been troublesome on the Norwegian part to bring these parties of Singhalese and Tamils with such divergent views to the table. This is quite evident and explicable as there have been many rounds of talks and agreements before and none of them have yet been implemented. The government has much to account for. One must accept the fact that these are measured and deliberate actions by the Sri Lankan government because they hold the power to implement what they have agreed upon.

Just to name a few:

  1. Settlement of displaced people who were thrown out of their own houses in the name of high security zones.
  2. P-TOMS, purely aimed at the relief of Tsunami victims.
  3. Dismantling of the paramilitary groups created and used by the Sri Lankan government to carryout their covert actions of killings and disappearances.

Beyond this, there are many anti-Tamil actions carried out at present by the Sri Lankan government.

  1. Many military offensives undermining the Peace accord. Also it is important to notice that the military conducted major offensive at “Muhamali” just days after the LTTE military spokesman, Mr. Ilanthirayan, pointed out the Sri Lankan army’s buildup at the front lines and appealed to the SLMM and the International Community to stop this belligerence.
  2. Countless killings and disappearances throughout the country. No investigations. After all, what for? All these are happening only to the Tamils by those whom we expect to investigate and give justice.

It will be even harder for negotiators in future if there is no change in the government’s attitude. Also one can think of what is expected in the coming days, by reading the news that government forces are preparing for another offence.

Jaffna peninsula Tamilnet

Jaffna Peninsula, Courtesy Tamilnet

This could not have been an easy decision for the Tamil Tigers to agree to come to the negotiating table before the government corrects its violations of the Cease-Fire Agreement and shows genuine interest in finding a solution through its deeds. It was, however, a very positive response by the Tamils to put aside the awful experiences of the previous rounds of talks and the current vile actions of the government, and to look forward to open up discussions in a new venue and to create an environment conducive to talk about core issues.

It is regrettable, however, that the government has denied the opening of the A9 highway with total disregard to the humanitarian needs of the Tamils and has shut down prospects for future talks.

It has helped clear the confusion, if any, to the international community about who is representing whom.

When the “Mavilaru” dam was closed by the people of that area, in protest to the government’s unfair act in a new project and when the people requested impartiality to re-open the sluice-gates, the Sri Lankan government depicted the matter as a humanitarian issue. How does this differ from closing the A9 highway, except in scale & military involvement?

We must notice that the SLMM and the LTTE had discussions with the local people to resolve this issue and informed the government of their presence at that dam to re-open it unconditionally. Surprisingly, the government had a different agenda. They fired artillery to that area on that particular time, risking the lives of the then SLMM chief Ulf Hendrikson and the LTTE Trinco political wing leader Mr. Elilan. Then the Sri Lankan forces moved into LTTE-controlled area, violating the peace accord. They still occupy this area.

One can recall the pictures and the statement made by the SLMM regarding this issue and exposing the harsh actions of the Sri Lankan government.

For the same Sri Lankan government, holding more than 600,000 people captive in an area with no adequate food, medicine and other essentials for a human life, is not a humanitarian crisis. The shameful fact is that the government itself - one that is supposed to find a solution to resolve any humanitarian issue - has artificially created this crisis just because the people affected are 100% Tamils and those affected by the sluice-gate were Sinhalese.

The government delegate who came to the table empty handed was wasting time on fooling the international community that there is no humanitarian crisis by the closure of the A9.

Mr. Nimal Sripala de Silva was saying that Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopillai is taking all necessary efforts to send food by sea to the area.

Does Mr. Nimal Sripala de Silva know how many innocent people have died in Vanni since the closure of this A9 highway, just because they could not get to the Jaffna Hospital - the only hospital with any sophisticated facilities in the NorthEast - for treatment?

Is Mr. Fernandopillai is waiting with a Ship or Helicopter to airlift those who need this kind of emergency service?

Does Mr. Nimal Sripala de Silva know how many farmers have given up their only livelihood just because they have no fertilizers or can’t afford to buy those which have had the luxury of a cruise?

This listing can grow lengthy.

Mr. Nimal Sriplala de Silva mentioned in the talks that this A9 highway was closed during the wartime period of 1994 to 2002. So why was it opened? In that period of war the closing of the highway was crystal clear and identified by everyone as a blockade to prevent normalcy for the people of the North.

The decision that the Sri Lankan government wants the highway to be closed now shows its intention of backtracking into another war. That is why the government shows no interest in building up mutual harmony by resolving this minor and basic humanitarian issue, one that could be considered the natural first step towards a meaningful discussion on the core issues. Shutting the highway is a blatant action by this Sinhalese Sri Lankan government purely aimed at the well-being of its military and disregarding the Tamils’ suffering.

This was the very A9 route the government was fighting to open before the peace accord to establish a supply route to the “Elephant Pass” military base for the reason that it could not afford to airlift food and other supplies to it. And the government failed in its assault and finally lost the “Elephant Pass” base itself. It is shame to watch a bunch of people holding respectful posts coming to the international arena with a mouth full of lies.

Now the Sri Lankan government feels the danger of holding onto the “Palaly” base, which is important for their hidden military agenda for which they are waiting for an auspicious time. The only way they can hold this camp is using the Tamil civilians as a safety ring for their base, as well as to their movement in the sea. That’s what it is all about as most people think.

It is now the government’s responsibility to act positively and create an environment in which any meaningful discussion to end this conflict can proceed. Because Tamils were forced to start this armed struggle only after 40 years of failed negotiations and ripped up agreements, which has demolished their confidence on the government of Sri Lanka.

The International community must persuade the Srilankan government to open the A9 highway to resolve these humanitarian issues, regardless of the next round of talks. It is a humanitarian issue after all.

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