Ethnic Cleansing in Sri Lanka
|Los Angeles Time (19 May 2000) reports........The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, who have won a series of victories against Sri Lankan forces in recent weeks, are stepping up attacks against ethnic Sinhalese civilians living in the region that the rebels claim as their homeland. The Tigers are bombing schools, wrecking Buddhist temples and shooting civilians in a campaign to force thousands of ethnic Sinhalese from their homes. The attacks are directed at Sri Lanka's majority Buddhist Sinhalese living in areas dominated by the mostly Hindu Tamils.......|
Census of 1971 show 20,514 Sinhala civilians living in Jaffna. By mid October, 1987 there were none. Today Jaffna is ethnically pure. There are no Muslims living there either. Is peace for a Tamil possible only in a land that is ethnically pure?
Today Jaffna is ethnically pure. In an effort to realise a dream, the elusive Tamil Eelam, separatists Tigers have been successful in cleansing out the Northern province of all people not of their ethnic group.
Census of 1971 show 20,514 Sinhala civilians living in Jaffna. By mid October, 1987 there were none.
Paradoxically, since 1984 over 400,000 Tamils have moved into ethnically diverse Colombo to live in security and harmony among the majority Sinhala and all the other communities.
It is an undeniable fact that a Tamil Kingdom did exist in the Northern Peninsula from about the 13th century for approximately 400 years in our over 2500 year history.
However it is also evident that it was neither ethnically pure nor was it in the proportions depicted by the handful of deranged power hungry men. Confusion seem to be the operative word in trying to establish a myth as fact, and deliberate confusion cannot be ruled out.
The TULF Resolution of 1976 declares that the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka were possessed by Tamils from the "dawn of history"
While in refutation
Their manifesto of 1977 refers to an emergence of a Tamil Kingdom at the beginning of the 13th century.
Some interesting points to note:
In the Resolution adopted by the ITAK (Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi), it speaks of the "Tamil speaking People" where land is concerned.
While in refutation
Other sections in the Resolution of 1976 and the Manifesto of 1977 refer repeatedly to "Tamils"
The two-fold deception being ITAK mis-translated into English as TULF (Tamil United Liberated Front). The correct translation would mean a claim for land.
The deliberate use of the Muslims (who speak Tamil), for the sole purpose of securing Land.
The separatists sentiments with regard to Muslims is amply manifested in their subsequent actions. The militant LTTE and the supposedly moderate EPRLF and ENDLF from the first week of October,1987 proceeded with no provocation to massacre Sinhala and Muslim civilians from Trincomalee down to Batticaloa. The atrocities committed on Muslims alone are as follows:
A detailed report of all of the above killings and many more are to be found in "TIGERS, MODERATES AND PANDORAS PACKAGE by S. L. GUNASEKARA
In demarcating the territory of Tamil Eelam the resolution of 1976 claims the Northern and Eastern Provinces
While in refutation
The manifesto of 1977 has added the area north of Chilaw on the western side to Kumana in the South East.
By the year 1978 it began to be clear the Eelamists are not fighting for a separate state but, for the Island as a whole.
It is a necessary factor for this area marked out as the "Tamil Homeland since the dawn of history" to be populated by Tamils.
This was facilitated to a large extent by the changes ushered in by the British.
Then there was "Tamilisation". Below is an extract from a report on the Trincomalee District of the 1890s as given by professor G. H. Peiris. Government Documentation give similar reports abundance.
"This part of the district (i.e. Kaddukulam Pattu West) is inhabited by Sinhalese villagers of Kandyan descent..(who), I fear are dying out or becoming effaced. This district is most interesting, being dotted over by numerous village tanks, some of which are restored and others abandoned. The villagers retain many of their primitive Kandyan customs, but they are rapidly becoming Tamilized They intermarry with the Tamils and many of them speak Tamil as well as they speak Sinhalese. Even the government schoolmaster is Tamil, and only that language is taught in the only school, and unfortunately, in some cases the Sinhalese villages have been bought out by Tamils, who now own all the paddy land in some villages.. and even the names of villages are assuming a Tamil dress. This process is not to be wondered at when the interpreters of the court and the Kacchcheri, the petition- drawers, and all through whom the villagers have access to Government officials can speak nothing but Tamil"
Thus the wide-spread use of the Tamil Language in parts other than Jaffna took place as late as the 19th Century.
The virulent and genocidal attacks on Sinhala and Muslim communities only completed what was begun nearly two centuries ago.
Throughout history Tamil political leaderships have followed a policy of ethnically cleansing Sinhalese and Muslims from the North and the East, after having Tamilised thousands of Sinhala place names in these areas. (Weligama to Weligamam, Maracci Rata to Thena Maracci and Vada Maracci, Kudathana to Kudathanai, Sangathana to Sangathanai etc... etc... there are over a thousand in Jaffna alone).
Page 382 of Ancient Jaffna by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam states: "After the massacre of the Christians, Sankili's (king of Jaffna) insane fury longed for more victims and he fell upon the Buddhists of Jaffna who were all Sinhalese. He expelled
them beyond the limits of the country and destroyed their numerous places of worship. Most of them betook themselves to the Vanni's and the Kandyan territories (as per Yalpana Vaipava Malai by Mailvagana Pulavar translated by C. Brito,), and those who were unable to do so became the slaves of the Tamil chieftains and are now known as 'Kovia', a corruption of the Sinhalese word 'Goviya' or 'Goiya' and that their original status was equal to that of the Vellalas can be inferred from customs which are still in Vogue in Jaffna."
The Sinhalese, who were the original inhabitants of Jaffna, (Page 384 of Ancient Jaffna) have been systematically ethnically cleansed by the Tamils over a period of time, and in the 1990's the remaining Sinhalese and Muslims were given 24 hours to
pack their bags and leave by the liberator of Tamils, Velupillai, (See US State Department, Human Rights report on Sri Lanka).
I was not at all surprised to read in the press recently that the so-called democratic Tamil political parties of Sri Lanka had all met in a Colombo Hotel and agreed to demand from he government that no Sinhalese be settled in Jaffna, in the Palaly base
expansion scheme and that Sinhalese settlements in Trincomalee be dismantled.
The present democratic and non-democratic Tamil leaderships are very keen that the ethnic cleansing carried out by their leaderships, past and present is entrenched. They have opposed any attempts by governments to reverse the ethnic
cleansing, and to ensure that all Sri Lankas provinces reflect the multi-cultural nature of the country. The goal of the Tamil politician, democratic and non-democratic, is to carve out an ethnically pure Tamil enclave.
They oppose the settlement of Sinhalese and Muslims by stating that they object to "State aided colonisation" but are in favour of natural migration of Sinhalese and Muslims into these areas.
They are over-looking the
fact that an overwhelming majority of Tamils in Sri Lanka today, are here as a result of
"state aided colonisation". From the 16th century onwards, millions of Tamils
were the beneficiaries of "state aided colonisation", as three European Colonial
powers (Portuguese, Dutch, British) transported and encouraged millions of Tamils to
immigrate to Sri Lanka from South India to work in the, Tobacco plantations of Jaffna,
Mannar Pearl Fishery, Cinnamon plantations, Fishing and coastal settlements to enhance
European Colonial security against Kandy (page 152 History of Sri Lanka, vol II, Uni. Of
Peredeniya), Rubber plantations of Sri Lanka and Malaya, Coffee plantations, Tea
|More information on the
Ethnic Cleansing in Sri Lanka by LTTE Tamil Tigers..........
|19 May 1999
The reply to Prof. A. J. V. Chandrakanathan's (Concordia University, Montreal, Canada) open letter sent to Ms Lisa Hiller of the UNDP
Dear Prof. Chandrakanthan,
Your open letter to Ms. Lisa Hiller of the UNDP does not reflect the temper of a theologian or an impartial academic because the contents confirm that it is an outright tirade against UNDP report for not taking sides - meaning your Tamil separatist side. We do not believe that the UNDP report is biased one way or other. It is the duty of international organisations like the UNDP to be objective in their analyses and if, in the course of performing their duties, their findings are not to your liking it is unfair to blame the organisation or the writer of bias. But if, as you say, the report goes against the separatist politics of your elusive "Tamil nation" then it is your duty to examine why it is so and not blame Ms. Hiller or the UNDP for it.
Equally depressing is the fact that as an academic you do not deal with the merits or the demerits of the UNDP report per se. In your letter to Ms. Hiller you reveal an obsession with the separatist politics of your "Tamil nation" denied by the international community and do not refer to any of the report's developmental, economic or social aspects. A report of an independent organisation like the UNDP cannot be all that bad as you say. It is clear that you use it as a peg to hang the political coat of your elusive "Tamil nation", expecting everyone else to kow-tow to your separatist fetish.
It is equally clear from your letter that your attack on the report is motivated by your ethnic hate of the Sinhala people. In that sense, it is a sad document which reflects your state of mind. Coming as it does from Canada, it also explains the bitter psyche of the Tamil expatriates who are the key financiers of a needless war based on anti-Sinhala racism.
In your letter you give the unmistakable impression that you will go to any lengths " to cripple or strangle the economic development of the evil State of Sri Lanka" This is a blatant statement of bitter hate which does not sit well on a Christian who is attached to the department of theology in the respected Concordia University. In saying so, you hope to exploit the economic chaos to your political advantage. After fourteen years of war it has not happened. Besides, the economic indicators clearly point out that it is stable and growing despite its heavy expenditure on defence and the desperate attempts of your Tamil Tiger terrorists to destabilise Sri Lanka by destroying key sectors of the economy.
You may think that your threats to cripple the Sri Lankan economy are brave words but any sensible assessment will tell you that forcing your own Tamil people - among others - to suffer while you enjoy the benefits of the affluent Canadian society is, to say the least, unworthy of an academic in a theology department. It is, in our opinion, tantamount to a threat of terrorism. One expects more understanding and consideration for the human condition as a whole from theologians. One expects theologians to take broader, humane view and not a narrow partisan view which supports the relentless violence of Tamil Tigers who have been branded as terrorists by the international community.(Please see, the U.S. State Department reports of 1997 --1999 on Global Terrorism).
If at your theological level, where you are supposed to base your principles on the fundamentals of the Prince of Peace, you are capable of fomenting such venomous hate we should not be surprised that 15-year-old "Ram", who belongs to the "baby brigades" of your leader Prof. Rajan Hoole has presented to the world a factual account which contradicts your claims in toto.
As there is no comparison between the sober and credible facts detailed by Prof. Rajan Hoole on the crimes committed against humanity by your hero, Velupillai Prabhakaran, who makes Slobodan Milosevic look like the next candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, and your emotional outburst let us go the third aspect, which is "POLITICAL ETHICS".
Your chosen definition of "POLITICAL ETHICS" states that "an unjust aggression is defined as an unlawful and oppressive act of support directly or tacitly given to an individual or to a totalitarian regime that remains in or retains power by unjustly suppressing a part or a whole of a national population. That the government of Sri Lanka, particularly under President Chandrika Bandaranaike is a perfect illustration of a regime that uses military repression as a weapon of political subjugation of the Tamil nation is a case that can be well argued in any international courts with substantial evidence."
Anyone reading this will not be blamed for coming to the conclusion that your understanding of international law is as na´ve and simplistic as your "POLITICAL ETHICS". Since you claim that there is "substantial evidence" for a case in an international court let us consider some of the basic facts that you will have to face. In the first place, you are well aware that the majority (70%) of the Tamil-speaking people (i.e Indian Tamils, Tamil-speaking Muslims and the majority of the Jaffna Tamils) live with the Sinhala people enjoying the same rights as any other citizen. In fact, all the leading democratic Tamil -- i.e.TULF, EPDP, TELO, etc - function only in the Sinhala areas because your leader, Prabhakaran, have either liquidated all his potential Tamil rivals or driven them out of Jaffna.
What is more, all these Tamil parties are supporting and maintaining the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga who, you say, is running "a (totalitarian) regime that uses military repression as a weapon of political subjugation of the Tamil nation" Do you seriously believe that any Tamil political party, which depends on the votes of the Tamil people, would support - or can survive as a political entity - if they help to keep in power a government that puts the Tamil people under such repressive conditions as claimed by you?
More importantly, can you prove that President Kumaratunga's government "retains power by unjustly suppressing a part or a whole of a national population", when all the elected Tamil representatives are backing her to the hilt? When all the elected representatives of the Tamils support the Kumaratunga government what status and credibility do you possess to deny it? You will not deny that the chief architect behind this Tamil-Sinhala coalition in government is none other than Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam, a scholar from the Harvard University who was appointed a fortnight ago as the internationally respected Minority Rights Group based in London. Will an astute Tamil leader like Dr. Tiruchelvam ever support a government which you say is "subjugating the Tamils"?
As for the "unjust aggression" you have as much a case against Sri Lanka as Slobodan Milsovic has against NATO. In fact the similarities between Prabhakaran and Milosevic are unmistakable. The leader of your non-existent Tamil nation, Vellupillai Prabhakaran, is the one and only ethnic cleanser recorded in Sri Lankan history. He is responsible for raping, pillaging and driving out 75,000 Muslims from Jaffna, the heartland of your so-called homeland. He is responsible for the massacre of 175 Muslims who were at prayer in the eastern coast.
These are merely two facts documented by independent human rights organisations out of the numerous crimes committed against humanity by your Tamil Slobodan Milosevic. You know that he is a wanted man in India and Sri Lanka. Sooner or later, he will have to face charges and, make no mistake, attempts are afoot to see that he faces an international court that will try him for crimes against humanity. Only last week the Indian Supreme Court sentenced four of the agents of your "Tamil Nation" to death for their complicity in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Your hero, Prabhakaran, is still listed as the Number One accused in this case and the Indian leaders are demaning that he be extradited for a trial in India.
You state that President Kumaratunga's government is a "totalitarian regime". The OED defines "totalitarian" as "relating to a form of government that permits no rival loyalties or parties, usu. demanding entire subservience of the individual". Since you claim to have been in Jaffna when your hero, Prabhakaran, was temporarily ruling the roost there, can you name one single party - Tamil or otherwise - that functioned there? Which dissenter who pursued an independent line ever survived under his regime? James Burns in his New York Times report (May 25, 1995) revealed that even those who cracked jokes about him were liquidated. On the contrary, can you deny that the Sri Lankan nation is a vibrant democracy with over 20 opposition parties (from Tamil, Muslims and Sinhala communities) competing peacefully in the democratic process? Can you also deny that it is the Tamil terrorist organisation run by the latest Pol Pot of Asia (see New York Times of May 25,1995) which comes within your definition of a "totalitarian regime"?
It must be emphasised that, like all other democracies, Sri Lanka is not a 5-star democracy. It has many defects. Nevertheless, it is a democracy which is run by elected representatives of all the communities. As you know, the elected representatives of the Tamil people sit alongside the MPs of the Muslim and Sinhala people. The confidence of all the Tamil people's representative in President Chandrika Kumaratunga's government is established in the fact that it survives only by the support of the minority Muslim and Tamil parties. All these point to the fact that your charges of (1) a totalitarian regime (2) unjust aggression and (3) retains power by unjust suppressing a part or whole of a population will be laughed out of any court that goes by the hard political realities.
Sadly, your bitter hate against the Sinhala people blinds you to the realities. Your blinkers narrows your vision of everything to a Sinhala conspiracy. Take, for instance, your claim that it is a Sinhala government. If so, can you please explain how in this Sinhala government Lakshman Kadiragamar, a Tamil & former President of the Oxford Union to boot, is the Foreign Minister? Can you explain the presence of Muslim (M.H.M. Ashraff) and Indian Tamil (S. Thondaman) leaders who are Cabinet Ministers in this so-called Sinhala Government? Besides, can a government, surviving only on the votes of all the elected Tamil representatives, be a Sinhala government?
Obviously, all these minority parties see themselves as serving a higher ethnic ethic by keeping the government of President Kumaratunga in power. If you can, for a moment, separate your propagandistic hype from the hard realities of the day you may come to realise that the fast-moving events and the international community are leaving you far behind. Your leader, Prabhakaran, is no different from Slobodan Milosevic. Both are ethnic cleansers who are treated like pariahs by the international community. Both survive on ethnic hate. Both are intransigent. Both are hiding their heads like an ostrich in the sands of politics.
You rave and rant about the military operations as if it is an act of oppressing the Tamil people. The Sri Lankan situation is no different from that of Yugoslavia. The democracies of the world have united not against the people of Serbia but only against the oppressive regime of Slobodan Milosevic. President Kumaratunga's government is not against the Tamil people but only against "the latest Pol Pot of Asia", as stated by James Burns of The New York Times of May 28,1995.
It is the crimes committed by this Tamil Pol Pot which will be brought up, sooner or later, before the International Criminal Court (ICC). Please note that, unlike the International Court of Justice in the Hague which has a charter only to hear cases brought up by a sovereign state against another, the ICC, according to the Treaty of Rome, is empowered, like the Nuremberg Court, to try individuals who are held responsible for crimes against humanity. Here is the partial list of crimes committed under the command of your Tamil Pol Pot, Prabhakaran:
1. Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India, (May 5,1991). His crime was that he took the initial step of paving the path to peace by introducing the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement. Prabhakaran is on the list of wanted criminals by the Indian authorities.
2. Assassination of President Ranasinghe Premadasa (May 1,1993). His crime too was to initiate negotiations for peace with Prabhakaran's representatives which lasted for fourteen months.
3. Ruthless slaughter and assassination of his own people starting from A. Amirthalingam, (July 13,1989) the Leader of the Opposition and his fellow MPs (12 in all) leading up to the murder of Mrs. Sarojini Yogewaran, the 65-year-old unarmed mayoress of Jaffna.(1998).
4. The ethnic cleansing of Jaffna by expelling at the point of gun 75,000 Muslims (1991) who were robbed and whose women were raped.
5. The massacre in broad daylight of 175 unarmed Muslims devotees who were praying in a Mosque in Kathanakudi in the eastern coast of Sri Lanka..
6. The incarceration of Tamil dissidents in Nazi-style concentration camps of Jaffna where they were beaten, tortured and killed for not toeing the political line of the Tamil Pol Pot, Prabhakaran. The UTHR Report No:10 (January 15,1993) states the following about your leader's concentration camps: Chapter 4 - THE JAFFNA GULAG :"The number (of prisoners) in the Thunnukkai complex was estimated at 3000 and a thousand elsewhere. There are indications that some of the larger prison camps where the treatment is more sadistic are still sited in the jungles of Mullaitivu and Mankulam. Going through all accounts, one sees no trace of compassion for prisoners. Kanthi, known as the butcher, was earlier at the torture chamber at Thunnukkai. Pottu Amman is the top man in the intelligence unit. During May 1991, a detainee names Sri, a former PLOTE member (i.e. a rival Tamil group) escaped from detention with his legs chained. The leaders of the same camp were promptly punished by the LTTE high command. Pottu Amman then took a hand. Sri's father, two sisters and a cousin were brought to the camp and were tortured in separate rooms. The Pottu Amman asked the father to look at the daughters. Crawling to their rooms the father saw the two daughters semi-conscious in pools of blood. Pottu Amman subject the daughters to further cruel beating in the father's presence. To prevent further harm to his daughters, he proceeded to name the places where Sri may be hidden."
7. The forcible recruitment of under fifteen school children to the "baby brigades" contravention of UN declarations and undertakings given to the UN representative on children, Olara Ottunnu. Incidentally, this Pol Potist hero has kept his two children - Anthony and Devi - in safe places away from the "baby brigades". He is no different, professor, to the expatriate Tamils who send their children to universities and finance the Pol Pot's war fought by the poor Tamil children.
8. The bombing of the Buddhist Sacred Temple of the Tooth Relic killing innocent, unarmed devotees and other passers-by.
9. The bombing of the Central Bank killing 85 civilians including two Tamils who had come from Canada to do their own transactions at the Bank. Hundreds were maimed and injured
10. Bombing of the evening train at Dehiwela carrying workers from the city. This too killed over 90 people and injured hundreds.
11. The assassination of Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athbulathmudali and other MPs who were opposed to Tiger terrorism of the Tamil Pol Pot.
12. The murder of Ragini Tirangama of the Jaffna University - one of your colleagues, professor - for daring to expose the corruption and the criminal activities of the Tamil Tiger terrorists.
13. Attacking and sinking of ships carrying essential goods to feed and service the people of Jaffna
With each new crime committed against unarmed civilians this list keeps growing. All these are well-documented items which will see the Tamil Pol Pot arraigned before a criminal court either locally or abroad. On the evidence available jurists argue that Eichmann had a better chance of being acquitted than your Prabhakaran. Even with your limited knowledge of international law you should know this by now, professor. It is not the intention of this letter to deal with every detail of your unwarranted attack on Ms. Hiller. But one last point that needs to be addressed is your claim of the Tamil Tiger terrorists running an administration "without corruption in Jaffna".
This claim to white-wash the blood-stained and the corrupt hands of the Tamil Tiger terrorists needs scrutiny.
(1) Here is an eye-witness account from UTHR : "Nirmalan was in charge of the camp at Koilakandy and had imbibed a taste of good life earlier. Using prison labour and materials obtained by stripping public assets such as railways and government departments, he proceeded to build for himself a luxury apartment. He surrounded himself with stolen domestic and exotic animals and used, Kannan, a sculptor and detainee to embellish his apartment. (Ibid - 4.2, p.43)
(2) Who plundered the goods and properties of the Jaffna Tamils before they were forced out from Jaffna when Prabhakaran retreated unable to face the advancing Security Forces?
(3) Why did the Tiger terrorists siphon off the basic essentials like food and medicine sent to the people of Jaffna by the Sri Lankan government and sell in the black market? Was it not to fatten the coffers of the Tamil terrorists?
(4) What happened to the jewelry and other personal properties of the Muslims who were robbed before they were driven out of Jaffna at gun point?
(5) How many so-called Tamil leaders of the diaspora are thriving, or having a ball on the money collected from the expatriate Tamil communities.
(6) Why did your so-called liberators extract gold and money from your own poor people each time they had to get out of Jaffna when your gang of Tamil terrorists were in command for a brief while? Since this was known to the common people of Jaffna you, as president of JUTA, would have been well aware of it.
This list of corruption and abuse of power too can be extended to a great length. But sufficient evidence have been put before you to expose the false statements made by you. We hope that the next time you write you will be more enlightened by these facts. We hope these facts will help to develop a sober and a more balanced approach without resorting to wild allegations which are not only selective but undermine the very cause you hope to boost.
Please take care, particularly in your statements you make.
Wishing you and all the people of Sri Lanka peace which can come only with the end of the Tamil Slobodan Milsovic's ethnic war.
silence over Jaffna mass grave raises questions
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