A precise solution to the current Sri Lanka – Tamil problem

 

I am giving below the recent discussion I had with Mr. Rajiv on the Srilankan war on Tamil insurgents. Apart from the subject matter, the tone and the open minded manner in which the discussion proceeded are just exemplary. I wish to share the same with my readers. 

 

darashikoh Says:

From : http://rajivsramblings.wordpress.com/2008/10/25/

Today’s Hindu editorial has ably enunciated what the precise solution is – in terms of India’s response to the Sri Lankan problem.  Before I elaborate on this: out here in Chennai – I can see a lot of literature which has suddenly exploded ………which supports the LTTE cause.  It is more like the local government is hand in glove with this whole thing.  It is difficult to believe that if the government does not support LTTE as a banned organisation ………….then such literature proliferating so liberally ………is very scary indeed. 

It is more so evident in the small time newspaper stalls.  Although I cannot really read the Tamil headlines ……….the pictures depict a more sympathetic picture of this gruesome organisation. 

I’m just wondering why the local Congress party has not got its reaction together.  Yesterday there was an incidence of vandalism to the statue of Rajiv Gandhi – and a few local congress supporters were protesting about it today.  Beyond that the party needs to get its act together to counter the political wave in favour of the LTTE.  It is only the AIADMK which has taken a strong and firm stand on this issue.  For one thing – those LTTE sympathisers strongly think that Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination was justified and that he deserved it.  This kind of thinking is appalling – and goes against the overall thinking across the country that the assassination was wrong and that the LTTE should be punished for it.  

Now coming to the solution which was laid out in today’s Hindu editorial goes as below:

In the first place, no comfort should be given to the LTTE, which is a terrorist organisation banned in 30 countries, including India.

Secondly the Indian commitment must be to finding a solution that envisages devolution of powers to the Tamil regions within a united Sri Lanka, which would mean giving no quarter to the demand for an independent Eelam.

Thirdly, mainstream political parties in Tamil Nadu need to make a sharp disctinction between the current military plight of the LTTE and the displacement and suffering caused by the conflict, affecting an estimated 230,000 Sri Lankan Tamils.

The right response for Government of India and the people of Tamil Nadu would be to offer food, clothing, medicines, fuel and other essential goods as well as other logistical facilities required to reach them to the people through the Sri Lankan government whose President Mahinda Rajapakse has declared his commitment to bring their hardship to an end “in a short time.”

 

 

Nagarajan Says:
October 27, 2008 at 12:18 am

 

In a feedback to Times of India news item, I had sent the following comments. It was kindly published by them. Your may also may find this interesting.

 

L V Nagarajan, Mumbai, says: “I read the story and all the comments. I have following questions which need answers: 1. LTTE is declared as a terrorist organisation. In the last 10 years, what are the terrorist activities in which LTTE is involved, especially outside Sri Lanka? 2. Our beloved young prime-minister Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by an LTTE sympathiser, possibly as a plot by LTTE. How many lacs of Srilankan Tamils should die as a revenge for this grave crime by LTTE? 3. When Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka can consider pardoning Nalini who was directly involved in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, why the Indian government can’t pardon unconnected Srilankan Tamil people and help them in a humanitarian way. Or, was Sonia’s pardon only a political gimmick? 4. Indian Government has intervened many times in the past, in Tamil struggle in Srilanka. Almost all the time the effort was against Tamil interests, (except during a brief period in Indira Gandhi’s time.) Why should they fight shy of intervening now? Is it in respect to the memory of Sri Rajiv Gandhi? 5. Srilankan Tamils are of Indian origin. Have not the government of India acted more sympathetically towards other people of indian origin struggling in other countries? 6. When some body raises these questions why should they be considered as sympathisers of LTTE? (I am Not a sympathiser of LTTE). Is it because, as of now Srilankan people’s only saviour is LTTE? I do not know. I only hope the innocent Tamil people of Srilanka find an early solution to their struggle. God save them.”
[24
Oct, 2008 0208hrs IST]

I really would like to know your answers for the above questions, so that I can correct myself if I am wrong.

 

darashikoh Says:

October 28, 2008 at 12:37 pm

Nagarajan,
Here is my response to your questions:
Question:
How many lacs of Srilankan Tamils should die as a revenge for this grave crime by LTTE?

Answer:
You are connecting the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to the continued Tamil civilian casualties which continue to happen there. This is wrong. India’s response to the mistake of the LTTE was to ban the organisation and draw itself out of the conflict. What you are connecting of the assassination to the casualties is not correct. The casualties are happening at both ends. There have been quite a few Sinhala casualties as well as many Tamil casualties. So this is part of the war. Drawing the Indian Govt. and congress party into this is wrong.

Question:
3.
When Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka can consider pardoning Nalini who was directly involved in Rajiv Gandhi’s assasination, why can’t Indian government pardon unconnected Srilankan Tamil people and help them in a humanitarian way.

Answer:
Nalini’s pardon was only from Priyankas side. The Congress party and the government and the nation have not forgotten/forgiven the assassination. LTTE does not regret the assassination (despite the claims by late Anton Balasingham). They feel bad about the fact that they got further alienated because of this. That is the only thing – otherwise they have not truly regretted. The attack on Rajiv Gandhi’s statue is some indication of what the sympathisers feel for the incidence.

Question:
Is it because, as of now Srilankan people’s only savior is LTTE?

Answer:
India genuinely feels for the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils. We are sending in a lot of aid and help. However it is wrong to say that the only saviour of the Sri Lankan tamils is the LTTE. This is wrong. There are other Tamil political parties like EPRLF, PLOTE etc. which participated in the multi-party elections in east Sri Lanka and won as well. They are running the local government there. LTTE have always tried to be the single representative of the Sri Lankan Tamils by eliminating/assassinating other representatives of the Tamils. This has always been wrong. This is one more reason why the LTTE should be crushed totally and other Tamil political parties should be nurtured to bring about a true democratic multi-party system with enough powers devolvedagain within the ambit of the Sri Lankan federal framework.

 

Nagarajan Says:
October 28, 2008 at 4:02 pm

“India’s response to the mistake of the LTTE was to ban the organisation and draw itself out of the conflict”. – That is the objective of Srilankan army also. But to this end helping the Srilankan army is not correct. We tried once and failed miserably.

“The casualties are happening at both ends. There have been quite a few Sinhala casualties as well as many Tamil casualties.” – There is a difference between ‘quite a few’ and ‘many’; and again between army casualty and civilian casualty.

“Drawing the Indian Govt. and congress party into this is wrong.” – I did not draw Congress party into the discussion. Now I can say, Tamilnadu Congress is conspicuous by its absence of any sympathy towards Srilankan Tamils. Is it super patriotism or pure and simple sycophancy?

“The Congress party and the government and the nation have not forgotten/forgiven the assassination. LTTE does not regret the assassination (despite the claims by late Anton Balasingham).” – Yes, there are others outside the congress and government who have not forgotten Rajiv’s assassination, including me. Rajiv was our prime minister not only congress’s.

“The attack on Rajiv Gandhi’s statue is some indication of what the sympathisers feel for the incidence.” – True. I fear Rajiv’s sacrifice in obtaining a solution to this problem may come to a naught, by the present attitude of congress party.

“India genuinely feels for the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils.” – Is it so? Then why it needed such a show of sympathy from Tamilnadu and a threat from DMK to make even a symbolic move towards peace and relief?

“There are other Tamil political parties like EPRLF, PLOTE etc. which participated in the multi-party elections in east Sri Lanka and won as well.” – Yes, but I do not hear about them much nowadays. Is Govt. (or Congress party!) in touch with them?. What do they feel about the present conflict?

Apart from these comments I agree with all the other things written by you (say about 80%), including the suggested solution. Thanks for taking my comments seriously and replying. Happy Diwali and Jai Hind!

 

darashikoh Says:
October 29, 2008 at 4:47 am

Question: “India’s response to the mistake of the LTTE was to ban the organisation and draw itself out of the conflict”. – That is the objective of Srilankan army also. But to this end helping the Srilankan army is not correct. We tried once and failed miserably.

Answer: India’s response was due to LTTEs action. Between the period of IPKF withdrawal and assassination – India was still involved politically in negotiations etc. However post assassination – we withdrew completely. This was solely because of the mistake done by the LTTE. That Sri Lanka also desired that outcome is incidental. Besides we need to remember that the sovereignty of that nation has to be respected. In fact even now – despite whatever overtures we are doing of pushing for a political solution/humanitarian aid – it is well within the integrity of the Sri Lankan nation and still respects its sovereignty. We need to remember that we cannot exert direct pressure on them. We can only issue demarches and summon their commissioner. Beyond that we can extend aid and material.

Question: “The casualties are happening at both ends. There have been quite a few Sinhala casualties as well as many Tamil casualties.” – There is a difference between ‘quite a few’ and ‘many’; and again between army casualty and civilian casualty.

Answer: Yes I agree with you on that. I don’t deny that. But there have been Sinahalese civilian casualties as well – due to bombings from the LTTE. HoweverI agree with you that the scale of the Tamil civilian casualties is much higher.

Question: “Drawing the Indian Govt. and congress party into this is wrong.” – I did not draw Congress party into the discussion. Now I can say, Tamilnadu Congress is conspicuous by its absence of any sympathy towards Srilankan Tamils. Is it super patriotism or pure and simple sycophancy?

Answer: The Government of India(GOI) along with the foreign minister of Sri Lanka have issued a joint statement expressing concern on the humanitarian crisis, escalated by these on going tensions. Prior to that, they issued a demarche to the commissioner to highlight India’s concern in this regard. I agree with you that all this happened because of the flexing of the political muscle of Tamil parties in Tamil Nadu. That the Tamil Nadu Congress party was conspicuous – well I agree with you that they did not take any stand at all (whereas even the AIADMK took a definite stand on this issue). However our concern shown at the national level by GOI – to some extent mitigates it. But you are overall right on this.

Question: “India genuinely feels for the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils.” – Is it so? Then why it needed such a show of sympathy from Tamilnadu and a threat from DMK to make even a symbolic move towards peace and relief?

Answer: Yes I agree with you that without the threat this would not have been highlighted.

Question: “There are other Tamil political parties like EPRLF, PLOTE etc. which participated in the multi-party elections in east Sri Lanka and won as well.” – Yes, but I do not hear about them much nowadays. Is Govt. (or Congress party!) in touch with them?. What do they feel about the present conflict?

Answer: There was an interview given by Sivanesathurai Santhirakanthan – the chief minister of East Sri Lanka and head of Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) – in The Hindu – dated 27th October.

http://blogs.thehindu.com/delhi/?p=4918

They participated in the election – won it and are now running the government. They have some concerns (which all governments do) – which they hope would be resolved in the near future. However the democratic process has been a success – and time will tell about the magnitude of the success. Elections, democracy, peace, development – this is the way. In fact just yesterday 4 of their members were killed by the LTTE in Batticaloa and 5 more were kidnapped. The LTTE continues with its agenda of trying to be the sole representative of the Sri Lankan Tamil cause. They don’t want to give democracy and peace a chancewhen it excludes them. http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20081028_06

Please also read the interview of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in today’s Hindu:

http://www.hindu.com/2008/10/29/stories/2008102955181100.htm

I liked your last line. Happy Diwali and Jain Hind to you too!!!

 

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4 Responses to “A precise solution to the current Sri Lanka – Tamil problem”

  1. Slogger Says:

    Mr. Nagarajan,

    Thanks for visiting my blog. Srilankan Tamil issue is complex isn’t it? Your questions on Time of India are laced with the word LTTE on every sentence. For me that’s a fundamental problem. As a society we talk about Gandhi and portray us as the sons from the land of Buddha but for us to differentiate an armed struggle from a non-violence path is such a problem. Can we equate Prabakaran with Dalai Lama, after all both are fighting against political oppression?

    One’s view on LTTE varies based on his loyalty. If you are Hassan Ali (Ramanathapuram MLA), then you oppose LTTE because for you they are Muslim Killers. If you are Karunanidhi, then you milk the issue to get some cheap votes and thus never say in public whether you support or oppose. If you are Nedumaran, then you want a separate Tamil Nation which includes part of Sri Lanka and thus support LTTE. But, there are few minorities like me whom don’t look at the world as a Tamilian but as an Indian. My alliance is for India as a country not for the so called regional politics.

    You bring up a point about Indira Gandhi, and I have to disagree with you on reason why Indira Gandhi interfered on Tamil issue. Political geniuses under her didn’t want to solve the issue they wanted to inflame it. They assumed that armed LTTE struggle will benefit India (Not to mention the free votes congress will get from Tamil Nadu). Who is Sonia Gandhi to pardon, Nalini. I would argue that Gandhi would have forgiven Godse, but that didn’t stop us from hanging him. The law of the land should stand, for me LTTE killed Rajiv Gandhi, I hate the entire Nehru family but that’s doesn’t matter, LTTE planned and Killed a Prime Minister for that Prabakaran should be in Jail.

    So when does an organization becomes a Terrorist outfit? If you argue that Gandhi’s philosophy won’t work in today’s world and that you have fight for your survival I have no problem with that. But the movement you have gang war in Burma Bazaar, the moment you kill a political leader who oppose your view, the moment you set a bomb blast in your neighboring country you become a terrorist organization. Again I am going to ask the same question that I put forth in my blog to you and all the political leader in Tamil Nadu, why don’t you ask Prabakaran to surrender to India (if he doesn’t like India, he can always go to Norway) not Sri Lanka and tell the world that Sri Lankan army should stop killing innocent Tamil. They cannot because the survival of LTTE is more important then the death of Tamils.

    I don’t think Sri Lankan will ever give up their land. Because of Ramayan they would always think India as something alien, so lets drop this request for separate land from Tamil and try to solve this issue with dialogue and if it doesn’t help bring in UN. Let India fight that war and I will support it 100 percent.

  2. Nagarajan Says:

    The informed Indian opinion on Srilankan struggle, is divided on the basis of Pro-LTTE and Anti-LTTE. Being Pro-LTTE is considered as anti-Indian by most people. Being anti-LTTE, you must support Sri Lankan army till LTTE is dissimated and even if it means that you must ignore in its entirety the Sri-Lankan Tamils sufferings . Well, something strikes me as unfair in this. I hope I am not branded anti-Indian.
    I am an Indian and I am a Tamilian, and I have no problems being both. And neither I have any problem with somebody being a Gujarati Indian or a Marathi Indian.
    The not-so-informed Indian opinion is that the Tamils having gone to Sri Lanka as labourers, have no right to ask for anything else, let alone self governance. They might have been there for centuries, so what?. As per this opinion, Obama should not be the president of USA but Sonia Gandhi can become the prime-minister of India.
    Now that both India and Sri Lanka together have acheived the defeat of LTTE, let us look forward to restoration of justice to Tamils. May be India has a plan, let us hope.

  3. Sri Says:

    I am curious to know your current views on what will happen next. Will the hopes of Sri Lankan Tamils see the light of day? Will the Sinhalese govt. be moved by international pressure into make a realistic effort towards reconciliation/resolution? Some people fear that like Tibet, the Sinhalese govt may ‘settle’ Sinhalese populations into former Tamil-dominated areas (which are anyway ravaged and evacuated for most part) leading to a gradual dilution of Tamils in the country.

    • Nagarajan Says:

      As per my previous comment dated 25th January 2009, LTTE has been dissimated, though it took longer than I expected. This has only extended the sufferings of the civilian Tamilian population. Prabhakaran’s end is signalled as LTTE’s end. But there cannot be any gaurantee as of now if a ‘Kripakaran’ will not emerge as a similar leader of Lankan Tamils heading another ‘Tamil Eelam Liberation Lions (TELL)’ to fight one more war of 25 years. It all depends on whether Rajapakse is serious about his promise of devolution of equal rights and self governance to Tamils. Even if he is serious, my fear is the Buddhist Sinhalese fanatics will not allow him to move forward. There will be attempts to settle majority sinhalese community in all Tamil dominated areas to alter the demogarphy. The resitance movement will again be fanned by these moves and it may well snowball into a separatist movement.
      Regarding international Pressure: As one defence analyst said, Sri Lanka will be under much heavier pressure from those who assisted him in the war – China, Iran, Libya and Pakistan. No, India is not in this group, because India’s assistance was only as a revenge against Prabhakaran. Sri Lanka just used India, just as they used Rajiv Gandhi, earlier. India will not apply any pressure on Srilankan Govt, definetlely not in favour of Srilankan Tamils there, because (Rajiv)’Ghandi’ clan still considers them as their enemies. Western Countries and the UN may bring in some pressure on humanitarian grounds and human-rights areas, with some limited success.
      One retired General of IPKF, a tamilian, said “No, I am not too happy about the death of Prabhakaran. I was ordered to engage him when I was in IPKF, but we had a Srilankan accord in place at that time. But now Srilankan Tamils have nobody to talk for them as seriously as Prabhakaran. Tamils will continue to feel insecure, to feel neglected and to feel ignored”.
      We can only pray for poor Tamils of Sri Lanka

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