“The Tamil chief minister is now openly calling for Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. This should rightly be in Tamil Nadu and India should openly invite Tamils to live there if they are truly unhappy in Sri Lanka and do not wish to live in a multicultural society. After all, the state is already named Tamil Nadu, its official language is Tamil, and it is ruled by Tamils! Only it lacks full autonomy as yet.” – Shenali Waduge
Let us take his recommendations first:
1] Sinha urged Sri Lanka to withdraw its army from the North; the war ended four years ago and Lanka should already have had law and order established; let them not run the north on a daily basis.
Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation and India cannot ask Sri Lanka where to move or remove its forces. We don’t urge India to withdraw its army from Kashmir! More pertinently, Sri Lanka would first urge India to remove all factors that continue to carry the LTTE slogans locally, overseas and in India in order to remove the “risk” factor that these elements will again start fresh insurgencies in the island nation. India may recall how it transported school dropouts, including Prabhakaran, and trained them in India. We can’t allow a similar situation to be repeated.
2] Sinha said Colombo should sincerely implement the recommendations of the LLRC
LLRC is an internal set of recommendations which the Government is not duty bound to implement in toto just because a foreign nation requests Sri Lanka to do so. Moreover, LLRC cannot be implemented if it violates any clauses of the constitution of the country.
3] Sinha said that Sri Lanka should implement the provisions of the 13th Amendment as promised in its discussions.
The 13th amendment to the Constitution along with the Provincial Council system was forced upon Sri Lanka by India and does not have the consent of the People of Sri Lanka. Hence the elected President is mandated to seek approval of the People of Sri Lanka.
The Provincial Council system should be abolished completely given that it provides no relief or services to the people of the provinces, of which the large scale of crimes committed by provincial councilors is proof. A better idea is district level governance where it is easier to devolve day to day administrative needs.
4] Sinha demanded that an impartial inquiry be held into charges of genocide of civilian Tamils by Lankan forces during the Eelam war, by people outside Sri Lanka.
We agree wholeheartedly. The world needs to know the “crimes” and the crimes cannot cover a selected period only because a crime is a crime and the guilty must be exposed. A Presidential Commission of Inquiry is thus recommended. International inquiry members should comprise a representative from China, Russia and Pakistan – nations that have openly shown solidarity to Sri Lanka without succumbing to Western pressure. Nations that Sri Lanka can rely on. And a Presidential CoI should rightfully cover the entire conflict from the very first crime committed as those victims cannot be overlooked in violation of Sri Lanka’s constitution giving “equality” before the law. This inquiry cannot include India in the international observer team as India is a key player in the conflict, having trained LTTE and other school dropouts and turned them into professional killers, giving arms and financial support for the purpose of destabilizing Sri Lanka. These criminal acts are tantamount to India’s role as a state sponsoring terror and must also be officially acknowledged. The world must officially know what India did to its “friend” Sri Lanka.
5] Sinha demanded a clear commitment on the part of the Sri Lanka government to punish the guilt after the inquiry.
This is a tricky issue as India’s guilt is not something Sri Lanka can punish unless the West agrees to take action against India. Instead, the Sri Lankan people will accept an apology by India and acknowledgement of its role in training the LTTE and helping them and other militant groups financially and with weapons.
6] Sinha urged India to not merely vote in UNHRC but take a lead in drafting the language of the resolution in UNHRC
It is India’s prerogative whether it takes a leading role or plays a role behind the scenes as India is normally used to doing. Given India’s past record, we are not surprised at being stabbed in the back. Hence, the language used has little relevance for us as the UN and the UNHRC is just a puppet of the West.
7] Sinha concluded that India must convey in no uncertain terms to the other nations in our neighborhood and the world at large any undue inference with Sri Lanka will not be tolerated.
This looks like a threat to other nations that are engaging Sri Lanka. We should engage with these nations and also build greater ties with the States of India in the likelihood that these States could end up “autonomous”. There are no permanent friends in politics, only permanent interests. Hence, Sri Lanka’s new foreign policy strategy should be to first realign with our natural historical allies and to next align with the geopolitical realities.
Sinha’s party, the BJP, ruled India from 1996 to 2004, taking over from P V Narasimha Rao who ruled from 1991 to 1996. In 1991, Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on Indian soil, in Tamil Nadu, by the very organization his mother created to destabilize Sri Lanka, exactly a decade after India trained that very group in India. The Jain Commission found the LTTE guilty of Rajiv’s murder, Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman were incriminated for the crime and the Commission also named a former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister as having links with the LTTE.
Yet justice for Rajiv Gandhi meant that India did nothing against the LTTE, nothing against the Tamil Nadu leader, nothing against Tamil Nadu-LTTE ties. The greater damage was filing action in the Supreme Court to demand the Jain Commission expunge the period 1981-1987 because it revealed India’s role in training LTTE and many other Sri Lankan militant groups in India by Indian army and Indian intelligence. The Indian Government also sought to remove reference to the LTTE for the crime. These actions post-Rajiv’s death indicated that his murder was insignificant for a greater Indian objective. We see that continue as his widow bows down to every demand made by the very State where Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, which has been planning to break away from India since the early 1930s.
This reinforces a belief that Eelam is a Christian political strategy. Sri Lanka’s separatist agenda started with Christian import Chelvanayakam and not Christian-turned Prabhakaran. The Sri Lankan Hindus have been sidelined by the Church which acts as a self-appointed spokesman for the Tamil people. The LTTE-Diaspora is led by Father Emmanuel which further strengthens this notion.
The BJP [1996 to 2004] was part of the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement managed and supervised by Vajpayee’s Advisor Brajesh Mishra. The Agreement all but ceded territory and power to the LTTE and is regarded by Sri Lanka as one of the most treacherous agreements the country signed. We hold all politicians and public officials inclusive of the present foreign minister accountable for betraying the nation and the armed forces. The CFA was unilaterally withdrawn in January 2008.
So when Sinha says “the tragedy of the Sri Lankan Tamils is one of the greatest tragedies of our times”, we demand to know in what ways he is qualified to claim so. Yes, the Sri Lankan armed forces have been in the North for four years now. What is the genocide that has taken place? How many Tamils have been shot dead since 2009 to the present?
Possibly Sinha has not seen LTTE crimes over 30 years. If he has not seen pictures or videos of the LTTE crimes upon babies, children, pregnant mothers, the old, and scores of other civilians asleep or in their homes, someone from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry should send him a copy of the last 30 years of LTTE crimes.
Sinha used his allocated time in Parliament to speak of a “young child, eating a biscuit and next found lying on the ground” to come to the conclusion that the Sri Lankan armed forces murdered him [Balachandran, Prabhakaran’s son] when there was not a speck of blood found on the body! Nor is there any evidence that the Sri Lankan army shot him.
The reference to the IPKF is noteworthy as for the first time we are told that Indian military casualties in the IPKF operation stood at 2900 and not 1200. Sinha laments in 2013 that the IPKF soldiers have no memorial in India; why didn’t BJP erect a memorial given that it ruled from 1996 to 2004 and IPKF left Sri Lanka in March 1990?
Perhaps it would be a good idea for the families of the jawans and officers to take legal action against the Indian Government for arming the LTTE that ended up killing the IPKF soldiers because there is evidence to prove that India supplied arms to the LTTE whilst IPKF was in Sri Lanka!
We would like to know what “untold atrocities” were committed by the Sri Lankan armed forces, with instances, dates and names of victims. All we get are preposterous figures that get inflated at every international event. Where are the families of the victims, where did they live? Sri Lanka has every right to feel “triumphalism” – we suffered 30 years of terror for which India is also culpable in training the LTTE. India cannot clean its blood-soaked hands from this fact. Didn’t the Americans celebrate when the US President announced that Osama bin Laden was killed? Osama’s role in 9/11 is yet to be even proven. LTTE crimes lasted 30 years and they have accepted their atrocities.
Sinha claimed that the center piece of India’s policy is “no military solution to a conflict”. Still, India cannot grudge Sri Lanka for adopting a Just War solution after having weathered countless ceasefires, peace negotiations and agreements which failed, but gave VIP treatment to terrorists and allowed them to fly overseas to forge wider associations and purchase weapons. The CoI should reveal all these sins and the names of the people associated with that failure, even if it leads to the exposure of public officials currently holding portfolios.
If the President of Sri Lanka organized a “troika” to keep India informed of all that was happening during Sri Lanka’s Just War, the primary reason was that in 1987 when Prabhakaran was cornered in Vadaramachchi and would have been caught, India not only intervened but threatened to invade Sri Lanka! To save a terrorist India had trained.
The Tamil chief minister is now openly calling for Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka. This should rightly be in Tamil Nadu and India should openly invite Tamils to live there if they are truly unhappy in Sri Lanka and do not wish to live in a multicultural society. After all, the state is already named Tamil Nadu, its official language is Tamil, and it is ruled by Tamils! Only it lacks full autonomy as yet.
A Presidential Commission of Inquiry with participation of China, Russia and Pakistan investigating all crimes committed since the inception of terror in Sri Lanka will enable real reconciliation in Sri Lanka. India’s role in Sri Lanka’s terrorism cannot be suppressed or kept hidden any longer. “Facts of history are facts of history” and cannot be denied – we agree with these words of Yashwant Sinha. – Vijayvaani, 8 April 2013
» Shenali Waduge is a keen observer of contemporary affairs and a Sri Lanka national.
Speech by Yashwant Sinha to the members of the Lok Sabha
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