Eelam politics-More to it than meets the eye! – II - Sri Lanka Guardian

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Eelam politics-More to it than meets the eye! – II



“Though the centre has maintained that it has asked Sri Lanka to find a political solution, such a guarantee has not been given by the Sri Lankan government, which means that its military operation against LTTE would continue.”

by B. R. Haran

Point Blank

(November 01, Chennai, Sri Lanka Guardian) The ‘fever’ of ‘Eelam politics’ has subsided with the last ‘act’: Union External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Chennai and DMK Supremo and Chief Minister Karunanidhi making peace with the Centre. In part-I of the essay, we have seen that the events have unfolded like a movie and that a deep analysis is required to ‘review’ the movie.

The Eelam politics has to be analysed in different perspectives. It is extremely unfortunate that a conflict, which started in the early eighties, has still not been solved, despite the loss of lakhs of lives and at the cost of the growth and development of the island nation. It is a classic example of how an internal conflict could evolve with international ramifications, when vested ‘external’ interests work covertly with their hidden agendas.


Sri Lankan government:

The island nation has to be squarely blamed for the eruption of the conflict. When it wanted to enforce its ‘Sinhala’ agenda on the ethnic Tamils, through force and despotism, the Tamils feared for their safety, security and freedom leading to the eruption of unrest. The wrong approach of the Sri Lankan government created the problem and led to the formation of armed militant groups, which resulted in escalation of conflict and violence. It has also not taken India into confidence despite the Indo-Sri Lankan Accord and particularly the misadventure of Jayawardane government stabbing India at the back, made India leave the scene abruptly, after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. After the miserable failure of a weak Chandrika Kumarathunga government and a naive Ranil Wickramasinge government, the island nation has at last found a dynamic leader in Mahinda Rajapakse, who has the courage to say ‘enough is enough’ and is determined to wipe out the LTTE in his pursuit of launching the process of development. He has made his intentions clear and has also committed to the Indian government, through his brother and political Advisor Basil Rajapakse that he would take care of the interests of the innocent Tamils. He has so far shown that he means business by keeping up his commitments on conduction of reasonably fair elections in the eastern part of the island. Rajapakse seems to be aware of the facts that the island nation has suffered for too long and that he has to carry the Tamil community along with him for the future development of the nation and hence, he may not like to have an unsettled north and northeast regions. He has also shown his willingness to negotiate with the other Tamil groups and their leaders for a viable and a reasonable solution. So, in this context, the Sri Lankan government cannot be faulted for its military offensive against the LTTE, which is an internationally proclaimed terrorist organisation.

Sri Lankan Tamils

The most unfortunate thing, which has delayed a political solution for the ethnic crisis and caused the deaths of over lakhs of Tamils, has been the lack of unity within the Tamil community. The Jaffna Tamils have not been merciful with their counterparts in the plantation areas and the Tamil speaking Muslims have been separated. This has led to the different outfits pulling the issue in different directions, weakening the cause ultimately. This condition must not be equated with the so-called ‘sibling rivalry’ referred to by the Tamilnadu Chief Minister. The LTTE has been the architect of the so-called sibling rivalry and it has deliberately used this strategy to establish its tyrannical supremacy. Though the other outfits also started their campaign with arms and ammunition, they finally realised that there could never be a solution through arms, especially in the absence of unity among them and hence they abandoned their weapons and preferred to work for a political solution. They have realised the importance of treating Sri Lanka as their mother nation and are working towards an amicable solution of a ‘federal’ set up like India, so that, they can coexist with the Sinhalas peacefully. As all the leaders of the various outfits, sans LTTE, are united and on the process of negotiation, the Tamil people would naturally get benefited ultimately.

LTTE

If the Sri Lankan government has to be blamed for the eruption of the conflict, then the LTTE is solely responsible for the further escalation of the conflict and its snowballing into a major ethnic crisis. The LTTE must be held responsible for the absence of a viable political solution even after three decades. The track record of the the LTTE clearly shows that it has been working with a single point agenda of creating a separate ‘Tamil Eelam’ and establishing its dictatorship over it. In its quest for autocracy it has not hesitated to eliminate its own Tamil brothers and in the process, it has allegedly killed more number of Tamils and Tamil speaking Muslims than the Sri Lankan Army. It has even assassinated Indian Prime Minister for genuinely attempting to find a political solution. It has committed a bout of crimes on Indian soil and waters, right from smuggling to rioting to murders to even kidnapping and killing Indian fishermen. It has also indulged in all sorts of illegal activities internationally, for fund raising, arms & ammunition acquiring and other projects. It has recruited teenagers and children, brainwashed them and used them as suicide bombers after giving haphazard training. It has also used them as cover in the frontline during wars against the Sri Lankan Army. It has suppressed the Tamils without freedom and is also said to operate ‘torture’ cells within its territory.

It has a relationship with some of the ‘Dravidian’ political parties of Tamilnadu such as DMK, MDMK, DK, PMK and VCK apart from organisations like TNA and PDK. It ‘motivates’ them by various means and utilises them to play politics.

To enforce a ceasefire through the India’s interference, it has resorted to persuading the Tamilnadu parties to put pressure on Indian union government. A section of the supportive media in Tamilnadu has also been projecting a picture as though the Sri Lankan government has been indulging in genocide, and carrying interviews of LTTE leaders too.

Tamilnadu

The sudden spurt in the ‘pro-Eelam Tamil’ dramatics of the various Dravidian parties in Tamilnadu has its own reasons. First they have to show some sort of loyalty to the LTTE, as they have an understanding and been regularly getting encouragements from it. The precarious and perilous situation of the LTTE Chief has made them to take some immediate actions in order to save him. Secondly, the Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) has disintegrated and all of them are looking at different directions. All of them have started to make calculations about their future course of actions due to the declining of the electoral fortunes of the Congress party, which is leading them at the centre. As the general election is fast approaching they have to realign themselves, so that, they can come back to share power at the centre. For DMK, its prime responsibility was to divert the attention of the people from its absolute non-governance; for PMK, it has to make its presence felt by the people always, while at the same time it can embarrass the ruling DMK; for the Left front, it needed an emotive issue to get back into the minds of the people and also to start the renegotiation with any one of the Dravidian majors. When every party is taking the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils, the DMDK and the VCK cannot keep quiet and hence they also plunged into the ‘Eelam’ waters. As a result, public meetings, hunger protests, demonstrations, all-party meeting, resignation dramas and human-chain formations have all been enacted in support of the LTTE in the guise of Sri Lankan Tamil cause.

Among the lot the DMK’s performance has been extraordinary. The DMK has the dubious distinction of supporting the LTTE, discarding other Sri Lankan Tamil organisations, insulting the Indian Army (IPKF), aiding the Rajiv assassins (as indicted by the Jain Commission) and finally earning the friendship of none other than Sonia & Congress! It may be recalled that Priyanka Gandhi came to Vellore and met her father’s assassin Nalini in the prison and the DMK government secretly facilitated the visit. Immediately after that, Nalini had petitioned the Madras High Court for her release and things have started happening fast in that direction and other prisoners are also expected to follow suit. While Sonia’s alliance with an ‘indicted’ DMK and the subsequent developments have been fishy in regard to the issue of LTTE, the last two weeks’ developments at the centre have clearly exhibited the fact that the central government has acted as per the ‘script’ given by Karunanidhi.

In the meantime, Vaiko and his party MDMK are isolated in the Eelam issue, while the rest are all in the same platform, and a likelihood of his breaking relationship with AIADMK cannot be ruled out, for Jayalaitha’s statement only has resulted in his imprisonment. A moving ‘sibling’ drama may be in the offing between Karunanidhi and Vaiko, which would eventually lead to MDMK getting back to DMK’s alliance. After all, people have seen such a drama enacted by both of them before and in politics there are no permanent friends or foes!
India

India, after its painful experiences (IPKF fiasco & Rajiv assassination), has maintained a distance from the Sri Lankan ethnic issue with watchful eyes and stoic silence on it. The central government has so far done the right thing. As there has been a well-scripted drama stage-managed by the state and central governments, there has also been a well-scripted drama enacted by the Indian and the Sri Lankan governments. India, which has banned LTTE and declared it’s Chief Prabakaran as proclaimed offender and the first accused in Rajiv Assasination case, has rightly not interfered in the Sri Lankan Army’s offensive against the LTTE. Moreover, Sri Lanka has also assured India that it would send Prabakaran in the event of defeating LTTE, which seems to be imminent. Now Indian government has made the Sri Lankan government to give assurance on the safety and security of the Tamil people in the northern part of the island and the Tamil fishermen venturing into the waters, and to allow the 800 tonnes of aid to Sri Lankan Tamils. DMK has since made ‘peace’ with the centre.

Though the centre has maintained that it has asked Sri Lanka to find a political solution, such a guarantee has not been given by the Sri Lankan government, which means that its military operation against LTTE would continue. India has also said that it was not a party to the ceasefire and hence it can’t ask for it.

Reports indicate that the LTTE is in the final stage of a losing battle with a reduced strength of just a few thousands. The political analysts are of the firm view that the solution lies in either the surrender of Prabakaran or the defeat of LTTE. It is almost certain to happen, because both the local Tamils and the Diaspora have lost the confidence in the organisation, which has brought them nothing in the last thirty years of armed conflict. In such an eventuality, the Tamilnadu politicians would unhesitatingly drop the ‘Eelam politics’ and focus on their local issues and future plans. When they are not bothered about their own predecessors and leaders in India, why should they bother about Prabakaran? In the aftermath of Pranab Mukherjee’s visit, Karunanidhi’s statements clearly indicate that he has dropped his main demand of enforcing a ceasefire in Sri Lanka! His stand will be endorsed by the other leaders soon. Now its time for ‘local politics’ in Dravida Nadu and Sri Lankan Tamils can wait!

(Concluded)
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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