Call for ‘more serious intervention’, Indian solutions and realities

"If Indian politicians are genuinely interested in the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue in view of their ‘sufferings’ due to the ongoing fight between the armed forces and the LTTE, they should also listen to the views of Tamils other than LTTE and their proxies TNA."

by S. Akurugoda

(December 08, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said India would do everything possible to find a political solution to the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue in view of their sufferings due to the ongoing fight between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), according to a news report appeared in The Hindu dated 03 December 2008.

As per the news item, he gave this assurance on to an all-party delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, belonging to both the Houses of Parliament, led by Union Shipping Minister and DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu. They had called on him seeking the Centre’s “more serious intervention” to bring about a ceasefire in the island nation.
It is also said that the Prime Minister of India has agreed to send the External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Sri Lanka in response to a representation made by the CM of Tamil Nadu.
Since the above development has come when our nation is entering a critical milestone in the history of war against terrorism focusing to provide the necessary impetus to strengthen and expand development which in turn can prevent terrorism in the future, while India is experiencing one of its worst terrorist attacked in its history, it is worthwhile to examine the motives and the effectiveness of Indian solutions at this crucial stage.

Terrorism in India

Terrorism is not new to India. At least 200 innocent people were killed and more than 327 injured in the latest terrorist attack in Mumbai. Twenty six foreigners were killed in the firing including at least 4 Americans. ‘All mighty’ Indian security forces took 60 hours to clear the affected areas from the terrorists.

The regions with long term terrorist activities today are Jammu and Kashmir, Mumbai, Central India and Seven Sister States (independence and autonomy movements). Terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir continues to pose serious challenges to the country’s security framework. In addition, wide areas of the country appear to have ‘fallen off the map’ of good governance, and are acutely susceptible to violent political mobilization. Mumbai has been the most preferred target for most terrorist organizations, primarily the separatist forces from Kashmir. As of 2006, at least 232 of the country’s 608 districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. As per the available records of India’s assessment - 2007, 2,765 people died in terrorism-related violence in India during year 2006.

The above data extracted from the Institute for Conflict Management database is an indication of a failure of the largest democracy, in spite of having a federal structure (as boasted by many peace merchants in Colombo), when finding ‘political solutions’ to problems in its own backyard with all the technology to win space and with all the advance technology in nuclear weaponry.
Like many other countries in the world, India have unresolved, racial issues, religious issues, economical issues, social issues and political issues in addition to the terrorist issues. India’s security operations against terrorist group responsible for the Mumbai attack should not be considered as a war against Muslims. India’s security operations against Punjab insurgency in the past should not be considered as a war against Sikh. On the same basis Indian politicians should understand that the security operations against the LTTE are not against Tamils.

Views of Tamils, other than LTTE proxies, on LTTE

If Indian politicians are genuinely interested in the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue in view of their ‘sufferings’ due to the ongoing fight between the armed forces and the LTTE, they should also listen to the views of Tamils other than LTTE and their proxies TNA.

“The success of the armed forces against the LTTE was not a victory for the Sinhalese people but a victory of the Tamil people of the North who were being held as a human shield by the LTTE” as revealed by Karuna Amman last week in the parliament. “The LTTE leader had betrayed the Tamil people and did not make use of the opportunities he was offered by successive governments to find a solution to the problem and all he had done was to lead the young generation of Tamil people to the grave. Today all that the Tamil people got from the LTTE were 22,000 tombs and nothing else," he said.

Douglas Devananda, another onetime leader of an armed group, who fought against Sri Lanka security forces and now a government Minister said he was thankful to the armed forces who had liberated the Eastern Province and were now freeing the North from the LTTE terrorists who were keeping the Tamil people under their control and using brain-washed children of the Tamil people to fight a war for Prabakaran. "LTTE leader Prabakaran was not leading the Tamil people to liberation but leading them to their graves. Prabakaran had no intention to find a solution to any problem but keeps killing people,” he said.

In an open letter to LTTE leader Prabakaran under the heading “Sinhalese civilians never killed Tamils” and appeared in The Hindu dated 26 June 2007, president of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) V. Anandasangaree has said “You (Prabakaran) should be held responsible for the deaths of over 70,000 people of all faiths, of all age groups, of both sexes of all communities in Sri Lanka not only at the battle front but also in land and claymore mine attacks, hand grenade and bomb attacks and also massacres of innocent ones in buses, trains, etc. The Kepithigolawa and Aranthalawa massacres, attempt to sink the ship carrying 700 service personnel in mid-sea, the killing of the hundred odd Navy personnel going on leave and returning for duty and many other massacres in the mosques etc. cannot be justified. What harm did the 31 innocent Buddhist priests you slaughtered at Aranthalawa do to you?

“Can you cite one single incident of this nature in which a Sinhalese civilian got involved. Furthermore please take it for granted that up to now not one Tamil life was taken by any one of those so called Buddhist Sinhala chauvinist although some talk irresponsibly.”

Terrorism in Sri Lanka and effectiveness of Indian solutions

The extent of the involvement of India when creating the terrorist problem in Sri Lanka is well known to the world and need no elaboration. Mr. Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan MP (Karuna Amman), at a press briefing (Oct 21), spoke of his 22 year relationship with LTTE and recalled his own training in India with other separatist groups after 1983 and also conformed how the LTTE (including himself) was benefited by the essential needs sent by the Government of Sri Lanka on humanitarian ground in the past.

Since then, many thousands of innocent lives of Sinlala, Tamil, Muslim and others were lost and several thousands were wounded including those of some Indians (when Rajeev Gandhi was killed). Many thousands of Sri Lanka’s security forces and those of Indian IPKF were killed and wounded. Several prominent leaders of Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim and one Indian were killed. As a result of imposing a ceasefire with Indian intervention in 1987 against the will of the wide population of the Sri Lankan community, 65,000 Sinhala youths had to sacrifice their lives.

Billions of rupees that could be used for the development of our country are spending each year to combat terrorism abetted by external interested parties. Ironically, thousands of innocent civilians who got injured and surviving relatives of further thousands of those who died as a result of the terrorism in Sri Lanka deserve an apology, and not another “more serious intervention” from the perpetrators, for the losses incurred to them due to terrorism.

Whenever the security forces with the full blessing of the peace loving and ‘suffering’ people, irrespective of ethnicity, are trying to eliminate the menace of terrorism from our soil, external forces are emerging to rescue their creations. It appears that some quarters of India are in confusion over its territories, despite its present and past failures. It is time for those who blindly promote ‘more serious intervention’ to realise that short term political gain ‘to appease each other’ could face ‘more serious repercussions than their past failures’ in the long run.

Soon after the Mumbai terrorist attack referring to the alleged involvement of Pakistan, India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said at a joint press conference that India's sense of anger and outrage had been conveyed and that India has the ‘right to protect its citizens and its territorial integrity.’ Finding solutions to the Sri Lankan Tamils’ issue or any other issue due to the ongoing fight between the armed forces and the LTTE, by the same token, is the responsibility of the democratically elected President and the Parliament of Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka Guardian