Was India – a friend or foe of the LTTE

Enforcing 13th Amendment will not prevent War Crimes against Sri Lanka

| by Shenali Waduge

(September 29, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It was never a surprise when Sri Lanka began to be admonished for completely defeating an international terrorist organization. The wave of admonishes coming from foreign Governments including international peace agencies disregarding the success of the first military defeat of a terrorist organization while carrying out the worlds largest humanitarian rescue operation simply reveals the hypocrisies that prevails in international laws & international thinking. Sri Lanka’s public is not surprised & Sri Lanka’s public is also aware that the “wish lists” presented by the West including India attempting to entice the Sri Lankan government to agree to various implementations to prevent war crimes against Sri Lanka is only a ploy & Sri Lanka’s Government should not fall prey.

Saddam Hussein agreed to allow UN weapons inspectors to avoid US pressures – the outcome was report after report surfacing giving credibility for the US action & eventual invasion of Iraq. The collateral damage caused to a country & its people in order to kill one single dictator who was once the US’s friend reveals that Sri Lanka should trust no foreign power.

Osama bin Laden remained a friend of the US until his supposed death. Linked to the Saudi royal family, linked to US former President & having business interests, shares & ventures in partnership with US business tycoons how could Osama really have been an enemy? Could the Al Qaeda be just a name to allow US & Western hegemony to reign without questions asked? Gaddafi now is the latest target, a man who handed bagful of money to Western leaders to carry out their political campaigns – ask Sarkozy & Blair & US politicians themselves.

In the overall gameplan by powerful nations to make smaller nations bow down to its pressures thereby facilitating their ability to take over them geographically & economically raises the need to understand how India is involved & aligned to the West for this sole purpose.

It is in India’s interest to align with the West portraying itself as part of western pressures to implement its own plans in Sri Lanka. No country other than India will understand the importance of Sri Lanka geographically. True it created & supported the LTTE, it was done so to ensure that India would continue to have a foothold in Sri Lanka & a say politically whether amongst Sri Lankan politicians or foreign political designs.

Knowing the importance of Sri Lanka & not wanting Sri Lanka to belong to western governments as a base, India planned various maneuvers to tie Sri Lanka to India other than the LTTE factor. The 13th amendment wais one such maneuver.

Lest we should forget, the 13th amendment to the constitution came about totally disregarding Sri Lanka’s sovereign right. Indian cargo planes invaded our air space, the infamous “parippu” drop, the eventual acceptance of the Indian Peace Keeping Force signing after the Indo-Lanka Peace Agreement which only JRJ & India knew & signed under curfew which was boycotted by some Sri Lankan ministers including R Premadasa & Athulathmudali. When it came to voting in favor of the 13th amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution only one gentlemen politician prevailed – he was Gamini Jayasuriya who resigned in protest while all other MPs on account of JRJ possessing “undated resignation letters” remained mum.

What did the 13th amendment realistically achieve? Much has been said about the Official language policy of 1956 as being the core reason for Tamil unrest & the ethnic conflict itself. Well the 1990 13th Amendment making Tamil an official language should have resolved all issues, that it did not perfectly depicts that the war mongers were simply looking for excuses to justify a hidden cause.

What the Indian invasion did was result in the JVP uprising resulting in over 65,000 Sinhala lives & no international NGOs/foreign governments or INGOs raised hue & cry over the loss of Sinhala lives. Today, the JVP has become a unit influenced & maneuvered by Indian intelligence!

The 13th amendment set up the Provincial Council system in each province with a high court in each & a wide range of powers devolved to the provinces including police &a land powers & a reserved list retained by the Central Government. For Sri Lankans the Indian intervention was similar to bifurcating East Pakistan into Bangladesh. The devolution of powers was in itself a failure with the first Chief Minister of the North-East provincial council making a “unilateral declaration of independence” in 1990.

The IPKF tasked to disarm terrorists failed to uphold its end of the agreement resulting not only loss of security forces but of Tamil civilians & Indian soldiers as well as affecting the unitary nature of the Sri Lankan constitution with powers being devolved along ethnic lines.

What India has done through the forceful implementation of the 13th A is to divide Sri Lanka communally encouraging communal based politics as seen in the case of the North & East Provincial Councils. It must also be reiterated that India’s 13A was never accepted by the LTTE.

Let it also be noted that the Federal Party conveniently coined so in English to cover the Tamil “self-determination” Illankai Tamil Arassu Katchchi was formed by S J V Chelvanayagam in 1949 well before any qualms with regard to discrimination. That the Federal Party lost parliamentary elections in 1952 winning just 3 seats shows that the Tamil community did not favor separatism.

What the 13A is responsible of achieving is mass waste of public funds & proliferation of public office. Devolving land powers will only mean nefarious activities like smuggling illegal arms, drugs, people & future terrorists – all threats to Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. The 13A is invalid so far as it was forced upon a sovereign nation & the 13A & the Provincial Councils should be eliminated & repealed forthwith.

Yet, if Sri Lanka is unable to totally do away with the Provincial Council system, given that funds are disbursed towards its upkeep, a restructuring of objectives need to be carefully looked into.

Realistic devolution would mean giving over to these Provinces a practical set of powers that does not & will not undermine the authority of the Central Government. Let these provinces & officials take care of the provinces vis a vis daily activity. There is no requirement to have separate lists as appearing presently.

Let these Provinces be tasked to uplift the state of national schools, hospitals, clinics, transport at the provincial level & engage with the Central Ministry coordinating these national efforts. All financial transactions must be periodically audited by the Center. No province should have authority to align/coordinate or appeal to any foreign agency/Govt or institute. All foreign transactions must take place only with the Center which includes all procurement of any kind.

Was India – a friend or foe of the LTTE

Does India need to be repeatedly reminded of its deceit towards Sri Lanka? Feigning to be Sri Lanka’s friend while clandestinely training, arming, supporting & instructing LTTE action against Sri Lanka & its Government, India cannot escape the truth. It was Sri Lanka’s allegiance towards China, Pakistan & Russia towards the end of the military exercise that set India following a double act by pretending to appease Tamil Nadu while extending support to Sri Lanka’s Government for in realizing that the LTTE could not raise itself from the present crisis it suited India to be part of the winning team. India out of pure selfishness sided with the operation to defeat the LTTE & that is the undeniable truth. The diplomatic trips were merely part of a double standard exercise to show India’s power over Sri Lanka. The families of IPKF soldiers should demand compensation from the Indian Government for India was siding with the LTTE which ended up killing over 1000 Indian soldiers & injuring more than double of that number & subsequently LTTE gratitude for India’s support was by assassinating Rajiv Gandhi though many believe it was a contract by a western intelligence unit.

What India must in the present context be reminded if it is not aware already is that the 13th A & the insistence of devolving land powers & police is likely to be detrimental for the interests of India. We are all aware of the separatist aspirations of Tamil Nadu & that it was this desire that became imported to buy time for India. It is not that Tamil Nadu has forgotten the hunger for self-determination from India & with LTTE remnants domiciled globally the next phase of that self-determination battle will be disuniting India using Sri Lanka as a foundation. Sri Lanka’s LTTE was only a ploy in a larger gameplan to disturb India an aspiring super power. That the West is silent or shown to appease LTTE factions overseas who openly promote LTTE separatism shows that the West is keeping the LTTE movement alive to be used against India. This has always been the West’s gameplan – Sri Lanka was merely a tool in that larger exercise.

India is shrewd enough not to realize this. India is playing a double game by aligning with the West pretending it is unaware of the West’s plan while pressurizing Sri Lanka & gaining footholds economically whereby the motive is clear to Indianize south Sri Lanka with North Indian investments & with the move to include “Indian labor” it would mean legalizing North Indian presence in Sri Lanka enabling India to take care of any insurgency from the North of Sri Lanka or Tamil Nadu in the future.

What Sri Lanka should & should not agree to

Sri Lanka must tell the world that it is & it will remain a Unitary State with equal rights to every citizen. Sri Lanka does not need to create provisions based on ethnicity, caste, creed etc. Sri Lankans mean all our citizens – there is no requirement for further connotations. As pointed out by all land & police powers should not be devolved.

Tamils need to remember that it was the LTTE that ethnically cleansed the Sinhalese & Muslims from the north and eastern provinces & that was how the LTTE ran a de-facto system. Tamils must not forget how they suffered in the hands of the LTTE, how their wealth were confiscated for a supposed “cause”, how they had to pay “taxes”, how their children were abducted & made into child soldiers & Tamils must remember at all times that it was the LTTE that blocked the progress of the Tamils economically, socially & spiritually. LTTE was nothing but a mafia unit helped by the Tamil Diaspora for their own selfish interests.

It is in dismay that we wonder for whose interest Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister is serving. Agreeing that a “devolution package, building upon the 13th Amendment, would contribute towards creating the necessary conditions for such reconciliation” is more or less noosing Sri Lanka according to India’s gameplan.

The Tiger Nominated Agents (TNA) are simply mouthpiecing India’s desire now that the LTTE is no more. Tamil people should first ask what the TNA did while the LTTE illtreated Tamils! The present calls for resettlement is hypocritical wherein it is rightfully the Sinhalese & Muslims who should be settled first. TNA is now demanding a re-merger of the North & East. Then there is the Global Tamil Forum that has succeeded to influence foreign MPs both in opposition & government. The success of these endeavors have even resulted in motions against a sovereign government & calls for international investigations into war crimes in Sri Lanka by proxies of the LTTE who are supposedly banned in these very countries. What else is more hypocritical! Much of these anti-Sri Lanka sentiments rests upon the monetary transactions that ensues & the political favors that results clearly evident from GTF hiring Joan Ryan former Home Minister/Labor as its Chief Executive after she lost her seat. She went to the extent of filing an application at the Westminister Magistrates Court to arrest Maj. Gen. Chagi Gallage.

UN must be continuously reminded that if it is to bring about lasting peace it must also look into the interests of the developing nations. Developing nations need to now band together to demand the bias towards western interests must stop forthwith. Until & unless the developing nations get together & demand that the UN must adapt unbiased approaches, we are likely to see UN mandates & UN resolutions surfacing against smaller nations such as Sri Lanka. UN bias is evident in the manner US, UK, France & NATO are not investigated for war crimes against innocent people – nations that have been invaded without any reason.

At this point we must wonder whether the push for war crimes by the West stems from more than just monetary contributions from the LTTE. The more we look at this angle we can understand the interest India is showing to control Sri Lanka in the interest of the Indian subcontinent. If Sri Lanka becomes a perfect western base it is detrimental to the interests of both India & China – tomorrows future power houses. While we can empathize with India’s concerns vis a vis the threats that prevails, we must reiterate that Sri Lanka is no country’s prostitute.

Let the world not forget that inspite of suffering 30 years of terror Sri Lanka remained resilient. It is one of few nations in the world that continues to provide free education & free healthcare, its infant mortality is….its labor laws have been acknowledged by the ILO, there is no case against ethnic discrimination in the workplace – private or public, while the terror prevailed Sri Lanka’s government continued with public infrastructure – roads, ports, airports, railway lines, power plants while spending millions on resettling & rehabilitating LTTE men & women who were once brainwashed to kill. These achievements do not qualify any country to be termed a failed state!

The airing of a documentary titled “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields” telecast over UK’s Channel 4 prompted the UK Govt to warn the GOSL to investigate alleged war crimes before the end of the year or face consequences. It simply translates to mean that the West is angered because the LTTE is no more. Where was the West when children were conscripted to the LTTE by force – were these not Tamil children whose fundamental rights were stolen by the LTTE? What is the use of diplomatic niceties if behind the scenes countries are supporting terror – do we need to spend billions on stationing diplomatic officers & maintaining offices just to pose for the cameras & print statements when a total different campaign takes place thereafter!

Tamils need to know that a piece of paper is unlikely to give them any sense of “belonging” & it is in their own capacity to want to be shareholders that will enable them to think Sri Lankan. The majority populace are aware that many Tamils though not agreeing with LTTE terror chose to ride on the LTTE bandwagon for it enabled them to apply as refugees & seek citizenship in foreign climes. How else would 1m Tamils reside overseas today, how else would almost every Tamil family member have at least 1 member living abroad. Many of these Tamils who make up the Tamil Diaspora are angered by the fact that their lifestyle has seen a marked change. Today, no Tamil can apply to go overseas as a refugee, getting visas has also become cumbersome, thus new calls for “meaningful powersharing”, remerger of the North & East – yet Sinhalese cannot be blamed for this. The LTTE was running a defacto Government of its own for several decades. Did the lives of the Tamil people in the North & East improve. Did they gain their fundamental rights? No- these people ended up suffering while their brothers & sisters living in the South amongst the Sinhalese managed to sail to foreign shores on the refugee ticket. Power sharing does not & should not have ethnic dimensions. If the interests of the Tamils were not safeguarded the first place to question this should be amongst the Tamils themselves & we return to the factor of caste which plays an integral role in every aspect of life amongst the Tamils. Caste discriminations amongst Tamils is carefully hidden from international forums & many do not know the exact nature & seriousness of caste factor amongst the Tamils. It is this facet that needs to be highlighted & taken care of first before any other “meaningful solution” is looked into.

What is essential at this stage is for every citizen to think as if he/she is a stakeholder in Sri Lanka. Aligning with parties interested in breaking up Sri Lanka is unlikely to bring the dividends & will only lead to catastrophe.

It seems pointless showcasing Sri Lanka’s achievement post-conflict & no matter what the Government shows as evidence of Sri Lanka’s commitment to developing the nation after 30 years of terror is not important to the West or India. This is so simply because wars are just a ploy to advance agendas, terrorists are merely a means of creating sales for arms & ammunitions, peace propagandists & negotiators are people who press for political deals & commitments on the excuse that the discussions are aligned to development goals.

It is upto the public to ensure its Government elected by the people does not fall prey to these gameplans & does not commit Sri Lanka to several more decades of neo-colonial activity & political slavery.

We are today a free nation thanks to our brave solders & Sri Lanka must continue to remain a free &sovereign nation, no matter what.