State Chauvinism & The Tamil National Question

| by Nesan Shankar Raji

( October 17, 2013, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) The 1987 Indian imposed 13th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s constitution under the ill-fated Indo-Lanka Accord was never something that both the Tamil groups (LTTE, EROS, TELO, EPRLF and PLOTE) and the Sinhalese chauvinist political lobby were able to digest nor were they willing to except for obvious reasons. In other words both the Indian former Indian Premier late Rajiv Gandhi and late Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayawardene knew as did their advisors that the 13th Amendment was fundamentally flawed and a flawed “expanding theory”.

The Indian administration at that time under late Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi made full use of the Sri Lankan Tamil political crisis for their own strategic, economic and political advantage. Given that India had close ties to Russia (former USSR); India did not want the West particularly the USA or Britain interfering in internal Sri Lankan state political affairs or for either the USA or Britain establishing an Air Force or Naval base in Trincomalee or Jaffna being their own back yard.

Post the signing of the 13thAmendment under the Indo-Lanka Accord and its failed implementation over the decades various Sri Lankan government administrations in power wanted to crush the Tamil separatist and freedom struggle to the point whereby they were willing to go to all lengths by engaging and using international forces to their full advantage including the likes of India. Up until the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were active under Prabhakaran various Sri Lankan governments in power were unable to flush the LTTE out as Prabhakaran would not settle for anything less than a separate “Eelam”. After May 2009 with the death of Prabhakaran and the decimation of the LTTE threat in Sri Lanka both India and the western countries have failed to address even the very basic political needs and aspirations of the Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people of the North-East and up-country which till date is shame full and ironic in comparison with how they voice their opinions when it comes to countries led by other chauvinist regimes.

It would go without saying that the entire Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people of the North-East, up-country and international Diaspora feel damned and regretful that the LTTE is no longer active in Sri Lanka partly because the Sri Lankan government in power failed to address the political needs and aspirations of the Tamil speaking people of the North-East and up-country and win their hearts and minds. One can see the complete result in the emotions of the Sri Lankan Tamils when taking a look at the results of the recent Northern Provincial Council elections that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) a by-product of the LTTE won by a huge landslide.

The Sri Lankan governments push for the Tamil political solution to be addressed and implemented by a Parliamentary Select Committee is also fundamentally flawed as readers would know only too well that the Sinhalese Parliamentarians hold the majority seats in Parliament and more so to the governments advantage with two-thirds majority. Therefore any votes by the Parliamentary Select Committee would not be welcomed by the Sinhalese Parliamentarians holding the majority.

Post May 2009 the Sri Lankan Tamil national liberation struggle has continually been perceived to be a terrorist struggle as opposed to a national struggle for self-determination. On top of that the Sri Lankan government now see the Muslim population as being a serious threat to their chauvinist Buddhist agenda and now label sections of the Muslim community as being terrorists and their cause terrorism just as the Tamil national struggle was deviated cleverly by the Sri Lankan governments as being a terrorist struggle as opposed to a national struggle or struggle on the basis of religious discrimination. The Sri Lankan government today labels sections of the Muslim community as being terrorists now.

If India’s BJP party were to come into power as opposed to the Congress party led by Sonia Gandhi I am of the opinion that the BJP will join the West to flush out Islamic terrorism. The Indian government under the BJP will make provisions to join the Sri Lankan government hand in hand to address the Sri Lankan Muslim threat as the Indian Congress government in power at present worked with the Sri Lankan administration to decimate the LTTE threat in Sri Lanka and attempt to put an end to the Sri Lankan Tamil national struggle. It would not be surprising if the Sri Lankan Muslim Congress is not banned in Sri Lanka or labeled as a national threat in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government will go all out to engage and work with the BJP government if they were to come to power in India to address their Muslim threat paranoia.

The Sri Lankan government needs to address chauvinism against the Tamil speaking people in Sri Lanka. If the Sri Lankan government fails to address these fundamental issues affecting both Tamils and Muslims, this could possibly lead to yet another arms uprising. Equally with former Military Chief Sarath Fonseka’s release from jail at the pressure of the West particularly the USA, it would not be surprising if sections within the Sri Lankan Military who still back their former Chief Sarath Fonseka do take a bold step forward and revolt against the administration led by President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Just how late Prime Minister S.W.R.D Bandaranaike was assassinated in 1959 by a Buddhist monk the Sri Lankan government at its leader’s fate may also be possibly dealt with by Buddhist monks if the Sri Lankan government were to push for devolution for the Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people.

The government of Sri Lanka has also failed to realize and take note of the fact that the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) poses an ever bigger threat to them than of the LTTE.