By C.V. Wigneswaran –
70 years since February 4th 1948. We Tamil speaking People were told that we had obtained Independence from the Britishers in 1948 and we looked forward to the creation of a happy, contented, prosperous Country free of foreign domination. Mr.Lee Kwan Yue of Singapore had pointed to the then Ceylon as his role model for economic prosperity and communal harmony.
Little did we realize that the Sinhalese political leaders had other ideas. They, as the majority community, had taken full control over all State power and authority from the Britishers and started to harass the minorities under the pretext that they had been discriminated by the Britishers. This was not true. Britishers always gave preference to merit and in open competition the Tamil speaking did well to hold many Government Jobs and other jobs. But discriminatory laws were brought to weaken the Tamil community in every way. After the passing of the Sinhala Only Act there was no doubt that the Tamils had fallen from the frying pan to the fire. Their existence from pre historic times in the North and East of Sri Lanka and their ancient Classical language were overlooked and the language of the majority was made the sole State and Official Language. Many a discriminatory Law was passed and well planned pogroms and riots were effected to evict Tamils from their places of residence in the seven provinces south of the North and East.
It became obvious that Tamils had lost their freedom to the Sinhalese in this process. Still the Armed Forces are occupying the North and East as if we are under siege. The Centre controls all activities political, social and economic in the North and East. It is patent that the State is interested in decreasing the number of Tamils in the North and East and increasing the presence of the majority Community there.
Hence we feel the celebration of Independence from the Britishers has lost its significance due to our coming under the domination and hegemony of the Sinhalese. Until we obtain real devolution of power under a Federal Constitution we cannot retrieve our lost rights in full. Hence how could you expect us as Tamils to celebrate the Fourth of February? I have not discussed this with my Co-Chairmen. But I am sure they will endorse what I say because all of us Tamils feel cheated and let down.
*Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, Co-Chairman, TPC and the Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council