By K. Anaga –
It is said that The International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations came to the conclusion that Britain should return the Chagos Islands archchipelago to Mauritius without delay. At the ICJ Mauritius claimed they were coerced into handing over the Chagos Island to Britain at the time of their independence in 1968. That is 20 years after the independence of Ceylon.
Prior to the capture of Ceylon by the British, North and East were not merged with rest of Ceylon. It was the British who were responsible for the merger which resulted in the unfortunate plight of the Tamils in Srilanka today.
The Tamils, who were concentrating in drafting of the Constitution of Ceylon, without asking for petty favours from Sir Ivor Jennings, should have demanded independence for the North and East as Tamil Eelam or at least a Federal State. But the Tamils, who were in prominent position in the Ceylon Government and those politicians who were trying to lead the Tamils were rather complacent. In that, it appears that they never even in their wildest dreams expected to be treated as second class citizens. The British government too contributed its share to the plight of the Tamils by their actions and inaction when and where necessary.
As if to add insult injury the British Government supported the Srilankan government in their war with the Tamils, thus committing Human Rights violation along with India, China and Pakistan. No wonder human right violation by India and other countries that supported the war are trying to eclipse the rights violation.
The Tamils realized their folly only when DS.Senanayake, subtly commenced his colonization of the East and disenfranchisement of the of the hill country Tamils.
Here too, GG. Ponnambalam of the Tamil Congress party did not take any interest as he was ‘fascinated’ by the offer of a ministry it appears. However, SJV Chelvanayakam broke away from the Tamil Congress and started the Tamil Arasuk Kadchi and opposed the Disenfranchisement and the state aided colonization of the North and East with the Sinhalese, to change the texture of the population.
After reading the ICJ judgment against Britain, I am inclined to believe that the Tamil political parties should have filed a case in the UN against Britain to restore the status quo of the Tamil population prior to the British and Dutch rule.
The Tamil community was blessed with many leading lawyers KC’s, QC’s, PC’s and other VIP’s who were bestow with Knighthoods, from the British Monarchy. But they failed in their duty to take appropriate action to explore the possibilities of redeeming the position of the Tamils in Ceylon.
It may not have been possible to convince the British government to look back and then look forward to the possible discrimination that may be heaped on the Tamils by Sinhalese in various manners. Sir Ivor Jennings has confessed somewhere, that he had committed a grave mistake in not providing enough safe guard for the Tamils in the constitution drafted by him. Crying over split milk doesn’t take you anywhere. But, fresh milk could have been made available to Tamils with his powerful influence, though waning, with the passage of time.
It appears the Colonial government was in a hurry to get out of Ceylon soon after they were deprived of their larger prey –India, where they caused criminal chaos between India and Pakistan when they moved out, with no concern for humanity.
It may be that Britain expected the Tamils to be faithful servants to the Sinhalese as much as they were to the Colonial Masters. To a certain extent it was true. The Tamils in higher echelon were satisfied with personal glory than the future of the Tamils in general. The stalwarts like C. Suntharlingam, (Great Mathematician) a CCS, who threw off his position as he was fed of signing Gun Licenses. GG.Ponnambalm QC, A famous criminal lawyer and a Minister in the UNP Government, Sir Vaithilingam Duraisamy,(Speakerof the State Council) Sir Kanthia Vathianathan (Secretary to the Prime minister DS.Senanayake) Raju Coomaraswamy popularly known as rowing Raju, Mr. Kanagasundaram (CCS) who was the Chairman of the Galoya Devlopment Board. He was removed at the instance of Philip Gunawardena, as he did not like a an efficient Tamil at the helm of affairs, where colonization of Sinhalese was in full swing, during the Bandaranaike regime – a continuation of the late Father of the Nation’s Scheme.
It is not known whether the VIP’S mentioned above did not ‘feel’ the undercurrent in operation against the Tamils or did not care. Probably, their mission was selfish and vision was self centred. Perhaps they realized the situation rather too late.
I am thinking loud that the Tamils spread all over the world l should explore the possibilities of referring the plight of the Tamils to the International Court of Justice in a similar manner as what Mauritius did and regain the North and East as the Traditional Homeland of the Tamils.
To sum it up, the British government is totally responsible for merger of the Tamil Provinces of North and East with rest of Ceylon and helping the Srilankan Government along with Indians, to murder of 40,000 Tamils during and after he the war in the year 2009. The UK government shedding crocodile tears over the Tamil refugees is not going to suffice. They should wipe their ‘tears’ and take meaningful steps to restore the position of the Tamils prior to their arrival in Ceylon or at least ensure a federal state for Tamils, similar to Scotland.
The leading Tamil Legal luminaries’ like Sumanthiran PC, and Kanagaeaswarn PC who rose up to the occasion to ‘Save Democracy’ as claimed by them, should engage the services of the Sinhalese lawyers too, whose keenness for justice and fair play, has not yet been eroded fully. The British Legal Luminaries assistance too may be obtained to sort out matters with Inter National Court of Justice.
I am sure, Sumanthiran will be well aware of the saying “Ask and You shall Receive and Knock and it shall Open”, because he practiced this on Mahinda recently to allow Sampanthan to continue living in the official residence of the leader of the opposition, though he is not entitled to it after the ‘demise’ of his status with the restoration of ‘democracy’ by removal of Mahinda from the post of Prime Minister. Unfortunately, the interest shown by Sumanthiran to house Sampanthan comfortably (which is necessary at his age) was not extended to his voters; even to live with ‘discomfort’ in their own “home sweet home” taken over by the Government during the Massacre of the Tamils, however dilapidated it may be now.