6 December, 2019

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Long War, Lost Peace, And Late Reactions In Tamil Nadu

By Rajan Philips

Rajan Philips

At the governmental level, the late reactions in Tamil Nadu are cheap street theatre that is right up the alley of the two DMKs. At the Tamil social level, the recent protests are a serious development. While the protests will not bring any direct or immediate benefit to the Sri Lankan Tamils, they are a new front of neighbourly detraction which the Rajapaksa government can ill afford to ignore or dismiss as Western aberration.

The ADMK and the DMK are competing to take ownership of the protests, but the protests could turn on them and take out the ageing, feuding and decadent leaderships of the two Dravidian creations that have outlived their purpose by several decades. That would be a Tamil spring of sorts. Far away, in Akbar’s Delhi the Congress-led government is watching the beginning of its end, drifting from one crisis to another. The beleaguered government’s only success in recent months has been the return of the two Italian marines to stand trial in India for the unfortunate incident in the Arabian sea that led to the killing of two Kerala fishermen.

New Delhi has to take much of the blame for the nasty turn of events in Tamil Nadu and for losing the plot in Sri Lanka. While one may not have expected anything better than competing chauvinistic opportunism from the two DMKs, it is necessary to acknowledge that completing the vicious triangle and contributing to the crisis is the Colombo government. The Rajapaksa government won the long war decisively, but equally decisively it turned its victory into cold peace, to borrow the idea from the title of a new book by a fallen-from-grace former plenipotentiary. The real worry for Sri Lanka is that it may not be just cold peace but lost peace.

The implication of the governments in Colombo, Chennai and New Delhi arises from the Tamil question in Sri Lanka and its implications for Tamil Nadu and New Delhi. The mutual implications did not become a political issue until 1977 and started aggravating after 1983. And the current situation is the result of all three governments coming up short in their respective areas of competence, their incompetence in adjusting to new and changing circumstances, and their failure to work cooperatively in areas of overlapping interests to avoid overstepping into areas where they do not belong on their own.

New Delhi’s ineffective interference

New Delhi has tried to have it both ways in trying to justify its interference in Sri Lanka by holding up its accountability to Tamil Nadu, and to explain its ineffectiveness in Sri Lanka by blaming patriotic Sinhalese intransigence. There is more than a modicum of truth on both scores, but there is nothing to explain or justify Delhi’s wild swings in its Sri Lankan policy. First, it fostered Tamil militant groups and then forsook them. It countermanded Sri Lankan military operations in late 1980s, sent its own troops to contain its creations, and twenty five years later secured international cover for the Sri Lankan government’s final war assault. In between, Delhi engineered in Sri Lanka the infamous 13th Amendment, and after twenty five years the Sri Lankan Defence Secretary would rather have it repealed than let the government implement it.

Until 1977, the government and people of Tamil Nadu were nothing more than concerned neighbours to the goings on in Sri Lanka involving the island’s indigenous Tamils and those of Indian origin. The disenfranchisement and repatriation of the latter and linguistic discrimination that mostly targeted the former did not provoke anything more than editorial comments and criticisms in Tamil Nadu. The 1958 riots produced a sharp reprimand by the great Madras Tamil Brahmin Rajaji (Chakravarty Rajagopalachari, one of India’s foremost intellectuals and independence leaders and its first Head of State after independence) that had a stinging effect at that time on Prime Minister Bandaranaike. Sri Lankan Tamils were never on DMK’s separatist agenda that was abandoned in 1962. The DMK that started governing Tamil Nadu in 1967 showed only a lukewarm interest in the Sri Lankan Tamil question. The first mass protest in Tamil Nadu on account of Sri Lanka was the hartal and rally after the 1977 riots. Nothing has been the same since, either in Sri Lanka or in Tamil Nadu concerning Sri Lanka.

The significant development in Sri Lankan Tamil politics after 1977 was its usurpation by militant groups with the LTTE eventually emerging as the exclusively dominant group. While the genesis of this development was entirely Sri Lankan, its subsequent flourishing had much to do with its receptions in Tamil Nadu and New Delhi even though the nature of the two receptions were quite different. For New Delhi’s mandarins the Sri Lankan Tamil groups were ideal guinea pigs for regional super power explorations. It was different in Tamil Nadu. Naturally, the state provided a culturally congenial camping ground to the militants, but they could not have survived beyond a week without clearance from Delhi and Chennai. There was also the unique phenomenon of MG Ramachandran (MGR), who had taken to politics on his popularity as an actor but was quite clueless about his formal duties as Chief Minister. The LTTE’s project gave Ramachandran a real life opportunity to experience the heroism of his movies. It was a deadly confluence of different motivations and circumstances – the militant groups were serious about their goal, but the Indians were in it for the ride and power.

Such a confluence would not have been possible in the decades soon after independence when political propriety and respect for territorial inviolability were paramount. New Delhi’s regional adventurism would have been unthinkable when Jawaharlal Nehru was Prime Minister. And Tamil militants who hobnobbed with MGR would not have obtained even an audience with Chief Ministers of the calibre of Rajaji, Kamaraj or Bhaktavatsalam of the Congress, or DMK’s Annadurai, and even Karunanidhi who in his first stint as Chief Minister was highly respected for his administrative abilities. It needed the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi to drive home the curse of machinating politics and to end the tiger honeymoon in Tamil Nadu. Equally, it took the scale of the Sri Lankan government’s final assault against the LTTE to reignite support in Tamil Nadu for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Rising discontent in Tamil Nadu

After the war, as the accredited interface between the Rajapaksa government and the international community, New Delhi managed to displease the former and disappoint the latter. Rather than facilitating goodwill and harnessing efforts to embark on a political solution in Sri Lanka, New Delhi is playing second fiddle in Geneva, in the UNHRC orchestra that now delivers an annual report card on Sri Lanka. New Delhi’s failure has dragged the Tamil Nadu government into unchartered waters and turned the two principal Tamil Nadu leaders Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi into public spectacles. They are out of their depths in asking Delhi to bring about a UN Security Council resolution against the Sri Lankan government. But Jayalalithaa is true to form in banning Sri Lankan cricketers from playing in Chennai, betraying the same intolerant deadly streak that she had previously demonstrated in regard to religious conversion from Hinduism to Buddhism.

But there is more to the developments in Tamil Nadu vis-à-vis Sri Lanka than the antics of Jayalalithaa and Karunanidhi. As I noted at the outset, the social angst in Tamil Nadu is a serious development which is also unprecedented. Although over the top, the poetic outrage of Tamil Nadu’s Meena Kandasamy is symptomatic of the changing mood in Tamil Nadu. Admittedly, the angst and agitations in Tamil Nadu by themselves cannot bring about any change in Sri Lanka for better or for worse. On the other hand, they could be counterproductive in Sri Lanka, where the Defence Secretary did not lose any time in ratcheting up the rhetoric that the new developments in Tamil Nadu are the final argument in favour of repealing 13A rather than implementing it.

At the same time, the governments in Delhi and Colombo can ill afford to ignore the rising discontent in Tamil Nadu if Delhi wants regional peace and if the Sri Lankan government does not want to permanently kill the prospects for genuine and equitable peace in Sri Lanka among all her citizens. The trouble with the Rajapaksa government is its assumption that national sovereignty gives it the right to do anything it wants with its citizens either individually or collectively – be they Sinhalese who do not agree with the government, or Sri Lankans who are not Sinhalese. This may have been possible thirty years ago but not any longer when the Sri Lankan government like every other government is under a global scan, national sovereignty notwithstanding.

After independence, successive governments did what they wanted to do and got away with them. To wit, the violent suppression of worker protests, disenfranchisement of the Tamil plantation workers, internal colonization that altered ethnic electoral mapping, the chicanery of nationalizing and reprivatizing lands while looking after the private interests of those in power, the enactment of one language as the only official language and conferring on one religion the foremost place, the banishment of European and Indian Catholic nuns from national hospitals, the state takeover of schools as nationalization and media-wise standardization of examination scores, the violent suppression of the 1971 youth insurrection and politicization of the judicial process to punish political offenders which ultimately victimized the country’s and the world’s first female Prime Minister … the long list goes on.

The point is also that even though governments were able to execute these measures, every one of them became a matter of permanent political contention. The end of the war put an end to a particular manifestation of many of those contentions but it did not address their enduring substance. They remain to be addressed notwithstanding the war victory. Instead, the government is asking the rest of the world to forget the war and let the country move on, while keeping the country permanently hoisted to the memory of the war victory to keep its support base, and to the machinery of the war to perform day to day government functions. One cannot suck and blow at the same time.

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    “neighbourly detraction”? It doesn’t make sense to me.

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    Late but not a lost cause..

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    Can he read Tamil. His comments regarding Tamil Nadu politics sounds like a stereotypical and haughty comments one hears from Colombo Sinhalaese and Tamils. After all Sri Lankans are so brilliant apparently compared to the Indians?

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      Sir,

      I can and do read, write and speak (in public) Tamil very well. Thank you very much.

      What is stereotypical is not usually haughty.

      My comments are neither.

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      “After all Sri Lankans are so brilliant apparently compared to the Indians?”

      Mokada Gaas Gembo Banda wase nathde oya boru hande.
      To name just one achievement many an Indian have won the Booker Prize moda bande bando.
      It will take them 3 days to capture their land Lanka back as much as it took them 8 days to create Bangladesh even when the 7th fleet was close by.

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        Man what language do you speak. It sounds like Galic or may be Garlic

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          Eeeeelamist living in Cuckoo land that’s your garlic.

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            That certainly sounds like Sinhalese and I now know you speak Sinhalese. Thanks for revealing and coming clean

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              Kallathoni mugabe loves you :)

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          Sinhala hutta [Edited out]

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    An elegant study that would have been fortified if the author speculated on a few options by way of a solution acceptable to both sides. There is, however, absolutely no guarantee at all the truant
    and largely semi-literate Rajapakses will understand, in the intellectual depth required, what is being suggested. After all they have thrown away many good suggestions made in the recent past. But with a little help from the more literate in their proximity they should hurdle through – with resolve, courage and with intentions of the wider good of the next few generations in mind,

    Senguttuvan

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    Mr Senguttuvan’s comments are always a treat but I disagree: “entertaining” – Yes! but “elegant” – No! I see a smart and respectable writer is using his pen to decimate friends and foes (of Tamils) alike just because he can and it reminds me of someone who did the same but alas using bombs and bayonets. My humble opinion is that when the content is so relevant the language need not be so visceral!

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    I truly appreciate the comments of Mr. Senguttuvan and Mr. Paskar. I will try to incorporate options in addition to critquing and I will try to temper the language. Thanks again.

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    Dear Brov,

    You have confirmed that you speak Tamil which is a relief but I am not sure if you an Indian Sri Lankan or an Alien from another planet . But what is worrying is the following
    At the governmental level, the late reactions in Tamil Nadu are cheap street theatre that is right up the alley of the two DMKs.
    It is not a cheap street theatre but a welcoming expression of solidarity for the plight of the Eelam Tamils which is better late than never. The reason for this that it is only now the true extent of the Genocide is being ralayed to our Tamil brotheren through the Television and the politicians are worried about the consequences. Who could have imagined a coupler of yeras ago that the Channel 4 documentary would be screened in places none other than Delhi story of the
    At the Tamil social level, the recent protests are a serious development but I disagree with the writer that the protests will not bring any direct or immediate benefit to the Sri Lankan Tamils. I am convinced that they will and I agree that they are a new front of neighbourly detraction which the Rajapaksa government can ill afford to ignore or dismiss as Western aberration.

    The ADMK and the DMK are competing to take ownership of the protests, but the protests could turn on them and take out the ageing, feuding and decadent leaderships of the two Dravidian creations that have outlived their purpose by several decades. I agree that the DMK is a spent force but ADMK under the Iron Lady will change the fortunes of the Tamils when she becomes from a CM to PM in partnenrship with Mr.Modi
    That would be a Tamil spring of sorts is a wrong analysis of the situation in Tamil Nadu as the Tamils are not trying to break out from a Tyranny like the Arab countries which the writer is referring to . Far away, in Akbar’s Delhi the Congress-led government is watching the beginning of its end is too nice a word because they witnessed their end and they will not be coming back from the grave.

    New Delhi was caught between a rock and a hard place because of their role in the Genocide and may be the writer is right when he says
    New Delhi has to take much of the blame for the nasty turn of events in Tamil Nadu.
    But they havent lost the the plot in Sri Lanka as they have no choice to support the Sri Lankan thugs who otherwise will blow the whistle if and when they are taken to the Hague . The writer is utterly wrong with the following as there is no comparison with the DMKS and the Genocidal Sri Lankan regime and you must be out of your mind
    ” While one may not have expected anything better than competing chauvinistic opportunism from the two DMKs, it is necessary to acknowledge that completing the vicious triangle and contributing to the crisis is the Colombo government.” The Rajapaksa government won the long war decisively, but equally decisively it turned its victory into cold peace, to borrow the idea from the title of a new book by a fallen-from-grace former plenipotentiary.
    The real worry for Sri Lanka must be the following.Sri Lankan Government has been saved up to now by the equally Genocidal and corrupt Indian Politicians and they will all be jetted off to the Hague once the Iron Lady and Mr.Modi take over the reigns of power in India. Just think of what happened to Milosevich eevn with the powerfull backing of his slavic brother Russia. He died in the dock in the Hague.

    The implication of the governments in Colombo, Chennai and New Delhi arises from the Tamil question in Sri Lanka and its implications for Tamil Nadu and New Delhi. The mutual implications did not become a political issue until 1977 and started aggravating after 1983. And the current situation is the result of all three governments coming up short in their respective areas of competence, their incompetence in adjusting to new and changing circumstances, and their failure to work cooperatively in areas of overlapping interests to avoid overstepping into areas where they do not belong on their own.
    I am not sure if the above is a correct and true version of the turn of events.
    My reading of the situation is as follows;
    The reason why India under Sonia got involved in the fight against the LTTE was because of the monumental error by Prabakaran to kill Rajiv Gandhi which may have been justifiable ( but was a political suicide) for what the Indian Army did when they came there to protect the Tamils . Instead of doing that they simply replaced the Sri Lankan army and carried on the killing. Only the Madras regiment protected the Tamils.

    New Delhi’s ineffective interference if you want to call it that is due to weak leadership. Can you Imagine Mrs.Gandhi posting such a weak leadership and floundering.

    I disagree that the agitations in Tamil Nadu by themselves cannot bring about any change in Sri Lanka for better or for worse.
    Whether the chauvinistic Sinhalease agree or not India has Total Jurisdiction over Sri Lanka as Sri Lankas Sovereignty is limited to Indias Security but what is needed is a Strong Leadership at the centre which I am convinced Mr.Modi and the Iron Lady will provide. Mr.Vajpay said to the Tamils when the Iron Lady Kept him in power when you have Miss.Jeyalathia why do you need anyone else.
    I disagree with the following “On the other hand, they could be counterproductive in Sri Lanka, where the Defence Secretary did not lose any time in ratcheting up the rhetoric that the new developments in Tamil Nadu are the final argument in favour of repealing 13A rather than implementing it. This will all change when there is a change at the top in India

    At the same time, the governments in Delhi and Colombo can ill afford to ignore the rising discontent in Tamil Nadu if Delhi wants regional peace and if the Sri Lankan government does not want to permanently kill the prospects for genuine and equitable peace in Sri Lanka among all her citizens. The trouble with the Rajapaksa government is its assumption that national sovereignty gives it the right to do anything it wants with its citizens either individually or collectively – be they Sinhalese who do not agree with the government, or Sri Lankans who are not Sinhalese.
    This may have been possible thirty years ago but not any longer when the Sri Lankan government like every other government is under a global scan but more importantly under the Indian Scan , national sovereignty notwithstanding.
    Just ask yourself this question why even the mighty America has to consult India before submitting a resoultion against Sri Lanka at UNHCR which has to be vetted by India and amended to suit her interest ( not get caught and end up in the Hague ) and that is because of the vital role India plays in Sri Lankan affairs not only because of its proximity and therefore security and also beacuse of the 80 million Tamils in Tamil Nadu.

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      What Mujibur Rahman said and did at the end of the war for Bangladesh is an experience which even Modi won’t forget.
      It’s the low caste JT’s who terrorised India.
      Brahmans won’t easily forget the lesson of experience.
      That’s your problem eeelam.
      Bolo Hindustan ki Jai. :)

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        If you want to write in English learn the grammer first otherwise you are better off sticking to your native mother tounge the Bodu Bala Language got it good.

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          Thats the type of english I dont put up with kotteboy

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            It doesnt surprise me you BBS moron

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              you BBS moron
              So you are tota nai. Go teach your tamil speaking family ammu appu latin first puta madre.You never teach us english clown you dont even have a booker price to boast of like us.

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            you BBS moron
            So you are tota nai. Go teach your tamil speaking family ammu appu latin first puta madre.You never teach us english clown you dont even have a booker price to boast of like us.

            There is no need to get agitated when you have lost the argument and that normally happens and you are lost for words. But in your case words never existed so a correction

            You claim to be an ex Horton Place Resident but from the quality of your writing it is obvious that you lived in the Servants Quarters.
            I have friends who live in Horton Place and they will look down on you.

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              Doesnt bother me whom you demalas know molgathanni.

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            Doesnt bother me whom you demalas know molgathanni

            You are right molgathanni. As a servant boy you are used to taking it on the chin anyway.

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      “Prabakaran to kill Rajiv Gandhi which may have been justifiable ( but was a political suicide) for what the Indian Army did…”

      So you are the terrorist brigade of the pannan kotte supi ltte?

      Many North Indian army personnel have lost his limbs and this will be avenged in full before your dream land of low caste ltte terrorist.

      Politicians can say what they like but it’s always UP Bihar that forms the government and a mere 30 seats of TN in over 500 to control center for the sake of a neighbouring terrorist is great expectations.
      Catch your balls jump high and try to catch the ceiling ltte terrorist kalikoli.

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        You are making progress but very slow progress my dear ex resident of Horton Place ( Servants Quarters) .
        Let me help you with the alien politics which you are finding difficult to grasp. TN returns 40 MPs( 39 plus 1). Modis Gujarath returns 26 MPs.

        Congress is propped up by regional parties and not from Bihar and Gone are the days of Hindi domination
        If the remaining 13 Cognress MPs from TN withdraw their support then there will be a General Election and it is almost certain Cogress will be decimated at the next election so MR has no cover and will almost certainly taken to the Hague kicking and screaming. But then it is all a bit too much for you to take in.
        So my advice to you is stick to whatever Lanka politics you know and dont delve into areas you know very little about.

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          Kalikoli: Just tell us where you are without getting too shitty with your political talk.We are always beyond politics.Come what mayand we are there because we dont live in community gettos.
          I observed those 7/83 so well. You asked for it getto boys didn’t you?or you are just that kotte up north who vanished into the bushes.
          Once a ltte terrorist always a ltte terrorist like bin lardens knickers demala pakke.
          Tell us where you are may be a red van for you would be nice to go on safari?

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            A servant boy is always a servant boy. You hold the record for the number of times your comments have been blocked by the Moderator and the person nearest to you is Anthony Peter from New Zealand.
            Your message must be so abhorrent which the moderator blocks because it not suitable for public consumption and judging from what the Moderartor finds allowable one would hesitate to even imagine your message which have been bolcked. It must be full of filth and hatred. Who can blame you because it is Thugs like you on whose support MR ( who himself is a Thug ) thrives and this is why Sri Lanka has descended into anarchy. There is no doubt MR will win the next election hands down as Thugs like you are in the Majority and at least you admit the White Van Syndrome ( Red Van must be even more lethal )on behalf of the Government which is plaguing the country.
            I asked you for your former address address at Horton Place ( I mean the Servants Quarters ) so that I can check you out but you are refusing.
            If I were you I will quit as I wouldnt want to make the Moderators life so difficult by keeping him awake all night not knowing what you might throw a him next Garbage no doubt.
            Goodbye Servant Boy but then again you are badly hurt so it is a natural animal instict to take revenge using a Red Van. Is it Tata or Toyota must be a Tata made in India because Chinese dont make Cars.

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            Can you also provide your current address ( I mean Quarters) so that I can raise the issue of the White Van ( Red ) syndrome with the Government the existence of which they have so far denied.

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              Whom are you going to tell Manmohan Singh? You are born too small to even enter Chanakyapuri where we are. Better still go on your 4’s to the BBS at Colombo and they are capable of handling your problem since they have you on radar but if you terrorist cross the line we will make rot in jail under national security! The saying here goes never trust a Tamil nor give him a millimetre. We will never forget our dear PM Rajiv for the next couple of generations. It was nice to see the suicide of the animal VP his family and comrades. Jon Snow Channel 4 has its limits coming to an end- those dead women are a Tamil diaspora set up according to the Hampstead Heath. Tamils, sent beggar women to the front line and claiming rape.

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            Whom are you going to tell Manmohan Singh? You are born too small to even enter Chanakyapuri where we are. Better still go on your 4’s to the BBS at Colombo and they are capable of handling your problem since they have you on radar but if you terrorist cross the line we will make rot in jail under national security! The saying here goes never trust a Tamil nor give him a millimetre. We will never forget our dear PM Rajiv for the next couple of generations. It was nice to see the suicide of the animal VP his family and comrades. Jon Snow Channel 4 has its limits coming to an end- those dead women are a Tamil diaspora set up according to the Hampstead Heath. Tamils, sent beggar women to the front line and claiming rape.

            Donald: …”Neelan and many others never wanted to take this case to the Privy Council and argue it.”
            Like you I lived at Horton Place close to Mrs B and Neelan’s home. Most of his student trainees on constitutional law were planning to leave the country because of the embargo and GL was striking off the answer scripts of Tamil students so they may not become lecturers or receive the gold medal.
            1972 constitution: Mrs. B did not expect the 90 seats so she had a coalition. She did exactly what RM is doing- giving post to NM, Colvin and forcing them to do the unthinkable- NM currency, Colvin constitution and plantation take over. All this happened at the height of the cold war, Suez Canal, creation of Bangladesh, in fact an east west divide where she was made chair of nonaligned. The all-important trade embargo in retaliation for the takeover of sterling companies. Interestingly, Chelliah Kumarasuriya her only namesake Tamil minister had mainly Tamil folk from Batti working for him at top level. Indira gifted Kachitevu and Diego Garcia and Sirima selling DG to UK/US for a nuclear base. Similarly if not for 9/11 there would not have been carnage. Both timings were used by Sinhala foxes to kill the innocent civilian minorities.
            Wuliangguobinjiu – April 1, 2013
            3:42 pm
            Reply

            Chanakyapuri is an affluent neighborhood and Diplomatic Enclave in New Delhi, established in 1950s, and located about 14 km. from Delhi Airport.

            Just compare the above and from that what you are saying is that you have moved from Horton Place to New Delhi and that doesnt surprise me about you grieving for your beloved Rajiv Gandhi.
            But what surprises me is your contradiction. On the one hand you love and grieve Rajiv Gandhis death but then you loathe India.

            Dont worry I have access to Government and I will raise the issue of the White Van Syndrome quoting you.

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            Having done some research I have now identified who you are and where you work. It is shocking indeed to learn that from the High Commission under the Stewartship of Mr.Kariyawasam instead of representing the whole of the Sri Lankan Community Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim you represent the interest of only your Sinhalese Race and preach a message of hatred. What you wrote about discriminating against the Tamil Students and killing innocent Tamils is even more shockig. Reading the statements of Mr.Kariyawasam I can now understand why he made those statements. He is a prisoner at the High Commission. I will be writing to him sending copies of all your comments so far and I will be taking the issue with the Government of Sri Lanka to ask how they can employ a racist like you to represent the Sri Lankan Community. I will also be writing to the relevant Indian Authorities at Delhi with a copy to the TN Government to take the matter up with them

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              Kalikoli:” I will also be writing to the relevant Indian Authorities at Delhi with a copy to the TN Government to take the matter up with them” Ha ha ho ho My pleasure as always.”

              Ask TN govt what, when Chidambaram the shipping magnate rules down south with the blessings of centre from time.The protest in TN are SC parties like vaiko who are bribed When RAW gets to the bottom terrorist funders like you wont be able to hide anywhere even the west.

              [Edited out]

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