28 October, 2020

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On Silva’s US Entry Bar: The Tamil People’s Time For Justice Has Come!

By C.V. Wigneswaran

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran

A journalist asked me: How do you see USA’s entry bar against Army Commander Shavendra Silva?

My response was: I speak on behalf of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. 

The Tamil people of the North-East welcome USA’s entry bar against Shavendra Silva and his family. We wholeheartedly applaud US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to declare Silva persona non grata, “due to credible information of [Silva’s] involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights.”

Channel 4 has documented credible accusations that Silva ordered extrajudicial killings during the final phases of the armed conflict in 2009. Its televised report includes testimony that Silva relayed a command, from then-Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, to his subordinates in the Sri Lankan Army’s 58th Division: “Do whatever it takes, however it is done… (but) finish it off the way it has to be done.” This order allegedly resulted in the mass slaughter of Tamils, including both civilians and surrendering fighters—the notorious “White Flag” incident. 

The USA’s entry bar on Silva therefore serves as an example for other countries to follow. This constructive measure further reinforces the international community’s duty to prosecute Sri Lankan personnel for acts that may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. Sri Lanka has consistently asserted non-compliance with multiple resolutions of the UN Human Rights Council—which have directed it to establish a hybrid court and to try such alleged criminals. Those who try to paint Silva as a Hero must realise that killing of innocent civilians calling them terrorists purposely and erroneously does not amount to heroism by any means. 

All personnel who bear such clear allegations of criminal responsibility must have their cases heard at the International Criminal Court or any other international venue competent to try them. The authority for the international community to prosecute such crimes is enshrined both in the doctrine of universal jurisdiction (contained in Chapter VII of the UN Charter) and in the legal procedure for implementing the Rome Statute against nationals of a non-signatory state.

Given the intransigence of three successive Sri Lankan administrations over more than ten years, the rule of law must now prevail. The Tamil People’s time for justice has come! “Kala Kala dey pala pala whey” is a Sinhala proverb. It means you reap what you sow.

*Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, Former Chief Minister, Northern Province and Secretary General, Tamizh Makkal Kootanii

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    Let us keep the discussion on a higher plane instead of calling names. In this respect, Eagle Eye is the worst culprit. His Damela/Vellala phobia is getting worse by the day. Can someone help get rid of his phobia?
    If Tamils are para, so are Sinhalese. Mahavamsa says Vijaya and his comrades came from Singapura and his grandfather is a lion. Since a woman and an animal cannot cohabit that story is a fiction. The only charitable explanation he was a human with the strength of a lion.

    If Demelas are para, then Buddha is also a para. He was of Nepalese origin.

    Of course, Vijaya and his followers are also paras,

    Vijaya and his comrades married Pandyan girls. So children born to them (Vijaya died without issue) were half Tamils.
    Duttu Gamini (Duttu is a Tamil word) is not a Sinhalese. He was a Naga both on his maternal and paternal sides. Up to Devanampiya Tissa, the rulers were Hindus.

    The war between Ellalan and Duttu Gamini is not a war between Tamils and Sinhalese as wrongfully describes by Sinhalese historians. Duttu Gamini marched to Anuradhapura to recapture the throne his forefathers occupied. The fact he erected a memorial tomb for Ellalan shows he had no ill-will against him.

    Of course, the Buddhist descendants of Duttu Gemunu got the Sinhala identity from about the 8th century. Before that, the Nagas ruled from Anuradhapura had the affix Naga to their names.

    The word Tamil and Malabar are interchangeable. When the Europeans landed on the west coast of India (present-day Kerala) they called them Malabars (people of hill country). When they later came to the east coast of India the found the people speaking the same language (Tamil) they called them Malabars as well.

    • 1
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      Right from the beginning, the Europeans (Portuguese, Dutch and British) who came to Sri Lanka called the native Tamil Inhabitants of the NorthEast as Malabars.

      WHY?

      In the year 1498, VASCO DE GAMA’s landing in Malabar (Kerela) marked the beginning of the era of foreign Intervention in our region. The Dutch preceded the Portuguese, and then the British East INDIA Company had been on the Malabar Coast since 1684.

      So the Europeans (Portuguese) FIRST landed in Malabar Coast (Kerela) and NOT Coramandal Coast (TamilNadu) before coming to Sri Lanka. Later, it was from Malabar that the Portuguese came to Sri Lanka.

      When they arrived in Sri Lanka, they found two different ethnic groups living in Sri Lanka in two different areas, the one living closer to the Malabar coast (just a few miles across the sea) were speaking a similar language like Malabar, following a similar religion (worshipping the same Hindu Gods), a similar culture and eating similar food (Pittu, Iddiaappam, aappam, etc.). Without any hesitation, they called them Malabars even though there was a Tamil King (Kingdom) in Jaffna when they arrived.

      The Dutch who preceded the Portuguese continued to call them Malabars and the British also called them Malabars but later when the British realized the mistake, that they were Tamils and not Malabars, they corrected themselves.

    • 1
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      Eygle Eye’s argument has no logic at all. He says the powerful Wellala elite politicians like Ponnambalam Arunachalam were not Tamils but Malabars who changed to ‘Ceylon Tamils’.
      The people of Kerala are known as Malayalees (Malabars) and they proudly speak a language called Malayalam. How and why did those powerful Wellala elite Malabars convert to Tamils and adopt Tamil language/culture instead of maintaining their Malayalam language/culture? (in reality the Malabars hate Tamils, they will never convert into Tamils but they will only convert Tamils into Malabars).

      • 1
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        Messenger

        “(in reality the Malabars hate Tamils, they will never convert into Tamils but they will only convert Tamils into Malabars).”

        Is that why they converted to Sinhala/Buddhism like their other brethren from south India?

  • 2
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    Sapumal Kumaraya (Chenpakap Perumal) is a Tamil prince of Chera Nadu. Alageswara was also a Tamil from Chera Nadu.

    During the colonial rule, thousands of Tamils were brought in from Tamil Nadu. The Salagama, Karava, Durawa castes are one time Tamils. The Sinhalese of Negombo and Chilaw were recent assimilation of Tamil Catholics. So is the Colombo Chetties.
    The UNHRC Resolution calls for a hybrid court to investigate alleged crimes committed by both the Sri Lankan army and LTTE.
    Those Sinhalese zealots who are angered over the travel ban on Savendira Silva by the US are not concerned about Sinhalese migrating to the US and becoming Citizens. Basil Rajapaksa is still a US citizen. Sarath Fonseka is a holder of a green card.

    • 1
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      Mahavamsa Chapter VII says, “Sihabahu (Vijaya’s father), since he had slain the lion (was called) Sihala and, by reason of the ties between him and them, all those (followers of Vijaya) were also (called) Sihala”.

      Most of the so called ‘Sinhala’ kings of Sri Lankan right from Vijaya to Sri Vikrama Rajasinghe were from Kalinga (Bengal, Orissa,Telugu region) and the Tamil Kings who ruled Sri Lanka were from Chola/Pandya (Tamil) Nadu. The core territory of Kalinga (a historical region of India) now encompasses a large part of Odisha, Southern part of Bengal and Northern part of Andhra Pradesh (Telugu). All the ancient rulers of Sri Lanka (Kalinga/Chola/Pandya) before the arrival of Buddhism were Hindu Saivaites (including Vijaya). The Pali chronicles (Deepawamsa/Mahavamsa) leave us in no doubt that the worship of Siva was prevalent in Anuradhapura and elsewhere in the island. The numerous occurrences of the personal name Siva in the early stone inscriptions also support this. As confirmed by Dr. Paul E. Pieris, in the ‘five corners’ of the island Lanka, there were five ancient historical Ishwara temples of Lord Siva (Nuguleswaram, Munneswaram, Koneswaram, Tondeswaram, and Katheeswaram). Even today, if they dig/excavate deep in any part of Sri Lanka, the archeology department could find only Statues of Lord Siva.

      • 1
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        Messenger

        Sorry I am lost.
        Are you saying the Siva statues unearthed in this island belong to North Indian hence should be known as Sinhala/Shiva?

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