2 December, 2020

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On The 23rd Of Black July, One Man Destroyed His Nation

By Basil Fernando –

Basil Fernando

Many things are said about Black July, 1983. That there were many culprits who caused the havoc that virtually destroyed the image of Sri Lanka and which gave justification for a prolonged period of violence. However, there was one man who was the creator of this havoc. It was then-President of the country, Junius Richard Jayawardene.

His work of destroying the fabric of Sri Lankan democracy started from the very first day after he won the election as the leader of the United National Party, in 1977. His very first act as the Prime Minister elect was to grant a “holiday to the police”. That holiday lasted for two or three weeks. That was the first act done to intimidate his political opponents. With an ambition to hold onto power and not to give up what he had won, he knew one of his major strategies needed to be to launch a period of violence in order not to allow space for internal challenges from disaffected democratic forces. That process went on through various kinds of initiatives, which are well-recorded. The 1982 referendum was a major assault he made on the electoral politics in Sri Lanka. He was seriously pursuing his ambition to “close the electoral map” of Sri Lanka for some time.

By 1983, he was fully aware of the dissatisfaction among the democratically minded sections of society due to the erosion of democracy that he was causing. He needed a lot more violence and he was looking for events that could enable the unleashing of greater violence. That opportunity came when the news of thirteen soldiers being killed in the north arrived. He was aware that the discontent was growing in the armed forces. He also knew that there were suggestions to have a common funeral for the thirteen soldiers in Colombo Cemetery.

According to accounts published by his own close collaborators, Prime Minister Premadasa himself advised JR Jayawardene of the unavoidable consequence of there being riots in Colombo if this was allowed. However, JR Jayawardene made his own calculations about the opportunity that he had before him to divert the attention of the country away from him. He quite deliberately allowed the funerals to take place in a manner that would bring about what we know today as Black July. It was a calculated action to take advantage of a situation for his own political survival.

Jayawardene’s legacy of causing Black July and for what came after needs much closer scrutiny and exposure. The institution of the Executive Presidency, which was coming under severe resistance from democratic forces, was thus saved. Those who are today benefiting from the survival of the executive presidency owe it to what JR Jayawardene did in July 1983. This aspect of the political history of Sri Lanka has not been adequately highlighted because there are still those who are benefiting from this executive presidential system. Understanding the catastrophe that came about on all Sri Lankan public institutions and political life requires much reflection on the initiative that JR Jayawardene took to unleash Black July.

The following narrative by B. Sirisena Cooray, the former mayor of Colombo and a strong UNPer at the time, describes the situation vividly:

An excerpt from President Premadasa and I – our Story (pp 60-63)

ERRORS AND MISTAKES

The day we heard about the killing of the 13 soldiers in Jaffna I went to see Mr. Premadasa. He was on the phone to the President. There was a lot of tension in the country and we were extremely worried about the way things were moving. Mr. Premadasa turned to me and informed me that the President is planning to bring the bodies of the dead soldiers to Colombo, to be cremated at Kanatte. Mr. Premadasa had been trying to get the President to change his mind when I walked in. When he saw me Mr. Premadasa said: “Sir, Sirisena is here; you ask him”. And he put me on. The President told me: “Cooray, these people want to bring these bodies to Colombo and cremate them at Kanatte. What do you think?” I said: “Sir why do you want to bring these bodies to Colombo? These are not people from Colombo. If you bring the bodies here there will be problems”. This was precisely what Mr. Premadasa had been telling the President before I walked in. Afterwards Mr. Premadasa told me that they had decided against bringing the bodies to Colombo; I remember we were both extremely relieved.

That afternoon I went for a wedding at the Shalika Hall in Narahenpita. Mrs. Jayawardene was also there. I was talking to her when she suddenly said: “Mr. Cooray, you know that they are bringing those 13 bodies to Colombo today”. I was thunderstruck. I said: “Madam, the President promised the Prime Minister only a little while ago that the bodies will not be brought to Colombo”. She responded: “No, no they are going to go ahead and bring the bodies here. I do not know whose idea it is”. I had the impression she too was unhappy about it.

This was madness. Like Mr. Premadasa I knew that all hell was likely to break lose when those bodies are brought to Colombo. I just got up and walked to my car. But I had no clear idea about where I wanted to go. I couldn’t think clearly. I didn’t want to go home and I didn’t want to go to the CMC. Finally I went to the Sugathadasa stadium. That was the time we were reconstructing the Stadium. I walked into the middle of the grounds and just stood there. That was when SP Ariyaratne came to me and told me that there was a radio message from the PM asking me to contact him urgently. When I called Mr. Premadasa he too was extremely upset and worried. He told me about the new decision to bring the bodies to Colombo that evening and asked me to make the necessary arrangements. He told me that the President is planning to attend the cremations and he too was expected to be there. He knew full well there would be problems but he had no choice in the matter. The decisions were made elsewhere and he was just informed of them. If the President listened to Mr. Premadasa, the ’83 July riots could have been avoided and the history of this country would have been different.

Like Mr. Premadasa I too had no choice but to do what bad to be done, given the situation. The Kanatte is owned and managed by the CMC and as Mayor my tasks were clear. So I went to the Municipal Workshop and made all the arrangements. I also phoned the Municipal Commissioners and told them to come to the cemetery. After that I went to the cemetery. As soon as I entered I could feel the tension. There was an organized crowd present, making a huge show of grief, weeping hysterically. I walked up to DIG Edward Gunawardane and I asked him why they allowed this madness. He and the other senior police officers present told me that they had nothing to do with the decision, that they were just following orders. I warned them that this drama would end with a riot. Though the bodies were not brought yet, the crowd was organised and ready. I realized that if I stayed here I too would be thrashed. Gamani Jayasuriya was also there waiting for the bodies to be brought. I went up to him and said: “Sir, what are you doing here? Don’t wait here. There is going to be trouble”. Then I called Mr. Premadasa’s security personnel who were waiting for his arrival and told them: “Tell the PM that there is going to be trouble; tell him not to come here and tell him I said so”. I told the same thing to the President’s bodyguard. I explained that amidst the inevitable disturbance even if a stone hits the President it will be humiliating and therefore he should stay away. I was able to issue orders since the General Cemetery came under the CMC and I was the Mayor.

Fortunately the President decided to heed my warning; this enabled Mr. Premadasa also to stay away (he would have been forced to attend, even though he was not happy about the whole thing, if the President attended). Once I got confirmation that neither the President nor the PM would be attending the cremations I informed the Municipal Commissioners who were present that I will go and change and come back. Of course I did not go back. And as Mr. Premadasa and I predicted, rioting started immediately afterwards. I later heard that the Army wanted the bodies to be brought to Kanatte and that the President succumbed to their pressure.

It was a terrible time and the worst part was that we were almost powerless. We could do nothing to stop the killing, the destruction. The President made a mistake in putting the Army in charge of restoring law and order. After the killing of the 13 soldiers the mood in the military was a very dangerous one and they were not really motivated in stopping the violence. If the Police had been given a free hand they would have done a better job. During this period President Jayawardene was reduced to a state of helplessness. Mr. Premadasa and I used to visit him every day. That was the only time I saw IRJ being speechless. The Army was not taking orders and I think we were very close to a state of mutiny. That was why the Air Force was called in eventually and they quelled the riot.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    The writer Basil Fernando, bases his article totally on Sirisena Cooray’s version, as the dead cannot account or verify what is being said. If Basil Fernando is trying to project Sirisena Cooray and Ranasinghe Premadasa as two innocent Guardian Saints, he is sadly mistaken as both are comrades in crime who rose up to positions, thanks to killing so many within and outside the UNP. I concede JR had his own weaknesses and his waterloo was ’83 July 23rd, where he missarably failed to maintain Law and Order in the country. I am one who admire JR for his sagaciousness for liberating the country economically where even the poor could enjoy facilities which were confined only to the Rich earlier. That apart JR blundered on the Ethnic issue from the time Chelvanayakam Bandaranayake pact was aborted due to his efforts of the famous walk to Kandy. What has happened has happened and the country has paid dearly with Foreign Interference. We do not have a think tank of individuals who can identify the unseen foreign hands intefering here where Political Leaders are trapped into situations to carry the brief for these power blocks. To make matters worse there are Religious Leaders waiting as much as Laymen to light their cigars when the country is burning with stupid issues mostly created due to lack of economic and social development. In such a scenario, I see Ranil Wickremasinghe with his patience is much smarter than JR or all other Leaders in the past put together. This society could not ask for a better, Honest and an Elder Statesman than him at the moment. However divisive, opportunist publicity seekers will not see the good in RW, for their own advantage. This is the TRAGEDY of this country.

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      Yes gamini, maybe your point about Ranil is true in terms of his patience – but WHY does he not do anything strong against this monstrous MR?? Why – when he was in power – did he not do anything aganst that monstrous Sarath Silva? WHY does he not bring together a peoples’ movement focussing on the Rule of law? Why, why why?

      This is the million dollar question/s. Give me a plausible answer to that/those and I will accept your line of argument.

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        Pandukabaya, RW merely putting country beofre himself and signing the CFA a Peace agreeement brokered by the world body that was brought in by CBK, he earned the wrath of the masses being branded as a Traitor. There was none to defend him. To make matters worse see the number of UNP MPs, who have defected. RW had to work with these corrupt UNP MPs before. Imagine if he tried to discipline any what would have happened to him? Thereafter he was accused of having agreements with VP, whereas now it is revealed that it is MR who has had deals with VP to become the President and end the War. When RW question, if he has given part of the country to the LTTE, why VP did not help him, all are mum. I believe this society has to face the brunt some more to a point that it really hurts everyone to realise the value of RW. If not otherwise, once this country is put back on track in no time, it will not be long before once again this same society will be singing hosannas to these corrupt individuals as MR praising them. As a first step RW is the only person who has held his cool and the entire Professional Body should approach him and assure the support. The Professional Body should remember that none should have any personal agenda as RW is not the person who will oblige. What RW will do is for the greater good of this society sans favours for any and certainly not for his prgeny as he has none. Therefore if all are concerned about the country, to have a system that none need not know any in authority for what is rightly due for each and if all are genuine in their desire, to have a Law and Order system where none are above, the answer is in the hands of this society. If this society dilly dallies and expect RW alone to do the impossible, WHO IS AT FAULT? Pandukabaya, I must also say this, although my stand reference RW is this, I will never go to RW for any favour as I have had good friends and blood relatives in the highest positions before and have never sought favours ever.

        • 0
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          I agree with all that you have said in the first paragraphs.

          But in your final paragraphs, I do not agree with what you have said -it is the duty of RW as the leader of the main opposition to MOVE society not to expect the people to do the needful.

          Its not a question of personal favours at all.

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          Pandukabaya, our is an arm chair critic society. How many of the Academics, Professionals, Business Corporate magnates, and the like will heed a call from RW to come forward to protest. Every protest so far held is attended by the party cadres and the UNP Politicians only. The mentioned categories and the middle classes only pay lip service but never participate.They expect the others to bring the required change. The scenario is different in other countries. If what had happened so far was in some other country, by now MR is history. See the elections results of the postal vote, which way the govt. servants vote? are these not the people involved in carrying out an election? Then do you believe they will be impartial?

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          Gamini

          The CFA was the beginning of the end of LTTE as we knew it. That was a clever move or master stroke by RW who brought in the well known and seasoned “peace facilitator the Norway” with global experience in and a proven track record of destroying all resistance against the states and in the interest of the west.

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    Interesting. Does Sri Lanka learn from its mistakes? Yes, which is why the last weeks of the war were without witnesses.

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      Davina

      First we must recognise that there is problem before set out finding the solution.

      The problem is Sri Lankans have been in total denial.

  • 0
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    The writer is correct with the story. But Sirisena and Premadasa were not blameless. The riot was planned much earlier.

    Many cabinet members were involved much more than Cyril Mathew. He got most of the blame similar to the JVP. Easy targets.

    It was collective jealousy and LTTE was a very tiny organization then with limited support from Chennai and Delhi. Everything changed soon after, and Indira Gandhi gave a free hand to CM MGR in Tamil Nadu.

    Now the Rajapakses are doing much more damage to the country despite building roads leading to Hambantota, and ports/airports in Hambantota where hardly ships or aircrafts will come by, and the people living in the South hardly go any where other than the housemaids to the middle east. May be they deserve the luxury of their own airport, but the Europeans and the Sri Lankans with European/UK or Canadian passports won’t be flying directly into Hambantota. Mihin Air will operate the “Housemaid specials” to Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

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    JR and Harry J were known to suffer anti-Tamil prejudide in them for a long while. This was manifest when JR undertook his March to Kandy that inflamed anti-Tamil passions in the country. This showed up later
    in the 1960s when the UNP was looking for coalition support from SJV and the FP. By 1982 there was pressure on him he was subverting the system with his highly questioned Referendum. Even his more scholarly friends within and outside were surprised he chose a somewhat anti-democratic path. He had to find a good reason to continue to keep his long political career intact. A deadly event such as 7/83 would have provided him with the necessary cover. But it turns out it was to eventually and gradually diminish his political span.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuvan, you are quite right that all these Sinhalese Politicians starting from Banda to JR all played with the National Issue. All tried to make capital out of the ethnic issue lest they got rejected by the masses thinking the majority vote will be missed. Banda played the ethnic card to come to power. Then JR opposed a settlement which Banda proposed with SJV Chelvanayagam. Thereafter this boomeranged on JR in ’83. As for your stand that the Referandum is an anti Democratic exercise, you are wrong. A Referandum is a perfect legitimate Democratic exercise. I am not talking about the process it was conducted, as then even the General Elections are in question. It is sad the Politicans have made non pods in society draging them in to prominence as Religious heads. I believe the time is rife with power concentrated in the hands of the President, to put everyone in their place and take very stern action for someone Honest who takes over as Future President to govern this country. Some of the individuals in the system may not like this but the majority will like it irrespective of Political hue.

  • 0
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    Sirisena Cooray being a protege of Premadasa will always portray himself and Premadasa as the saviors of the nation. The truth is, Premadasa who had already established his sights on Presidency at the end of JRJ’s 2nd term was suspicious that JRJ loyalists in the cabinet may want JRJ to continue after a 2nd term and help change the constitution accordingly. Premadasa was hellbent to stop such and endeavor and would gone to any length, even causing a riot and breakdown of the law and order within the country in order to achieve his ambitions. Both Premadasa and Cooray aren’t squeaky clean as portrayed by Cooray in his own account of the pre ’83 riots. If we carefully analyse some of Premadasa’s post ’83 riot speeches, we can gather what his inner intentions were and how he got the country to pay dearly to realise his own political ambitions. If one analyses the mystery behind the death of Merrill Kariyawasam, UNP MP (Agalawatta) one will be able to get a better insight into these sordid deeds.

    • 0
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      Lalindra you are spot on. Both who proposed and seconded a third term for JR died at the hands of the so called JVP. It was Sirisena Cooray who transported Somavansa Amarasinghe to Jaffna to escape to India, from there to the UK. How UK gave Somavansa Amerasinghe an entry permit and an unconditional stay, where he moves in and out of the UK while all restrictions are imposed on other genuine travellers is the level of duplicity of the British.

  • 0
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    Very productive unbiased and enlightening comments. Thanks you all.

  • 1
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    This country is now reaping the curses of 1983, everyting that happened in the north and in the east is happening now in the south and the western provinces, deaths, accidents, farmers suciding themselves, thefts, murder, white vanning of citizens, torture, misery, you name it the south has it evil, this country reaps what it sows in the seeds of destructions and mayhem caused to fellow citizens of this land, not surprising. One cannot inflict injustice and expect to live happily ever after, principle of natural justice will always prevail, so lets wait and we see retribution being rolled out with interest.

  • 0
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    It was during JRs presidency that INDEPENDENT SRI LANKA suffered the first foreign invasion…PARIPPU DROP…

  • 0
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    gamini, I agree about the armchair ‘middle classes’ – but you are forgetting the oppressed majority. Do you really believe that they will not come out in full force if there is a strong leadership to lead them? I think they will. Of course, then, the threats must be braved like Gen. Fonseka did to his credit. Is RW brave enough for that?

    The problem is the leadership, not the people.

    • 0
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      Pandukabaya, as for the opressed majority has no impact in protest as they will be teargased and possibly a couple of them will be shot. But if the majority Academics, Professionals, Business Community and the middle classes come out it would be not easy for the govt. to quell. This could be followed up with a civil disobedience campaign with not settling bills for public amenities and tax payments. Anyway why pay for electricity as already the public is anyway kept in the dark for hours per day and the public will probably have to endure suffering for week or fornight the maximum, as by then the collapse is inevitable. Thereafter things will fall in place for ridding the unwanted.

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      Pandukabaya de Silva says:

      “The problem is the leadership, not the people”.

      I beg to differ.

      As long as the people remain stupid they produce stupid leaders.

      As long as the people are violent they continue to produce leaders in their mirror image.

      As long as the people accept corrupt practices passively as a way of life you get great corrupt leaders.

      As long as people put up with human rights violations and justify them for their own parochial reasons the country will see more war criminals as their leaders.

      Leadership quality begins at home and school. People need free mind to free themselves from the shackles of tribal loyalty.

  • 0
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    TOTAL DESTRUCTION

    Everything is destroyed
    Yet
    Everything is intact
    What is destroyed is not yours or mine
    What is intact is not yours or mine
    Stop this pathetic grasping
    Reality has no name

    Why get lost in words
    When you can
    Find yourself in silence

  • 0
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    Dear Gamini:

    Tku for your response. Pls allow me to disagree with you on the Referendum issue. This device is used to test the pulse of a nation where a Referendum is held – usually to decide on a single issue. Such as when Charles de Gaulle sought the views of the French Republic if Algeria should be given its independence. A Referendum, methinks, cannot be used to replace an entire process of a General Election that tests the performance of an incumbent regime on a number of issues.

    Senguttuvan

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      Senguttuwan, agreed that a Referandum is to seek the consent on a specific issue, whereas an election is to enable to sellect the individuals. To be frank most individuals from whatever political hue is corrupt except the leadership and it will take time to weed the corrupt out with an honest leadership. Unfortunately we have had no opportunity to instill power of the Presidency in the right hands so far, who will use the powers for the larger benifit than for self agrandisement as seen today.

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    Shenali Waduge

    It is often only after events take place and the damage has been done that we realize a lot of the riots, civil unrests, invasions taking place globally have all been planned and executed to perfection. The Arab uprisings leading to the fall of Egypt, Libya, Syria were all planned by external forces. These same forces overthrew the democratic Government of Iran and replaced it with the Shah. It was these same forces that implored Saddam to invade Kuwait and then used that as an excuse to invade Iraq. It now emerges that even Hitler was paid to carry out the holocaust….the examples are plenty. Is it therefore not possible that there is more to the July 83 riots than meets the eye. Was it not planned to create an “ethnic” tag totally ignoring the reality that the Sinhalese people gave safe haven and refuge to their Tamil neighbors? If foreign mercenaries were involved in the uprisings in the Middle East with arms supplied by the West should we not wonder which country would have gained most by staging such a riot in Sri Lanka? Thinking logically, why would the Sinhalese ever want to create a situation wherein they would end up the condemned people internationally?

    It is now time to put the pieces together to a puzzle that remains unsolved and to finally conclude that the Sinhalese had nothing to do with the 83 riots and it was people who were backed by external forces and external instructions that carried out these attacks on innocent people and property – the looters sealed the eventual outcome. JRJ possibly would have fallen prey just as Saddam did in invading Kuwait.

    Making further sense is that the covert destabilizing plan by Indira Gandhi to train Sri Lankan militants took place far before the July 83 riots – using the riots as an excuse that started the militancy should then be put to rest.

    It was Mrs. Bandaranaike who allowed Pakistan to use Colombo’s ports to refuel despite India’s objections and this was far before 83 too. It is however possible that JR Jayawardena’s government turning pro-West may have raised India’s concerns over its security. We must never forget that the interest shown on Sri Lanka by any country has nothing to do with forming cordial relations with any of Sri Lanka’s governments or showing respect to the Sri Lankan people and everything to do with securing their use of our strategic geographical touch points.

    Nevertheless it is puzzling that while India started a militancy movement when JRJ requested assistance from the western “friends” they were not so forthcoming to assist. JRJ is on record blaming India for training the LTTE

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvf_YDTst_I (JR Jayawardena speaking to the BBC blaming India for training LTTE)

    Promise of Tamil Eelaam

    India’s pettiness is evident in the way India carved out the plan to always keep Sri Lanka short of militarily defeating the LTTE and short of creating Tamil Eelaam as that would have posed another threat for India in Tamil Nadu. For 30 odd years India has been fooling Sri Lanka, the Tamil people, the LTTE and Tamil Nadu. Nevertheless, the troika of the Indian Government, the Indian Intelligence and the LTTE had its ups and downs and there are times the links with LTTE and intelligence operatives tended to confuse the plan.

    While India’s hidden plan was to keep Sri Lanka embroiled in an “ethnic” conflict it is clear that India was carving out simultaneous plans to use “democratic” channels to secure a stake in Sri Lanka that would keep other foreign nations abreast from India. That plan clearly was the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord and to facilitate that was the presence of the Indian Peace Keeping Force. We are well aware of the hype and fanfare involved in disarming of LTTE no sooner the Accord was signed in July 1987 and we next must wonder why IPKF was given orders to militarily defeat the LTTE just days after the handing over arms which led to thousands of IPKF deaths, thousands of Tamil civilian deaths, destruction to Tamil property and even rape of Tamil women. None of these killings have even earned an apology from India and none of Sri Lanka’s mighty Tamil politicians so concerned about the Tamil people ever demanded such an apology from India.

    The Indian plan gets more confusing when despite gifting his bullet proof jacket and promising to hand over billions of money since LTTE were affected from their inability to tax the Tamil people, the IPKF commander claims Rajiv Gandhi wanted Prabakaran killed. Was this not why India created several Tamil militant groups and inspired them to clash with each other?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSeOuKMcjrs

    There is also a secret letter sent by Rajiv Gandhi to JR Jayawardena http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTI56-Wn1YQ which makes us wonder whether LTTE was simply being used by India. It is something the LTTE leftover representatives and the Tamil people now need to realize.

    Everything certainly seems to have taken place or been made to take shape to benefit India. The July 1983 riots itself does leave a big question mark as to whether external forces were at play and the local parties tasked had a non-Buddhist touch to it leaving a strong possibility that the outcome of the riots – the loss of several lives and property was meant to humiliate the Buddhist Sinhalese and to create a sympathy wave amongst the international community strong enough to make them offer refugee status to Tamils in developed countries. With this part of the plan artfully orchestrated we may conclude from the 2011 population census that the Tamil population is barely 1.5m (originally 2.4m) as over 1m Tamils now reside overseas which makes us to wonder whether the Tamils that make up this new number is perhaps illegal migrants from Tamil Nadu making a home in Sri Lanka over the years. Is this not why India has been helping so many people flee Sri Lanka citing repression of the Sri Lankan Government and forces so that the Indians can replace the fleeing Sri Lankan Tamils with Indians? It also begs to ask why we would want to stop anyone from fleeing in unsuited boats for any Santa’s island if they don’t want to remain in Sri Lanka.

    Creation of Tamil Diaspora

    It is possible that the Tamil Diaspora creation was simply a bargaining tool to appease the Tamils as their lifestyles have seen a commercial change and practically someone is now living overseas sending money to their family. This is why they regard the 83 as something to “celebrate”. It was only the downtrodden and low caste Tamils that have been suffering all through 3 decades by Christian/Catholic led LTTE, Prabakaran himself giving up his Hindu faith. The entire hierarchy of the LTTE were non-Hindus and that was how they were assisted by NGOs of these faiths using their “humanitarian” status to do further damage to innocent low-caste and poor Tamil people.

    It is time the Tamil people begin to realize that India used the British divide and rule policy to split the Sinhalese and Tamils by using the LTTE. The 83 riots certainly is the key to that plan and made Sri Lanka’s issue turned into an “ethnic” one giving India full authority to begin dictating to Sri Lanka’s Governments using “TAMILS” as an excuse.

    Indian Foreign Secretary in his affidavit (No 343/96-JCI) says thus “the ethnic riots of July 1983, in which Sri Lankan Tamils greatly suffered at the hands of Sinhala community, led to a significant upsurge in public sentiment in Tamil Nadu in support of the Sri Lankan Tamils. The large number of Tamils killed in the riots led to calls for Indian military intervention in Sri Lanka.” – this certainly should make us now wonder exactly how India planned 83. The Jain Commission Inquiry report suffices to declare India guilty of funding, training and arming LTTE and other terrorist groups to carry out terrorist tactics in Sri Lanka. V P Singh (former PM) in his deposition on 5th Nov 1996 – “…..the first batch of training of the militants was done in 1983 under the Congress Government. I will not disclose the place where this training was held. It was done in Chakarata. Then in 1984, weapons were given to all the militant groups. The Camps were set up in Tamil Nadu. Monetary help was given. MGR in his statement in the Assembly of Tamil Nadu said that Rs.4 crores aid has been given by him to Tamil Militant Groups. The other information I will not give to the Commission, which I believe is sensitive. Then in 1982, there was a shoot-out in Pondy Bazaar in which a criminal case was filed against Shri Prabhakaran. In 1984, there was a bomb blast at Madras Airport in which 30 people were killed. At political level talks took place in Thimpu and Prabhakaran had come. After the meeting Shri Rajiv Gandhi in 1987. In 1986, the Govt. of India decided to send Central Ministers to bring about peace, among the various Tamil factions.”

    India helped initially train 3179 males and 184 females (3363).

    Listen to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s speech where he simply declares India’s concerns is only with the Sri Lankan Tamil people. India seems to forget that Sri Lanka is a country with over 74% Sinhalese – almost 15m Sinhalese in a total population of 20m. Listen to former SWRD Bandaranaike who explains his stand. There is no country that would allow just over a million people to declare 1/3 the country as their own when they cannot even prove they had a homeland because there is no civilization to prove so – the Sinhala kings built massive tanks, reservoirs and proof to show their existence how did the Tamils survive and moreover if they had existed how can their population not ever move beyond the numbers that have sustained over the centuries? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NP13RWkd4vM&feature=related

    July 83 elevated Sri Lanka on to the international platform. Killing of 13 soldiers by the LTTE gave them the notoriety that they needed to emerge as a force to be reckoned with similar to how the Al Qaeda was created as a despicable force following 9/11. July 83 humiliated the Sinhalese Buddhists, it enabled India to bring out the LTTE from its secret training in India and gave recognition to Sri Lanka’s militants as movements fighting for Tamil rights – credibility was needed and 83 riots provided that and it created an exodus of Tamils fleeing the country with stories of harassment simply because it was an opportunity to live abroad. For that gratitude the people have been filling the LTTE kitty over the years though LTTE has resorted to terror tactics when people have found it difficult to contribute. To keep things in balance India trained several militant groups and made them start killing each other. It is also a controversy why LTTE would decide to kill Rajiv Gandhi and several theories have surfaced none of which leaves out the fact that LTTE ended up simply murdering people just for money. Those that have had ties with the LTTE over the years have hefty bank accounts and they make up people of all races, religions, VIPs and even politicians. Listen to Indian MP Dr. Subramanium Swamy exposing Sonia’s ties to the LTTE.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84fkL6yB1X8 (Part 1)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WYwQkhWMXIQ&feature=relmfu (Part 2)

    The grand plan of India is clear and unfortunately we are at sea to wonder whether our leaders realize exactly why India is “engaging” Sri Lanka. This “engaging” dictum has become a perfect tool to trap politicians with commission carrots and advance external interests. When any countries claim to be “engaging” a country – we need to be alert.

    Now the next area that is compounded with confusion is another term called “negotiating”. Over the years there has been this widely promoted belief that drawing “parties in conflict” to the negotiating table will help solve matters. We know how laughable this factor has proven and served only to use taxpayers money towards taking murderers to plush foreign destinations and have them beaming smiles over tv and then walking away citing they are unsatisfied with the quality of Sri Lanka’s delegations!

    The present calls are no different and we hear of “political solution” within a “unitary state” giving Tamils “self-determination” to live in “their traditional homelands” and these words are being thrown at us and we are supposed to be accepting these meaningless sentences and statements. Just listen to the TNA and the manner its politicians have acquired the art of using these sentences to stay in power and befool the Tamil people. If we are to remain in a unitary state – how can there be self-determination for Tamils in their “traditional homelands” – who is fooling whom? Can this nonsense stop once and for all.

    Coming back to black July the “celebration” just days away we need to recognize exactly who benefitted by the riots – it certainly was not Sri Lanka or the Sinhalese people. JR Jayawardena known as the old fox would not have brought upon his own government international pressure condemnation when his grand intention was to open Sri Lanka’s economy from the nationalist stand adapted by Mrs. Bandaranaike knowing his army was not equipped enough to handle a military situation against militants trained and armed by India. 83 would have been hara kiri for a man wanting to stay in power! Obviously JRJ had been outfoxed or perhaps advised to show a little aggression which was artfully planned to turn events into what it did leaving a celebration called “Black July”.

    Now, the nations of the world are not dumb to know India’s status in nurturing the LTTE for decades and that despite India’s open claims of financing and arming terrorists nothing has been done against India. For a nation aspiring to be a superpower its pettiness knows no bounds. India continues to want Sri Lanka to remain Cinderella in the Indian Ocean and it is doing its best to take over the commercial interests, it is building houses probably to gift to their own, it is creating fictitious situations using Tamil civilians to demand the removal of Sri Lanka’s armed forces from the coastal areas (Mullikulam), it is using carrots as commissions to befool Sri Lanka’s politicians and we can but implore our leaders to stop and ask themselves where is Sri Lanka going, is there a country for the Sinhalese in the future given that it is always the minority interests that continue to come first? From India’s plan and the creation of the Provincial Council system it is clear that India is out to enforce the 13th amendment we need to tell India that is out of the question!

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    Thank You Basil,

    worth reading your article. Thanks you for your contribution as a HR lawyer and as an activist for Asian HR. We need people like you to believe that the Sinhalese majority still has a civil society and not occupied/ spoiled by people like Dayan, Rajeeva and all these opportunist figures

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    I agree 100% with Gamini re. his opinion about RW. He will be a great leader if he is given a chance.Vicious Chandrica ruined his chances of transforming SL to a fantastic place to live in..RW did not steal the country’s resources and he does not play cheap politics to please the gallery. What a tragedy. Dumb Sri Lankans cannot understand the value of this man.
    Manik

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      I’ sorry but I’m unable to agree with you on the leadership qualities of RW at all. A politician should not be a mere politician but a accomplished strategist too. RW should have been able to protect the mandate given to him by the people. The constitution provided methods which he could have used without opting for a co-habitation with CBK. He could have impeached both CBK and Sarath Silva who were the prime movers behind the downfall of his government of just two years. He had sufficient grounds for such a move. (Please refer Victor Ivan’s book Bandit Queen) He allowed a fledgeling party such as the JVP who was a coalition partner in the CBK government to pull the rug under his feet. For me that political amateurism.

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        Lalindra, you seem not to understand the political under currents in Sri Lanka. As you suggest RW should have protected the mandate given to him by the people by impeaching both CBK and Sarath N Silva. Lalindra it is easily said than done, as we saw how the earlier impeachment against RP was aborted by MH Mohamed and crowd. RW would have had to depend on the very same individuals the second time round as well. One wrong move as seen how all of them after berating this Tsunami Fund Embezzler crossed over and nicely enjoy perks at the expense of the masses, how could have RW or anyone else relied on such people? Besides RW had a more important issue to attend, that is to turn the economy around which had gone in to recession for the first time. Lalindra be fair in your critique. What I see in this whole exercise of wanting to get RW out from leadership is for those of whom who advocate such, to allign with the successor to continue this present system, where they will be the replacements for the present lot to dine and wine. This is not what the majority masses are seeking, although you people are trying your best to interpret so. I can well imagine you not agreeing with me, as your hidden agenda is very obvious.

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    Damien – My take is Shenali Waduge reads the National Question from a combination of a jaundiced anti-Tamil anti-Indian mind. I suspect her highly prejudiced analysis is partially both out of lack of knowledge and right study of issues.

    To begin with, in the view of many serious students India began arming a few hundreds of Tamil militants by way of providing shock therapy to successive Lankan leaders unwilling/unable to address/solve the National Question for decades. This was causing headaches to Delhi in view of the Tamilnadu factor. Encouraging an all out insurrection in Sri Lanka would have resulted in extreme Tamil elements in South India also calling for secession, which, though it will not succeed – but something that can still cause difficulties and complications to Delhi. I believe India/Indira’s plans succeeded as
    Rajiv continued the Policy and this was later to end up as the Indo Lanka Agreement 1987 which. if effected in the right spirit by our side, would have
    brought peace to the Tamil North-East. Yes. It had many objecting to this at that time more viscerally than out of good judgement. Viewed from today’s perspective it appears if the ILF was in place we would have avoided the blood-bath that followed. As well the terrible cost to Sri Lanka’s financial well being and our present international image as a country that treats its minorities outrageously and against all norms of UNHRC standards. Many of those who took to the streets as Sinhala patriots – mostly from JVP kind of politics – are now high up in governance and Capitalists to boot – owning hotels, businesses, land valued at billions. Ironically – whatever their theatrics, even the Rajapakse Govt is toying with the idea of a settlement via the 13th Amendment, that was at the core of the ILA 1987.

    Blaming the British, the Indians and the rest for the devilry in which we destroyed our unity and well being all by ourselves is utterly disingenous and infantile.

    My reading is if we continue to deny the Tamils their rights of PC governance, we will further isolate ourselves from the world and cause greater harm to our peace and national good.

    Senguttuvan

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    Blame no one – but yourself

    Today July 27 – 2012 WE ARE A STATE – WITHOUT A SOCIETY AND WITHOUT A CULTURE….

    CAN YOU BRING JR OR PRABHA BACK TO LIFE?

    NO

    WHERE DO THE NEGATIVES RESIDE TODAY?

    WITHIN US

    WHERE IS THE TRANSFORMATION POSSIBLE

    WITHIN US

    go for it

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      ordinary lankan asks:

      “CAN YOU BRING JR OR PRABHA BACK TO LIFE?”

      Please don’t.

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    I fully agree with Basil Fernando. When JR was told by the Army & Police Intelligence in 1980 that there is a move by the Tamil youth to rebel against the armed forces in the North, JR rubbished it by saying that how can a small Tamil community fight with over 70% of Sinhalese. He did not have the brains to realize that there are over 60 Million Tamils living just 26 miles away in Tamil Nadu and allowed the 1983 riots.

    The thing he could have nipped in the bud, made it an international issue of the biggest magnitude because of his short sighted & foolish arrogance. He is the worst ruler Sri Lanka ever got in the known history. We now pay for his sins.

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    JR also created executive presidency Sri Lanka never recoverd or never will recover from this one man stupidity. SWRD Bandaranayake started the destruction and JR finished that and MR will seal it.

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    Let us not talk about the past, look for ways to go forward for the sake of this Nation. RW can mobilise the professionals if he realy wanted to, we have to do that to get rid of the MR family rule. Also if we can do that we must also get rid of the Presidential system and draft a new constitution giving equal rights to all the communtities living in SL. Some one must be a good statemen to do this without fear of extrimist, then this country will flourish there is no doubt. You must learn to treat the others equal with you, otherwise we will see more like this never ending.
    We must understand the Global political system that has changed and we must go along with that otherwise this country will continue to suffer.
    Look at the changes happening around us Arab spring the trials at International Courts of Justice be aware of it we can not continue like this.

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      You really need a person like Singapore Lee Quan who had a Vision for entire country he even did borrow Colombo plan to develop Singapore.
      I dought our citizens has brain to create such leader.

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