28 September, 2020

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Opting Out Of Sri Lanka And The Tamil Homeland

By Rajan Hoole –

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Dr. Rajan Hoole

Border Aggression and Civilian Massacres – Part 2

The 1972 Republican Constitution of Mrs. Bandaranaike’s United Front govern- ment, which included the LSSP and CP, was a turning point in the Tamil question. The new Constitution took a hard-line approach to the Tamils. It removed even Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution, which provided at least a psychological guarantee to the minorities by barring discrimination on grounds of group af- filiation. The youth were in a militant mood and the stress was on opting out of the Sri Lankan mainstream and safeguarding the Northern and Eastern Provinces as the homeland of the Tamils.

Uppermost in their mind was the safeguarding of territory against planned state sponsored colonisation by Sinhalese.

The nationalisation of the British owned plantations in the mid-1970s resulted in dislocation of services to Tamil plantation labour. This was accompanied by some violence in which the plantation families were thrown out of their line rooms onto the streets. A combination of these led to starvation and vagrancy. In one instance of communal violence in the Delta and Sanquahar estates, the attacking mobs were shouting “Victory to Jayaratne”. The latter was then MP for Gampola and recently the General Secretary of the SLFP. For the first time, Sri Lanka witnessed scenes of starvation with Tamil labour rummaging through dustbins in the hill country towns and in Colombo too. A doctor in a provincial hospital confided that when these folk died of starvation, their instructions were to certify the cause as malnutrition. In one pro- vincial town at least the folk on the streets in search of food were forced into lorries by the authorities and dumped in the wild to clear the town of their presence. Many of them went in search of a new life in the Northern and East- ern Provinces. Tamils at all levels helped them to settle down on mainly permit lands (see Sul- len Hills, our Special Report No.4).

In one instance of communal violence in the Delta and Sanquahar estates, the attacking mobs were shouting “Victory to Jayaratne”. The latter was then MP for Gampola and recently the General Secretary of the SLFP. For the first time, Sri Lanka witnessed scenes of starvation with Tamil labour rummaging through dustbins in the hill country towns and in Colombo too.

In one instance of communal violence in the Delta and Sanquahar estates, the attacking mobs were shouting “Victory to Jayaratne”. The latter was then MP for Gampola and recently the General Secretary of the SLFP. For the first time, Sri Lanka witnessed scenes of starvation with Tamil labour rummaging through dustbins in the hill country towns and in Colombo too.

When the 1977 communal violence was un- leashed under the new UNP government, Plan- tation Tamils from many areas went to the North-East as it was regarded as the only area where they were safe, and also by then several of them had family connections after the earlier migration in the 70s. The Government itself pro- vided them with relief payment and transport to go there. Nearly every Tamil was sympathetic to the Plantation Tamils coming there and many were actively sympathetic. Apart from the hu- manitarian aspect, it was seen as a means of pro- tecting the borders of the North-East from the threat of the State bringing in Sinhalese settlements. Gandhiyam and the TRRO (Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organisation) were actively involved in helping the settlers, and many of those involved in varying degrees supported the establishment of a separate Tamil State. There were those whose politics was Left, and there were others like A. David of the Gandhiyam who looked to the pioneers of modern Israel. All these shades were later reflected in the various militant formations.

True, the Government had a problem on its hands. But it also had several peaceful options. The situation was not bad enough for most Tamils to want to fight for a separate state. Of course, all Tamils believed that they had genu- ine grievances as spelt out in the UNP election manifesto of 1977. What the vast majority of them were looking for was a federal compro- mise. But Jayewardene’s way of dealing with it was by propping up his Mathews to threaten the Tamils while trying to look conciliatory him- self, but in practice holding the bludgeon and offering no more than the provenly fake DDCs. The result is history.

Once on this course, it led to the July 1983 violence and logically and institutionally the State was trapped into regarding the Tamils as aliens and the enemy. We shall see this at work. Rather than solving the problem and bringing reconciliation, the State went about laying the foundations for separation. Every step taken by the State was on warped premises.

To be continued..

*From Rajan Hoole‘s “Sri Lanka: Arrogance of Power  – Myth, Decadence and Murder”. Thanks to Rajan for giving us permission to republish. To read earlier parts click here

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Latest comments

  • 3
    2

    It seems Tamils are very concerned about maintaining north and east as a ‘Tamil only homeland’. The Sinhalese are indifferent, allowing Tamils to settle in what the Tamils consider as Sinhala land (South, west and upcountry). When Sinhalese settle in East or North the writer and others call it “colonisation”. It is hardly surprising that there is an ongoing conflict with the prevailing Tamil mentality. Is it all right for hordes of Tamils to settle in Colombo, Kandy, Galle but there is no acceptance from them thbat the Sinhalese have the right to live in North and East! That mentality needs addressing as the land of Sri Lanka was settled by mostly Sinhalese. If that change does not happen within the Tamil community, then their future will be bleak indeed. Call it whatever; the need for “colonisation” at an unprecedented pace will be initiated to enhance the security and harmony of the nation.

  • 4
    4

    Tamil homeland is already separated from SL by sea.

    It is called TAMIL NADU.

  • 1
    1

    This piece should be preserved for posterity as events that led to Tamil revulsion.

    Anyone who questions this version of history is nothing but a racist.

    NB: The writer is quite candid about how the Socialists left Tamils high and dry at the weakest moment of our history.

  • 0
    2

    President chairs Commonwealth meet? COLOMBO GAZETTE STORY

    This shameless POTOSINHGNO, spending as much as Rs.1000 million from poorest people’s pocket, had his week long holiday and shopping spree in NY. Part of the the trip has also dedicated to keep knocking on hotel door rooms, like a bell-boy, looking for his POTO lucks. Having miserably failed in that, he used the plan B: operation POTOGIMMICK!

    In the first POTO, we don’t know any heck about the other gents in it, whether they are leaders or officials etc., other than GS -Mr. Sharma. In the second POTO, is too not a serious one either. While there is no national leaders involvement in it, apart from POTOSIGHNO himself, the three middle seats customarily assigned for the secretaries/officials in a round table forum to take records and minutes etc. are completely empty too! Knowing that our SL public is fond of receiving international recognition and accolades for their country etc., he is best trying to use these empty rooms and country’s poor people’s money to make it happen even in the POTO-gimmickly.

    Actually, INTERNATIONALLY HE IS ‘CLEAN OUT’!

    I saw somewhere that Rt Hon.Tony Abbot is shaking hands with him too but it looks rather like while he is running to a toilet or something?

    I THINK THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF SRI LANKA WILL SOON REALISE THE TRICKS HE IS MAKING IN THE AIR ABOVE THEIR HEADS! WHERE IS THE SO SAID 25% ELECTRICITY REDUCTION PEOMISE GIVEN AT UVA? HAS it too gone UP IN THE SMOKE? IT WILL BE QUITE POSSIBLE THAT BY THE END OF THE YEAR, while FOCUSING THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN, HE WILL COME UP on TVs AND SAY that THE ELECTICITY WILL BE TOTAL FREE for SL! He is none but a big fat a lier!

    (Truth is: the Commonwealth is receiving requests from its partners to expel MR from chairman’s post in the next few months)
    Sobhitha Thero + Ranil + Anura + Fonseka + Sampanthan + Hakim+ Karu + Maithri + Nimal + Mangala+ Ravi + Harin+ Sajith…..++++ Of course the former President are together to create the new peole’e government to which the full blessigns of the Maha nayaka Swaminwahansa’s and other religious leader are there 100%

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