22 September, 2020

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Our Struggle Will Continue Until There Is Justice To Tamils

By Visvanathan Rudrakumaran

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran - PM – TGTE

Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran – PM – TGTE

Signature Campaign Surpasses a Million! Campaign marches forward to September session of UNHRC!

It has been a heartening moment for World Tamils to see that the Million Signature Campaign launched by the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) calling for Sri Lanka to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) has reached its goal. This Campaign has played a significant role in internationalizing the Tamil struggle for Justice and in galvanizing Tamils around the world and their international civil society counterparts on the path to justice. With a strong sense of solidarity, we grasp the hands of all who participated in this campaign and all those who worked hard to make this Campaign such a resounding success.

An impressive 1.2 million people from around the world have endorsed this Campaign, including those who placed their signatures on paper. The number of people participating from India, especially those in Tamil Nadu, has exceeded 600 thousand. The numbers are swelling further as the momentum gathers across the villages of Tamil Nadu in this relentless search for justice.

Over 100,000 people have joined this Campaign to date from the Tamil Eelam homeland, despite living under the threat of an occupying army. The conditions there are such that no one is allowed to canvass for this campaign, nor are the political leaders there given permission to support this campaign. This demonstrates how eager the Eelam Tamil people are in demanding justice for the crimes committed by the Sri Lankan State. People living in countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and the Gulf States and in the Tamil Diaspora have participated in this initiative full of enthusiasm.

The people of Tamil Nadu have played a significant role in transforming this Signature Campaign into a mass movement it became. The TGTE Solidarity Centre in Chennai, under the able leadership of Professor Saraswathi, has coordinated Tamil activists from many walks of life including political parties, student movements, youth organizations, journalists, cinema stars and stage artistes, lawyers and other professionals, and face book users to create this remarkable development. We are thrilled to hear about the warmth and enthusiasm of the people when receiving our comrades who went around collecting signatures. We have no doubt that the strength of support demonstrated in Tamil Nadu for the demand to refer Sri Lanka to the ICC would help place some moral pressure on the Government of India. Under the conditions prevailing in the Tamil Eelam homeland, many activists have worked behind the scene to make this Campaign a success, at some risk to their lives. Likewise, it has been through the broad participation of many among peoples’ movements, journalists, artistes, students and face book enthusiasts that has made the Signature Campaign reach its target in numerous other countries.

We wish to bring out some of the fundamental reasons for initiating this Signature Campaign. We sensed a ground shift taking place in Sri Lanka following the regime change, and the risk of all of our expectations for an international investigation into to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against Tamils being shrunk into a simple domestic investigation. There was also a compelling argument put forward that for the reason that a domestic investigation could not be justified in this case, an internal investigation supported by international expertise would become the recommendation with the possibility of describing it as a hybrid mechanism with international credibility.

We are convinced that neither a domestic investigation nor any form of a hybrid mechanism would deliver justice for our people in Sri Lanka, and there is no political will on the part of the Sri Lankan State to do so. Under these conditions, it is the Tamil people, as a nation without a state, who would have to utilize all the power available to them and the support of the international community to take their case to the UN and the international community, and call for an international investigation in the face of an ongoing genocide. We believed that a memorandum signed by no less than one million people would offer a very strong base for the just struggle of the Tamil people, and thus the demands contained in our Signature Campaign would be something the international community in all fairness could not overlook.

There have been views expressed detracting from the Signature Campaign, arguing that the State of Sri Lanka is not a signatory to the Rome Declaration under which the International Criminal Court (ICC) was established, and therefore that this matter should be for the Security Council of the UN to discuss. Proponents of this view further state that there were states sympathetic to Sri Lanka in the Security Council who would use their veto power in order to protect Sri Lanka from any accusations, thus nullifying any gains to be made from the Signature Campaign. We have taken these aspects into account, and we are well aware of the challenges that exist in any effort to bring Sri Lanka to the ICC, and the time and effort such a process would take.

However, what remains as the first step of our strategy is to present to the UN a well-argued demand, built on our conviction and with strong support of the people, something that the international community acting according to universal human values and ethical principles could not turn down. We need to enunciate our claims clearly and boldly and we should be relentless in seeking support for our demands. Even those states hesitant about supporting our claims in the first instance could not reject the just nature of our case.

The genocidal acts committed by the Sri Lankan State can no longer be covered up. It is now known to the world and no one can deny justice to our people. We would not let justice be denied. The time would be here soon when the international community has to acknowledge that neither the domestic process of Sri Lanka nor a hybrid mechanism would deliver justice for the Tamil people. At that moment, the international community would be compelled to go towards an international inquiry. The super powers do not always exercise their veto power at the UN Security Council. For instance, China did not use its veto power in the case of South Sudan.

Today, the Civil Society organizations concerned with protecting the moral and ethical norms in society are gaining a greater influence in foreign policy relations among the international community of nations. This growing role of the civil society movement will create the conditions in our favor. There is no reason for us to ignore all these global change processes and remain idle without meaningful action.

Besides, the outcome of a Signature Campaign could not be judged simply by the stand taken by certain countries alone. This Campaign has enabled us to once again internationalize the struggle of the Tamil people, and to build a strong sense of solidarity among the Tamils around the globe towards our struggle. The Campaign has delivered a great opportunity for the world Tamils and the global civil society to forge ahead at a time when the need for the Tamils to come together as a powerful force to win their struggle for justice is at its highest.

We are making arrangements to submit this memorandum along with more than a million signatures to the UN Human Rights Commissioner soon. We shall request the Commissioner to take our demand into account in the Report that is expected to be presented by him in September this year. We will also endeavor to gain support from the member states of the UNHRC. In the event of the UNHRC recommending the creation of a domestic inquiry in Sri Lanka or a hybrid process, the TGTE shall take the struggle for justice forward in full force with the moral and political boost derived from this Signature Campaign, and drawing on the power of the world civil society movement committed to justice.

Beloved people!

We plan to take on a massive campaign to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court or to an equivalent international course, when the UNHRC convenes in September. Coinciding with this, we expect to see uprising of people’s rallies in the Tamil Homeland, Tamil Nadu and throughout the Diaspora. To add the necessary strength to our demands, we have decided to continue this Signature Campaign until September, even though we have already reached our initial target of a million signatures. We seek your continued support to move this Campaign forward with vigor. Let us resolve that our struggle shall continue until there is justice to our people.

Let us be guided by the dreams of those who sacrificed their lives for our noble cause!

Let the world Tamils forge ahead in solidarity until we win our freedom!

Thirst of Tamils is Tamil Eelam.

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Latest comments

  • 1
    0

    Native Vedda

    This is in answer to the queries you raised in your reply to my comments earlier.

    You asked:
    “When did the Tamil Chieftains of the Eastern Province first start owing their allegiance to Kandyan Kings and how long?”

    Unfortunately there are few books that record the history of Eastern Province which is still one of the most backward areas of Sri Lanka.

    The first book is “Monograph of Batticaloa District of the Eastern Province” published by S.O.Kanagaratnam in 1923.

    A historical record of Batticaloa is mainly found in another book called “Mattakalappu Mammiam” edited by FXC Nadarajah and published in 1962. Mattakalappu Mammiam is a chronicle like Mahavamsa known to have been written by many over a period of time. It records the history of Batticaloa from ancient times until the Dutch period. Some scholars have cast doubt on the authenticity of the details recorded in Mattakalappu Mammiam. Nevertheless the entirety of the text cannot be overruled as incorrect. At least the history relating to Portuguese and Dutch period of colonial rule cannot be treated as incorrect.

    The text of Mattakalappu Mammiam can be downloaded from this link:

    http://noolaham.net/project/02/199/199.htm

    According to this record, the fact that Kandyan Kings ruled over Batticaloa and most part of the present Eastern Province is undeniable.

    What I can say with confidence is that at the time of Portuguese invasion there was a Tamil Kingdom in Jaffna which did not extend to Batticaloa or Easterb Province. When Portuguese arrived in Jaffna and captured the Jaffna Tamil Kingdom, Batticaloa and Eastern Province were under the rule of Kandyan Kings.

    Mattakalappu Mammyam records that after the death of King Ethirmanasingham who ruled Batticaloa for 44 years, Batticaloa came under the rule of the Kandyan King. This was in the 4680 year in Kali yuga. King Rajasingham was the King of Kandy at that time. When Portugese arrived King Wimaladharma was the King in Kandy. Portuguese captured many coastal areas like Mannar, Pannai, Trincomalee, Mullaitivu, Galle and Batticaloa. They started to spread Christianity and converted many village chiefs to their religion. They also destroyed many Hindu and Buddhist temples. King Wimaladharman then got down Malay soldiers and chased away the Portuguese from Batticaloa re-establishing the rule of the Kandyan Kingdom in Batticloa. Later to keep away the Portugese, Kanyan King entered into an agreement with the Dutch. Kandyan King provided funds and troops to the Dutch who succeeded in defeating the Portuguese. The agreement allowed the Dutch to conduct trade but prohibited the Dutch from staying in Batticaloa, Kandy and Anuradhapura. After some time when the Dutch and the Portugese became friendly and gave the Batticaloa fort to Portugese, the Kindyan King got the Dutch chief killed and sent the severed head to the Dutch Chief in Jaffna. Thereafter the Dutch pacified the Kandyan King and returned Batticloa back to the rule of the Kandyan King. Later, when the King fell ill, the Nilames in Batticaloa fought against each other and there followed instability and famine for 30 years. Unable to administer Batticloa, Kandyan King entered into an agreement with the Dutch and handed over Batticaloa to the Dutch. This was in the year 4910 Kaliga yuga. Five years later in the year 4915 Kaliga yuga, Batticaloa was handed back by the Dutch to the Kandyan King who then appointed “Nilame Podis” to administer the areas and to collect tax for him.

    Mattakalapu Mammiyam history stops there and I believe thereafter the Dutch and later the English asserted full control over Batticaloa and Eastern Province.

    That part of the history of Batticaloa which records that at the time of the Dutch, Batticaloa and thereby most parts of Eastern Province were under the rule of Kandyan King cannot by denied by the revisionist Tamil Eelam historians.

    Thus the claim by the Tamil Eelam lobby that there existed a Tamil Jaffna Kingdom ruling the whole of North East Ceylon is a fiction and an attempt to re-write the history of Batticaloa and the Eastern Province.

    Native Vedda, you asked the question who the Tamil Eelam historians who have re-written the history of Batticaloa and East. One person is Dr Murugar Gunasingham. He has written two books and I cannot recollect the names of the two books. The second of his book was funded by LTTE.

    Undeniably Tamils have lived in large numbers in Baticaloa and the East from very ancient times. If not for the Sinhala colonizations and the influx of Muslims during the Portuguese period, Batticaloa and the Eastern Province would have remained predominantly a Tamil province like the Jaffna Province.

    I do agree with you that there had been changes of rulers,shifting of borders of various kingdoms and influx of foreigners. Same is the history of any country or any geographical area in the world. But, what I am emphasising here is that Batticaloa and Eastern Province had never been part of the Jaffna Kingdom for the Tamil Eelamist to now claim that whole of North East should be made a separate country. Batticloa and Eastern Province had been under the rule of the Kandyan Kings for many years before the arrival of the Portuguese,the Dutch and the English.

    Cultural differences including customs and religious practices between the Jaffna Tamils and Batticaloa Tamils as well the difference in the Tamil dialect spoken by the two Tamil groups are further confirmation that historically these two Tamil groups lived apart and never mixed in the past. Even the attitudes and outlooks of these two groups are different. Generally, Jaffna man is hard working but Batticaloa Tamil is more leisurely like the Sinhalese. The caste system is again different. There is no overlordism of Vellala caste in Batticaloa. People who call themselves as Vellalas here in Batticaloa are in a minority and they are those who migrated from Jaffna at various times and most prominently during the Dutch and English periods of rule. Vellalas have no higher status in Battialoa. Mukkuvars and Kurukulathars are the two prominent castes and they are of equal rank. People of other castes do some services to them. Even the Hindu temples come under their control. When a temple is jointly claimed by both castes,these are jointly administered with Vannukus from both castes. Further, unlike in Jaffna, there is a “kudi” system among the two main caste groups. You will find this “kudi” system even among the Muslims of the East.

    Batticaloa Tamils are thus in many ways different from the Jaffna Tamils. Batticaloa Tamils do not want to be dominated by the Jaffna Tamils. The Batticaloa Tamils hate the Jaffna Tamils the same way the Sinhalese people hate the Jaffna Tamils. If there is a Tamil Eelam or even single provincial council for the North East, Batticaloa and Eastern Tamils will be dominated by the Jaffna Tamils. Further, not just the Batticaloa Tamils but the Eastern Muslims too do not want to be part of Tamil Eelam or a joined North East Provincial Council.

    Recently I commented in a Colombo Telegraph column on the genesis of the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka and why Sinhalese hated Tamils. It all started with the domination of Jaffna Tamils in government services and in the professions during the British period. Once the country became independent, the majority Sinhalese wanted to reverse this trend. That is the genesis of the problem. I do not say there that what the majority Sinhalese rulers are doing now is right or justifiable. There are of course issues to be sorted out but there are unfortunately no statesmen on either side to sort out the problems amicably.

    • 1
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      Dear Naga,

      Than you for your narrations on the Eastern Province.

      The mistake we make is to identify the ethnicity of the Kings or Queens who rules a particular area, with the ethnicity of the people he/she ruled over. Sinhala royalty may have ruled over the Tamiks or a Tamil royalty may have ruled over the Sinhalese.

      Further, the very identities we call Tamil and Sinhalese probably evolved from what I would call a proto-lankan base. Modern cellular genetics lend strong clues as to this possibility. Tamiks have also become Sinhalese and Sinhalese have became Tamils, in the course of our histories.

      I have always held the view that we have resolve issues on the basis of current realities. We cannot reverse history to find solutions. This has been the futile search we have pursued over several decades, with no solutions in sight.

      Dr.RN

    • 1
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      Dear Naga,

      I agree with most of the things you have written but not all.

      Lanka had a mixed population even in Jaffna because apart from the Cholas, the Sinhala Kings brought Tamil artisans ans soldiers and the Arabs were traders who traveled the country and settled everywhere (You may remember the Muslim trader who traveled with a bundle of cloth and other trinkets either on his head or on his bycicle. He was called a Thorombal Karaya in Sinhala don’t know what he was called in Tamil)

      The references to British Provinces is incorrect and is misleading as they did not exist in the period under consideration. It just conflates issues.

      The old divisions are recorded in the Kadaim books or Boundary books and Kadaim Kavi or Boundary poetry.

      As recorded in the Kadaim Books, Lanka was divided into 3 Principalities Ruhunu, Maya and Pihiti. Ruhunu had 43 Ratas, Maya had 28 Ratas and Pihiti had 43 Ratas giving a total of 114 Ratas.

      quote
      The sources which will be used in the discussion that follows are of
      two types. Firstly, the kadaim, or boundary books, are state documents
      which describe the three main divisions of the island of Sri Lanka, and
      which were in the custody of the lekam-gey-attan or functionaries to the
      secretariat at court. Though the tradition of fixing boundaries has
      an ancient history in Sri Lanka, it is striking that the making of kadaim
      books appears to be an early-modern preoccupation. No kadaim book
      has been discovered which predated the period when Gampola was
      the capital in the fourteenth century. Information about territorial
      boundaries, historical anecdotes and comments on social organisation
      are seamlessly intertwined in these books. I will also use a set of
      sources called the kadaim-kavi, or boundary verses,

      In the kadaim books, Tri Simhale, which denotes the entire island,
      is divided into three principalities or kingdoms, namely Maya, Pihiti
      and Ruhunu. The oldest kadaim book, Sri Lamkadvipaye Kadaim, divides
      the entire island into 114 ratas or countries; Maya has 28 ratas, Pihiti
      has 43 ratas and Ruhunu has 43 ratas. Boundary pillars mark off the
      limits of particular ratas. Take the description of Bogambara rata in
      the Sri Lamkadvipaye Kadaim: ‘For the four boundaries, stone pillars are
      placed on which are carved the figure of bo-leaves’. Elsewhere this
      text makes note of other types of boundary pillars: Mayadunna-rata is
      bounded by 16 stone pillars bearing the figures of trees; Navayotnarata
      has 16 stone pillars bearing the inscription of cobras;Devamaddarata
      has 16 pillars on which were carved figures of parrots; in Amadarata
      ‘to the east and west, three boundaries are marked by inscribed
      stone pillars placed on the tank bunds’, and in Elasara-rata, ‘a giant
      canal has been built and in the four corners are placed boundary stone
      pillars upon which are indited the figures of an arrow’. unquote

      from Dr Sujit Sivasunderam in Tales of the Land: British Geography and
      Kandyan Resistance in Sri Lanka, c. 1803–18501

      Download it from here http://journals.cambridge.org

      Another point of interest is the status of Batticaloa in the Kandian Kingdom.
      It was one of the three principal ports of the Kandian Kingdom on the Eastern Coast the other two being Kotiar and Trinco. The west coast had two ports Kalpitiya and Puttalam.

      Quote The Kandians had control over five ports at the time the Dutch succeeded the Portuguese on the coastal belt in the seventeenth century: these were Kalpitiya and Puttalam on the west coast and Trincomalee, Kottiyar, and Batticaloa on the east coast (fig. 2.1). (ref 6) Each of these ports was linked to a particular segment of the Kandyan kingdom. The typical trade between Kandy and the outside world consisted of the export of areca nut and the import of cloth. In addition to this, elephants were exported, paddy, or rice in husk, could come in or go out of the island at various times, and salt and dried fish were brought into the island. Kandyan articles of handicraft were also traded. The trade at these ports was closely connected to the court, for the king’s produce from royal lands was sold to those who traded at the ports. But this was also a network of trade which stretched by means of intermediaries to rural villages, where produce could be collected and transported unquote

      Sinnappah Arasaratnam, “The Kingdom of Kandy: Aspects of its External Relations and Commerce, 1658-1710,” – P 110, cited by Sujit Sivasundaram in “Islanded: Britain, Sri Lanka, and the Bounds of an Indian Ocean Colony”

      Is there an English translation of the “Mattakalappu Mammiam”?

      Thank you for the info

      Kind Regards,
      OTC

  • 1
    1

    Just answer me.. all of you.If you are a Tamil,is there any place in the sri lanka that you can’t live? or you are not allowed to live? I guess none..But If you are a Sinhalese..then the situation changes..Can you find why a Sinhalese person is not allowed to live in Jaffna?..The answer is.. The majority (98%)Tamils are Hypocritical.. And why can’t the Rudrakumaran establish his Elam in Tamil Nadu? because it’s the rightful place of Tamil people. In the Island called SriLanka, there can’t be existence of two countries. It has never been and It will never be..Because nobody will live for ever.

  • 0
    0

    Kurukulathars are the highest-ranking caste in. Jaffna too.Vellalars are Pallas are one and the same cases . They themselves classified Pallas are untouchable. So Vellars are also untouchables.

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