14 October, 2019

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Searing Danger: Death Clouds Over The Sri Lankan Cricketers At The IPL

By Michael Roberts

Dr Michael Roberts

A gnawing fear resides today in my guts. I fear that one or more of the Sri Lanka cricketers at the IPL matches in India will end up maimed or dead. This is an imminent and distinct possibility – a slim one I admit, but not wholly fanciful.  I earnestly wish I am wrong; but I think that either a lone ranger or a clique of Tamil zealots is quite capable of carrying out such an attack in Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Delhi or Calcutta. Security precautions can go only so far. Individual cricketers are highly vulnerable.

The danger will be that much greater if an operation mounted by a body of zealous Tamils residing in India has established links with the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam or the Global Tamil Forum. In my surmise however, the greater likelihood is the emergence of a few independent extremists who have decided to strike a retributive blow for the cause of Sri Lankan Tamils by targeting a Sri Lankan symbol. Let me remind readers that, on 17th May 2009 during the height of simmering Tamil fury worldwide as the LTTE slid to a comprehensive military defeat, a few Tamils, including Amalathepan Srikantharajah,[1] invaded the home of some young Sinhalese Sri Lankans at Westmead in Sydney[2] and threw acid[3]  on one and left another with a broken leg and stab wound to the stomach (Drummond 2009).[4]

Just last month on 28th March 2012 sacrificial commitment towards the Tamil cause was displayed in flaming self-immolation by a thirty-year old male member of Viduthalai Chiruthikal Katchi acting in protest against the Sri Lankan government. Six months previously a 26-year old auto-driver named Vijayaraj attempted self-immolation at Salem as an act of protest when President Mahinda Rajapaksa visited Sanchi much further north in order to lay a foundation stone for a Buddhist university.

Both men seem to be Tamilnadu Tamils. It is possible that they had personal reasons for such extreme action. Though extreme, there is a long history of self-immolation in protest – or sometimes in sympathetic grief[5] — in southern India, with popular respect accruing to these persons as martyrs for their cause.[6] The recent acts of immolation acts have been interpreted by Tamils worldwide as Tamil nationalist acts directed against Sri Lanka. The CTK man’s act seems to have been inspired by the student movement in Tamilnadu launched recently in condemnation of Sri Lanka, an upsurge seemingly provoked by the latest Channel Four documentary and the focus on the alleged killing of young Balachandran Prabhakaran.[7]

In Tamilnadu generally the agitation over the last few years appears to have seen the Sri Lankan conflict as a case of a “Tamil struggle” and not as a LTTE struggle. This is a significant twist. The advocacy adopted by the recent student campaign suggests that its violence against Lankan travellers has been seeded by this line of political thinking; though there also is widespread unhappiness with the degree to which the central government in Delhi caters to regional needs. Maya Ranganathan insists that the student bodies are not cats-paws of either the Chennai government or leading politicians. Indeed, they turned away three politicians who attempted to foist themselves upon their protest campaign (skype chat, 5 April 2013).

Nevertheless one has to take note of the fiery rhetoric in condemnation of Sri Lanka expressed in recent months by leading Tamilnadu politicians and the prominent film director, Seeman. The Tamilnadu government has now gone to the extreme of banning Sri Lankan cricketers from IPL matches in Chennai.  Such expressive actions by prominent personnel, clearly, are catering to their popularity and/or electoral ambitions. But they also provide justification, and thus encouragement, for initiatives of all types. The recent spate of assaults on Sri Lankan bhikkhus and travellers in Tamilnadu as well as the self-immolation at Salem seem to be outcomes of this climate of fervour promoted both by the students and prominent personalities.

This does not mean that all individual political acts are engineered from above. Tamil zealots worldwide are usually inspired by a deep attachment to Tamilness. They are staunch patriots. The Dravidian movement of the mid-20th century[8] may be relatively dormant now because the threat from the Hindi language and the central government in Delhi are distant memories. But sentiments of Tamilness remain strong in some quarters, providing a seed bed for expressive action when some issue sparks the ‘carburettor’ – in much the same manner as the Sinhala Buddhist ideology of the 1956 era has served as a seed bed for virulent animus towards the Muslims in Sri Lanka in recent times.  Indeed, in 1991 a few Tamils were ready to join the LTTE in the plot to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi.[9] Here, Tamil patriotism trumped Indian patriotism. Needless to say, in terms of self-justification killing a Sri Lankan is that much easier for a Tamilnadu-Tamil zealot.

Tamil Nadu attacks

We need not go that far. There are also many Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamilnadu — perhaps as much as 120,000 or thereabouts. Some of them have resided in southern India for over twenty years. Some of them were LTTE supporters in the past and a few were LTTE functionaries of some consequence. Where some of these people remain attached to the idea of Eelam, there bitterness will run deep. Bitterness spawns vengeance.

In brief, therefore, one has two bodies of personnel in India, mostly in the southern reaches, but also elsewhere, from whom an organisation can recruit assassins; and two bodies of personnel who may spawn lone-ranger missions bent on making their individual mark on world politics by proclaiming the vitality of the Eelam cause for Tamil patriots. SO, then, we see the reasoning that leads me to raise the prospect, however slim, of imminent danger for individual Sri Lankan cricketers at the IPL.

Just as Godse sought to eliminate a symbolic figure (Gandhi) who was deemed to have divided Greater India,[10]  in these circumstances in India today, then, one has the possibility of a few extremists from Tamilnadu travelling by train to any one of the Indian cities where they have acquaintances who serve as a base for a symbolic act of assassination or maiming.

CAVEAT

This awesome spectre is raised here as one step in a set of reflections seeking to explore the makings of zealotry of an ethnic, nationalist or religious kind. The intention is to separate underlying long-standing factors identified as a “seed-bed” reproduced (and thus altered within continuity) over time from the immediate causes of extremist expressions in the name of the ethnic/nationalist collective. These measures of reflection in their turn seek to focus on HATE-SPEECH. This focus seeks to counter the overemphasis on the perpetrators of violence to the detriment of those who incite. The stirrers are key forces in the generation of violence. They are not restricted to the activists who occupy political platforms or address impromptu crowds. Ordinary folk who purvey rumour or concoct tales of some heinous act by a named enemy other are incendiary elements contributing to the violence of assassinations, affrays, riots and pogroms. They are part of the circuits of virulence and hate-speech.

Rumours and tales of atrocity often embody exaggerations, distortions and fabrications as part of their incitement to strike back at the atrocious Other. Motives of revenge reshaped as just acts of retribution are powerful gunpowder. It is towards this verdict that my initial warnings about the IPL scenario via the very real case of victimisation that occurred in Sydney in mid-May 2009 are presented. Ultimately, the purpose is to encourage self-reflection and to caution one against the virulent excesses that enter street-talk and salon-talk as well as the blogs and messages on internet and social media.

REFERENCES

ABC 2009 “Sri Lankans ‘petrified’ after Sydney acid attack,” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-05-18/sri-lankans-petrified-after-sydney-acid-attack/1686912Drummond, Andrew 2009 “Man charged over acid attack,” http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/man-charged-over-acid-attack-in-sydney-20090701-d4jl.html.Hudson, Dennis 1990 “Self-Sacrifice as Truth in India,” In M. Cormack (ed.) Sacrificing the Self.Perspectives on Martyrdom in Religion, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 132-52.Jaffrelot, C. 2003 “Opposing Gandhi: Hindu Nationalism and Political Violence,” In Violence/Nonviolence. Some Hindu Perspectives. Denis Vidal, G. Tarabout and E. Meyer, eds.New Delhi: Manohar. Pp. 299-324.Jeyaraj, DBS 2013 “Attacks on two Sri Lankan Buddhist Monks in Tamil Nadu,”  http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/dbsjeyaraj-column/27102-attacks-on-two-sri-lankan-buddhist-monks-in-tamil-nadu.html

Kaarthikeyen D.R. and R. Raju 2004 The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination. The Investigation,    Slough: New Dawn Press Inc.

Nandy, Ashis 1980 “Final Encounter—The Politics of the Assassination of Gandhi” in Nandy, At the Edge of Psychology, Delhi: Oxford University Press,

Ramaswamy, Sumathi 1997 Passions of the Tongue, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Ranganathan, Maya 2013 “The ‘counter-hegemonic’ to the ‘national nodal-point’: frames in press coverage relating to Sri Lankan Tamil issue in Tamil Nadu, India,”  Mss in process with journal.

Roberts, Michael 1996 “Filial Devotion and the Tiger Cult of Suicide,” Contributions to Indian Sociology 30:

Roberts, Michael n. d. “Selfless Sacrifice and Living Gods among the Tamil Tigers,” Mss in process.

Roberts, Michael 2010 “Killing Rajiv Gandhi: Dhanu’s sacrificial metamorphosis in death?” South Asian History and Culture, Vol. 1, No. 1, January 2010, 25–41.

Seeman 2013 “Seeman Live from Geneva – About Prabhakaran, SriLanka and Congress,” 20 March 2013http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AAMvg9ON-VA.


[1] He is the son of a restaurant owner at Seven Hills in Sydney and it is believed that he was identified via DNA (info from a friend in Sydney, 4 April 2013). He did not divulge the name of his accomplices. See Drummond 2019; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=01G0WpNYiZ8 and http://www.abc.net.au/news/2009-05-18/sri-lankans-petrified-after-sydney-acid-attack/1686912.

[2] The Sinhalese men were  Jayasri Watawala (22) and Chathurika Weerasinghe (27).

[3] It is surmised that acid was acquired from their association with cleaning businesses in the city.

[4] They had set out on this “mission” after an altercation with some Sinhalese on the 17 May which followed from a Tamil demonstration (grapevine information and Drummond 2009). One has to absorb the hate speech on blog comments in Tamil and Lankan web sites during the first half of 2009, and study the faces in the photographs of demonstrations in Western cities to comprehend the virulence and fervour that coursed through the activists.

[5] See Roberts 1996 for references to such suicides in the southern parts of India  after Mrs Gandhi was assassinated.

[6] Email note from Maya Ranganathan, 5 April 2013 and Roberts 1996.

[7] Tele chat with Arun Ambalavanar 4 April 2013 and Email note from Maya Ranganathan, 5 April 2013.

[8] Note Ramaswamy 1997 for some understanding of this movement.

[9] See Kaarthikeyen and R. Raju 2004 The Rajiv Gandhi Assassination and Michael Roberts, 2010.

[10] Hudson 1990; Jaffrelot 2003; Nandy 1980 and Roberts n. d;

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Unable to write children’s books or ghost stories this South Arfican Kafir is like a WMD.

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      He loves cricket equally as much as displaying his support of sinhala fundamentalism as long as it is not directed against burgers.

      That seems to be the main line behind this latest verbiose of an academic who should have retired long time ago and is trying to still give the impression that he has brains by writing these sensationalist and journalistic peices.

    • 0
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      Ayarģa,your avid fascination of infantile tales is much felt and you suckle a Candy at the end of a stick. Perhaps, Mr.WMD like punters could cater only to a mellow audience who dares to pursue with the likes of Alistair McLean’s thrillers.

    • 0
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      PLs stop your racist comments, they are unacceptable

  • 0
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    Dont you think that articles like these could ideas in peoples’ heads?

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      It’s called psychological warfare. It’s the same way they got their friend Libya

      • 0
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        Correct: “It’s called War on psychology, the same Libyan way his friend got”.

    • 0
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      Reword: “Could people’s head think in ideas that you don’t like these articles?”

  • 0
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    correction. ‘could PUT ideas in peoples’ heads?

  • 0
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    This [Edited out]is giving ideas to the Tamil militants. If any thing incident happened, he can say dint I warn you.

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    India will not allow any danger to the cricketers.

    • 0
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      Who is this India?

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      You bet! India could not even prevent her PM Rajiv Gandhi being killed or for that matter his mother or the apparently much loved and adored Mahathma Gandhi.

    • 0
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      Who?

      • 0
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        An athlete who plays cricket.

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    While religious fundamentalism is found in many societies today, Tamil Nadu seems to be unique in that it is afflicted with what I would call linguistic fundamentalism. They have a deep fetish with Tamil language akin to religious fanaticism. This is the ‘seed bed’ factor. The immediate cause is the hate propaganda spread by the LTTE rump and their Tamil racist lackeys in Tamil Nadu about alleged genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka. The stirrers range from Tamil Nadu politicians to students. The perpetrators of violence can be easily recruited from a large lumpen class ever ready to go berserk at the slightest instigation. Among the same class can be also found many people with the martyr complex. This again is unique to Tamil Nadu in that a disproportionately large number of people seems to be having this complex. These are the potential self-immolators waiting for the slimmest excuse to martyr themselves. This is the anatomy of the current phase of Tamil zealotry in Tamil Nadu where the Tiger on the hunt has found easy prey.

    • 0
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      Rambler:
      the next time you are tempted to apply the term “lumpen” to anyone, I’d suggest you do so while facing a mirror.

    • 0
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      Cynical, a Pot Calling the Kettle Noir.

      A coyote could easily use a decoy to distract the dog while another coyote circles around and attacks is the basis nub of your argument.

      • 0
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        Aney Apochchi & Whiner

        A prairie jackal returns to home turf and looks in the mirror and only sees the lumpen he was in the eyes of his former white masters.

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          Is it a lumpenproletariat looking at his lumps in a mirror like the pricked baboon-back by your white masters?

          • 0
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            Aney Whining Snivel

            Now Now Now, Don’t go checking for baboon-back in the wrong people and get hammered.

        • 0
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          Rambler:
          First response “Uhhhh?!!

          Is this meant to be “smart” or something? Aren’t you a little confused about “jackals” and “prairies.” Better ask your “tuition-masters” for some help with that geographic/wild life riddle because your intelligence, obviously, can’t cope with questions of such complexity or are they too busy setting up white-van schedules?
          You wouldn’t happen to be someone with an “Oxbridge accent” that comes and goes, in real life, would you?

          • 0
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            Aney Apochchi!

            The phrase “prairie jackal” was used intentionally and I’m glad it has elicited the expected reaction from you. I knew it would generate ominous echoes from your past.

  • 0
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    What a load of rubbish ! I guess this web site publishes anything as long as a “famous” person writes it ?

    You must have an impressive CV !

    • 0
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      Don,

      This is a quite realistic proposition given the mental incapacity of Tamil leadership world over and their lunatic followers.

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        If only one can analyse the brain of Gota we can find solution to the Sinhala Tamil problem.
        BBS is one of his creations. So is his association with ex-tigers Karuna , KP ,Pillaiyan.Most Tamils in Sri Lanka wants to live in peace except the ‘SinhalaBuddhistssupremacists ‘

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        Correct. The only debatable topic is whether it is lunacy, idiocy or both.

    • 0
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      You deride with a sneery of supercilious sarcasm, Don Quixote.

      • 0
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        Cervantes:
        Gobbledegook is obviously your first language but do you REALLY have to inflict it on the civilized world?

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    An important aspect to the atmosphere of hatred building up in Tamil Nadu is that it has been partly fueled by hate films, articles, books and propaganda from outsiders. For instance the UK’s Channel 4, Callum Macrae, Gordon Weiss and Frances Harrison.

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      The Shard is the tallest building of hatred among Londoners.

    • 0
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      Channel 4 had the guts unlike other (rest) who do not like to face the facts. It is a fact war crimes were committed by GoSL & LTTE. The crimes committed and being committed by GoSL is thousand times worse

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        How do u say GOSL committed war crimes 1000 times worse than LTTE?

        If CH4 is bringing out facts why did the creator lie when he was interviewed by Groundviews?

        What are the “FACTS” brought out by CH4?
        Even the pics CH4 came up with Prabha’s son prove nothing. They will be rejected in a courtroom.

    • 0
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      There are so many stories about how SL gov, army, police slaughtered suspected JVP thugs & opposition party civilians in 1971, 88-89. There was recent findingd of mass scale graveyard in Matale, where Sinhalese civilians (terrorists) were tortured and killed. Why those stories have not developed hatred feeling in rest of Sinhalese against SL Govs, Army, Police ?? Only Gordon Weiss (UN specialist) stories generate hatred ???

  • 0
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    Casi;
    This is typical of this completely dishonest “academic.” It’ll be interesting to know when he will join the rest of the “academic psycho-phants” in their migration to a safer harbour than they presently occupy!

  • 0
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    Absolute rubbish by this [Edited out]

    CT should not even publish this rabble rousing hate monger articles.
    This is a damn disgrace….

  • 0
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    YOU ARE ONLY TRYING TO UPSET OUR CRICKETERS. HIGHLY UNWANTED COMMENTS !!

  • 0
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    India is a failed state while Tamil Nadu people are uncivilized. In British colonial time queen send all over the world for slavery. But, they did not even protested over it. Recently, lady Clinton visited Tamil Nadu and had a little talk with Jayalalitha and provoke them against Sti Lanka very easy. Channel 4 could easily rouse their anger. They do not have sense which region they lives. Living conditions of Tamils in Sri Lanka is ten times better than Tamils in India. But, they carrying protest over it. What a ignorance? Civilise yourself , not advise Sri Lanka.

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      If only that failed state did not help you, by this time, you would be in graveyards.. not posting comments here.. San is insane, your country itself begs every where for money and you calling others. Can you see how much your country begs from China and India.. sore looser..

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    During the war in Sri Lanka, In Tamil Nadu refugee camps, Tamils in Tamil Nadu raped hundreds of Sri Lankan Tamil women. Tamil Nadu Tamils protest to remove Tamil refugee camps from Tamil Nadu. Attacked Sri Lankan Tamils in Tamil Nadu. They were treated like animals by Tamils in Tamil Nadu. But, there was no Jayalalitha, Karunanidi or Vaiko could be heard. Now suddenly , their are many voices for them and many angry heroes poping up. This is Tamil Nadu, It has no future.

    • 0
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      Only yesterday some 120 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees were caught in the mid seas trying to runaway to Australia from Tamil nadu.That tells alot about the Tamileans in Tamil Nadu.

    • 0
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      Dave, can you post evidence in CT for your claims.. Please wake up from your hate dream..

      • 0
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        So do u have the evidence to what u say happen in SL? like 1000 tamil women are raped daily?

      • 0
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        manisekaran, did you not at least read the news? Last year a six year old girl was raped and killed in TN. In 2008 or 2009 there was another case of a female refugee in her 20’s brutally raped in TN. You also need to wake up from your dream mate.

  • 0
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    Tamil Naduans are observing and reacting to the whole episode upside down.

    They failed to realise in the mid – 70s these high caste northerners issued letters of promise of land to to these Indian Plantations workers who came in droves with a dream of owning land.

    What the Northern Tamils did was to place them along the buffer zone in order for the protection of the Northerners.

    These Indian Plantation Workers lives were worthless to Northern Tamils. Moreover they were Daliths and Low caste brought to SL by the British.
    Those who died in the Wanni were they the Indian Plantation Workers. Noerthern Tamils used them

    For which Tamils are the Tamil Naduans crying today??
    For their Indian Plantation worlers scarificed by the Northern Tamils of SL or for the SL Tamils.

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