27 October, 2020

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Sri Lanka: The Genocidal Imperative – Causes And Consequences

By Ana Pararajasingham

Ana Pararajasingham

Preamble:

Sri Lanka’s history since its independence from 1948 clearly demonstrates that all Sri Lankan governments were driven by the intent to destroy the distinct identity of the Tamils as a nation[1]. As these actions were underpinned by intent, they clearly fall within the definition of genocide as stipulated by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide.[2]

The genocidal Imperative:

The causes:

Not all countries inhabited by more than one nation are torn apart by the spectre   of the numerically larger nation seeking to eliminate the distinct identity of the smaller nation/s.  There are many examples of multi-national states co-existing and prospering under political arrangements that recognise the distinct national identity of the composite nations. Canada, Belgium and Switzerland are examples of countries which have constitutional arrangements to co-exist as multi-national states. India is another country which, notwithstanding its diversity has forged ahead as a multi-national state

When Sri Lanka[3] was ‘granted’[4] its independence in 1948 under a unitary constitution, it was inevitable that political power should come to reside with the larger Sinhala nation. Sri Lanka’s first Prime Minister D S Senanayake elected under the unitary constitution was haunted by the fear that the most likely threat to Sri Lanka’s independence would come from India.[5] He also appears to have linked this fear of India to the presence of Tamils in a region in Sri Lanka not far from South India, home to over fifty million Tamils at that time. During the pre-independence discussions with Lord Soulbury, D S Senanayake had expressed his fear of the Tamils in Sri Lanka confederating with India ‘as Ulster separated from the Irish Republic to federate with Britain’.[6] This fear was the product of a notion prevalent amongst the Sinhalese of being “a hemmed in minority in the region, a beleaguered group”[7]. In addition, there is a widely held view amongst the Sinhalese that they are the original , true inhabitants of the island  placed in a special relationship to Buddhism as its protector and hence compelled to wage ‘dharma yudhaya’ (holy war) to preserve it.[8] This particular belief was the most dangerous and perhaps the one that provided the greatest impetus for the genocidal actions by the Sinhala political establishment. Indeed, it has been argued since the early 1960’s   that the roots of the violence unleashed against the Tamils  are to be found in the Sinhalese conception of themselves as a ‘special people’ in the context of the island and in the belief about themselves as the chosen guardians of Buddhism.  Not surprisingly this view has been likened to the Old Testament inspired view of some Jews in relation to the State of Israel.[9]

The Actions

Actions to change the demography of the Tamil Homeland

According to Dr. Selvanathan of Griffith University, Nathan, Queensland: ”One of the most vicious forms of oppression of Tamils by successive Sri Lankan (Sinhala) Governments is the destruction of the national identity of the Tamils through government-sponsored aggressive Colonisation Scheme”[10]

It must, however, be noted that even before the island had become  fully independent, the plans  to change the demography were set in motion by D S Senanayake  who was the Minister for Agriculture in the State Council. This led to the enactment of Land Development Ordinance in 1935. Under the powers vested in this Act, D S Senanayake began a rapid land settlement and colonisation scheme whereby landless Sinhalese peasants were settled in the Northeast as part of irrigation schemes. When the Soulbury Commission visited the island later to consider the grant of independence, Tamil politicians had drawn attention to the possibility of the demography of the Tamil Homeland being affected should such schemes continue [11] D.S Senanayake’s actions were to be expected in view of the political ideology he had openly articulated in 1939 when he told a gathering of Sinhalese “We are one blood and one nation. We are a chosen people. The Buddha said that his religion would last 5,500 years. That means we, as custodians of that religion shall last as long[12] . Since 1948, the schemes to change[13] the demography of the Northeast were pursued with great vigour. The pre-dominantly Sinhala parliament helped the process by enacting various laws to make this possible along with several administrative measures. These did not go unnoticed by the International community. In 1984, International Alert pointed out that during the latter part of 1984, the Government announced its plan to settle Sinhalese people in the predominantly Tamil North and East to reflect the nationwide population ratio of 75% Sinhalese to 25 % of other minorities[14] Soon after, two British parliamentarians (Robert Kilroy Silk MP and Roger Simms MP) who visited Sri Lanka as members of the UK Parliamentary  Humans Rights Group in 1985 noted[15]: “We can say, without much doubt, that the government is driving the Tamils from their homes and does intend to settle Sinhalese People in these areas

This attempt to change the demography is being pursued with even greater vigour with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. It is based on the strategy of ‘Ethnic flooding’[16] which involves flooding the Tamil Homeland with a Sinhalese population, initially, with families of the armed forces and thereafter with civilian settlers. In addition, by deliberately creating conditions that have made life unsafe for young Tamils, the Sri Lankan state has forced young Tamils to flee the country. The means used include: torture, ‘disappearance’ of those taken into custody and rape. There is also evidence of direct involvement by the Sri Lankan Government in ‘helping’ Tamils flee the country. The Australian of 1st February 2013 reported of senior Sri Lankan government official being personally “complicit” in the people-smuggling trade.[17] Anecdotal evidence provided by asylum seekers to this writer suggest that Sri Lankan officials are indeed complicit in permitting Tamils flees the country in large numbers. This is supported by the fact that during 2012 alone almost 6,000 Tamils left for Australia by boats, many of them from ports under the control of the Sri Lankan military.

Anti-Tamil violence directed to destroy in whole or in part

The anti-Tamil violence unleashed by successive Sri Lankan Governments fall within four broad time frames (1956 to July 1983; July 1983 to January 2008; January 2008 to May 2009 and May 2009 to the present).

1956 to July 1983

Stanley Tambiah  in his book “Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy  written  in the wake of the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983 identified  six  previous  bouts of anti-Tamil violence[18].  The pogrom of   July 1983 was   the seventh. By all accounts the July 1983 pogrom (‘Black July’) was the worst claiming at least 3,000 lives in a space of just two weeks. In March 1984, following his fact finding mission to Sri Lanka, Paul Seighart[19], of the International Commission of Jurists concluded that, “Clearly this was not a spontaneous upsurge of communal hatred among the Sinhala people. It was a series of deliberate acts, executed in accordance with a concerted plan, conceived and organised well in advance. “

Although ‘Black July’ is widely regarded as the trigger that transformed a political demand into an armed struggle for political independence, there is a body of evidence suggesting that the parting of the ways had occurred almost 25 years ago. Tarzie Vittachi, an eminent Sinhala journalist ended his book on an earlier pogrom leaving his readers pondering the question “Have the Sinhalese and Tamils reached the parting of the ways?”[20].  Vittachi provides a graphic and chilling account of an incident which had come to symbolise the nature of violence unleashed against the Tamils during the 1958 pogrom.

“On the night of May 25, one of the most heinous crimes in the history of Ceylon was carried out. Almost simultaneously, on the Government farms at Polonnaruwa and Hingurakgoda, the thugs struck remorselessly. The Tamil labourers in the Polonnaruwa sugar-cane plantation fled when they saw the enemy approaching and hid in the sugar-cane bushes. The goondas wasted no time. They set the sugar cane alight and flushed out the Tamils. As they came out screaming, men, women and children were cut down with home-made swords, grass-cutting knives and katties, or pulped under heavy clubs. At the Government farm at Hingurakgoda, too, the Tamils were slaughtered that night. One woman in sheer terror embraced her two children and jumped into a well. The rioters were enjoying themselves thoroughly. They ripped open the belly of a woman eight months pregnant, and left her to bleed to death. First estimates of the mass murders on that night were frightening: 150—200 was a quick guess on the basis of forty families on an average of four each”

Then onwards attacks on Tamils living in the Sinhala region began to occur with alarming regularity.

In 1977, a particularly vicious bout of anti-Tamil violence was unleashed in the wake of the General Elections in which the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) contesting on the platform of an independent Tamil state had secured the votes of an overwhelming majority of the Tamil people.[21] The verdict by the Tamils was accurately perceived as a direct challenge to Sinhala dominance. Hence the anti-Tamil violence and the explanation professed by Sinhala historian K M de Silva that the TULF had ‘contributed not a little’ to what he euphemistically referred to as “communal disturbances”.[22] In 1981, the Government, in a further attempt to ‘teach the Tamils a lesson’ burnt down the Jaffna Public Library with its 95,000 volumes and priceless manuscripts. The Government’s hand in this act of ‘cultural genocide’ was exposed as it was carried out while two high ranking Cabinet Ministers, Cyril Mathew and Gamini Dissanayake (both self-confessed Sinhala supremacists) were present in town[23]. Significantly, the book burning had preceded the massacre of July 1983 proving the prediction by the  German poet Heinrich Heine, “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”

Thereafter, bouts of anti-Tamil violence were to occur in rapid succession culminating in the climatic violence of July 1983.There were several cases of Tamils being burnt alive like they were in the 1958 pogrom and thereafter. A particularly gruesome burning was reported by Norwegian tourist Mrs Eli Skarstein and her 15 year old daughter, Kristen, as a mini bus full of Tamils was stopped by a Sinhala mob, petrol poured and the bus set on fire after ensuring that the doors were locked. The eye witnesses reported that over a hundred spectators watched as twenty Tamils were burnt to death.[24]

It was therefore not surprising that The Review, a publication of the International Commission of Jurists should boldly state that: “The evidence points clearly to the conclusion that the violence of the Sinhala rioters on the Tamils amounted to acts of genocide”[25]

July 1983 to January 2008

During this period marked by a vicious civil war with intermittent cease-fires,  thousands of Tamil civilians were deliberately  killed and maimed by the Sri Lankan state  as part its  policy of beating the Tamils into submission. These   killings have taken the form of massacres of civilians taken into custody (extra judicial killings)[26], deliberate bombing of places of worship,[27] schools[28] and orphanages[29]. In addition, rape has been widely used as a weapon of war[30] to intimidate the population while food & medicine have been deliberately denied to starve the population[31]. Almost a million Tamils were forced to flee the island to escape the violence in one of the worst cases of ethnic cleansing in modern times.

January 2008 to May 2009

In January 2008, the Sri Lankan government withdrew from the cease-fire to commence its all-out assault. It is estimated that this assault claimed the lives of at least 130,000 Tamils. The scale and nature of the violence specifically unleashed against the civilians during the final phase of the war  prompted  the New York-based Genocide Prevention Project to  cite Sri Lanka in December 2008  as one of the eight “red alert” countries where genocide and other mass atrocities were underway or risk breaking out. In February 2009, the Boston Globe published an article comparing the ongoing massacre in Sri Lanka to the Bosnian Srebrenica genocide and pointed out that Sri Lanka’s armed forces had in the previous month employed indiscriminate bombing and shelling to herd 350,000 Tamil civilians into a government-prescribed “safety zone,” where, more than 1,000 were slaughtered and more than 2,500 injured.[32]

In March 2011, a UN Panel found credible allegations of war crimes committed during the final stages of the war as the Sri Lanka Army advanced its military campaign into the Vanni causing large numbers of civilian deaths.

These findings have been confirmed by accounts provided by survivors of the massacre. In a ‘private’ account provided to former BBC Correspondent in Sri Lanka , Francis Harrison,  a UN official confirmed that the government had  declared safe zones  only to gather civilians in one place  to kill as many as possible. [33]  Channel Four, a British Television channel has provided video footage of former Tamil rebels being killed in cold blood and more recently chilling evidence of the cold blooded murder of the12 year old son of the Tamil Tiger leader.

 May 2009 to the present

There is mounting evidence that torture, disappearances and rape continue to occur. According to the US State Department’s Country Report for 2012, attacks and harassment of civil society activists, persons viewed as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) sympathizers and journalists continue unabated.  The report also alleges that the Sri Lankan government has created an environment of fear and a continuation of “involuntary disappearances”.  These findings by the US State Department are supported by Amnesty International[34] and Human Rights Watch[35]

Consequences

A major consequence of the genocidal actions pursued by the Sinhala polity is the fall out in Tamil Nadu. During the time of the last phase of the war, New Delhi was able to contain Tamil Nadu to a large extent because it had the support of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a constituent party of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ,  which had supported the actions of the Sri Lankan regime. Significantly DMK was the party that was governing Tamil Nadu at that time.  Meanwhile, Sri Lanka by evacuating all Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) operating within the Tamil Homeland had suppressed the true nature of the atrocities from being exposed. It was a war without witnesses! But during the latter stages of the war as news of the genocidal intent came to be known the reaction in Tamil Nadu was profound. The protests in Tamil Nadu during the last phase of the war were directed not only against Sri Lanka but more significantly against its own Central Government for its role in assisting the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL). More tellingly, the protests involved acts of self-immolation in Tamil Nadu drawing comparisons to the self-immolations by Buddhist monks in Vietnam opposing US involvement.[36] The first act of self-immolation was by K. Muthukumar, a journalist, on January 29, 2009 in Chennai. The protests that followed Muthukumar’s self-immolation were largely led by students.

The first casualty of the suppressed anger was the DMK. At the Tamil Nadu State elections in May 2011, DMK was comprehensively defeated by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

Most significantly, there has emerged a qualitative difference in the support for the Sri Lankan Tamils. Whereas, in the earlier phase, during the Indira Gandhi era, the support was more in sympathy, the support that is now being demonstrated is fuelled by the conviction that New Delhi had betrayed its Tamil constituents by assisting Sri Lanka’s military solution.  Since then the anger against the Sri Lankan regime has grown spearheaded by a younger generation of Tamils with little or no party affiliation. Both the ruling AIADMK and the DMK now in opposition in Tamil Nadu have taken to reacting to this support which has been accurately perceived as emanating from the grassroots. Also significantly, reflecting the grassroots level concerns, the issue of the Tamils in Sri Lanka has been conflated with the the plight of Tamil Nadu fishermen, who, it is claimed are the target of harassment by the Sri Lankan Navy.

The extent of the support being openly articulated has significantly impacted both New Delhi and Tamil Nadu. The actions taken by Tamil Nadu politicians have been symbolic and profound.  These include: the cancellation of the staging of the Asian games in Chennai as it involved participation of athletes from Sri Lanka [37], the banning Sri Lankan participation in the Indian Premiere League (IPL)  cricket tournament in Chennai,[38] the withdrawal by the  DMK  from the Central government citing New Delhi’s failure  to  include  the charges of  war crimes  and genocide in US sponsored resolution censuring Sri Lanka and the adoption of an unanimous resolution in Tamil Nadu Legislature asking the Centre to stop treating Sri Lanka as a friendly country and demanding India move a UN resolution seeking a referendum on an independent state of Eelam[39]  In turn these actions have drastically impacted the Centre’s domestic policy compelling a senior member of the Central Government, Finance Minister Chidamparam  to refer to the “2009 genocide by Sri Lanka”.[40]

In view of the above New Delhi may be compelled to review its policies in respect of Sri Lanka.  Some Indian analysts, however, regard changes to foreign policies to appease regional concerns to be a dangerous development as it undermines the Centre’s powers.[41] Others have called for parliament to be excluded from foreign policy implementation altogether.[42] However, based on the premise that foreign policy is inexorably linked to domestic politics, New Delhi may be compelled to   review India’s Foreign policy in respect of Sri Lanka.  It has been pointed out that India acts in accordance with its perceived national interest and those interests are influenced by both systemic and domestic considerations. Indeed, Tamil Nadu has been cited as a state which has long exerted a major influence on India–Sri Lanka relations. [43]

One of the ways in which New Delhi can accommodate Tamil Nadu’s concerns is to implement mechanisms to protect the Tamils from the continuing genocidal actions of Colombo.  A bolder initiative would of course be to proceed along the lines of the Tamil Nadu resolution and assist in the establishment of a Tamil State in the island of Sri Lanka. If New Delhi is able to successfully implement such a policy it can serve its interest in many ways. Apart from addressing the Tamil Nadu factor, it can also provide New Delhi the strategic space to counter the increasing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka. Such a policy will also be in keeping with the advice proffered by Professor Sumatra Bose[44] in 2007 in the course of his key note address at a seminar[45] exploring the international dimensions of the conflict in Sri Lanka. According to Bose, despite the unhappy history of the last twenty years, it is with the Tamil people of Sri Lanka that India needs to build its alliance. New Delhi ought to build on the natural affinity between India and the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. There is no other community that has such powerful affinity of a historical and cultural nature with India. He made this point in the context of the perception by the Indian establishment “with good cause” that it is surrounded by hostility in the region[46].

ENDNOTES



*Ana Pararajasingham was Director- Programmes with the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) between 2008 and 2009.    He is the author of “Sri Lanka: One Island Two Nations and “Sri Lanka’s Endangered Peace Process and the Way Forward” (2007), and the editor of “The Conflict in Sri Lanka::Ground Realities (2005) and “Sri Lanka:60 Years of Independence and Beyond” (2009).


[1] This distinct identity of the Tamils as a nation is founded on the reality that they are a people united by a common language, shared history and most significantly are a people in occupation of a well-defined territory. Their status as a people (as opposed to a ‘minority’) has been further strengthened by their passionate yearning for freedom from Sinhala rule which expressed itself initially as a desire for self–rule under a Federal constitution (articulated since 1951 by the Federal Party) and thereafter as a demand for independence in the form of a resolution passed in 1976 by a coalition of all Tamil political parties-the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF).

[2] The legal definition of genocide is based on the UN resolution of 1948, namely Article 2 Paras (a) to (c) of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. Central to this legal definition is the premise that acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group is genocide.

[3] Although the island was known as Ceylon until 1972, Sri Lanka will be used  to identify the island even when reference is made to events prior to 1972

[4] Whereas, India’s independence was the prize for a valiant struggle in which the Indian masses, led by Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi had participated with great determination, Sri Lanka’s’s independence was granted to her by the British who saw little benefit in retaining the small island, after having to give up India – “the jewel in the British crown” .In fact, the Ceylonese, led by their westernized elite had not sought independence, preferring self-rule in incremental measures to full independence, but had independence granted to them.

[5] De Silva K M, “Reaping the Whirlwind”Penguin,Delhi,1998 p195

[6] Suntheralingam C, “ Eylom Beginnings of Freedom Struggle”, Arasan Printers, Colombo, 1967

[7] Jayewardene K , “Ethnic and Class Conflicts in Sri Lanka” Centre for Social Analysis, Colombo, 1985, p98

[8] Jayewardene K , “Ethnic and Class Conflicts in Sri Lanka” Centre for Social Analysis, Colombo, 1985, p1-2

[9] ibid

[10] Selvenathan E A,  The Oppression of Tamils in Sri Lanka, Sacramento: Proceedings of the Tamil Eelam Research Conference, 1991

[11] de.Silva K.M (1986) Managing Ethnic Tension in Multi Ethnic Societies; Sri Lanka 1880-1985,London 1986,p125

[12] Ceylon Daily News, 17 April 1939.

[13] “The pre-dominantly Sinhala parliament helped the process by enacting various laws to make this possible. In addition, several administrative measures were implemented with the same objective. These administrative and legislative measures  included: Land Development Ordinance, The Ceiling on Housing Property Law, Irrigated Land Settlement Schemes, Accelerated Mahaweli Development Programme, Land Reform Laws of 1972 and 1975,  establishment of a Land use Policy Planning Division within the Ministry of Land and Land Development in 1979, Presidential Land Commission, Regularization of Encroachments, Suspension of Land Kacheries (registries),Land Grant (special provision) Act No 34 of 1979, Land Reform(Special provision) Act No 39 of 1981,state land  being leased to foreign companies, the appointment of a Special Presidential Task Force to distribute state owned land among those identified as  needy, Youth Settlements, Village Expansion, Settlement Schemes, creation of High Security Zones, declaration of sacred areas, reservation of  certain areas for excavation and setting aside for tourist promotion. The cumulative effect of these administrative and legislative actions was to alter the demography of the Tamil Homeland.” (Guy de Fontgalland, “State aided colonization: The Destruction of the Tamil Homeland”, in A Pararajasingham( ed)  “Sri Lanka: 60 Years of Independence and Beyond”, Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD),2009, p306-308)

[14] .           ………………Emergency Sri Lanka,International alert, London,1986,p.20

[15] Silk R K , Simms R, Report of the UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group, 1985

 

[16] Ethnic flooding – the continuing and deliberate settling of Sinhalese populations on land in the Tamil homeland – to alter the demographic balance and thereby systemically erase the Tamil nation’s territorial identity- S Sathananthan  in “After Pirapakaran: Deepening Internal Colonialism”, http://www.sangam.org/2010/08/Internal_Colonialism.php, viewed on 19th March 2013.

[17]  According to the Australian, Australia’s intelligence agencies have identified the official, who has a high profile and is known to be close to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The agencies believe he is responsible for authorising numerous boats in the past 10 months, fuelling the surge of asylum-seekers from Sri Lanka. Given the close connection to the President and Sri Lanka’s policy of seeking demographic change, these are valid reasons to conclude that this action is underpinned by the genocidal imperative.

[18] S J Tambiah, “Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy”, University of Chicago Press, Chicago London, (paperback edition) 1991,p13

[19] , Then Chairman of the British Section of the International Commission of Jurists

[20] T Vittachi,, “Emergency 58,-The Story of the Ceylon Race Riots”, André Deutsch, London, 1959,p117

[21] Of the 22 seats contested the TULF had won 18

[22] K M de Silva, “Reaping the Whirlwind”, Penguin Books India, New Delhi.,1998,p164

[23] Nancy Murray  in an article entitled  “The State against the Tamils” in Race & Class  (Vol: XXVI; Summer 1984)  a  journal of  the Institute of  Race Relations, UK

[24] London Daily Express, 29th August 1983

[25] The Review, International Commission of Jurists, December 1983

[26] Refer to Reports by Amnesty International from 1983 to 2009

[27] Having dropped leaflets asking the people to move to places of worship the Sri Lanka air force there after attacked the places of worship where Tamil civilians had sought refuge  at .St.Peters Church and St.Peters School in Navaly at a great distance away from the line of battle and where hundreds had sought shelter was deliberately bombed on 9 July 1995. On the day after the attack, 56 bodies were retrieved from the debris, many of whom were women and children. The death toll in this incident later increased to 120. 13 babies died in their mother’s arms. Rescue workers reported torn limbs and pieces of human flesh strewn over the area.

“Thirteen babies were among the 65 dead found under the rubble of a Catholic church bombed by the Sri Lankan air force, an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) official said on Tuesday. ICRC field coordinator Dominique Henry said at least one bomb hit St Peter’s Church at Navali, north of Jaffna town, on Sunday, the day the armed forces launched their “Operation Leap Forward” against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The military, which said it was not aware of any church being bombed, had dropped leaflets warning civilians in the rebel-held peninsula to seek refuge in temples and churches to minimise the chance of death or injury in air strikes… `This is really a violation of humanitarian law if a civilian area has been deliberately targeted,” Henry said, adding that he had no information on whether the attack was deliberate or an accident. (Reuter 11 July 1995)

(http://tamilnation.co/indictment/genocide95/gen95012.htm  viewed on 28th April 2013)

[28]   On 22 September Nagerkoil Central School in the Jaffna peninsula was bombed. The intensified aerial bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan government forces came about within hours of the government’s imposition of Press Censorship midnight September 21. The bombing of the school happened at 12.50 p.m. during the school’s lunch break when several of the school children were gathered under a shade tree in the school compound. 25 school going children were among 40 Tamil civilians killed on the spot. Twelve were six and seven year olds. Nearly 200 others were injured, most of them students in the same school. Elsewhere in the area, 15 other civilians were also killed in the course of the same bombing raids. The scene of the attack was visited by the International Red Cross. Pieces of human flesh were strewn around the area including the tree branches, making identification impossible. The total death toll later increased to 71.Earlier, on the same day, Pucara bombers targeted Manalkadu and Katkovalam in the Vadamardchi area killing six persons. A small Catholic church was also damaged in the bombing. In another incident in the early hours of the same day, intense shelling from the Palaly army camp killed seven members of the same family including four children of varying ages, The shelling began at 3.00 a.m. and continued until 7.00 a.m. Medicines Sans Frontiers reported on 23 September that of 117 injured Tamil civilians admitted to hospital during the offensive on Thursday and Friday more than half had died from their wounds.

Under strict new censorship rules imposed by the Sri Lankan government on Thursday, no information about the offensive was allowed to be published in that country. The Doctors Without Borders (Medicine Sans Frontier) relief group released a statement in Paris saying about 200 people were wounded when bombs fell on a school near Point Pedro on the northern coast Friday.Of some 150 children who were wounded, 15 died within three hours of being brought to hospital, the relief agency said. It said 42 children have died at the hospital since Thursday, but did not say how the other children received fatal injuries. The main rebel group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, said 25 children were killed when the Nagerkoil Central School was bombed at lunch time Friday. More people were killed when planes bombed towns in the area, the rebel statement said. New censorship rules prohibit the publication or broadcast of information related to Sri Lanka’s 12-year civil war without approval from a military censor.” (Sri Lanka Bombs Civilians, 23 Sep 95 13:46 The Associated Press)

[29] 61 children – all girls – students in GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L) classes in different schools in Mullaitheevu have been killed as a result of heavy aerial bombardment by Kfir jet bombers of the Sri Lankan Air Force, around 7am this morning on the premises of the “Senchcholai” at Vallipunam, on the Paranthan – Mullaitheevu Road, at Mullaitheevu. Over 150 other children, all girls, also students in GCE O/L and GCE (A/L) classes in different schools in Mullaitheevu have been seriously injured in the course of the same aerial bombardment at the same place. It is feared that the number of deaths would increase.“Senchcholai” is an institution housing a girl’s home caring for children rendered orphans by war. The children were attending a seminar on First-Aid.

These were all unarmed and innocent children engaged in an educational program related to humanitarian aid.

http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?artid=19229&catid=1 3(Viewed on 28th April 2013)

[30] US Secretary of State Clinton made statement at the UN Security Council saying that rape had been used as a war weapon in Sri Lanka, http://srilankawatch.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=148&Itemid=2

(Viewed on 28th April 2013).

[31] ‘Paust J J , ”The Human Rights to Food, Medicine and Medical Supplies, and Freedom from Arbitrary and Inhuman Detention and Controls in Sri Lanka” Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law Vol. 31;Number3:May 1998

[32] Boston Globe 15th February 2009

[33] Harrison F, ”Still Counting the Dead”, Portobello Books,  London , 2012,  p13

[34] AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL MEDIA ADVISORY AI index: ASA 37/011/2012

30 October 201

[35] “We Will Teach You a Lesson “Sexual Violence against Tamils by Sri Lankan Security Forces

Human Rights Watch, February 26, 2013

[36] http://www.tamilnewsnetwork.com/2009/02/14/poignant-acts-of-self-immolation/, viewed on 17th July 2011

[37]“ JLalaitha Cancels Asian athletics Game over Sri Lanka Participation” http://www.adaderana.lk/news.php?nid=21711 viewed on 8th March 2013

[38] http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-26/india/38039474_1_sri-lankan-players-ipl-tournament-j-jayalalithaa viewed on 1st May 2013

[39] http://www.ndtv.com/article/india/tamil-nadu-assembly-adopts-resolution-centre-must-stop-treating-sri-lanka-as-a-friendly-country-347300 viewed on 1st May 2013

[40] “Chidambaram criticises BJP on Sri Lankan Tamils issue” http://news.in.msn.com/national/chidambaram-criticises-bjp-on-sri-lankan-tamils-issue

[41] India’s Foreign Policy: A coalition politics’ puppet?, The Economic Times, April 11,2013

[42]  N Sathya Moorthy, “Foreign policy: Regional issues and national concerns” Observer Research Foundation

22 March 2013

[43]  N De Votta “When Individuals, States, and Systems Collide” in S Gangully (Ed) “India’s Foreign Policy: Retrospect and Prospect” Oxford University, 2009

[44] Sumantra Bose is Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His books include “Contested Lands: Israel-Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, Cyprus, and Sri Lanka” (Harvard University Press, 2007), “Kashmir: Roots of Conflict, Paths to Peace” (Harvard University Press, 2003), “Bosnia after Dayton: Nationalist Partition and International Intervention” (Oxford University Press, 2002) and  “Nations, Sovereignty: Sri Lanka, India and the Tamil Eelam Movement” (Sage Publications, 1994). He graduated from Amherst College, Massachusetts and received a doctorate in political science from Columbia University in 1998.

[45] Jointly hosted by TRANCEND International and the Centre for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) in Switzerland in June 2007.

[46] S Bose, “India”  in “ International Dimensions of the Conflict in Sri Lanka” Centre  for Just Peace and Democracy (CJPD) , Emmenbrucke, Switzerland, 2008.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    No one did more to try to destroy all that’s worthy in the distinct identity of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka than the Tamilian Sri Lankan Velupillai Prabhakaran. Although he tried his best, and the Tamil people took a severe beating from him and his cronies, he did not succeed.

  • 0
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    Most practical form of genocide is structural genocide. It can be done legally too.

    Only governments can commit war crimes. LTTE commits no war crime. This is the way of the future. Create a terrorist group like FSA in Syria and get all the dirty jobs done by them. I hope SL government will learn from the double standards and make use of this loophole.

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    Well written Ana. I agree with you 100% “Sri Lanka’s history since its independence from 1948 clearly demonstrates that all Sri Lankan governments were driven by the intent to destroy the distinct identity of the Tamils as a nation[1]. As these actions were underpinned by intent, they clearly fall within the definition of genocide as stipulated by the 1948 UN Convention on Genocide.[2]”

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    By far the best article on Tamil genocide. You have one other point –
    doing away with Citizenship started then involving the Indians, but the
    latest is the hold placed on the Citizenship Act of 1948 by the MOD in
    the grant of dual-citizenship – 95% of the applicants being Sri Lankan
    Tamils. This is structured genocide and implemented very legally.

    MR & cabal are all out to wipe out Tamils as a community, cheating her
    so-called friendly neighbour India.

    The more the Regime takes this course, it will be a blessing in disguise
    for the birth of Eelam. No wonder S. are referred to as Modayas!

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      Birth of Tamil Eelam.

      Watch, how it unfolds.

      Will you ?

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      Inida slowly but steadily realised the dubious nature, let us see in what direction the future leads to Srilankan Tamils

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    An acid test to. India’s foreign policy will be it’s response to Rajapakse’s regime’s effort to water down 13A to rock bottom.

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    One of the Biggest NATO among the Tamil diaspora. LTTE negotiated a super deal for [Edited out]$-5,000 PM as a World bank consultant sitting and working from Vanni in 2002-2004. lol. There is more and I will reserve it for The Book. LMAO.

    [Edited out]

    BTW I did not read this long article as I have no interest in what this guy writes. Hence no comment on the article. But the brothers have a checkered past in the Vanni between 2002-2006.

    Donald J Gnanakone
    Tamils For Justice
    Los Angeles, USA.

    Please provide proof re your accusation, then we can publish it- CT

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      @CT. You have become the Judge, Jury and the prosecution?
      Put out the facts, and I stand by as well as reiterate what I have said. Let Ana P go to the courts if he wants demanding proof of documentary evidence with witnesses who were in the Vanni when all this happened.

      I have the documents and witnesses, as all did not die.

      [Edited out]

      Part of this comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy
      https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

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        CT,

        Even with the greatest of human minds nature continues to experiment with no human and/or animal has ever got everything right all the time. We all make mistakes at various frequencies and times unlike the Pope and some of us do learn from those mistakes such that others minimise repeating the same mistakes.

        Is there not a requirement or caveat in journalistic etiquette that states that the writer is individually responsible for what they claim and/or write and publisher cannot be held responsible? Is not TRUTH the bed rock foundation on which justice and fairness is sought?

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      CT – Donald Gnanakone seems to have some inside knowledge that is in the Sri Lankan and global public interest, and is prepared to take responsibility for his disclosures. In other words, if they are libellous or defamatory (and you publish plenty of stuff about the Rajapaksas and other opponents of the LTTE, that is) he will take responsibility for his claims, and provide whatever evidence is necessary if he is challenged in court (which is most unlikely, even if the allegations are untrue – there are countless false allegations made by commentators, and even incitement to assassinate President Rajapaksa, which get through your censor).

      Donald is careful about what he discloses, and if he chooses to disclose the names of people of he says have compromised the integrity of the World Bank, linking it with the LTTE, it is headline news.

      Please follow up this story, if you want to claim the mantle of being “journalists”, let alone independent journalists. Is it because you think it is true that you are censoring it? Since you never do such investigative journalism yourself, it is only if the names and details, such as Donald Gnanakone is prepared to publicly reveal, are published, that it can be fully investigated and verified by others, including the police.

      Romesh Senewiratne-Alagaratnam

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    The systematic oppression of the Tamils concisely chronicled
    Bensen

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    Great piece for a distant peace Anna. Wonder as to how many hours and or days went into all this effort.

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