By Thambu Kanagasabai –
There is much debate going on in various circles, Human Rights Organization, Politicians, and Lawyers including International community on the question of genocide.
It has therefore become an important question and issue to analyze and make an opinion as to its applicability and consequent culpability for Sri Lankan Governments.
GENOCIDE IS DEFINED IN THE UN GENOCIDE CONVENTION AS FOLLOWS;
Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or part of a national, ethnical, racial or religious group as such
1) Killing members of the group or
2) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group or
3) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part or
4) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group or
5) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
If one could study and analyze the acts of Sri Lankan government since 1956, one could clearly discern and discover the subtle, overt and covert measures, acts and laws aiming and targeting the liquidations of Tamils in Eelam: who are the original inhabitants of Eelam as confirmed by foreign, local, Sinhalese and Tamil historians.
The “Mahavamsa” – a puranic fiction with stories woven around the Sinhalese kings commencing from Vijaya a grandson of a wild lion which lived with his grandmother in a cave of 16 years, an unimaginable story, serves as the base for the rulers and ruled alike to consider Sri Lanka as belonging to Sinhalese. The chilling fact, assuming Vijayan’s story as true is Vijayan was neither a Sinhalese nor a Buddhist. He was a Naga Tamil who married the Tamil princess daughter of a Tamil Pandya king from South India.
Buddhism was introduced in Ceylon in BC 247 by Devanampiya Tissa – a Hindu Tamil king. Sinhalese language is a mixture of Pali, Sanskrit, Tamil, Elu and Prakrit which came into full form after AD6 .
Tamil kings were ruling Ceylon from BC 236. Saivaism was prevailing in Ceylon before BC 500, as evidenced by the Easwaram Temples built by Saiva merchants in all directions of Ceylon: North – Naguleswaram, South-Thondeeswaram, and Northwest – Ketheeswaram. West Munneeswaram, East Koneswaram.
The history evidences that Ceylon was country belonging to Tamils being the descendants of the Nagas who were the ancient inhabitants. As such history is now being twisted and hidden to favour the Sinhalese whose identity was established with the introduction of Sinhala language only in AD 6.
The following facts, incidents, laws, schemes and programs carried out by the Sinhalese governments since 1956 fall within one or more provisions defining genocide. The following are external manifestations of the internal crafty designs of various Sinhalese governments deftly executed sometimes with some gullible and some traitorous Tamil politicians who held and are holding cabinet positions, with some betrayers serving the Rajapakse government.
Genocide is proved when any one of the listed six facts are or were intentionally committed to destroy in whole or in part either a national group or ethnical group or racial group or religious group.
Under this category, Eelam Tamils are falling within the national group living in the North and East in the Sri Lankan nation.
The process of genocide was initiated in 1956 and has been progressing with an interruption during LTTE’s dominance in the North and East in the following ways of schemes, plans and laws.
1956 – Sinhala only act which demoted the Tamil language
1958 – Racial riots targeting the Tamils
1961 – Military crushing of Satyagraha campaign
1971 – Standardisation in education – Tamil students discriminated, denied admission to Universities
1972 – Republican constitution – Sinhalese language and Buddhism given ‘foremost place’ in the constitution.
1974 -Breaking down the International Tamil Research Conference public meeting in Jaffna
1977- State aided communal riots against Tamils
1981 – Burning down of The Jaffna public library
1983- Communal riots with state encouragement and assistance – Tamils were targeted all over the Island including their properties.
2008 – 2009 – May 18th – Killing and disappearances of about 146,679 Tamils in the North and East
Various massacres numbering 156 in the North and East were committed by the armed forces and paramilitary elements from 1983 – 1995 in selected spots and places.
Extra – Judicial killings of five Tamil student in Trinco and seventeen Tamil aid workers in the Eastern province.
Mass graves discovered in various places in the North and East. The current mass graves being discovered in Mannar.
Assassinations of activists, priests and Members of parliament commencing from 1984 with the killing of TR George Pararajasingam including the latest killing of FR Mariampillai Sarathjeevan in 2009.
Killings of twelve Tamil women after raping them began from Krihanthi in 1996 with latest victims being Isaipriya and Santhakumari in 2009.Besides 75 cases of rape were reported.
Between 2006 – 2012, 31 men, 41 women, 3boys under age 18 were killed while they were in state custody.
Internal displacement of Tamils: Destruction of properties, militarisation of North and Estern provinces.
Serious bodily and mental harm inflicted by the States forces from 1983: including rape which is a component of genocide.
30,000 Tamils were disabled due to army shelling in 2009 and were experiencing and witnessing the shellings, bombardments, people falling dead with limbs and parts of body scattered, fleeing in fear even walking on the bodies of dead and injured
State Sponsored Sinhalese Settlements in the North and East provinces which is continuing at hectic pace
Building of Vihares and Statutes of Buddha in Tamil areas where there are no worshipers and near Hindu temples to destroy the history and sacredness of those historical Hindu temples. About 1500 Temples and 500 churches have been destroyed so far.
Appropriation of Lands belonging to Tamils in the North and East forcing the displacement of Tamil civilians making them landless wanderers. About 2500 acres have been confiscated by the Army so far.
Intention to commit the above acts of genocide to bring about the part and/ or whole destruction of Eelam Tamils group is evidenced by the statements of the past and present Sinhala leaders, starting from D.S Senanayake (1947-52) when he initiated the Sinhala colonization in the East predicting and blessing the Sinhales “as the last bastion of Sinhala”
The statement of president Rajapaksa on 19th may 2009 when he warned “TNA not to challenge the Sri Lankan state and if they are preparing to challenge Sinhalese society and their future generation they will have to visit the Nandikadal region” (Sunday Leader 24th May 2009)
The ongoing Acts of Genocide clearly demonstrate the Sri Lanka’s government determination to destroy the Eelam Tamil national group living in the North and East provinces. Part of the destruction of the Tamil group is sufficient to establish the crime of genocide provided “they live together or living in common with common ideals goals and aspirations” which are the Northern and Eastern provinces.
The deliberate killings and wounding which were directed at unarmed, non-combative civilians from 1958 to 2009, evidence the intention to destroy the Eelam Tamils group fulfills the requirements of the charge and commission of genocide. Partial destruction is enough for genocide. With 156 racial massacres of Tamils between 1956to 2009
In view of the above perilous situation facing the Eelam Tamils in the North and East in would be naïve for anyone to hope for peaceful life and existence in the North and East while living among and with army.
The irresistible and unavoidable solution for the Tamils to live with dignity, self-respect, human rights and freedoms while preserving their language and culture is nothing but self-rule based on self-determination under the provisions of UN Charter.
The process of genocide commenced in 1958 and it has been achieved successfully in May 2009 as evidenced by the above mentioned list of crimes and ethnic destroying acts committed by successive Sri Lankan governments.
The above acts cumulatively prove the intent of Sri Lankan Govts to destroy in whole or part of a national ethnical or racial group, the Eelam Tamils. The volume of evidence, oral, documentary and graphic is confirmatory of the crime of consciously planned genocide targeting the Tamils
The Acts and evidences are nothing but the external manifestations of the internal malafide intentions and motives to dissipate the political strength and power of Tamils through dismembering their identity language, history, culture and traditions and finally seeing off their gradual demise as racial group in Sri Lanka
The appeal made before by Karen Parker and Andy Higginbotton sums up the position of Tamils. “We call on all people of conscience, social movements and states around the world to speak out against the genocide and recognize the legitimacy of Eelam Tamils to national self-determination. The prevention of genocide and realization of national rights are inseparable in this case”
*Thambu Kanagasabai L.L.M (Lond) -Former Lecturer in Law, University Of Colombo