News reports datelined 22nd Feb. 2013 announced that according to Sudarshan Nachiappan who led a band of Tamil Nadu Congress MPs in meeting Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, was firm and definite at their meeting that he would vote for the US resolution, and emphasize the rights of Tamils, the returning home of Tamils displaced abroad and the restoration of confiscated Tamil properties.
In an independent development, a 20-minute extract of the third documentary titled No Fire Zone by Britain’s Channel 4 was screened in New Delhi on Friday at 4:30 in the afternoon for Indian Parliamentarians by Amnesty International at the Constitution Club. A 12-minute segment has been released on www.puthiyathalaimurai.tv
The extensive footage of the documentary cannot be easily dismissed by the Sri Lankan government as concoctions. Heartrending are images of a hospital floor strewn with corpses, a young girl child worried about her missing parents, and young 12-year old Balachandran Prabhakaran while he was alive in the custody of the army and then dead with other bodies (presumably of his bodyguards). The evidence in the videos correlates with the experiences and testimonies of Vanni Tamils. The new footage will surely make the international community want to do something.
An example of how this war ensnares even good people is Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to India, whose Tamil friends swear he is a decent man. He had to lie on TV when he asked rhetorically, why Sri Lankan troops would want to kill civilians. Being from Galle he must be aware of the many Sinhalese civilians killed by the army there in 1989-90. Surely he understands even more easily why the army would ‘want’ to kill Tamils. In India Today’s Headlines Today TV program, he even slipped up, calling the new evidence more substantiated and named Mullivaikal events as in the Easter Province. Given the job he holds, his only choices are to resign or lie for the President. He let himself down by calling the film morphed whereas morphing provides a smooth transition from one image to another and cannot produce the movie images of Colonel Ramesh being interrogated – a movie that would be the most difficult for the government to explain away.
The Col. Ramesh footage melts any heart to see a hardened Tiger cowing down before semi-educated soldiers and addressing them as “Sir” as they ask him for his “live place.” The evidently visible fear and anxiety on his face measure the terror of the army that would have been felt by less hardened Tamils in Mullivaikal and throughout refugees camps in May 2009. The interrogators’ faces are recognizably visible. Within the army, they would be quickly identified, making it awkward for the government. Trophy photos being taken – the undoing of the murderers – is also seen. For Col. Ramesh’s family the images of their father/husband reduced to what we see would only deepen their grief.
If the world ignores this irrefutable record in the documentary (with promises in the documentary of more to come from film-maker Callum Macrae), we might as well stop speaking of rights, justice, peace and accountability – which are a precondition to the reconciliation the government so glibly mouths.