26 May, 2022


The Proscription Of The Tamil Diaspora: War By Other Means

By Krisna Saravanamuttu

Krisna Saravanamuttu

Krisna Saravanamuttu

I woke up this morning and found that two organizations I work very closely with, the National Council of Canadian Tamils and the Tamil Youth Organization, are now banned terrorist front organizations in Sri Lanka. Any politician, civil society member or NGO that works with us from the island will be treated as a criminal. Any representative from these Diaspora groups who visits their homeland will be arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

Through the use of anti-terrorism legislation, Sri Lanka has long been able to designate acceptable and unacceptable political objectives. With the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), Sri Lanka redefined the legitimate political aspirations of the Tamil Nation into crime and security problems. From the Tamil United Liberation Front’s Vaddukkodai Declaration to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s Interim Self Governing Authority, Sri Lanka pursued a military campaign instead of negotiations in good faith. Sri Lanka butchered hundreds of thousands of Tamils under the guise of the PTA. Today Sri Lanka evokes the same PTA to deny fundamental civil liberties to Tamils under the occupation. The arbitrary arrest of Jeyakumari and her daughter; the late night rounds up of entire villages; checkpoints that restrict freedom of mobility; the persecution of former LTTE cadres is all a consequence of the PTA.

The current paranoia around terrorism in the Sinhala Nation comes from a well-conditioned populace, arising from decades of fear through the public policy of “Tamil Tiger Terrorist” discourse. The cultural fear of the Tamil Tiger reconstructed the Tamil civilian as the terrorist other in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, every Tamil is a possible Tiger and every Tamil can be arbitrarily detained, harassed and killed.

The Tamil struggle for independence emerged as a reaction to a post-colonial state building process where the leaders of the Sinhalese Nation subjected the Tamils to riots, military aggression, and police brutality while denying them power sharing, employment opportunities, land rights, and access to higher education. Violent repression of peaceful politics compelled Tamil youth to take up arms. Sri Lanka’s war on the Tamil People, branded as a “terrorist problem,” internally displaced thousands. Thousands more were compelled to flee as refugees. We are the children of those refugees.

Even today the Diaspora—numbering over a million across the globe and over 300,000 in Toronto—continue to be a major factor in the island’s conflict. The discourse of terrorism regulates the activities of the Tamil Diaspora even after the military defeat of the LTTE. Vicki Sentas affirms, “targeting the Tamil Diaspora remains a deliberate foreign policy and counter-terrorism strategy” because the Sri Lankan Government “seeks to consolidate its victory over the idea of political self-determination for Tamils” (Sentas, 107). The end of war does not necessarily mean peace. Until a just and equitable political resolution is reached for the island’s intractable conflict, the demonization of the Tamil struggle will inevitably play out as Sri Lankan foreign policy.

Without a doubt, the proscription on the Tamil Nationalist Movement in the Diaspora seeks to create a wedge between Tamils abroad and Tamils in occupied Eelam. The intention of this process fits into the state’s overall strategy of genocide to isolate Tamils in the homeland from their kith and kin around the globe. The recent collaboration in Geneva of Eelam Tamils from the homeland and the Diaspora unambiguously raised the nature of our peoples’ oppression as nothing less than genocide and the struggle as nothing more than liberation. Eelam Tamils boldly stood on their own two feet to assert their sovereign rights as a Nation within the halls of Geneva.

As of now, we, Tamil youth and students involved in the liberation struggle, are a people in exile, yet the day will come when our feet will touch the soil of our liberated homeland. The ban on the Diaspora will only strengthen our resolve to end the occupation and free the Tamil Nation.

*Krisna Saravanamuttu is the Advocacy and Research Director of the National Council of Canadian Tamils. You can follow him on twitter: @KrisnaS85 

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Latest comments

  • 4

    why do you want to return to your homeland? Because you left it on the basis that you are persecuted. DOnt be a stupid ass how is it that So many tamils live in in the south and the city of Colombo without being persecuted. THis type of false talk is good for westerners so that you people can remain there but not for sri lankan. I wonder why you people dont burn in hell for the outright lies that you utter. HOw many Tamils live in areas other than in the NOrth peacefully. Ye we are against terrorists that is withoout a question. So dont set foot on the so called motherland

  • 6

    Soysa: The majority of Sri Lankan Tamils (and their offspring) were forced to rearrange their residential arrangements after their experiences during the post-independence years culminating in the events of July 1983; by any definition, they were displaced. Be careful about asking our Tamil brethren to seek ‘their Tamil nation’ in Tamil Nadu. We might just end up asking the Sinhalese to seek ‘mon repos’ in Orissa, Bengal, Kerala and God knows where else, and you, yourself, may have to find your way back to Portugal or wherever in Iberia you came from. Now that would give Native Vedda great cause for rejoicing!

  • 3

    Finally, Sri Lanka will call all the Tamils and Federalists are terrorists and the International Community will, in turn, call Sri Lanka as a terrorist Nation where there is no Rule of Law.

  • 2

    There’s no way MR could face Navi Pillai, David Cameron and Barak Obama Head on.

    Davis Cameron gave a warning to MR during CHOGM and he stood by it.

    Ultimatley MR lost the UNHRC vote.

    There’s no other choice available to MR other than to allow NP to do her war crime investigations in sri Lanka.

    MR already checkmated by David Cameron and the West and he knows it.
    MR cannot have the cake and eat it also. He has to select one.

    Politicians Bark, but we people walk.

    Justice for all is our motto.

  • 1

    krishna [Edited out] dont bother to come to Sri Lanka it will be a long way to you TC job in [Edited out]

    • 4


      “krishna [Edited out] dont bother to come to Sri Lanka it will be a long way to you TC job in [Edited out]”

      The way things are, Krisna Saravanamuttu might even get a lift on Tamil Eelam Airlines, land on the tarmac of Prabaharan International Airport, in Tamil Eelam, kiss the ground, escorted by Tamil Eelam police, directly to Prabaharanpura city where he might even deliver a key note speech to Tamil Eelam Parliament, ……………

      You will never know.

      • 0


        There you go…..the justification for the proscription.

        • 1


          “There you go…..the justification for the proscription.”

          Proscription had never worked, not working and never will.

          The LTTE was first proscribed in 1978, VP was a wanted man since then. He was hacked to death only after he surrendered himself to armed forces. If you care to count the number of years in between, its 31.

          Being tough on terrorism is not enough you ought to be tough on causes of terrorism, which could be the most difficult concept for you understand.

    • 1

      Is Srilanka your own property ? Even Abiththayas voice while temple is empty.

      who do you think you are ? one another tea business man coughing for the MR thugs? What happened to Nonis appu from the UK ? I did nto hear him uttering a single word following UNHRC defeat this time. In Europe, we the srilankens have lost… no ground at all, thanks go to nation´s fool-Gonraja.

      Wait and see Rajapakshes will become a curse to the nation in the months to come. As it is said, allow or not, UNHRC resolution will work against his regime. Entire world (except cornered countries like Belarus where he will have to seek exile next) will go against.
      We the peace loving srilankens will stand against the familial rule of Raja.

      Besides, why to go that paranoid, if they are whole hearted with peace initiatives ? if lanken intelligence would work properly why to go beyond advocating more the reality. Gota mechanisms are almost becoming like Stasi of former eastern Germany.

      • 1


        “Is Srilanka your own property ?”

        Sorry I forgot to mention it to you Sri Lanka is not Abhaya’s property but its an island once belonged to my people.

  • 2


    ***I woke up this morning and found that two organizations I work very closely with, the National Council of Canadian Tamils and the Tamil Youth Organization, are now banned terrorist front organizations in Sri Lanka.

    After reading your Article I had a peaceful Night and woke up the Morning after and had a divine message that Eelam had been conceived so Just wait for 10 months for the Birth. Everything will be rolled back all. The first Antenatal Clinic Starts of the 7th April. It will be a healthy Baby.

    India’s national elections happen in stages, with the earliest states going to the polls on April 7th this year and the latest states casting their …
    If Narendra Modi wins election, neighbours can expect a more muscular India

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