1 July, 2022

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Thileepan: The Reckoning That Non-Violence Didn’t Stand A Chance

By Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

The 26th of September 1987 will remain collectively etched in the minds of Eelam Tamils as the day of reckoning for them when they realized, agonisingly, that non- violence didn’t stand a chance in their quest to liberate their homeland: It had already been established that non-violence had no chance 26 years before that on the 17th of April 1961 and ever since that day, when a peaceful civil- disobedience campaign, organised to protest a highly discriminatory law enacted against Eelam Tamils, was crushed, using excessive force in a vicious display of abuse of power.

The 26th of September 1987, was the day, Thileepan, the political head of the LTTE for the Jaffna district breathed his last, making the ultimate sacrifice for what he believed was a cause far bigger than his life. Thileepan had undertaken a fast-unto-death, calling on India to fulfill its pledge based on a “gentleman’s agreement” towards “setting up an interim government” on an understanding reached earlier, between the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Pirapaharan and the Indian Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi. The promise was given verbally, on trust, on the latter’s prompting, that took place at the Prime Minister residence, one that he promised to keep. It was given on the understanding LTTE would cooperate with the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and would lay down its arms.

ThileepanThe story of Thileepan is inspiring as well as heart-rending, gut-wrenching as well soul-stirring – it’s the story of a Tamil Freedom Fighter, who died a martyr, not by fighting as an armed combatant but by embracing non-violence – all for the noble cause of the freedom of Tamil Eelam – it’s about a young man who fought a courageous fight to move if not spur both the Indian and Sri Lankan governments into action. A story that stands as a grim reminder and a clear illustration that non-violence didn’t stand a chance in seeking basic demands for Tamils – those demands that were tied to their legitimate rights and aspirations.

Thileepan had made five demands and died without his demands being met.

Thileepan laid down his weapon, embraced non-violence and began his fast on 15, September, 1987, denying himself food and water, waiting in vain for some reassurance from Indian officials, namely J. N Dixit Indian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and died on 26, September, 1987. Neither did Mr. Dixit visit Thileepan nor were any assurances given on the “interim government” that was promised.

Thileepan’s Five Demands were:

  1. All Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be released.
  2. The colonisation of Sinhalese in Tamil areas under the guise of rehabilitation should be stopped.
  3. All such rehabilitation should be stopped until an interim government is formed.
  4. The Sri Lankan government should stop opening new Police stations and camps in the NorthEastern province.
  5. The Sri Lankan Army and Police should withdraw from schools in Tamil villages and the weapons given by the Sri Lankan government to ‘home guards’ should be withdrawn under the supervision of the Indian army.

The conversation between Rajiv Gandhi and the LTTE leader on the subject of an “interim government” is well documented in the book: ‘War and Peace – Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation Tigers’ by Anton Balasingam, who was himself witness to what transpired:

Promising to speak to President “Jayewardane to persuade him not to hold a referendum” on the proposed merger of the North and East, which was a sticking point in the Accord for the LTTE leader, for he didn’t like the fact that the merger was subjected to a referendum, Rajiv Gandhi told the LTTE leader, “You must trust the Government of India, we are genuinely committed to promote the interests of your people.”

ThileepanThe “defect and flaws” in the Accord, in particular its failure to sufficiently define the powers and functions devolved to the Provincial Councils (a set of proposals negotiated between 4May 1986 and 19, December 1986 between the governments of Sri Lanka and India and the TULF leaders were recommended as the basis for the settlement – which the LTTE leader had already intimated he would not accept) was a bone of contention for the LTTE leader. Rajiv Gandhi admitting to the flaws and the time required to establish the Provincial Council, proceeded to reassure the LTTE leader he is prepared to, “enter into a secret agreement regarding the formation of an interim government in the Tamil region” until such time the Provincial Council is formed:

I quote:

“We are aware of the fact that your organisation as well as your people do not trust President Jayewardane. Personally I don’t trust him either. Yet we have extracted major concessions from and formulated this Accord by exerting heavy pressure. There may be defects in the Provincial Councils Scheme. Nevertheless we can negotiate and improve upon it, enhancing the powers of regional autonomy. You should realise that it will be impossible to implement the provincial scheme immediately. It will take a long time. During that period we can set up an interim government in the NorthEast, in which your organisation can play a predominant role. I am prepared to enter into a secret agreement with you regarding the formation of an interim government in the Tamil region,” he said

End Quote.

Thileepan felt betrayed the “interim government” which was to function under LTTE control promised by Rajiv Gandhi was not materialising even after LTTE laid down its arms. In his “We Love India” speech on the 4th of August, the LTTE Leader spoke to the Tamil people over the concerns he had with the Indo-SriLanka Accord. Nevertheless he said, “the Indian Prime Minister has given me certain pledges. He has offered to guarantee the security of our people. I trust his sincerity. I have faith in his assurances. We trust that the government of India will not allow the Sinhalese racist state to resume genocidal violence against out people. It is because of this trust that we have decided to lay down our weapons to the Indian Peace keeping Force.” The LTTE leader’s “We Love India” speech extracts of which is given below needs to be read to appreciate his concerns, the extent to which the LTTE leader placed his trust in India and was ready to lay down arms and give non-violence a chance :

I quote:

“My beloved and esteemed people of Tamil Eelam…Having convinced me that the Indian Prime Minister desired to meet me, I was taken to Delhi in a hurry. The Agreement was shown to us when we reached Delhi. There was a lot of flaws and defects in the Agreement. We doubt whether the Agreement will bring a permanent settlement to the problems of our people. Therefore we explained to the government of India that we cannot accept this Agreement. But the Indian government was firmly determined to implement the Agreement whether we opposed it or not. ..We are not surprised over the position of the Indian government. The Agreement is not primarily concerned about the Tamil question. It is essentially a bi-lateral agreement concerned with Indo-Srilanka relations. There are obligations in the Agreement that bind Sri Lanka to Indian geo-strategic influence. It prevents the penetration into Sri Lanka external subversive forces inimical to Indian interests. It is for this reason that India showed extraordinary interest in the Agreement. At the same time this Agreement contains elements that determine the political destiny of Eelam Tamils. That is why we are strongly opposed to the Agreement, since it was concluded without taking into consideration our views and the opinions of our people. But our protests are meaningless when a mighty super power is determined to decide the political destiny of our people, it is beyond our ability do anything. The Agreement directly affects the political projects of our liberation organisation. It affects the mode of our struggle. It attempts to put an end to our armed struggle. The mode of our heroic struggle, fought for the last 15 years and built on the blood and sacrifice of our fighters is to be dismantled in a few days time. This we cannot digest. This agreement suddenly disarms us without providing adequate time. Without getting the consent of our fighters. Without offering guarantees for the safety and security of our people. Therefore we refused to lay down arms. ..It was in these circumstances the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi invited me for discussions. I told him frankly about problems. I confided to the Indian Prime Minister that I do not repose the slightest trust in the Sinhala racist state, nor do I believe that the Sinhalese will implement the agreement. I spoke to him of the issue of security of our people and the guarantees for their safety. The Indian Prime Minister has given me certain pledges. He has offered to guarantee the security of our people. I trust his sincerity. I have faith in his assurances. We trust that the government of India will not allow the Sinhalese racist state to resume genocidal violence against out people. it is because of this trust that we have decided to lay down our weapons to the Indian Peace keeping Force…. The weapons we took up and deployed for your safety and protection, for your liberation, for your emancipation we now entrust to the Indian government. From the very moment we hand over our weapons, we hand over the responsibility of protecting our people to India. In receiving our weapons from us, the only means of protection for the Eelam Tamils, the Indian government takes over from us the tremendous responsibility of protecting our people…The handing over of arms signifies the handing over the transfer of this responsibility. Were we not to hand over our weapons, we would be placed in a perilous situation of clashing with the Indian army. We do not want that. We love India. We love the people of India. We are not prepared to deploy our arms against Indian soldiers.. ”

End Quote.

Anton Balasingam describes in his book ‘War and Peace’ LTTE’s disappointment in Delhi’s failure to “setup the promised interim administrative authority” despite them having laid down their arms as a “gesture of cooperation” and handed over the “tremendous responsibility” of protecting the Tamil people to India.

Not only that, what happened after the Accord was signed on 29th July 1987, was entirely unexpected and did most certainly infuriate and frustrate the LTTE leadership.

It saddened Thileepan and affected him so deeply that he vowed to fast-unto-death unless India fulfilled its pledges:

“There were no initiatives from the government of India. In the mean time the Sri Lanka government opened up new police stations in the NorthEast consolidating the state’s law and order machinery in the Tamil homeland. The Sinhala colonisation schemes intensified with the backing of the government. The funds assured by the Indian Prime Minister for the administration of the LTTE structures were discontinued after one month’s instalment. The issue that deeply disturbed the LTTE leadership was the arrival in Tamil Eelam from India of a large number of armed cadres from the EPRLF, PLOTE and TELO. They were freshly trained and armed by RAW. While clandestine boat landings of EPRLF and PLOTE members took place on the East coast at night TELO cadres occupied some coastal villages in Mannar. The penetration of these armed groups hostile to the LTTE posed a serious threat to the security of the Tamil Tigers. There were attacks in which the LTTE suffered casualties. The IPKF refused to take action when the matter was brought to their attention. As time passed in a political vacuum Pirapaharan became agitated and frustrated.

Thileepan a popular political leader in Jaffna and a person well acquainted with the pledges given by the Indian Prime Minister in the form of a gentleman’s agreement undertook a fast-unto-death to mobilise public protest against India’s failure to fulfill its assurances.”

As Thileepan lay dying, the LTTE leader knew he had to persuade Mr. Dixit to visit him and give Thileepan the guarantees he was asking. But Mr. Dixit believed there was a conspiracy against him and the government of India and Thileepan’s fast was designed to provoke “anti-Indian sentiments”. Although the LTTE leader and he (Anton Balasingam) tried to allay his fears, Mr. Dixit wasn’t convinced, as was revealed in his book: ‘Assignment Colombo’, Anton Balasingam writes. Had Mr. Dixit actually visited Thileepan he could have saved Thileepan’s life and, “Indo-LTTE relations would not have been strained,” he further opines:

“When Pirapaharan and I met Mr. Dixit at the IPKF headquarters at Palaly, Thileepan was on the threshold of death. We pleaded with the Indian envoy to visit the young fighter and assure him that India would fulfill the pledges given to the LTTE and request him to break his fast. Dixit rejected our genuine plea fearing there was conspiracy behind our invitation. On this issue he writes: ‘IPKF and our intelligence sources had informed me that the plan was to take me to Thileepan at the Nallur Kandasamy Temple, subject me to a massive anti-Agreement and anti-Indian demonstration and then reject my request with a lot of publicity about the Indian High Commissioner’s efforts being spurned. It was clear in my mind I would not subject the government of India to such a humiliation’ There was no plan to humiliate Mr. Dixit or the government of India. It was simply a figment of his imagination. If the Indian diplomat has visited Thileepan and assured him that Delhi would fulfill the pledges the tragedy of his death would have been avoided and Indo-LTTE relations would not have been strained.”

The irony of all ironies here is that ‘non-violence’, or ‘Ahimsa’ the weapon used by India to liberate itself from a colonial power had neither any impact, nor value, nor did it make a difference, let alone prick the conscience of men for whom it should have meant something – unlike a woman from a neighbouring country, Sri Lanka for whom it understandably failed to impress for it may have not meant anything.

The Satyagraha Movement

The early reckoning that non-violence wouldn’t work became clear when a civil-disobedience campaign in 1961 led by the leader of the Federal Party, organised to protest against the move to making “Sinhala the de facto official and administrative language of the country” (including the adoption of a motion making Sinhala the language of the House of Parliament), was met with violence by the newly elected government of Sirimavo Bandaranaike. These actions amounted to a vicious abuse of power, involving the exercise of emergency rule, that shut the door on any negotiations with the Tamil leadership in the most undemocratic and autocratic manner. S Sivananyagam in his book ‘Sri Lanka – Witness to History’ writes:

Chelva sathyagraha“On January 1, 1961 Sinhala became the sole official language of the country under the terms of the Official Language Act .. On January 22, the Federal Party at its convention called on the population of the North and East to picket government offices, refusing to cooperate with officials conducting business and to resist the teaching of Sinhala in schools in the two provinces.. On February 20 began the 2nd phase of the non-violent agitation, which was soon to encompass the entire population the north and east, including Muslims… “By April 24, Chelvanayagam and 58 others, including 14 MPs were under arrest ..although Mr. Sivasithamparam was spared. ..”Jaffna came under virtual army occupation. Communication links with the rest of the island (and with the rest of the outside world) were cut off. Postal, Telegraphic, Telephonic and train and bus services were suspended. With Military trucks and jeeps plying constantly and at high speed, towns and streets were deserted. Undisciplined, trigger-happy soldiers shot dead and injured persons outside curfew hours on the pretence of enforcing the curfew. Shops were robbed of soft drinks cigarettes and eatables. Meek requests for payment was met with amused taunts, “get the money from Chelvanayagam. Soldiers made fun of passing cyclists, harassed and humiliated pedestrians and in some instances attempted to molest women even within their homes at the point of a gun. During curfew hours residents were ordered to put off the lights…Despite the upsurge of Tamil national feeling represented the high-watermark of Tamil unity and collective passive resistance it was to end in failure…”

protest Jaffna womenIt took Thileepan’s death for Mr. Dixit to persuade Jayawardane to “institute an Interim Administrative Authority” and there was agreement on powers, functions and composition; but there was serious disagreement on the choice of Chief Administrator. However the, “arrests of two senior LTTE commanders Pulendiran and Kumarappa and fifteen high ranking cadres by the Sri Lankan Navy and their mass suicide in custody at the Palaly Air-Base was a tragedy of immense consequences.” Although Mr. Dixit at first was confident he could secure the release of the LTTE commanders and cadres he failed because, “Mr. Athulathmuthali, Sri Lanka’s Minister of National Security was firm in his demand that the LTTE cadres should be taken to Colombo for interrogation,” and the IPKF also refused to intervene, despite the, “arrests being a violation of the Accord as all cadres were given a general amnesty after the LTTE had laid down its arms,” Anton Balasingam writes.
According to Anton Balasingam this was, “the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of the tense relations between India and the Tigers.”

Writing this article has affected me emotionally, as most of my articles do. It led me to re- read three books that I consider essential reading to understand the Tamil Freedom Struggle. Under my article I have included selected extracts to whet people’s appetite and recommend they read them. I am also pleased to inform everyone that a film on Thileepan directed by Anand Murthy @AanMur: ‘The Life and Death of a Martyr’ is in the making, hope you would support it.

I like to conclude by quoting from Adele Balasingam’s ‘Will to Freedom’ on Thileepan’s final journey:

I quote:

“Small candle lit shrines housing Thileepan’s picture was set up in front of every house in the village (Valvettiturai) as they were throughout the Peninsula. Plaited dry coconut leaves, the traditional Tamil decoration indicating mourning strung from post to post, fringed roadsides; funeral music blared from the loudspeakers of temples and schools. Thileepan’s ravaged body was dressed in full military uniform draped in the insignia of the LTTE. The garland bedecked funeral cortege had moved slowly from village to village through out the Peninsula to pay their profound respect to this legendry martyr. The sombre beat of the military drums heralded the movement of the cortege from its resting place through the village to its next destination. As Thileepan’s open cortege crept through the main village road for the last time I stood silently with the crowd to pay my final salute to a young man whose fast and sacrifice had surpassed that of the Guru of Satyagraha, Mahatma Gandhi himself. Thileepan transcended Gandhi in his act of self denial by refusing not only food but fluids also.”

End Quote.

Thileepan’s last words:

“I am confident our people will one day achieve their freedom. It gives me great satisfaction and contentment that I am fulfilling a national responsibility to the nation”
-Thileepan-

1960-1987

In your light we shall travel…I promise


 

Extracts From The Book: The Will to Freedom by Adele Balasingam

Thileepan’s non-violent struggle was unique and extra-ordinary for its commitment. Although an armed guerrilla fighter, he chose the spiritual mode of “Ahimsa” as enunciated by the great Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi to impress upon Indi the plight and predicament of the people of Tamil Eelam. The level to which the Tamil people, or more specifically the LTTE cadres are prepared to go for their freedom, mirrors not only a deep passion for their liberation, but indicated the phenomenal degree of oppression they had been subjected to. ..It’s only those who experience intolerable oppression of such a magnitude, of being threatened with extinction that are capable of supreme forms of sacrifice as we have seen from Thileepan’s episode…”

Adele Balasingam“Thileepan who has travelled to Delhi as a part of Mr. Pirapaharan’s delegation before the signing of the accord was informed of the content of the dialogue that had taken place between the Indian Prime Minister and the LTTE leader. With the knowledge that there was an unwritten agreement between Rajiv Gandhi and Pirapaharan that had not been implemented, he felt that his people and the struggle had been betrayed ad decided on a fast-unto- death, demanding the fulfillment of the pledges. When news of Thileepan’ fast-unto-death and deteriorating political situation between the LTTE and the IPKF reached us we decided to leave India for Jaffna..

Subsequently our first priority after our arrival in the peninsula was to visit Thileepan, encamped at the historic Nallur Kandaswamy, the cultural and spiritual centre of the Jaffna Tamils.. Thileepan’s decision to single handedly take on the credibility of the Indian state, not incongruous with his history of resistance to state oppression as a cadre in the LTTE. He had faced battle on several occasions in defence of Jaffna during Kittu’s time and had suffered serious abdominal wounds in the process. He was well known for his astute understanding of the political mindset of his people and emerged a radical political leader. The senior LTTE women cadres often speak of his staunch advocacy of inducting women into the national struggle and is remembered as one of the founding fathers in the promotion of women’s issues. With such a history, it comes as no surprise that he endeared himself not only to cadres but to the people of Jaffna also…

Bala met Thileepan during the pre-accord talks when he shared a hotel room with him in Delhi and grew very fond of this affable fellow. It was an extremely painful and emotional experience for Bala to meet him again Jaffna in totally adverse conditions, with Thileepan’s life slowly ebbing away. ..

As we entered the premises of the Nallur Kandasamy Temple, we were confronted by a sea of people, seated on the white sands under the blazing sun. The air was thick with collective emotion and solemnity. This fading young man on the platform, obviously embodied the political sentiments and aspirations of his people. But it was more than that also. Thileepan’s fast had touched the spirit of the Tamil Nation and mobilized the popular masses in unprecedented solidarity. One could sense how this extraordinary sacrifice of a fragile young man had suddenly assumed a formidable force as the collective strength of his people. Thileepen’s fast was a supreme act of transcendence of individuality for a collective cause. Literally it was an act of self – crucifixion, a noble act by which this brave young man condemned himself so that others could live in freedom and dignity.

With deep humility, Bala and I mounted the platform to speak to the reposed Thileepan, already several days without food or water and with a dry cracked mouth, Thileepan could only whisper. Bala leaned closer to the weakened Thileepan and exchanged words with him. Naturally enough Thileepan inquired of the political developments. We left soon afterwards never to see him alive again.
As Thileepan’s fast moved on in days, he was no longer to able to address the public from the podium and spent much of his time lying quietly as his condition steadily deteriorated. As Thileepan grew visibly weaker in front of his people’s eyes, their anger and resentment towards India and the IPKF grew stronger. The sight of this popular young man being allowed to die in such an agonising manner, generated disbelief at the depth of callousness of the Indian government and the Indian Peace Keeping Force..

All that was required to safe Thileepan’s waning life was for the Indian High Commissioner Mr. Dixit to humble himself and meet and reassure Thileepan that the Indian government would fulfill its pledges to the Tamils. In fact Delhi ignored Thileepan’s fast as an isolated idiosyncrasy of an individual, and later became seriously concerned when the episode gathered momentum and turned into a national uprising with anti-Indian sentiments. Delhi’s concern’s compelled Mr. Dixit to pay a visit Jaffna to study the situation..on the 22nd of September, Mr. Dixit arrived at the Palaly airport where Mr. Pirapaharan and Bala met him. Bala told me later that Mr. Dixit was rude and resentful and condemned Thileepan’s fasting campaign as a provocative act by the LTE aimed at instigating the Tamil masses against Indian government.

Mr. Pirapaharan showed remarkable patience and pleaded with the Indian diplomat to pay a visit to Nallur and talk to the dying young man to give up the fast by assuring him that India would give up the fast by assuring that India would fulfill its pledges…Displaying his typical arrogance and intransigence, Mr. Dixit rejected the LTTE leader’s plea arguing that it was not within the mandate of his visit. Had Mr. Dixit correctly read the situation and genuinely cared for the sentiments of the Tamil people at this very crucial time, it’s highly probable the entire episode of India’s direct intervention in the ethnic conflict would have taken a different turn…But Thileepan’s willingness to sacrifice his life in such a way touched the spirit of the people and his unnecessary tragic death on 26 September planted deeply the seeds of disenchantment with the IPKF. Events to follow only reinforced their shattered confidence in the IPKF and Delhi…

Small candle lit shrines housing Thileepan’s picture was set up in front of every house in the village (Valvettiturai) as they were throughout the Peninsula. Plaited dry coconut leaves, the traditional Tamil decoration indicating mourning strung from post to pos, fringed roadsides; funeral music blared from the loudspeakers of temples and schools. Thileepan’s ravaged body was dressed in full military uniform draped in the insignia of the LTTE. The garland bedecked funeral cortege had moved slowly from village to village though out the Peninsula to pay their profound respect to this legendry martyr. The sombre beat of the military drums heralded the movement of the cortege from its resting place through the village to its next destination. As Thileepan’s open cortege crept through the main village road for the last time I stood silently with the crowd to pay my final salute to a young man whose fast and sacrifice had surpassed that of the Guru of Satyagraha, Mahatma Gandhi himself. Thileepan transcended Gandhi in his act of self denial by refusing not only food but fluids also.


Extracts from the Book: ‘War and Peace – Armed Struggle and Peace Efforts of Liberation Tigers’ by Anton Balasingam

On July 23 two Indian military helicopters landed on the grounds of Suthumalai Amman Temple near Jaffna, picked up the LTTE delegation comprising of Pirapaharan, Yogaratnam Yogi and Thileepan and flew to Meenambakam Airport. In the mean time the Tamil Nadu Police informed me of their arrival and I was taken to the airport to meet them… We boarded an Indian Air Force plane and arrived in the Indian capital a few hours later. From the airport we were taken to Ashoka Hotel and held incommunicado… The Raw officer informed us we were place under safe custody and we could not leave the Hotel or allow anybody in. Pirapaharan confided to me: “Bala anna I am trapped again.

Anton Balasingam

Mr. Dixit visited us at the hotel. He was grim and serious. Sitting on the Sofa he pulled out his pipe, lit it and puffed out the smoke a couple of times. Seated in front of him we watched him attentively, anticipating clarifications. “A bi-lateral agreement has been reached between the government and Sri Lanka. The Indian Prime Minister Mr. Rajiv Gandhi will visit Colombo soon to sign the agreement. The agreement offers a fair and reasonable solution to the Tamil ethnic question. You should accept this agreement,” Mr. Dixit declared. He took a copy of the agreement out of his pocket and handed it to me. Please translate the document to Mr. Pirapaharan ..I’ll be back in two hours; I hope you will be ready with a positive response.. ”

I translated the document and explained the implications of the proposals. We found the proposals limited and inadequate. While emphasizing a pluralist structure of Sri Lanka society, the agreement recognises the distinct ‘cultural and linguistic ‘ identity of the various ethnic groups thereby rejecting the conceptualisation of nation and nationality. While Sri Lanka ensuring Sri Lanka’s unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity ‘ the agreement recommends a solution within the unitary constitution. The only positive element in the proposals was the recognition of the northern and eastern provinces as areas of historical habitation of the Sri Lankan Tamil speaking peoples..’ The cardinal feature of the Agreement of the merger of the northern and Eastern Provinces into a single administrative unit. But the merger itself was interim to be subjected to a referendum to allow the ethnic communities in the east to decide over a permanent link with the north. The Agreement allows for the formation of a temporary north east provincial council with governor, chief minister and board of ministers. The powers and functions of the provincial council was not specified. Rather a set of proposals negotiated between 4May 1986 and 19, December 1986 between the governments of Sri Lanka and India and the TULF leaders were recommended as the basis for the settlement. Residual matter not finalised during these above negotiations shall be resolved between India and Sri Lanka within a period of 6 weeks of signing the agreement. It should be noted that these proposals called the December 19th framework were criticised and rejected by the LTTE in the written response submitted to the government of India in January 1987. The agreement therefore fails to deal with any core issues critical to the Tamil question. The most important aspect was the issue on decommissioning. The Agreement stipulated all Tamil militant organisations should be disarmed within 72 hours of the signing of the Accord. ..Pirapaharan’s face turned red when I translated this particular clause .. within the time frame of two hours allocated to us, Pirapaharan made a firm resolute decision, He resolved not to accept the Indo-Lanka accord under any circumstance.

Two hours later, Mr. Dixit returned. He inquired as to whether we had made our decision. We told him that we could not accept the Agreement. We told him in precise terms we could not accept the Agreement. He demanded an explanation. I point out the limitations on the proposals, arguing that they fell far short of Tamil aspirations. The framework proposed in the Agreement was totally unacceptable to the LTTE I said. Pirapaharan argued that it was unfair and unreasonable to disarm the Tamil freedom movement before reaching a permanent political solution with guaranteed security to our people. “How can India ask us to give up our arms within 72 hours? These weapons were captured from the enemy forces with enormous sacrifices over the last fifteen years of bloody armed struggle,” he said raising his voice in anger. Mr. Dixit dismissed our criticism and argued the provincial framework the best the Tamils could ever hope for. He said there was no need for weapons since as a permanent ceasefire would come into being and an Indian peace keeping force would maintain peace. He pleaded with us to trust the Indian government and reconsider our decision. We stuck to our position to arguing that we could not trust Jayewardene and the Sinhala armed forces. Dixit became resentful and impatient. Whether you accept it or not this agreement will be signed. This is bilateral agreement between two countries. You will face far reaching consequences if you oppose it. “Can you tell us what sort of consequences we’ll have to face,” asked Yoga. You will be in our custody here in India until you accept the Accord. Even if you keep us in custody for a long time, even for years, we will never accept this Agreement and hand over our weapons, Pirapaharan replied angrily. He stared and Pirapaharan and shouted if you refuse to lay down your weapons, we would seize them by force. Your fighters are non-entities in front of the mighty Indian army. Brandishing his pipe at Pirapaharan he went on, “in the time it takes to light this pipe and finish smoking it, the Indian army will wipe out your fighters. Pirapaharan smiled cynically. You can do whatever you like but we’ll never accept this Agreement under any circumstances. Dixit was enraged; his lips trembled in anger. Mr. Pirapaharan you have cheated India four times. “That means I have saved my people 4 times. Unable to tolerate anymore the ill-tempered diplomat gottup and walked away.


 

Extracts from the Book: Sri Lanka – Witness to History – Tamil Satyagraha by S Sivanayagam

On January 1, 1961 Sinhala became the sole official language of the country under the terms of the Official Language Act.. On January 22, the Federal Party at its convention called on the population of the North and East to picket government offices, refusing to cooperate with officials conducting business and to resist the teaching of Sinhala in schools in the two provinces.. On February 20 began the 2nd phase of the non-violent agitation, which was soon to encompass the entire population the north and east, including Muslims.

S SivanayagamThe satyagraha proper was limited to approved volunteers of the party only..who were strictly forbidden from any form of violence…on the morning of the 20th at 7.30 am, when Chelvanayagam along with 200 volunteers sat opposite all the entrances to the Jaffna Kachcheri (provincial secretariat) a huge crowd gathered filling up all adjoining streets, the pavements and all approaches to the area. in order to clear the path for the government agent to enter the premises, the police trampled on the satyagrahis with their boots, pulled them by their hands and , lifted some of them and hurled them away and attacking them with their batons…crowds outside enraged by police violence hurled stones at the police jeeps and trucks. The police then used tear gas, the dispersed crowd which fell back, kept surging forward again..Among scores of volunteers injured were five MPs. The police baton used on Dr EMV Naganathan had broken and he held up the broken piece.

On the 2nd day the satygraha was led by Mr. Amirthalingam..On the 4th day, the 23rd women plunged into the movement. Out of the 500 …led by MP for Chavekachcheri V.N Navaratnam about 80 women led by the party’s women’s front led by Rajapoopathy Arunachalam took up positions in the main entrance..the sole Tamil Congress MP, M Sivasithamparam , several LSSP activists, Mayor of Jaffna decided to throw their weight with the movement…On the 24th campaign spread to Mullaitivu. Mannar and Eastern Province…on the 28th picketing was launched in Batticaloa.. the Muslim MP for Kalmunai MC Ahmed Batticaloa..and thousands of Muslims led by the 2nd MP from Batticaloa, Macan Markar participated….In Trincomalee Mutur MP, T A Ehamparam was seriously injured in a police baton charge when he and Trincomalee MY Rajavarothayam was involved in picketing…in their anxiety to help N Q Dias reach the Secretariat premises police personnel carried him high in an undignified position…stumbled against some satyagrahis and dropped him heavily on the inner side of the lower parapet wall! Days later there was an untruthful reference to this from ..Mrs Bandaranaike, she made a broadcast appeal to the Federal Party to call off the civil disobedience campaign while accusing the party of violence.

“From March 11 the government launched a policy of trying starve the population by refusing to issue permits to wholesalers except through the secretariat (Kachcheri). Returning to the island on March 23 after an absence of 18 days Mrs. Bandaranaike accused the Federal Party of trying to establish a separate state by paralyzing the administration in the two provinces and warned that the government might use other means to restore order. ..On the 14 th April civil disobedience took the form of open defiance of the law..In a symbolic gesture the party inaugurated its own postal service..2500 stamps were issued, 25,000 stamped envelopes and 3000 post cards were reported to have been sold …passengers refused to purchase tickets in national buses and it was also rumoured the party was planning to form its own police force and take over crown land for distribution to landless peasants!

On the morning of 17 April the cabinet met at Temple Trees ..and the decision was taken to impose a State of Emergency.

In the evening Felix Dias Bandaranaike, the power behind the throne, held a series of conferences with army, navy and police chiefs.

The Governor General Sir Oliver Gunetilleke proclaimed the State of Emergency and assumed power to maintain services.

A Press censorship was imposed.

The Federal Party was proscribed.

All public meetings in the North and East were forbidden.

A 48 hour curfew was imposed in Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Mannar, Vavuniya and 4 other areas in the Northern province.”

Detention orders were issued on FP leader, Chelvanayagam and 14 other MPs.

Arrests, Assaults, Arbitrary, Killings, Incarceration and A Crackdown

350 soldiers and 15 officers of the Sinha Regiment exclusively composed of Sinhalese ..arrived in the early hours of the morning around 2.30 am and the troops were immediately moved into the sprawling secretarial grounds. About 200 satyagrahis, 90 of them women..unaware of developments, tired after the day’s fasting and prayers were yet squatting or stretched out at the Kachcheri entrances, some were in deep slumber..while during the day there were 1000s of supporters there were hardly any supporters at that ungodly hour. Some police officers emerged and told A Amirthalingam and V Dharmalingam that the two MPs were being taken into custody under emergency regulations. ..once the MPs were taken away the army men some of them carrying rifles, swooped on the passive satyagrahis, attacking them with rifle butts, belts and clubs..the sleeping volunteers woke up writhing in pain. They were trampled with boots kicked and dragged away from the Kachcheri entrances. Proctor S Nadarajah, one of the joint secretaries of the party sustained head and shoulder injuries. The Tamil Congress MP M Sivasithamparam, who, fearing assault on the women, stood with his arms outstretched was himself attacked. He sustained injuries on his face, shoulders and arms. The soldiers then went berserk and attacked everything on sight. They pulled down the party’s post office structure, smashed up cars and bicycles parked in the vicinity, ripping tyres with bayonets and ramming windscreens.

As the hospital a mile away got filled up with injured persons, news of the ugly happening spread and thousands of people surged on to the secretariat area after daybreak. While several lay helpless within the military cordon, trucks were brought in and the women volunteers were herded in. Restless youths and school children who showed signs of violence were kept under restraint by repeated appeals from partly leaders and elders…The troops fanned out attacking anyone on sight and enforced the 48 hour curfew. On 20th April when the curfew expired, a 12 hour curfew from 6pm to 6am was substituted. The Prime Minister then went on the air to say that, “the Federal Party has by its actions made it abundantly clear that their real objective is to establish a separate state.” Claiming that the government had acted, “with the greatest restraint and patience.” She said that, “the government is now left with no other alternative but to use all forces at its command to establish law and order. It is not unlikely that a number of innocent people will suffer in various ways, in consequence of these measures.. and for any unfortunate happenings, the Tamil leaders must take the entire blame…

“By April 24, Chelvanayagam and 58 others, including 14 MPs were under arrest ..although Mr. Sivasithamparam was spared. ..

Jaffna came under virtual army occupation. Communication links with the rest of the island (and with the rest of the outside world) were cut off. Postal, Telegraphic, Telephonic and train and bus services were suspended. With Military trucks and jeeps plying constantly and at high speed, towns and streets were deserted. Undisciplined, trigger-happy soldiers shot dead and injured persons outside curfew hours on the pretence of enforcing the curfew. Shops were robbed of soft drinks cigarettes and eatables. Meek requests for payment was met with amused taunts, “get the money from Chelvanayagam. Soldiers made fun of passing cyclists, harassed and humiliated pedestrians and in some instances attempted to molest women even within their homes at the point of a gun. During curfew hours residents were ordered to put off the lights.

Despite the upsurge of Tamil national feeling represented the high-watermark of Tamil unity and collective passive resistance it was to end in failure…
Read also Chapter 1: 1956: A Jaffna Colombo Train Journey & A Taste of “Sinhala Only”

Chapter 1 is about how a peaceful group of satyagrahis consisting of 300 Federal Party volunteers, were set upon mercilessly by a violent gang. The protestors led by Mr. S J V Chelvanayagam and Tamil Members of Parliament were conducting a sit-in on Galle Face Green in 1956 when the Sinhala Only Bill was introduced in the Ceylon Parliament by Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike.
The year 1956 was a watershed the author, Mr. Sivanayagam writes. It marked a turning point in the relations between the Sinhala and Tamil peoples in the post independence period.. He shares his own experience with readers about that day, how death stared him in the face when he was confronted by a mob on a train returning to Colombo from Jaffna…

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Latest comments

  • 35
    22

    Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah

    RE: Thileepan: The Reckoning That Non-Violence Didn’t Stand A Chance

    “95% of the solution is Identifying the Problem”-Bertrand Russell

    Tamils identified the problem Sinhala Buddhism, correctly, but the solution was not successful, because they lacked material and manpower resources. The problem is still there but need to come up with workable alternate solutions to accommodate Sinhala “Buddhism’, which is not Buddhism.

    It is kind of corrupted Buddhism, just like Wahhabism, Salafisand their clones such as ISIS and other Iblis, Satan, Devil followers.

    From Wahhabism ==> The Iblis Followers, Satan Followers. Wahhabis, Satanis etc.

    From Mahawansa ==> The Mara, MaRa Followers, Sinhala “Buddhism” Followers

  • 58
    53

    If you care so much for us, please return to Jaffna and fight for us here. We rejected the diaspora nominated Gajan Ponnambalam. We supported Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. You are living in a time warp.I am sure that Thileepan and Anton Balasingham are burning in hell for all the hate they spewed.Do you want to join them?

    In an earlier comment of yours, you had conceded that your children no longer carry Tamil names. First practice Tamil nationalism at home!

    • 15
      52

      Jaffna Resident: My children have the finest Tamil names – it will be nice if I can know your name by the way. I know what’s troubling you! You don’t count in my life not if you speak ill of people whom I hold in high esteem!!

      • 46
        48

        I am Mariampillai.[Edited out]
        You Edited out] Dr.Ratnajeevan Hoole now resides in Nallur. He returned. You are completely free to remain in Canada by contrast but leave us alone then. You do not speak for us.

        No one in Jaffna cares to remember Anton Balasingham who pales in comparison when compared to the international legal luminary Neelan Tiruchelvam whom your heroes murdered. Nor do we care for Dileepan. Sumanthiran and Sampanthan are our real heroes!

        Go to your Maveerar hell! [Edited out]

        • 15
          12

          Hello Jaffna Resident, you seem trying to qualify to speak on behalf of Tamils with your pseudonym. Peoples who fight for Sri Lankan Tamils’ rights do not have to be resident in Jaffna. You seem to think that the gentleman who had returned to Jaffna should be respected. Is that the qualification to speak on behalf of Tamils? He went behind MR and then got bitten. He may now be in Jaffna eyeing an opportunity to get the VC post at Jaffna University.

        • 17
          4

          Jaffna Resident

          “Go to your Maveerar hell! [Edited out] “

          I guess, you meant Mootal Veeran Velupillai Prabakaran, who dragged a lot of Tamils, Muslims and Sinhala to Hell and Heaven.

          He also got funds from his buddy Medamulana Mahinda Rajapaksa.

          What do they have in common? Both of them wanted to be Rajas.

      • 41
        42

        Thileepan was a Petty criminal who starved himself in a game played by Prabakaran when he was dealing with Dixit. Prabakaran got what he wanted na AFTER that only this petty criminal died. Just got to Tamil Nadu you will see many idiots who self-immolate at the whip of criminals just like Prabakaran.

        • 36
          39

          Indeed Ravi. You should read Rajan Hoole’s excellent account of Thileepan’s so-called fast unto death. He was actually starved to death with LTTE cadre present to prevent him from eating. The whole incident was a farce. The LTTE then turned violent murdering innocent Sinhalese civilians. The episode was a sordid excuse to resume wat.

          The LTTE had killed hundreds of Tamil civilians who similarly attempted to escape the human shield they were trapped in Pudumattalam in 2009.

          Poopathi Amma was also a fraud.

          Colombo Telegraph had edited out personal information I had provided in response to Usha’s counter to my previous comment.

      • 31
        35

        Mrs Sriskandarajah,

        You and I know that Jaffna Resident is telling the truth!

        But lets leave aside the personal and stick to issues. I refer you to two publications

        (a) Democratic Process, Human Rights and Foreign Policy in South Asia. This which describes how the Tamil Tigers killed Sarojani Yogeswaran, Rajani Thiranagama, Kethis Loganathan, Subathtran, A. Thangathurai (MP of Trincomalee), Yogeswaran, Yogasangari, Kingsley Rasanayagam, Sam Thambimuttu, M.E.H. Maharoof (MP Trincomalee) and many many others. In that context, I would agree with Jaffna Resident that Thileepan is likely in hell since he was the soiled fig leaf for the Tigers as it strategized on how to resume war. There is a God above, you know you metes out justice to wrong doers.

        The second book I want to recommend is

        (b) Hoole’s Sri Lanka Arrogance of Power. The whole Thileepan episode is described in meticulous and objective detail. It is a more accurate illustration than your lurid propaganda.

        Sincerely

        Ari

        • 27
          28

          Ari

          I have talked to an eye witness of Thangathurai’s murder by the LTTE. After participating in a prize giving ceremony at a leading Girls’ School in Trincomalee, Thangathurai walked towards the gate of the school. He was flaked by the head teacher, teachers and senior students. As he reached the gate, LTTE gunman fired at him. Having wounded, he fell to the ground, but he tried to sit up. The gunman placed his gun on his head and fired further shots. The head teacher also perished in this attack. You can see how cruel these bastards are.

          Now Usha is writing articles praising these scums. Why is she behaving like this? What has gone into her head? I thought she was a decent lady.

        • 4
          2

          Ariyanayagam
          You are. correct.
          We all know how the LTTE deliberately killed Thileepan who was fast was used it’s leader for propaganda
          Thileepan was in no position to take solid food due to shrapnel injury causes. .
          That is something that came within the knowledge of Rajini Thiranagama who had examined the body of Thileepan after his body as handed over to the medical faculty.
          It is because of that she was killed by the LTTE.

      • 10
        3

        Usha
        Sri
        Skanda
        Rajah

        NONE of these are Tamil names. How do you know you’re a Tamil?
        Most of the so-called Jaffna Tamils are of Malayali origin, whereas many among Sinhalese have real authentic Tamil Nadu origins. Go figure this.

      • 4
        1

        Well Senator I agree you all have names that’s all you have. No ideas just names slogans rituals and dramas. This is a past time for you, better close your org down and do some useful work for your people I mean the Tamil people. You

    • 51
      53

      I am a Jaffna Tamil myself. People like Usha should not fight our cause. We will do it ourselves. The Diaspora is turning out to be worse than the former Sinhala supremacists who caused this problem.

      • 34
        27

        your down fall: stupid tamils can never get together like the sinhala.
        you are no better than the sinhala casting every tamil and their european partners as beast while the sinhala buddhist baldies `the old rouge` is the beast.
        go educate your senses and emotions than live on ideas.

        • 6
          13

          Hi Walt, there is nothing wrong in two individuals belonging to the same race to have differing views. Similar instances are plentifully found in the responses you read in CT, amongst those of the Sinhala race.
          You have taken this opportunity to come out of your ‘stupid and true racist’ response against Tamils. You should go back to a good school and have a proper education.

          • 14
            7

            nightwatchman
            go bury yourself at nandikadal. what is going on here is low down nallavar class belching and fighting to the cheering of buruvas- both idiots and still the beast.
            In any case the world is ruled by passion poor bugger not logic and your father never had enough to send you to school so you are the refugee for free

      • 23
        19

        stu[Edited out] you would have been dead and forgotten long before stupid jaffna tamils who have bought misery to all an sundry in the land.

        [Edited out]

    • 22
      26

      Yes, JR

      Tamils at gun point were intimidated by the LTTE to support this so called ‘ahimsa act’ of Thilipan. Yes, this is the mother of all ahimsa act….!!!

  • 47
    33

    Hi Gorgeous

    I’m sorry I do not agree with you. Thileepan’s act triggered a massive downfall of the welfare of SL Tamils. This idiot failed to read and understand the contents and scope of the Indo Lanka agreement and his stupid act of fasting brought nothing but deaths, destruction, destitute and suffering to the SL Tamils. I’m glad he and the LTTE are no more.

  • 10
    45

    Usha

    You have missed satyagraha at Galle Face Green in 1956 that met violent reaction from Sinhalese, and Poopathy Amma’s fast unto death in Batticaloa.,

    Eddappar like Jaffna Resident would not understand the greatness of Thileepan and Poopathy Amma. Let us forgive him for his ignorance.

    • 6
      41

      Forgive me for not mentioning Poopathy Amma, i mentioned 1956 in the extracts under the article. Thank you for your comment, appreciate your support.

      • 22
        25

        Ussr
        You have many other reasons to ask forgiveness from the tamils. This is nothing!

  • 11
    22

    Sri lankann govt must take concrete steps to eliminate Tamil Casteism from the country.

    Do not appoint any vellahla tobacco farmers to senior posts.

    • 12
      1

      lets drop the old rouge sinhala buddhist [Edited out]- there would be lots of money then to go around. Try your friend kuddu mervin bajar.

    • 1
      4

      Unlike Jim and his ancestors, the cinnamon slaves who are Sinhala Buddhists today, the Vellalar tobacco farmers are rich land owners of Jaffna who are well educated to hold senior posts.

  • 37
    39

    I have never met Usha, though we have exchanged words via internet. You can never accuse her lack of commitment for the Tamils of Sri Lanka and their cause. I don’t know who ever you are “Jaffna Resident” Male or Female to uttler threats like the words you have used

    ” We supported Sampanthan and Sumanthiran. You are living in a time warp.I am sure that Thileepan and Anton Balasingham are burning in hell for all the hate they spewed.Do you want to join them?”

    I supported those two idiots myself and boy was I wrong. Those lying heathens. They are now speaking for the government. That in itself is not a bad thing because so did I and still do, to some extent. The government did and still are making reconciliatory noises and has encouraged Sampanthan that toothless tiger with clawless paws into waving the Sinhalese Flag which again I endorsed.

    When Sumanthiran that enlightened one said that TNA are happy with a local mechanism in dealing with War-crimes and crimes against humanity and will not be attending the 30th session of UNHRC at Geneva, that was the limit of their treachery.

    Listen you brainless person if there is anybody, those cowards and the government fear it is the diaspora. Don’t say you can manage everything yourself. Purely and simply nobody can. Especially you with your mouth disconnected from the brains uttering words of stupid bravado leading the charge.

    Incidentally I don’t agree 100% with Usha but I respect her courage of conviction and her intentions are genuine. You my friend need all the friends you can get.

    • 28
      36

      You are attacking Sumanthiran only on account of his religion. Why did you use the word Heathen. He has done far more for the Tamils than Mrs. Sriskandarajah or the Tamil Tigers. He helped the US draft that resolution for Geneva. The diaspora by contrast are toothless and can only act within the parameters the west gives them.

      The Book of Acts of the New Testament – Chapter 26 verse 18 – “open their eyes and turn them from darkness..”.

      Or the Book of Ephesians Chapter 1 verse 18 – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be open..’

      Sections of the Tamil diaspora, Usha included, are satanic in their celebration of evil individuals.

      • 23
        5

        As far as I knew, Tamils were conservative and Hindu

        Not christians.

      • 6
        11

        Sumanthiran would be a Dalit in Tamilnadu.

        What would be his fate ?

        • 7
          4

          “What would be his fate ? “

          At Hindia even the sinhala buddhist yakkos are considered the same dalit So carry the merchants poop on head- you are going to love it than being a beast!

  • 21
    23

    Dear Mr. Arianayagam,

    Whatever gave you the idea that I was insulting Mr. Sumanthiran’s faith. Far from it I said they including Mr. Sampanthar. Perhaps you wanted to show off your proficiency in the good book and I must say that I am impressed. I further hasten to add that you are indeed a very theoretical man and very poor at practicing what the good book says. I myself am an agnostic and do not believe in any religion. I just believe in what is right and what is wrong.

    It is blatantly obvious that the three lying Ss of TNA (ITAK) won the election under false pretences. They scum of the earth and confidence tricksters of the worst kind.

    If as you say the diaspora is so disliked why is he flying to Canada to smooth over the cracks Mr. Arianayagam. Contrary to what you may think I did urge my relatives and friends to vote for the TNA in the last election and actively wrote blogs to that effect. I hope I get to meet Mr. Sumanthiran in Canada tomorrow to pause a few question.

    As for Usha’s credentials, you sir are in no position to question it as I am aware she puts in for what she believes in and I know she believes in it. Un like you sir who preach the good book and go around using the good Lords name in vain and speaking ill of others without justification. May the Good Lord forgive you for bearing false witness.

  • 1
    15

    brigadiers of the army which declared war on unarmed non state Tamils are shouting on amusement.
    When you disturb a bee hive the bees will attack bartering their life no matter who ever the enemy is or whatever the weapon is.

  • 32
    3

    Thileepan was an illusion manufactured by the LTTE to delude the people! He was representing an organization that advocated violence and practiced the credo with much devotion. He was also a man who adopted violence as a tactic in many instances. Symbolic acts of non-violence such as fasts unto death, by men of violence are not satyagraha or ahimsa. They are a political deception. The LTTE adopted a Gandhian spiritual instrument to confront the Indians in a manner that was cynical and in the process subverted it.

    Naming a Parkinson disease afflicted SJV, ‘Eelathu Gandhi’ was also a tactical ploy adopted by the FP earlier, without understanding Gandhi or the spiritual principles his ‘Non-Violence’ exemplified.

    The reason for nonviolence failing the politics of the Tamils, was because of the failure of the Tamil political leadership of that time to understand the spiritual nature of the act and the violence/suffering it would entail. it is the ability to withstand suffering that seeds the success of nonviolence as a political tool.

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

  • 24
    20

    This woman Usha sri skanda raja is a war criminal. Her activities and relentless support for the most brutal terrorist group in the world killed over 100,000 innocent civilians before the war ended and many thousands at the end of the war.
    And she still publicly admits terrorist leaders as “people whom I hold in high esteem”!!

  • 25
    13

    Usha

    I agree with those who say the whole Thileepan drama was a farce. The racial fanatics who formed the LTTE explicitly stated at the time their rationale was that non-violence and parliamentary politics had completely failed. They then proceeded, in keeping with their fascist ideology, to indiscriminately kill and maim all those who disagreed with them. They killed moderate politicians & other community leaders, and those who were active in progressive movements. And they wiped out the rival militant organizations. Then in 1987, after about 15 years of merciless killing of their own people and hundreds of Sinhalese civilians in border villages, they stage this drama of “non-violence” and kill one more person, the physically frail and brain-washed Thileepan by starving him. Are you that dumb to think you can sell this to the world as Gandhian non-violence? You are denigrating one thing after another: first ‘genocide,’ now ‘non-violence.’ You are pathetic Usha. Due to the cruelty inflicted by fanatics like you in the name of ‘liberation’ the Tamils who actually live in Sri Lanka have learned the bitter lesson:

    Mullivaikkal: The Reckoning That Violence Didn’t Stand a Chance

  • 24
    0

    Usha,

    “The 26th of September 1987 will remain collectively etched in the minds of Eelam Tamils as the day of reckoning for them when they realized, agonisingly, that non- violence didn’t stand a chance in their quest to liberate their homeland: It had already been established that non-violence had no chance 26 years before that on the 17th of April 1961 and ever since that day, when a peaceful civil- disobedience campaign, organised to protest a highly discriminatory law enacted against Eelam Tamils, was crushed, using excessive force in a vicious display of abuse of power.”

    Are you calling for more violence as a solution?

  • 17
    5

    The Rogue Aiyer

    Yes of course she is. She wants the violence because that is where the money comes in. Violence does not stand a chance either because you wanted a war and the war was won. But now you want another war so you can continue collecting money from tamils all over the world, [Edited out] This is an absolute disgrace. You say you have children, I wonder what your feelings would be if they were made to face what the tamils faced under ltte. Disgusting.

  • 3
    20

    Those who despise diaspora Tamils should explain why Sumanthiran Sampanthan and Mavai travel abroad frequently and arrange / attend meetings with Tamils and listen to their opinion. Why do they accept MONEY from them. These leaders should refrain from doing so if they do believe diaspora Tamils are so bad like the way you all describe in your comments. Most educated Sumanthiran who ” helped the U.S. Draft that resolution for Geneva” should listen to you all instead of listening diaspora Tamils. First make him to listen and follow you if what you say is whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    In each and every liberation struggle there were internal / external killings which Lenin described as ” necessary evils”. Go through the history books of Russian Chinese and Cuban struggles to know the massive killings that took place in the name of “people’s struggle”. Can anyone show a struggle in the world that took place without evil killing. Read books on Che Guevara that shows his evil side. He was called as a butcher of la cabana. Does it reduced his popularity? No. Hooles should take note of this fact. Liberation Tigers ,in spite of their faults ( there is no one or a political party or a liberation organisation withou any fault in this world ) and evil killings , still liked by the Tamils. They will be loved by Tamils eternally. Of course they will be disliked by Tamils who go for favours behind racist politicians.

  • 18
    7

    Dear Ms Sri-Skanda-Rajah, ‘Dileepan’ – or Parthiban as we knew him in our school chess team was a young man at the time. As you may know very well, it is very easy to capture the passions and emotions of an idealistic young man, and once that is done, it is fairly straight forward to manipulate him into doing anything – including suicide. The history of Tamils in Sri Lanka is rife with such displays of raw emotions, but what history has demonstrated repeatedly is that the destiny of a people cannot – and must not, be guided on the basis of such emotions only. All the orations about ‘ஆண்ட பரம்பரை’ and ‘மரம் பழுத்தால் என்ன வரும்……வவ்வால் வரும்’ in the 70s and the ‘ரத்த திலகம்’s that our youth put on the foreheads of the orators are very well documented. The net result of this tragic history was entirely predictable and was played out vividly on the banks of ‘Nandikkadal’ not very long ago. A heavy prize for this callousness was paid by the sons of ‘Rasathies’ and the husbands of ‘Rasamalars’ in the Vanni…..who are still walking about in the Vanni – without legs, without hands, without livelihoods and without the thing that they valued most- honour. The irony of all this is that while these events unfolded, we the diaspora, worried about our own sons and daughters not being able to gain admission to Harvard, Cambridge or McMasters. We spoke of the need to ‘sacrifice a generation’, having tucked away our own sons and daughters in the comforts of our spacious living rooms and planning for their elaborate ‘சாமத்திய சடங்கு’ and the number of gold chains they should wear on the day………please, oh please, let us stop this hypocracy.

    Lets talk about historic facts. The Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims have cohabited that beautiful country for centuries. These people face the same problems, same anxieties and the solutions to these common problems and anxieties are the same. The LTTE refused to recognise this common thread as they were blinded by unadultrated emotions that you and I perpetuated. ‘Thileepan’ was merely one of the many sacrificial lambs that were thrown on the alters of ignorance, vanity and arrogance in this very sad journey of ours. So lets not take our people back several decades by resurrecting these emotive slogans once again, through the life stories of ‘Dileepan’ and ‘Annai Poopathy’. Fortunately, the current Tamil Leadership – with a very broad mandate from the Tamil people living in Sri Lanka, are, in my view, doing their very best to charter a course for their people without falling into the follies of the past. Let’s not make their life harder than it needs to be. They have to contend with challenges thrown in their way through the toxic ‘Hela Jathiya’ mentality in the South and balance these challenges against the socio-political realities in the Region. As such they do not have the luxury of resurrecting the ‘ஆண்ட பரம்பரை’ days. If you look at the most recent draft of the UN resolution objectively you would see a direct reference to 13A and that should give you a very realistic feel for who the ‘puppet masters’ are. The sooner we realise it the sooner we could have our problems resolved within a reasonable framework…….so that our ‘Rasaththies’ and ‘Rasamalars’ can move on. Separation (directly or covertly) is not an option for our people and no amount of emotive slogans, fasts and parades in the streets of Geneva will change that reality.
    Best wishes
    Professor Mahesan Nirmalan
    Manchester Medical School

    • 8
      5

      Prof. M N

      Rational thinking presented with sincerity. While agreeing with much of what you have written, may I say that the emotive phase in a struggle for redemption simply cannot be bypassed. The fault with us is that we get embedded in it for far too long even after circumstances change. Getting mired in it kills the very prospect of thinking afresh.

      Nandhikadal was murder and we have regretted enough for six days or years. Post funeral formalities are for six days or so and then normality is resumed. Do we see signs of a new beginning? Are we to loose the future together with the past?
      Mapping out the next 25 years is the imperative obligation.

    • 3
      4

      An excellent reply Prof to this lady’s antics who in my assessment is trying hard to dislodge Uruthira Kumar from his PM position by showing off that she is the one who does heavy lifting.

      If she really has got lot of time in her hands after her children have grown up now, she can do a lot of good work rather than inflaming a situation which has already claimed a generation of young ones. All this happened because people like her in Tamil diaspora didn’t have any idea of what LTTE had become or didn’t want to know as that wasn’t an option for them as, personally, there was nothing at stake for them other than wining TE. Whether it is achievable or not they don’t care as these diaspora lot, not all are refugees, some are well educated too, believed that VP has a silver bullet, he will do wonders. That was a reckless assessment risking our youths lives, yet people like this lady, doesn’t get it. Where was she when VP was in control of at least Vanni? If she so committed, hope this commitment to the cause is not something comes to her since 2009, she should have been here, what was stopping her then?.

      What she articulating is, doesn’t matter if the war victims on the land further screwed or not, I am safe, will do something that will make me than Uruthira. Such a cruel kind we Tamils are, any less than average person knew winning TE is not possible even when LTTE is alive, and to imagine one more arms struggle after all the destruction of a region and its people is nothing but only a wishful thinking. But it might help get PM in exile job. I have a great respect for those who lost lives in the believe of liberating Tamils, but Thileepan’s was a killing. A mother should know how precious live of her son or daughter is. Should think first if my irresponsible utterance would put live of someone’s son or daughter at risk. Those leaders on the ground knew what is needed for its constituency and how hard to get a minimalist solution for national question. If they are able to work out a solution in collaboration with the current government, it will be great, if one thing that diaspora can do it, that is, just do things that you have gone to do in your lands. Don’t make things harder for us by your emotional, feel happy utterance. No use. Be realist, do not gamble some one live.

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      “”and must not, be guided on the basis of such emotions only. “”

      Mahesh Nirmalan,
      What is it to be human?? Logic without Insight is inhuman vis-à-vis.

      Nothing matters to the person who says nothing matters!

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    Our problem is “Tamil area” exclusively for Tamils and the Sinhala Buddhists not agreeing to this. What if we identify ourselves as Sri Lankan Buddhists, Sri Lankan Muslims, Sri Lankan Christians etc ?? In foreign countries like England where both Sinhalese and Tamils are domiciled, no one as far as I have heard been discriminated nor given exclusivity in land, policing etc. Sri Lankans can live in any part of the country so long as they abide by the law of the land.

    For as long as we refer to ourselves as Tamils, Sinhalese etc we will go on being stirred by articles of this nature and I guess, it is only by total annihilation of one or the other ethnic race can there be peace !! Just imagine. Kill app. 20 million Sinhalese or 2 million Tamils!! Crazy but where does it end, if people refuse to accept that this is ONE NATION under God.

  • 2
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    Usha Sri Skandarajah You keep beating this drum about your heros of LTTE, obviously you need some mileage foor the money you invested on [Edited out] Parabahkaran, [Edited out]

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    India – ruled by the Killers of Gandhi- killed NON-VIOLENCE Symbol + war by killing Gandhi as soon as British left India. Eelam Tamils committed Political suicide TWICE in 2015 by not using their heads in Jan 8 instead of voting to a Sinhalese whose manifesto even said self determination for Tamils as TNA deliberately failed to field a Tamil presidential candidate and on August 17 by electing the Gullible TNA morons despite knew their Naive + submissive politics.
    Poor Thileepan, Pirpakaran + >30K Great Heroes died in vain as Eelam Tamils miserably failed them by voting to War Criminal MY3 + voting to Srilankan coolie ITAK fools.

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    Utter crap being writen by Canadian citizen Usha,please if you care so much for the SL Tamils then come back and live in SL like many others have done

    You lot in foriegn climes just create haterd while you and your precious kids are safe in Canada ,UK and Europe

    I was a youngester in Jaffna in 87 when the Indo Lanka accord went bust,please answer these questions

    i) were the LTTE ever sincere of the Indo Lanka accord or any ceasefire for that matter

    ii) Who gave the LTTE and its moronic leader VP to be the sole representatives of the tamils

    Its a widespread story that Thileepan was forced to fast unto death by that rascal Prabakaran and prevented from breaking his fast

    also you seem to have forgoten how the LTTE masacared child members fo the TELO and PLOTE groups in 1986 ,in Old Park road in jaffa a room full of Telo/Plote (cant remember which group) teanagers were shot and burnt,dont they have lives or are they not human

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      Peace Lover,

      “also you seem to have forgoten how the LTTE masacared child members fo the TELO and PLOTE groups in 1986 ,in Old Park road in jaffa a room full of Telo/Plote (cant remember which group) teanagers were shot and burnt,dont they have lives or are they not human”

      Child members? I repeat that the likely war crimes of the various Tamil militant groups should be investigated. Can we be sure that none of the recruiters of the child members continue in leading roles in the Tamil society in SL and in Diaspora? What were the Tamil MPs and former MPs doing during the conflict?

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        @Rogue Ayar

        the time refered to in this 1986-87 there were no Tamil MPs in Jaffna who could have opened their mouth for justice unless they wanted to join St Johns Principal Anandarajas company and get killed

        Of course all these crimes should be investigated

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    It’s a pity Tamils didn’t continue satyagraha in the 60s.
    It’s a pity many Tamils didn’t join Dileepan in his fast.

  • 3
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    Dr. Mahesh Nirmalan

    Thank you sir for your forthright retort to this article which aims to justify violence committed by the LTTE.

    As you said, the need of the hour is to help the victims of the terror of the LTTE and the SLA.

    Are there any organizations that are trying to give practical help to such people living in the Vanni? Say where people from the diaspora – regardless of ethnicity and religion – can go and volunteer? Vocational/language training perhaps?

    If you or anyone else knows of any such efforts, please let me know.

    Thanks

  • 4
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    Jaffna resident
    without remittance from the Diaspora can u all survive for a day. around $6 billion is remitted per year.

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      no diaspora has control over a cent of the $6 billion remittance as much as
      ¬picket` of diaspora has no effect on the buyers of garments who work with the Sinhalese even in the west.

      diaspora cannot wait to eat their hot curry of Ceylon spices etc- that is the cultural politics which cannot be dismantled – JR mariampillai is aware of it like the Sinhalese play the English psyche- bad logic Buruva.

      diaspora passed the wrong message for the presidential election along with the sampathan and party when the My3 refused to even talk to tamils.
      The election result of president lightened the IC and UN report for Lanka- tamils shot their foot over again.(just a dummy candidate who would lose would have given strength with MR clinging on.) [Edited out]

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    Hi Kumaran,

    Y not call Indian Sinhalese, Indian Tamils, Indian Muslims, etc as Sinhalese came from India (as Mahavamsa claims), even though Tamils did not come from India, Tamils have 100 Million Tamils in India, Muslims r Tamils anyway.
    Can you accept this?? Never cos you want to keep your Srilankan identity = Sinhalese identity.
    During the British rule, Tamils had been the race had influence among British as first Srilankan rep was Sir Pon Ramanathan not a Sinhalese, he + Elite Tamils could have separated Tamil Nation like Jinnah did separate Pakistan but Tamils trusted Sinhalese and agreed for ONE NATION but Sinhalese Majority Srilanka gave Tamils mass killing,rapes, ethnic cleansing, genocide, etc, etc, Not only Genocide but also Srilanka have been celebrating the GENOCIDE as a victory over Tamils, Srilanka yet to apologise for the genocide. How on earth any sane person trust the same racist Srilanka again??

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    NY Nathan can you please tell us where the tamils came from. The Pon Ramanathan was the first Sri Lankan Rep because the British wanted to divide and rule. He at least had more brains than the rest of you because if you want to live in a country peacefully you will have to do things together with the majority community. There was never any genocide in sri lanka against the tamils. Dont use a word without knowing the meaning. What do you want you want another war where the few remaining tamils in Jaffna will have to face the same troubles they faced during Prabakarans time. The sinhalese have a right to celebrate the fact that the war was over. Dont forget that many soldiers too died in the war and they did not fight from choice like the ltte did. I am sorry even the ltte fighters were forced by prabakaran. If you are a tamil, and you are from sri lanka you should also be celebrating the fact that the war was over. If you all got a separate state like Jinna did tell me what you would have done in Jaffna. All you tamils come and work in the south and send all the money earned here to the North. During the 30 years of the war who gave you your food etc. Everything was sent from Colombo. You should think a little more about what the sinhalese did for you. Even now during this nonsense of genocide 49% of Jaffna tamils live and earn in colombo. People like you will never learn though I somehow feel that the majority of tamils do not think like you. If the majority thinks like you then of course you are all cursed.

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    Usha is not only outdated she is out of her depth in the times we live in. She is one bitter ball

    The Diaspora will not be allowed to interfere in Sri Lanka’s affairs. We should respectfully give due recognition to true Tamil representatives in Sri Lanka and offer them a platform to resolve their genuine issues.

    Keep the diaspora out!!!!!

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    HI MSD,

    Tamils r the original inhabitants of the island as historical + lots of archaeological evidence suggests + also the Muslims( descendants of Arab traders) adopted Tamil not Sinhala. The whole island once called Eelam + Ilankai by Tamils, the Sinhalese changed as H-ELA + Lanka.
    As per British, yes they always do divide + rule but Tamils never ever be biased against any race because we are civilised humans. Sir Pon Ramanathan even saved the SINHALa thugs from death after they massacred several 100 innocent Musslims, raped several 100 Muslim women + kids + destroyed several Mosques in Kandy in 1915. That was the big mistake by Sir Pon Ramanathan because the same SINHALa racist thugs resumed their COWARD CALLOUS Mass killings + rapes against Tamils in Kanthalai in 1935. That is, if Sir Pon Ramanathan supported the British SHOOT on SIGHT all SINHALA thugs in 1915, there would not been a Massacre of Tamils in 1935.
    As per Genocide of Tamils, it is a CRIME for denying as no Genocide happened in Srilanka, since 1948 to date, >250K Tamils were killed, >2.5K Tamils’ temples, mosques + churches + Libraries+ schools + hospitals, etc deliberately targeted + destroyed but NOT EVEN ONE PUNISHED YET by Srilanka.
    If LTTE did kill >200K Sinhalese, what would you say ?? just human rights abuses ?? come on my friend, you cannot feel the pain unless you lose several 1000 of your own, LTTE’ only mistake was not been REAL TERRORISTS like Srilankan military to kill >200K innocent Sinhalese or raping several 1000 Sinhala girls + women, Had they done like Srilankan military, I will fight with Sinhalese to punish them but you people branding yourselves as Buddhists but doing everything against Buddhism + humanity by even denying the genocide not happened.
    As per celebration of the Genocide of Tamils, JVP Sinhala terrorists killed several 1000 Sinhala military + police + innocent Sinhalese but Srilanka never celebrate the victory over JVP Terrorists and even allowed them to become normal politicians. Y celebrate victory over LTTE freedom fighters who started armed struggle because of 30 years of systematic Srilankan state terrorism unleashed against Tamils sice 1948??? This shows itself SRILANKA IS SINHALA RACIST STATE.
    As per another war, we Tamils never ever wanted war, Srilankan state terrorism forced Tamils for war. NO SRILANKAN STATE TERRORISM NO NEED of LTTE. LTTE was the symptom of the Cancer SINHALA Racism by Srilanka.
    Can you celebrate for losing 150K SInhalese in just 2 months in 2009. Just lose your whole family in an accident(I am not cursing at all)and you can feel the pain like for losing 150K Tamils in 2009.
    As per LTTE, how can LTTE force Tamils to fight world greatest brave fight against Srilankan military supported by many countries?? Common sense, If LTTE forced them, Y Srilanka used Chemical weapons on them?? Y locked them CONCENTRATION CAMPS after genocide, U deny access to even UN to see them, etc, etc. you cannot talk both ways.

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    As per Tamils come + work in Colombo, Srilanka deliberately not developed Tamil areas to force the Tamils to come + work in Colombo. If Tamil areas have full autonomy, we Tamils would made like SINGAPOORE, Sinhalese people would have come to work in Tamil areas.
    As per the so called 49% Tamils in the south, this is a TYPICAL DIABOLICAL serial lie by Srilanka + Sinhala racist to fool only yourselves because TNA won all their MPs in North + East not in the south, If your lies 40% WERE true, where are the other 18 Tamil MPs from the south as Proportional representation system still in Srilanka?????? come on my friend, you cannot insult the intelligence of humans by Diabolical lies without any sort of hard evidence.
    If Majority of Tamils as you lie, y Srilanka afraid of UN inquiry or UN referendum among Tamils??? you cannot talk both ways my friend, Put up or Shut up your diabolical lies.

    • 4
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      “”Tamil areas have full autonomy, we Tamils would made like SINGAPOORE, Sinhalese people would have come to work in Tamil areas. “”

      you are like the frog in the northern well when the world is so big with multiple wells and the powers that rule are networked.- its all about trade from the days of New World.

      your culture is too stupidly logical that makes you the outcast. Chinese hate `logical necessity` and prefer common sense and leaving things undone- its outside your stupidity and western english/american too have bad logic.

      •LKY the author of Singapre did not think south Indians could make it and did not let even the Ashes of Nair back to Singapore :
      I have said this on many a previous occasion: that had the mix in Singapore been different, had it been 75% Indians, 15% Malays and the rest Chinese, it would not have worked. Because they believe in the politics of contention, of opposition. But because the culture was such that the populace sought a practical way out of their difficulties, therefore it has worked.

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    OK Usha,

    The bottom line is NONE of his demands were met. In fact we all laugh at these loser demands. Thileepan died for no reason.
    Doesnt look like anyone has knocked some sense into the poor chap. he died for no reason. What a waste!

    Perhaps the other tamils will learn a lesson not to do stupid things?

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      Don’t be too smart!
      hindian is your god father and [Edited out]

  • 0
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    Great article by Usha S Sri-Skanda-Rajah .Thileepan’s death proved that non violence would not work.This was a pivotal moment in the Tamil struggle.

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      non violence was a short lived weapon with a different culture that was on the brink of war in Europe.
      and violence has only ended up violently even with Israel and Ireland in limbo.

      When Elizabethan England needed pirates to protect the Empire she was able to produce enough pirates to meet the situation and glorified them. In every period England was able to fight the right war, against the right enemy, with the right ally, on the right side, at the right time, and call it by a wrong name. England did not do it by logic, did they? They did it by their tentacles.

      What did GL Peiris and Passa call the battle at Nandikadal?

  • 0
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    Great Soul Thileepn, Rt.Hon.V. Pirpakaran + >30K Tamils brave heroes all died in vain after Gullible TNA + Eelam Tamils united + committed POLITICAL Suicide by voting to MY3 + again voting to same gullible TNA.
    Unless Tamils chase the gullible politicians among TNA from our politics, demand our self rule by holding a UN referendum as UN held in East Timor, Sudan, Kosovo, etc, there will be many MULLIVAIKKAL Massacres until Srilanka says that Srilanka is 100% SINHALA BUDDHIST STATE – that is the ONE NATION agenda by Sinhala racists.

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