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Government Gazette

Political expediencies and the clouds of war!

Gen. Sarath Fonseka in one of his many statements to the press during his tenure as the Army Commander said that the ‘minorities can live in this country but they do not have the right to wage war in the name of grievances’. Well, that was Sarath Fonseka, the professional army soldier, but now after having received his ‘political tuition’ from the UNP and Ranil Wickremesinghe he has changed his views and have entered in to an understanding with the LTTE proxy, the current TNA a.k.a the ITAK.

ITAK stands for Ilangey Tamil Arasu Kachchi and that means ‘The Party for a Tamil State in Sri Lanka’.

This party was formed by SJV Chelvanayagam on December 19, 1949 at the Railway Union office in Maradana, Colombo with some hubristic Tamil leaders who shared his separatists thinking. This effectively was a few months after the formation of the first independent Government of Ceylon under D. S. Senanayake.

Deeds and sayings of SJVC during this time made it amply clear that his real intention, right from the time of independence, was not peaceful cohabitation with the majority Sinhalese but separatism by some means or the other.

Addressing a YMMA meeting in Fort in 1948 SJVC maintained that. “It is better for us to have our own land than to live on the benevolence of the Sinhalese”. In here he has been truthful when he uses the word ‘benevolence’ for what he meant was that however well the Sinhalese would treat the Tamils, there is a compulsive urge among the Tamils to be separate. This truthfulness probably bellied him for the rest of his life when he concocted all those lies about ‘Tamils getting discriminated in the hands of the ‘Sinhala’ Government.’

Return to safety, the dream of the displaced

SJV Chelvanayagam missed out the opportunity to become a Minister in the First Cabinet in the Independent Ceylon, because there were two senior Tamils ahead of him including his own party leader Ganapathypillai Ganapragasam Ponnambalam.

Hence he quarrelled with his leader for betraying the ‘Tamil cause’ by accepting a Ministerial portfolio in the ‘Sinhala Government’. It was then that he left his party All Ceylon Tamil Congress to form his own party, the IATK.

This party thus formed, by its own very name betrayed the duplicity and the mala-fide intentions of its leader, SJVC. Although this party was named in Tamil as Ilankay Tamil Arasu Kachchi, SJVC was careful enough to name the party in English and in Sinhala as the ‘Federal Party’. This careful distinction was made primarily because, to the Tamil polity he wanted to project the picture of a messiah who will deliver them to their promised land justifying his need to focus on racialism while to the English and Sinhala speaking people he conveyed the impression that he was only requesting a ‘Federal State for the Tamils’.

States that have amalgamated as Federations have ‘Federal institutions’ for administrative, investigative and research needs of that new country, centrally operating to coordinate the activities of all the states. But never have we heard of a political party called ‘Federal party’ in any of those countries. This name ‘Federal’ therefore was fraudulently handpicked by Chelvanayagam to mislead the Sinhalese and hence the emphasis.

The strategy that time was to demand a federation and then to opt out of that federation at the propitious time.

This is the beginning of Tamil separatism and it was this party ITAK; that focused and obsessed the local Tamils under the banner of racialism: that organized the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates to finance and propagate the Eelam war: that obtained the support of the Christian and Catholic Churches to its cause; that established relations with Tamil Nadu to instigate the South Indian Tamils and thereby to pressurize the Central Government of India: that established the massive global misinformation campaign against the state of Sri Lanka.

Therefore, for S J V. Chelvanayagam to start this ITAK in 1949, the ‘Tamil cause’ should have existed by then, and that is by 1949. Since the Government of Independent Sri Lanka was formed in February 1948 what factors could have led Chelvanayagam to take this course of action, especially in view of the fact that no legislation that affected any community has been sanctioned by the newly formed Legislative State Assembly.

And more paradoxically, all the incidents that the Tamil leaders cite as reasons for Tamil grievances that manifested into a ‘Tamil cause’ have taken place after 1949. That is; the Citizenship Act was in 1951: the Galoya Valley settlements were in 1952: the language issue was in 1956: Abrogation of the BC Pact was in 1956; the letter ‘Shri’ was in 1958; Dudley Chelvanayagam Pact was in 1965; standardization of University entrance was in 1972 and July riots was in 1983.

Therefore it is nothing but logical to conclude that the ‘Tamil cause’ was not a result of discrimination by the ‘Sinhala majority’ Government since independence but rather it existed at the time of independence. What happened after independence was that Chelvanayagam, after having formed the separatist Tamil party in 1949 was on the look out for situations that could be interpreted as reasons for this Tamil separatist campaign. Hence every piece of legislation that was introduced to redress colonial grievances and democratize the country was twisted as being designed to ‘discriminate the Tamils’. Therefore the ‘Tamil grievances - post independence’ was invented by the founder of ITAK to form the basis of their eventual struggle, political and armed, against the newly independent state.

Hence it should now be clear that this ITAK founded by Chelvanayagam and currently led by Sampanthan is an inherently separatist party that never stood for a unitary Sri Lanka and their ‘grievances’ were only a front to wage war against the state. They have never deviated from their 1951 Trincomalee declaration, 1976 Vadukkodai resolution and the 1981 Thimpu principles which insisted on Territorial separation, Eelam sovereignty and Self-government for Tamils.

Mahinda Rajapaksa has always stood by the unity of Sri Lanka and has unequivocally declared that all those communities who wish a united Sri Lanka are welcome to support him.

Hence it is now apparent that Fonseka is wooing the minorities promising them more than what a peaceful and united country could afford. ITAK could now horse trade the Tamil vote only because Rajapaksa liberated the Tamils from the clutches of Prabhakaran.

Political expediencies of myopic leaders like Chandrika and Ranil strengthened the LTTE and now it looks that Fonseka is treading the same path. But in the case of Fonseka, indulging in ITAK separatism and an eventual war will suit him better because he is a man who revels in war. Fonseka would not wish for anything more than the Presidency in a war ravaged country for he could then import arms, carry out extra judicial killings and suspend democracy altogether.

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