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Response to BJP Lok Sabha speech on Sri Lanka:

Shenali Waduge

The speech by former Foreign Minister Yashwant Singh recently to the members of the Lok Sabha was moving and drew attention to genocide of Tamils by Sri Lanka with a seven point plan proposed by the BJP. The validity of these accusations needs to be analyzed. http://www.youtube.com/embed/y1y412wIsUc

Let us take Yaswant Singh’s recommendations first.

1. Urge Sri Lanka to withdraw its army from the North – war ended four years ago. Sri Lanka should already have had law and order. Let them not run the north on a daily basis.

Sri Lanka’s response

a. Sri Lanka is a sovereign nation. India cannot ask Sri Lanka where to remove or move its forces. We don’t urge India to withdraw its army from Kashmir!

b. Sri Lanka would first urge India to remove all factors that continue to carry the LTTE slogans locally, overseas and in India in order to remove the “risk” factor that these elements will again start fresh insurgencies. India may well recall how it transported school dropouts including Prabhakaran and trained them in India. We can’t afford a similar situation to be repeated.

Former Foreign Minister
Yashwant Singh

2.“Let them sincerely implement the recommendations of the LLRC – Sri Lanka government is not implementing those recommendations”

Sri Lanka’s response

a. LLRC is an internal set of recommendations which the government is not duty bound to implement in toto just because a foreign nation requests Sri Lanka to.

b. LLRC cannot be implemented simply because it is recommended if it violates any clauses of the constitution of the country.

3. “Let Sri Lanka implement the provisions of the 13th a plus – Sri Lanka government in its discussions has always promised”

Sri Lanka’s response

a. The 13th amendment to the Constitution along with the Provincial Council system was forced upon Sri Lanka by India. It does not have the consent of the people of Sri Lanka.

b. The President of the country who is himself elected by the people of Sri Lanka is mandated to seek approval of the people of Sri Lanka. The people’s will is what must prevail.

c. The Provincial Council system should be abolished completely given that it provides no relief or services to the people of the provinces and the large scale of crimes committed by provincial councilors serves as proof. If foreign nations are concerned about the welfare of the people of Sri Lanka they should exert pressures to abolish these provincial councils to adapt to a more practical area of district level governance where it is easier to devolve day-to-day administrative needs.

4. “Impartial inquiry be held into charges of genocide of civilian Tamils by Sri Lanka Forces during Eelam war – an inquiry with people from outside Sri Lanka.”

Sri Lanka’s response

a. We agree with Yaswant Singh wholeheartedly on this suggestion. The world certainly needs to know the “crimes” and the crimes cannot cover a selected period only because a crime is a crime and the guilty must be exposed.

b. A Presidential Commission of Inquiry is thus recommended. International inquiry members should comprise a representative from China, Russia and Pakistan – nations that have openly shown solidarity to Sri Lanka without succumbing to Western pressure. Nations that Sri Lanka can rely on.

c. A Presidential COI should rightfully cover the entire conflict from the very first crime committed as those victims cannot be over looked which would be a violation of Sri Lanka’s constitution giving “equality” before the law.

d. A Presidential COI cannot include India into the international observer team for India is a key player in the conflict having trained LTTE and other school dropouts and turned them into professional killers and giving arms and financial support for the purpose of destabilizing Sri Lanka.

Lok Sabha

5. Clear commitment on the part of Sri Lanka government after inquiry guilty shall be punished.

Sri Lanka’s response

a. The Sri Lankan people will accept an apology in the least by India and acknowledgement of training the LTTE and helping them financially and with weapons as well as other militant groups.

6. Let India not merely vote in UNHRC take a lead in drafting a resolution in UNHRC - with the language of the resolution

Sri Lanka’s response

a. It is India’s prerogative whether it takes a leading role or plays a role behind the scenes that India is normally used to doing. Being stabbed in the back is nothing we are not surprised in view of India’s past records. Therefore, it makes little relevance to us what language used because the UN and the UNHRC is in the eyes of the people just a puppet of the West.

7. Finally – let India convey in no uncertain terms to the other nations in our neighbourhood and the world at large any undue inference with Sri Lanka will not be tolerated.

Sri Lanka’s response

a. This looks more of a threat to other nations that are engaging Sri Lanka. Not only should Sri Lanka engage with these nations but also build greater ties with the States of India for the likelihood that these states would end up “autonomous” is something that Sri Lanka should keep in mind.

There are no permanent friends in politics – only permanent interests. Therefore Sri Lanka’s new foreign policy strategy should be to first realign with our natural historical allies and to next align with the geopolitical realities.

The BJP Government ruled India from 1996 to 2004 taking over from the Narasimha Rao Government that ruled India from 1991 to 1996. It was in 1991 that Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated on Indian soil, in Tamil Nadu by the very organization that his mother created to destabilize Sri Lanka – exactly a decade after India trained the very group in India. The Jain Commission found the LTTE guilty of Rajiv’s murder, Prabhakaran and Pottu Amman was incriminated for the crime and the Commission also named former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister as having links to the LTTE.

Where was Justice for Rajiv?

Justice for Rajiv Gandhi meant India did nothing against the LTTE, nothing against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, nothing against Tamil Nadu-LTTE ties and the greater damage was filing action in the Supreme Court to demand the Jain Commission expunge the period 1981-1987 because it revealed India’s role in training LTTE and many other Sri Lankan militant groups in India by Indian army and Indian intelligence. The Indian government also sought to remove reference to the LTTE for the crime. These actions post-Rajiv death indicated Rajiv’s death was insignificant for the greater Indian objective. We see that continue as his widow bows down to every demand made by the very state that assassinated Rajiv and has been planning to break away from India since early 1930s.

The BJP that ruled from 1996 to 2004 was also part of the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement shadow-managed and supervised by Vajpayee’s Advisor Brajesh Mishra. The Agreement all but ceded territory and power to the LTTE and is regarded by Sri Lanka as one of the most treacherous agreements.

When Mr. Singh says “the tragedy of the Sri Lankan Tamils is one of the greatest tragedies of our times” – we demand to know in what ways he is qualified to claim so. Yes, the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have been in the North for four years now. What is the genocide that has taken place? How many Tamils have been shot dead since 2009 to the present? Mr. Singh with an Indian soldier for every seven Kashmiri’s in Kashmir you cannot afford to be speaking on the subject of militarization.

Indian language policies

The Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka have far more freedoms than the Tamils do in India. With 72m Tamils, a state named after its ethnic race why did India’s Tamils demand a separate state since early 1930s, angered by the Indian language policies, Hindi domination and other discriminations? Instead of alleging let us know by point form what these discriminations are. Discriminations must be those in the present context and those which Tamils exclusively suffer from that are denied to them legally and constitutionally which the other ethnic groups enjoys. We would very much like to see this list.

Possibly Mr. Singh has not seen LTTE crimes over 30 years. If Mr. Singh has not seen pictures or videos of the LTTE crimes upon babies, children, pregnant mothers, the old and scores of other civilians asleep or in their homes someone from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry must immediately send a copy of the last 30 years of LTTE crimes because Mr. Singh used his allocated time to speak of a “young child, eating a biscuit and next found lying on the ground” to come to the conclusion that the Sri Lankan Armed Forces murdered him when there was not a speck of blood found on the body leave alone evidence that the Sri Lankan army shot him. Mr. Singh this is what we call playing to the gallery and we would have sent you tissues in advance.

The reference to the IPKF is certainly noteworthy given that for the first time we are told that the Indian military casualties in the IPKF operation was 2900 and not 1200. While, Mr. Singh laments in 2013 that the IPKF soldiers has no memorial in India he may like to ask why BJP did not put a memorial given that they ruled from 1996 to 2004 and IPKF left Sri Lanka in March 1990. There was plenty of time for a memorial to be put up for the IPKF.

Peace negotiations

We would like to know what “untold atrocities” were committed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. Give instances, dates and names of victims. All we are quoted are preposterous figures that get inflated whenever an international event is being held. We want to know who their families are, what their names are where they lived. Do not simply throw allegations without proof. The Sri Lankan state has every right to feel “triumphalism” – we suffered 30 years of terror for which India stands also culpable in training the LTTE. India cannot clean its blood-soaked hands from this fact – Lady Macbeth did a better job trying. Did the Americans not celebrate when the US President announced that Osama bin Laden was killed. Osama’s role in 9/11 has yet to be even proven. LTTE crimes last 30 years and they have accepted their atrocities.

Mr. Singh also claims that the centre piece of India’s policy is “no military solution to a conflict” – that may be India’s policy but India cannot grudge Sri Lanka for adapting a Just War solution having weathered countless ceasefires, peace negotiations and agreements all nothing but failures giving no solution except to give VIP treatment to terrorists and allow them to fly overseas and forge greater links and purchase weapons.

The COI should reveal all these sins and the names of the people associated with it. Even if they lead to the exposure of public officials currently holding portfolios we would like to have their sins revealed in public.

If the President of Sri Lanka organized a “troika” to keep India informed of all that was happening upon Sri Lanka’s decision to apply Just War theory the primary reason was that in 1987 when Prabhakaran was cornered in Vadaramachchi and would have been caught India not only intervened but threatened to invade Sri Lanka. This was India threatening a sovereign nation to save a terrorist India had trained. So what is India talking about and who is India trying to fool.

Mr. Singh himself says on behalf of the BJP “We are not in favour of a separate nation created out of Sri Lanka”.

The Tamils need to realize that everyone is riding on the “discrimination of Tamil” slogan to simply push their agendas and that is why Mr. Singh himself “sheds tears on their plight”. Otherwise, they should openly invite Tamils to live in India if they were unhappy in Sri Lanka.

Now that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister is calling for Tamil Eelam – which rightly has to be in Tamil Nadu the onus is on India to facilitate that because obviously Tamils do not wish to live in a multi-cultural society and are all the time claiming to want a separate state to solve their problems on their own. India should give this in a state that already is named Tamil State and Tamil is its official language and led by Tamils too. It is already a State run by Tamils without autonomy.

A Presidential Commission of Inquiry with international presence of China, Russia and Pakistan investigating into all of the crimes committed since the inception of terror in Sri Lanka will enable real reconciliation in Sri Lanka. India’s role in Sri Lanka’s conflict cannot be suppressed or kept hidden. “Facts of history are facts of history” and cannot be denied – we agree with these words of Jashwant Singh.

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