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India remains silent over Eelam Tamils

[Press Release, Friday, 26 February 2010 18:46 No Comment]
By Satheesan Kumaaran

After Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa won in the elections, held in January this year, for the second consecutive time. Indian leaders issued statements congratulating Rajapaksa. India, too, requested that Rajapaksa carefully handle Sarath Fonseka, the former Sri Lankan army general, who contested as the main oppositing candidate against Rajapaksa. The Indian leaders’ statements were in empathy on the arrest of Fonseka and the victory of Rajapaksa and the elections manifested India’s real motives in dealing with Sri Lankan affairs.

Political observers view India as a sleeping ‘king cobra’ in the Indian sub continent, especially in the affairs of Sri Lanka. When Eelam Tamils were facing disastrous military overtures launched by Rajapaksa in the first term of his presidency, India was supporting Rajapaksa’s regime. Even when hundreds of thousands of Tamils were putting pressure upon the international community to punish Sri Lanka for launching genocidal war against Tamils, India came in support of Rajapaksa, along with China and Russia, in the UN’s human rights body. As a result, the attempt made by the U.S, U.K, France, Germany, and numerous other western countries went without any success to bring the Sri Lankan leaders who ordered for the ethnic cleansing of Tamils to book.

As to the statement of the former UN envoy to Sri Lanka, nearly 40,000 Tamils perished in the last phase of the Eelam War IV, especially in the first five months of 2009. Even after the victory over the LTTE in the war, the Sri Lankan armed forces still continue to abduct, kill, and rape Tamil civilians in the Northeast. In the recent month, Sri Lankan armed forces killed women, in Kilinochchi, and abducted school going teenage girls, in Jaffna. But, India, in spite of their awareness of all these, through their diplomat in Colombo, and especially Indian intelligence, have been very active in the Tamil-dominated Northeast, where the Indian central government gets up to date ground facts and maintains silence.

India speaks outs in favour of general and leader of authoritarian regime

When Fonseka was arrested, India was alerted. India sent special envoys and, quietly, through the Indian high commission in Colombo, worked hard throughout the day and night to ease the tensions and requested Rajapaksa to respect Fonseka. Even Fonseka had to issue a statement requesting the Sinhala general public to stay calm. This is a clear example of how Rajapaksa wants to eliminate all of his opponents. He does this because he does not want any opposition to his rule. He calls for the parliamentary elections which are to be held in April, 2010. So, Rajapaksa does not want Fonseka to come out of jail until he wins in the parliamentary elections as well.

In this scenario, India keeps playing its political card to keep the island nation calm. It, especially does not want any unrest to take place due to the arrest of Fonseka. That would create further complications for India, because it feels that Fonseka is pro China and pro Pakistan, the arch enemies of India. Also, India does not want an army general to rule the country as it would be an example for military coups in the future, not just in Sri Lanka but elsewhere too.

Also, India does not want to alienate Rajapaksa and his brothers. They, both, are very influential in Sri Lanka, in the recent past, as they hold high portfolios in the government, and they are integral in shaping the history of Sri Lanka. It is clearly evident that Fonseka made a “private visit” to Mumbai – prior to the presidential election in January this year, apparently to open a line of communication with Indian political leaders, while Rajapaksa’s brothers, Basil and Gotabhaya – senior advisor to the president and defense secretary respectively – met top Indian officials as part of a Sri Lankan delegation, in the same month prior to the election. They were reported to have briefed Delhi about the steps taken by Rajapaksa to resettle the Tamil Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and to have assured the Indian government of Rajapaksa’s commitment to finding a political solution to the long-running ethnic conflict between the island’s Sinhalese majority, the Tamils, and other minorities. Although the reasons that were cited by the Indian media were that the visits were to brief India about the plights of Tamils, actually the visits by both sides of India were to seek Indian support, especially in the aftermath of the elections.

Despite the fact that India has a great say in regard to the Eelam Tamil issue, it was just giving lip service to the Sinhala leadership. New Delhi wanted the Eelam Tamil issue to be the Indian subcontinent issue, similar to how the Palestinian issue is in the Middle East. After Rajapaksa got elected for the second term, the Indian Congress party leader, Sonia Gandhi, Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, and India’s External Affairs Minister, Krishna, sent out congratulatory letters to Rajapaksa for the second term victory in the elections. In their letters they requested Rajapaksa to fulfil the political demands of Eelam Tamils. However, all these statements are not a new phenomenon. India has been doing it for decades, especially since the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991. This is just to show that India does not want to be directly involved in the conflict, but it is definitely monitoring the situation carefully, especially because China and Pakistan would have greater influence in the affairs of Sri Lanka. India feels that it would be a direct threat to Indian interest. So, these kinds of demands are just a showpiece to threaten India’s enemies, so that they would not step foot in the southern tip of the Indian subcontinent.

India does not mind anyone coming to power in Sri Lanka as long as they comply with India’s policies. Also, India does not want an army general who, from time to time, applauded Pakistan and China as the best friends of Sri Lanka. So, India would not mind anyone coming to power in Sri Lanka, even though they are the war criminals who should be tried in the courts for the killings of thousands of Tamils. But, India’s main concern is that, as long as anyone coming to power respects the strategies of India, it would not mind associating with him.

In any event, India is not concerned with the plights of the Tamils. All they want is to keep the Eelam Tamil issue alive, so that India can keep on poking its nose so that Sri Lanka cannot be close to other friendly countries, like Pakistan and China. India was, is, and will keep issuing statements that they care about the plights of Tamils, but this is just an eye-wash for their own geopolitical benefits. Eelam Tamils have very well understood this. The old saying that one who knocks the head is a fool and the one who bows the head is also a fool. Tamils have already burned their nose many times on the hidden agenda of India and they already sacrificed over 140,000 Tamils and more than 25,000 Tamil freedom fighters. They are no longer trusted India. But, New Delhi is using the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu’s chief minister, Karunanidhi, as a messenger. He is doing everything possible by taking Eelam’s cause as a political card, in order to please New Delhi.

Karunanidhi playing double standard in Eelam Tamil issue

Karunanidhi is popularly known for his script writing for the cinema, since the early 1950’s. He rose to cause the Himalaya’s victory, in family and political lives. He made a fortune through politics, in the guise that he was fighting to create reform among the Tamils, in India. For the last few decades, his supporters brand him as the world’s Tamil leader. Further, Karunanidhi does not want any Tamil person to become as popular as a world Tamil leader. Karunanidhi was deeply concerned when the LTTE’s leader, V. Pirapaharan, arose as a great world Tamil leader. Karunanidhi was not in a good mindset to accept it.

Karunanidhi used his tactical methods to keep the LTTE at the corner, and he succeeded, which were the wishes of New Delhi and Colombo. All of these forces worked together and they finally led to the destruction of Tamil Eelam’s homeland, in addition to the killings of more than 30,000 Tamil civilians. But, Karunanidhi does not seem happy yet. He wants to keep the Eelam cause alive, among the Tamils, so that he can put his family members in the political forefront, especially in the Tamil Nadu assembly elections, which are to be held soon. Karunanidhi would not be able to contest in this election because he is too old to campaign. So, he already appointed the former Chennai major, his son, M. Stalin, as the deputy chief minister. Stalin was given important high portfolios in the government. Karunanidhi thought Stalin would learn the administration well before he takes the post as chief minister, when Karunanidhi retires. This is the time for Karunanidhi to take rest. He wants Stalin to take up the chief minister post so that he could guide his son. Further, Karunanidhi wants his other son, M. Azhagiri, and daughter, Kanimozhi, to stay in politics, especially in New Delhi, as the representatives of Tamil Nadu. So, Karunanidhi wants to use the Eelam struggle, as well as other national issues, such as the Sethu Samudram canal project, the Mullaperiyar dam, and the Cauvery dam issues, as a tool.

When Tamils were massacred by the Sri Lankan State, Karunanidhi was launching several protests, despite the fact that he is a coalition partner in the ruling Indian central government, led by the Congress Party. Eelam Tamils were asking the questions of why Karunanidhi would need to launch such protests, wasting the time and energy of the State. Karunanidhi, who is a leading member of the coalition government that rules the Indian central government, and Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh, have great respect for Karunanidhi as the senior statesman, That could have created pressure on the Indian central government otherwise. Why would Karunanidhi want to organize such costly protests, while the solution is just a phone call from Chennai to New Delhi?

Now, Karunanidhi flip-flops the coin saying that his party, Drivida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), will not remain a mute spectator if there is failure or delay in implementation of assurances by the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, given at the time of the recent presidential election on the devolution of powers to Sri Lankan Tamils. Karunanidhi said in a statement recently, “The DMK government will not hesitate to pressure the Union government for appropriate action…It would behove a fair and just democracy to fulfil electoral promises once the polls were over.” On the Rajapaksa government’s arrest of former Army chief and the defeated opposition of the presidential candidate, Sarath Fonseka, Karunanidhi said, “We know that in the history of Sri Lanka, then and now, who all were betrayed and killed…Rulers of Sri Lanka would not have forgotten the way Alexander the Great treated the defeated King Porus.”

It is mostly likely that Karunanidhi must have read the western and eastern side’s theories of the story of Alexander and Porus. Although, the eastern theory say that the King, Porus, was not really defeated by the Alexander of Greece, but that the wife of Alexander, who was an Iranian pleaded Porus, with brotherly attitude, that her husband wants nothing but his reputation. Alexander never wanted him to fall to the ground in the battlefield, but he wanted to be the victor. So, Porus was made to the ground on the brotherly request of Alexander’s wife, whom Porus considered his sister. Then, Alexander claimed that he defeated Porus. But, Karunanidhi should be aware of the people that betrayed the Eelam Tamils and caused the destruction of the Eelam nation.

Because, if the Tamil Nadu whole-heartedly came in support of Eelam Tamils, Tamil Eelam would have been formed a long time ago. Even if the former ADMK leader and chief minister, the late M. G. Ramachandran, was not dead in 1987, he would have seen the birth of Tamil Eelam, a long time back. But, Karunanidhi, and the latter leader of ADMK, used Eelam Tamils as their political tool. They were never concerned about the well being of Tamils, in Sri Lanka.

Eelam Tamils have sacrificed enough. However, the Indian central government and Tamil Nadu political parties use Eelam Tamils as a tool for their own fortune and interest. They do not have any concerns for the plights of the Tamils. They want to keep the spirit of Eelam alive for their own benefits. India, with its giant, elephant, big brother attitude, would not let any other smaller states overpower themselves, and India, especially, does not want Sri Lanka to befriend India’s enemies. India will pay any price to keep Sri Lanka away from the influence of China and Pakistan. Hence, Eelam Tamils will be tools for India, for its own benefits. But, it is pathetic that the sufferers of all the great political and diplomatic games are the oppressed Eelam Tamils.

(The author can be reached at e-mail: satheesan_kumaaran@yahoo.com)

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