Tehelka report brings out genocide at sea: Eezham Tamil activist

The Tehelka report on Friday by Revati Laul touches a crucial facet of the structural genocide against Eezham Tamils that takes place not only in land but also in sea, commented a Tamil political activist in the island. This facet of structural genocide, dating from the British rule in severing the natural relations of Eezham Tamils with the Tamils of Tamil Nadu was structured further by the Sinhala State after the so-called independence. It is now intensified with the complicity of New Delhi in coming to the level of sealing off the coasts of Eezham Tamils depriving of their traditional economic activity, industrial exploitation of their seas without their consent or participation, and even snatching away their subsistence by bringing in militarily protected Sinhala fishermen from the South to occupy the coasts and seas, the activist said.

Further comments from the Tamil political activist on the issue follow:

Revati Laul In the late 19th century, even the British Government Agent in Jaffna opposed the British railway line coming from Colombo to Jaffna, as it would affect the native trade of Eezham Tamils carried out between the ports of Jaffna and India at that time.

But in early 20th century the Colombo-centric British administration closed down the northern ports on the pretext of the spread of ‘epidemics’ and allowed only one line of communication with ‘quarantine’ through Thalai Mannaar that was opened for the purpose of plantation labour migration.

The traditional Eezham Tamil trade was labelled as ‘smuggling’ under independent Sinhala State and in the pretext of controlling it, Colombo designed a strategy of encircling the north with Sinhala military camps as early as in the 1960s.

A Sinhala Government Agent of Jaffna in the 1960s later wrote how it was a long-term strategy, not simply against smuggling but in fact aiming against Tamils politically and structurally.

The post-2009 acceleration of sealing off the coasts of Eezham Tamils militarily, bringing in large Sinhala military cum economic enclaves along the coasts in the pretext of High Security Zones and enactment of demographic cum structural genocide especially on the coastal communities of Eezham Tamils, are colossally more than the 1960s strategy.

The strategy now has global aims to lock India forever, whatever the Establishment that may come in New Delhi in future. They also aim at locking every power, whether it is the West or the East that has geopolitical interests using the card of Eezham Tamils in future.

Unfortunately, the larger perspective of the dangers of the genocide committed on Eezham Tamils at sea, has not been understood properly by the media in India that was once fed with the phobia about LTTE’s navy and later influenced by the greed of the corporates jumping at ‘economically embracing’ the genocidal State, or carried away to superficially look at and reduce the gravity of the issue into issues like that of the fishermen.

It is a welcome point that the North India-based Tehelka has touched the issue in its report to imply structural genocide of Eezham Tamils at sea.

But the Indian public needs to be enlightened much more on that issue in a country where the Establishment in New Delhi stomps at the very use of the word genocide to shield the crime it had committed and in the process endangers polity and civilization of humanity in the entire region.

The genocide of Eezham Tamils at sea is an issue crucial to India and Indian media need not wait for a Channel-4 or a BBC to first talk about it.

“Even in the aftermath of the terror and genocide, the Tamil idea of nationhood has not disappeared. If India does not want another cycle of violence at its doorstep, it cannot afford to be indifferent to the voices of the Lankan Tamils,” the Tehelka report concluded.

The report also cited a coastal Tamil folk saying that all he could do now was to walk into the sea.

Tamil academic Guruparan, cited by Tehelka feature, rightly observed, “Without the history of Tamil oppression and the on-going structural genocide, the story of the Tamils has almost no meaning,” the Tamil political activist in the island commented.

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