கவனிக்க: இந்த மின்னூலைத் தனிப்பட்ட வாசிப்பு, உசாத்துணைத் தேவைகளுக்கு மட்டுமே பயன்படுத்தலாம். வேறு பயன்பாடுகளுக்கு ஆசிரியரின்/பதிப்புரிமையாளரின் அனுமதி பெறப்பட வேண்டும்.
இது கூகிள் எழுத்துணரியால் தானியக்கமாக உருவாக்கப்பட்ட கோப்பு. இந்த மின்னூல் மெய்ப்புப் பார்க்கப்படவில்லை.
இந்தப் படைப்பின் நூலகப் பக்கத்தினை பார்வையிட பின்வரும் இணைப்புக்குச் செல்லவும்: Tamil Times 1997.05
New Indian Premier I.K.Gujral - A Welcome Choic
||ri r L-ma
I.T.T.T. ... . . .
All III cluel CEE: -IT
E S WASSIVE VICTORY
Troops Launch Major Military Offensive
Us UNERO SIANO
Focus on Human Rights
2 TAMIL TIMES
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ISSN 0266 - 44 88 Wol. XVIII No. 5 15 May 1997
Published by: TAM TIMES TO PO Box 121, Sutton, Surrey SM13 TD United Kingdom Phone: 0181644 0972 Fax: 0181 24f 4557 Email: prajanognapC.Org
Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the editor or publishers. The publishers assume no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts,
photographs or artwork,
Blair's Victory 03 Military Offensive in the North O4 Broadcasting Bill Over-ruled 05 Focus on Human Rights 06 Indian New PM Welcomed O7 Future of PA-UNP Agreement 08 Father of Tamil Nationalism t MPs Call for Third-party Mediation 13 Towards a Credible Solution 5 AWin-Win Outcome, the Only Way 18 Pathway to Peace 19 Refugees-UNHCR Stance 20 A Plea From Trincomalee 22 Gujral the PM, for How Long? 23 Sonia Reviving the Mystique 25 Indo-Pakistan Relations 27 Lessons from Sri Lanka for India 29 Classified 30
The recent Bri revamped and ret decisive electoral emphatic Labour Seats has been W certainly worked dicted a Labour W ing victory for Ne The Tories sufi tury. After being it the eyes of the per incompetөтсө атк long.
When a gover ten, it stops the w ruption," wrote Will taught the painful worst defeat upon justiyangтурөopl its casuaties doze ing ministers, wo
Ordes were electo seat thus kosing til even with its Little ConservatiVo Part denonstrated the
Ending Labour Prime9 Minjster Sin narkable historic V. by thousands of pe asm for the new ge After 18 years a But if should be reá wanted change. In arrod refashioned ir parts of the count Blair made it happ has a massive na The Central idec the Consecration o of public assets to democracy and ac power of Whitehall, ns, and the redistin The pronounce legislative program aspirations of the ( to the "Social Cha With the same Soc land and Wales by reform of the Hous Ionistic entitlemen the National Healt introduction of a n government house ited from being use to join trade union quarters (GCHQ), the European Con sion to foreign poli these proposals c. by the new British The ultinate ch and ability to put i goodwill and supp the political wilder
ELECTION AND BAR'S VICTORY
sh general election has produced a new Labour government. The shioned Labour Party under Tony Blair's leadership won the most landslide since 1931. The sheer magnitude of the staggeringly ictory reflected in its stupendous parliamentary majority of 179 dely described as a political earthquake. The Labour leadership nd hoped for a victory. The several opinion polls consistently pre. But no one even in their wildest dreams expected such a crushLabour under Tony Blair.
ared their most humiliating and biggest electoral defeat this cenpower for 18 long years, the Conservative Party had become in plea degenerate party of political and moral corruption and sheer 'complacency born out of an arrogance of power held for far too
ment, like an old-fashioned building, has become crazy and rot. ' ay of improvement, and only serves to collect diseases and coram Hazlitt of the Bourbons of old who never learnt until they were esson by the people, And deservedly the people administered the the Tories summarily despatching them out of political power. A inflicted an unprecedented electoral massacre which claimed as ns of seats of once very powerful cabinet ministers, middle-rankld-be future leaders and grandees of the 1922 Committee. The rally obliterated in Scotland and Wales failing to get even a single heir claim to be a truly national party of the whole country That -Englandish-Europhobic nationalist disposition, the fact that the y was reduced to a minority party even in the English regions enormity of the electoral catastrophe it suffered. 's 18-year long exile from political power, and as the youngest ce Lord Liverpool in 1812, Tony Blair led his party to a truly reictory and entered Number 10 Downing Streetmobbed and cheered ople evidently displaying the extent of their euphoria and enthusiovernment they had helped to elect flory rule, the country and the people were ripe-ready for change, alised that victory did not fall into Labour's lap just because people its long march back to power, the party had to be reconstructed policy and organisational terms to enable it to reach out to all y and all sections of the people. To his undeniable credit, Tony an and did so most decisively. And the new government led by him ndate from the people, logical thrust of 18 years of Tory rule has been the evil process of "private greed as opposed to collective public good, the stripping the benefit of private monopolistic entities, the diminution of local countability and substituting them with centralised bureaucratic and quangoisation"of public sectorand local government functiobution of wealth from the poor to the rich in an accelerated pace, nents of the new government during its first days in power and its me announced in its first Queen's Speech reflect the hopes and verwhelming majority of the people. They include the signing up pter" of the European Union which will entitle the British people aland economic rights as the rest, devolution of power to Scotthe creation of a Scottish Parliament and a Welsh Assembly the of Lunds by the abolition of the undemocratic, archaic and anachto hereditary peerage, the abolition of the commercialisation of "Service by removing the mechanism of the internal market, the ational minimum wage, the removal of the moratorium on local building for the homeless by the release of funds hitherto prohibd for the purpose, the removal of the ban on the right of workers -like those employed at the Government Communication Headhe enactment of a Freedom of information Act, the adoption of 9ntion of Human Rights into domestic law, and an ethical dimeny with a focus on human rights in its dealing with other states. All nstitute an ambitious, progressive and substantial commitment /overnment illenge and test of the new government will be its determination to practice what it has promised, and if it does it will have the rt of the people in full measure leaving the Tories to languish in 9ss for a long, long time,
4 TAMIL TIMES
TROOPSLAUNCHMA OFFENSIVE IN THEN
The Sri Lankan troops numbering over 20,000, backed by helicopter gunships, and armoured battle tanks, setting out from the northern town of Vavuniya on 13 May launched a major military of fensive against what the military described asTamil Tiger positions. With aircover provided by warplanes, artillery and battle tanks, troops were bulldozing trees and vegetation and advancing along the flanks of the highway, wary of LTTE land mines and booby-traps. On the second day of the offensive, it was reported that the LTTE-controlled town of Omanthal, five miles into LTTE territory, had been captured by the advancing troops with little resistance being offered by the Tigers. The town was deserted as the army entered the town, a sure sign that the civilians had already moved out of the area. The troops while consolidating their positions in Omanthaiwere reportedly slowly advancing further towards Mankulam.
Reports datelined 14 May indicate that Tigers had begun to hit back at the advancing troops following the capture of Omanthai. Reports from the north said that heavy fighting broke out along the strategic Vavuniya-Kilinochchi road. "There is heavy fighting just north of Omanthai. Helicopter ambulances have begun to fly in and out with casualties." according to a military officer. An agency report quoting northern sources said that as many as 160 persons from both sides and including civilians might have been killed in the two days of fighting. On 15 May Brig. Tissa Jayatunga said that at least 18 Soldiers had been killed and 31 wounded while claiming that over 100Tiger fighters had been killed.
The objective of the latest offensive, codenamed "Operation Jaya Sikurui" (Sure Victory) is said to be to open up a land route linking government-controlled Vavuniya with the northern Jaffna peninsula through Killinochchi. The government now relies entirely on air and sea transport to send troops and supplies to bases in Jaffna, and also to send supplies to the
civilian population th of the north-central V Kilinochchi and Vav control. But the airfor of transport aircraft mostly in unexplainec powerful SealTiger na posed a continuous Convoys to Jafna.
For weeks it was ps preparing for the as the second major as Vavuniya saw an of troops with vast qu tillery, battle tanks an It was also reported of the offensive, the Over 2,000 of its cadr ern Mullaitivu region military bases and h cated.The Tigers ha ing artillery attacks base in an effort to for the offensive whil of its fighters, incluc and constructing bu vuniya-Jaffna route positions. In a pre-en rS TE forces on 1 1 kulam's army/polic and its surrounding - killing 20 Sri Lan armed homeguards. at 11.30 on Sunday remaining Sri Lanka to flee from the fig tack, a Sri Lankan r matically, with LTTE holding reinforceme members lost their LT TE statement dat ment also added th have lost their lives ka's latest military of from Vavuniya. Lt. M niappa Santhiraku Mootharanjan Selv are the two who die For days before fensive on 13 May,
15 MAY 1997
ere, because most Inni region between niya is under LTTE e has kosta number in recent months, | incidents, While the val wing of the LTTE rave threat to naval
known that the troooffensive, described operation this year, influx of thousands antities of heavy ararmoured vehicles. that in anticipation TTE was mobilising es in the north-eastwhere LTTE's main eadquarters are lose also been launchon the Vavuniya airisrupt preparations a massing hundreds lingwomen cadres, nkers along the Waeady to defend their ptive strike the TigeWaypenetrated Pan
military complex - jrforce fortifications kan soldiers and 5 he attack took place night and caused all n military personnel ting. During the atscue bid failed draforces successfully ts at bay. Eight LTTE ves, according to a d 13 May. The stateut two LTTE fighters the start of Sri Lanensive just launched rugaventham Palaar (Santhiran) and rasa Sureshkumar
he launch of the of Ie military had been
shelling LTTE-controlled areas in the Vanni region from their bases at Elephant Pass, Kilinochchi andVavunya.The LTTE in a statement on 10 May said, "The Sri Lankan military has intensified its shelling of the Tamil population of Vanni. The multi-pronged attack is being launched from three Sri Lankan army bases - at Vavuniya, Kilinochchi and Elephant Pass. Sri Lanka's targets are residential Tamil villages which are densely-populated.The result, as usual, has been chaos- men, Women and children have once more been uprooted as the long-range artillery has them running from pillar to post. Many buildings have already been ruined." Another LTTE statement dated 11 Maysaid, “Non-stop shelling by Sri Lankan forces on Waddakachi in the district of Kilinochchi has created an exodus ofTamil people to Ramanathapuram.The Vaddakachi school has had to be evacuated with students and teachers now crammed together in the Ramanathapuram school, which was itself already over-crowded."
The LTTE in a statement issued on the second of the offensive (14 May) said, Two Tamil civilians have already been killed and many thousands are fleeing at the start of Sri Lanka's latest military assault on the northeast Tamil population. Omanthai and Puliyankulam - both Tamil civilian centres - are scenes of devastation, with hospitals, public buildings, commercial Centres and homes torn to the ground by heavy artillery fire from advancing Sinhalaforces. M124 helicocpters and tanks are smashing up everything in their wake.The firing is intense, indiscriminate and remorseless...Civilians meanwhile have scattered in all directions with thousands forced to take refuge in unsafe jungle terrain. Ahumanitarian crisis is looming and set to worsen, with children and the elderly at particular risk. The international community's response to the impending disaster is yet to be seen as Sri Lankan troops prepare to continue further intoTamil territory. The bombing is continuing unabated"
According to military sources, the Sri Lankan navy also has joined the offensive and launched pre-dawn attacks on the north-eastern coast in the Mullaitivu district. The LTTE confirmed the navy's participation in a statement on 14 May which said, "A fleet of Sri Lankan gunboats raked Mullaitivu's shoreline at dawn yesterday killing a fleeingTamil fisherman. VelupillaiVallipuram was hit while escaping from the navy's cannon fire. Although several other people were injured, most coastal fishing families managed to escape inland. They are presently living under trees in nearby forests"
The LTTE in statement on 16 May said, "LTTE forces at Omanthai yester
(Continued on next page)
A government whlchcame topower promising freedom of expression and media freedom cannot be credited much for its Commitment to its promise nor its political sagacity when the country's Supreme Court dealt a severe blow by rulling that the controversial Sri Lanka Broadcasting Authority Bill enabling the setting up of a powerful broadcasting authority was unconstitutional. In a legal challenge mounted against the Bill, the Supreme Court ruled "that some of the provisions of the Bill are inconsistent with the provisions of the constitution and the bill as a whole is inconsistent with Article 10 of the constitution." Article 10 guarantees the fundamental rights of freedom of thought and conscience, Sri Lankan media organisations halled the ruling as a victory for democracy,
Even friends of the government are at a loss to understand why the government did not produce a White Paper on Media Freedom as it had previously committed itself to do, if it had done so, it would have avoided the critical opposition it had to face and the humiliation of the Supreme Court order against the Bill,
On March 24, a Bill titled the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Authority was gazetted and subsequently presented in Parlament by Minister of Education Richard Pathirana in early April, The undue haste with which
(Continued from page 4)
day stalled the Sri Lankan army's advance, inflicting heavy casualties on troops, Alarge number of government soldiers are known to have died and many more are injured, though exact figures are not yet available, LTTE forces are putting up stiff resistance to Sri Lanka's invading army. Some weapons and ammunition were captured and the body of one Sri Lankan soldier was recovered."
An agency report datelined said that troops rolled out of Omanthal, nine miles north of Vavuniya, on Friday afternoon, heading towards the heavily fortified Tiger-held town of Puliyankulam further north. Troops had advanced about two 1.2 miles from Omanthal. They were being met by stiff resistance from the Tigers, according an official.
A pitched battle was being fought near Nedunkeni, about 25 miles northeast of Vavuniya, where troops advancing along an eastern flanks were being attacked by the Tigers, according to another official.
The army claimed that at least 28Tgers, includingfourwomencadres, Were killed on the fourth day of fighting.
The army claimed that at least 28Tgers, includingfour Women cadres, Were
this process took pl tion that it was time room for the constitu be challenged before The Bill introduced i to set up a Broadca wide powers to mo grant operating licen evision broadcasters the annual renewal o from the authority's appointed by the Mir Would consist of se government ministric fence ministry. The the Minister to remov Authority without clar cedures to be follow tuality,
The nature of the Authority itself has b the Critics of the Bill, Authority, as set out ir sist of six governmen retaries to the Minis and Broadcasting, Telecommunications, tural Affairs (strange
killed on the fourth d ever, a statement by said, "As a tribute tot below the names of 37) LTTE fighters wh the past four days (up invading Sri Lankan o and Nedunkeni.The will be supplied shor pakaran; Srimurugan Ravichandran; Mut Tharmarasa Pavalak Mahatevan; Jeyaratin varasa Sritharan; Sive waran; Kathiravelu R gnanam Santhiraseka varaj; Anthony Croos' thalingam Susinthira kumar; Upali Sivagna bramaniyam Ratnak dran Radiskumar; Kr Kanthasamy Kanthim mes; Krishnapillai Su Rajeswari,”
International humi have confirmed thatt ing between governn Tamil Tigers has resu ment of an estimated' the warafected Vanir
ace led to speculato allow little or no ionality of the Bill to the Supreme Court. parliament sought sting Authority with nitor, regulate and xes to radio and telThe Bill provided for broadcast licences board of directors, İster of Media, Who Cretaries to Various is, including the de3ill also allowed for any member of the fying steps and pro9d in such an even
composition of the een questioned by he eleven-member the Bill, Would contbureaucrats - Sectries of information Defence, Posts and Education and Cully, no such Ministry
ay of fighting. Howhe LTTE on 17 May heir courage we list the first 23 (out of yo lost their lives in to 16.5.97) fighting Forces at Omanthai emaining 14 names tly :-Yokarasa KiruSritharan; Kanesan nuvellu Selvarasa; anthan; Arumugam am Sutharsan; Selnantham Paramesukmani Devi; Sivaram, Muthuras Jeehangathurai; Amun; Kandiah Suriyanamoorthy; SivasuJmar; Ramachanshnapillai Pushpa; athy;Velautham Rabashini; Sinnathurai
anitarian agencies efour days of fightent forces and the ted in the displace5,000 civilians from
exists), Finance and the Chairman of the National Film Corporaton, The other five persons would be nominated by the Media Minister. Of the eleven, only two nominees are required to have experience in the field of broadcasting.
However, over 12 individuals and organisations including the leading opposition party, the United National Party (UNP), and the Free Media Movement have filed cases in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Bill. It is curious that the present government has afforded an undeserved opportunity to the UNP which was notorious for its assaulton freedom of expression during its long years power by its effort to . parent the UNP's child. It appears that the Bill in question was conceived and drawn up during the previous United National Part (UNP) government. It is said that it had even had the sanction and approval of the then Attorney General, Mr.Tilak Marappone. Even friends of the present government are aghastas to the present government's lack of political wisdom in its aborted effort to give birth and foster such a Bill of alien parentage,
The respected columnist and founder of the Free Media Movement(FMM) in Sri Lanka, Lucien Rajakrunanayake, observed, "One thing that those who seek the origins of this sudden bill discover is that it is in fact the handlwork of the previous government. The cat is out of the bag in away, with one ex-officio member of the proposed authority being the secretary to the minister of education and cultural affairs. The present government does not such a ministry, What is more interesting is that this government which came to powerbowing to the demands of the media helped by the campaign of those who spoke formedia freedom which was threatened by the UNP, has to present a UNP draft bill, without even taking care to ensure that its fits the current reality."
The much respected non-political Civil Rights Movement of Sri Lanka, urging the government to withdraw the Bill, said in a press release, "The Bili authorise interference with the content of broadcasting programmes to an extent incompatible with freedom of expression and the public right to information.
"It enables interference with these rights well beyond the restrictions permissible under interactional standards. The manner of appointment and composition of the new Authority (which includes even the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence or his representative), and the provision
that the Authority will be subject to Ministerial directions is a clear indication of an intention to keep broadcasting underpolitical control of the government of the day, "With regard to circumstances of its presentation, the Bill has not first been published as aWhite Paperfor public consultation, as is gathered was the undertaking given by the Minister of Media, Tourism and Aviation to journalists. More surprising still, the report of the Committee appointed by the Minister to advise on the reform of the law on media freedom has not been published...These circumstances, in the view of CRM, display a most regrettable disregard for the many human rights and journalists organisations deeply concerned with freedom of expression and information, and for the public at large."
The FMM has commented on the fact that the provision for annual review of licenses allows for the restrictive Control of privately-owned electronic media.The First Schedule to the Bill sets out the terms and conditions under Which licenses will be granted.These terms amount to regulation of the content of programmes; licensees should refrain from including'matters which offend against public morality or is likely to incite crime or to lead to public disorder or to lead to racial or religious disharmony OR matters tending to jeopardise the sovereignty or national security of Sri Lanka'. In addition, the licensee must "ensure that neWS programmes...are presented with impartiality and with due regard to accuracy and the public interest...". All these phrases could be broadly interpreted in away that could constitute blatant censorship of news and views with a particular angle or focus, the FMM said.
Following the court ruling declaring the Bill unconstitutional, Lucien Rajakarunanayake of the FMMsaid:"We hope the government will give heed to the order of the Supreme Court and withdraw this bill."
The court ruling meant that in order for the bill to be enacted into law, it would need to be passed by a two-thirds majority in parliament, where the government has only a one-seat majority, followed by a national referendum. It was not immediately clear what the government planned to do with the Bill after the Court's ruling, but informed sources in Colombo said the government would withdraw the Bill and produce a White Paperfor consultation.
The Supreme Court verdict was critical of “unjustified discrimination” in favour of the state-owned media.The Court found no rational basis at all" for treating the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation with special favour."
The Court's posit tion of the proposed E ity was that "the Auth pendence required ( with the regulation o dia" The Bill stipulat should have a majorit bers and that all Auth uld be appointed b ster.The Court also S Bill for providing the the powers to issue c thority. The judgeme Minister, with his unb regulations, is placec
Fundamental Right Human rights g point out that the F chapter of Sri Lanka tution has several dis restricting the scope On March 26, Ju Peiris, at a press conf draft text of 18 chapt stitution. The chapte devolution of power texts released.
in examining the chapter of the presen observers have comf the text would benefit in line with the Intern Civil and Political Rig lar concern regarding 25 in the present dra 24: 'all existing w law shall be valid an standing any inconsis sions of this Chapte 25: "the subjecti the order of a Court' hment recognized by not be a contraventi of this Chapter.
This, for example cannot challenge ar ion based on person ferent Communities being guaranteed e fundamental rights anyone challenge t even public caning a ing treatment, forbi in the draft.
The good news
15 APRIL 1997
on on the composioadcasting Authorrity lacks the indea body entrusted the electronic med that the Authority / of ex-officio mem»rity members shothe Media Miniharply criticised the Media Minister with irections to the Auht states that "The died power to make in a position where
he might, through guidelines', interfere with the presentation of programmes and thereby undermine the principle of fairness, which is the heart of responsible broadcasting."
On the question of the lack of independence of the proposed Authority, the Court found that "both the right of freedom of speech and freedom of thought are placed in jeopardy"
The Supreme Court panel was headed by Chief Justice G. P. S. de Silva. The other members were Justices A. R. B. Amerasinghe and P. Ramanathan.The judgement was unanimous.
roups in Colombo undamental Rights 's draft new Constiappointing clauses, of Human Rights.
Istice Minister G. L. erence, released the ers of the new Conrs that deal with the were not among the
fundamental rights tdraft, human rights mented that much of from being brought ational Covenant on hts.There is particutwo Articles (24 and ft) which state that: ritten and Unwritten operative notwithtency with the prowl', and
on of any person on o any form of punisany written law shall on of the provisions
means that Women y act of discriminatllaws that afectdiflifferently in spite of uality in law in the chapter. Nor could e death penalty or a cruel and degradden under Article 9
that the Parliamen
tary Select Committee has indicated its willingness to receive representations from individuals and organisations wanting to place their ideas regarding the draft before the PSC.
The Bolgoda Lake Case:
|n his address to the UN Commis
sion on Human Rights on April 9 in Geneva, Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke refuted recent information concerning the 'Bolgoda case' as misleading allegations,
The controversy arose when Chief Magistrate, Colombo, on March 13, ordered the case to be struck of the roll. This followed the failure of any members of the prosecuting team to be present in court on two consecutive dates - December 12 and March 13.
Human rights observers who havefollowed the case with keen interest were appalled at this turn of events. Earlieron, too, the granting of bail to the majority of the 22 members of the SpecialTask Force who were taken into custody over the appearance of over 12 bodies in the Bolgoda Lake in the months from June to August 1995, had created consternation among human rights circles.
However, in Geneva, Mr. Goonetilleke has claimed that "it has been decided to file indictment directly against the STF personnel in the High Court without going through a non-summary inquiry to avoid delay." According to Goonatilleke, "the Solicitor General had confirmed that the case Will Continue'.
While hopeful that indeed this prosecution will come to pass, concern has been expressed as to why the Attorney General's Department did not have the courtesy to inform the Chief Magistrate, Colombo, of their decision in this respect. This seems to be yet another situation in which the government's left hand does not know what the right hand is doing
The Attorney General has responded to criticism over his handling of the Bolgoda case by stating that he was awaiting further forensic reports before filing a case against the accused in a higher
court. Local officials from the Forensics Department say the reports requested have been handed in. The AG is apparently awaiting some reports from outside the country.
Meanwhile, two other cases which also generated a great deal of controversy were dismissed within the first Week of April.
The case in which ASP Sumith Edirisinghe and Chief Inspector Anton Sisira Kumara were accused of involvement in the abduction and murder of persons in Hokandara in 1988/1989 was dismissed by the Additional Magistrate, Colombo on April 2, following notification by the Attorney General that he would not be pursuing the case further.The Hokandara'mass grave' was one of those excavated during the last months of the previous regime. At that time, the PA was extremely vocal about bringing those responsible to justice.
The Wawulkeley case, in which six persons including 4 Police officers were accused of involvement in the abduction and murder of six youths in..... 1989 was also dropped by the High Court judge, Gampaha on April 4 on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence to clearly establish the identities of the accused.
Amnesty international has issued an urgent action appeal on 2 May concerning the recent disappearance of Kandiah Sivakumar, aged 20, and Kanagasabai Ravichandran, aged 20.
Kandiah Sivakumar and Kanagasabai Ravichandran, two firewood sellers from Rukam village, have been reported "disappeared' after they were taken into custody by the army near the Black Bridge, Chenkalady, Batticaloa district on 20 April 1997.
According to eye-witnesses, they were stopped by soldiers from the Kommadurai army camp at around 2pm. They were on their way home from Eravur where they had gone to sell firewood. Their bicycles were also taken. The reason for their arrest is not known, but it is possible that they were suspected of having links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the main armed opposition group fighting for an independent state in the north and east of the country. The village of Rukam is in an LTTE-controlled area.
When the young men's parents went to make inquiries at Kommadurai army camp the next day, the army officials told them that Kandiah Sivakumar and Kanagasabai Ravichandran had already been released. However, they had not returned home. Furtherinquiries by the Batticaloa Peace Committee and members of parliament have met with the same re
Torture Charge Ag
ATamil man pri jail is filing for wro dergoing excessive lice stations. He Wa ber while staying at cal police beat him rods then kicked h squirmed on the g ordered to drink th from his nose and Rajendran Mahenc transferred to Bore lombo) where the t ficers squeezed hi device and denied pus leaked from hi taken to Colomb Where he Was rema period. Mahendrar from Karainagar, H
Sri Lanka has W ment of Inder Kuma Prime Minister, des friend who would fu between the two could be no more India in this, its 50t independence," P Kumaratungasaidii "We in Sri Lanka welcomed the signi parted to the furthe long-standing close tWeen Our tWO Cour Foreign Minist gamar said he belie leadership ties bet ies"wil entera peric ngth and mutual be try spokesman eal as a sincere friend derstood the Count
"He has even as was in 1989, be Sri Lanka relations ( "We have no doubt tion he has helped Will be further Cons is the prime minist Gujral, during í January last as fore India would do wh ethnic War. "India is Lanka any help sh said then. But he a supported a peасе conflict. "We are co
TAMIL MES 7
esently in a Colombo ngful arrest after untorture at various poSarrested in Novema Vavuniya hotel. Loon the head with iron im in the face as he round. He was then he blood that poured mouth. A month later Iran - who is 33- was Ila police station (Coorture continued. OfS testicles in an iron im treatmenteven as is ears. He was later ) magistrates Court inded for an indefinite is a father of three he says not even the
scant legal formalities relating to arrest and detention under the country's draconian emergency regulations was observed. m Army Officers to Study Human Rights: Sri Lanka's army has introduced human rights into its training curriculum and officers will eventually face tests on the subject before being promoted, military officials said. "The training is meant to improve the conduct of our troops in the field," a senior army officer said. "Human rights will be a compulsory subject in the Lieutenant-to-Captain and Captain-toMajor promotion examinations from next year."
All ranks must eventually sit for a test on humanitarian laws of war to qualify for promotions, the officer said. Human rights groups have accused Sri Lankan security forces of human rights abuses.
telcomed the appointir Gural as India's new scribing him as an old urther strengthen ties heighbours, "... there fitting choice to lead h anniversary year of resident Chandrika na message to Gujral. a have enthusiastically ficantimpetus you imr strengthening of the 2 and friendly ties be
tries," she said. er Lakshman Kadirved that under Gujral's ween the two countrdofunparalleled strenefit." A foreign minis"lier described Gujral of Sri Lanka who unrywell. n the worst of times, enable to steer Indoout of trouble," he said. that the solid foundalay as foreign minister solidated now that he er of India,” he added. a visit to Sri Lanka in ign minister, had said at it could to end the s ready to provide Sri e could give," Gujral doded that New Delhi ful settlement of the mmitted to apolicy of
good neighbourliness and non-interference in Sri Lanka's affairs" Gujral said.
Pakistan and Bangladesh also have welcomed the appointment of inder Kumar Gujral as prime minister, saying he would help smooth regional tensions.
Pakistani newspapers said Gujral would pursue a policy he crafted as for eign minister under the previous government of seeking better ties with India's old rival Pakistan and its other neighbours."One of the best things about his becoming India's next prime minister is that the process of normalisation of ties between India and Pakistan will move ahead," said the Islamabad-based English language newspaper The News.
"In India, with the selection of I.K. Gujral as prime minister, stability is expected to return to the world's largest democracy" the paper said. "Such a development is conducive to reducing tensions in the region."
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's media adviser Mushahid Hussain said that Pakistan welcomed Gujral as prime minister, “We... hope that Mr Gujral, as he was stating when he was not in the government in the past, would take steps to resolve the primary cause of friction between India and Pakistan, namely the unresolved dispute of Jammu and Kashmir." Hussain said.
India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain 50 years ago, two of them over Kashmir. Top Pakistani and Indian diplomats met for
8 TAMIL TIMES
three days in New Delhi at the end of March, the first such talks since 1994. Gujral, as foreign minister, met his Pakistani counterpart Gohar Ayub Khan in Delhi this month and is now likely to meet Sharifat a regional summit meeting in the Maldives in May,
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sent a warmly worded message of congratulations to Gujral."We regard you as a genuine friend of Bangladesh and hold you in highesteem for your personal interest in and Valuable Contribution to promotion and strengthening of Bangladesh-India friendship and cooperation," her message said. She said Gujral's initiatives had led to "significant developments" in bilateral relations in recent months.
The LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they hoped that India's new prime minister inder Kumar Gujral would support the right of self-determination of Tamils of Sri Lanka,
in a letter dated 22 April addressed to the new Indian Prime Minister, the LTTE said, "We wish to congratulate you on your appointment to the honourable post of Prime Minister of the great nation of india. As you are aware, the Tamil people in the northeast of Sri Lanka have a long and valuable bond with the people of india which dates back several centuries, It is a relationship of the deepest historical significance for us and one which Eelam Tamils are committed to preserving and promoting. We are mindful not only of the close affinity we have with the people of Tamil Nadu, but also the greater religious and cultural aspirations we share with the entire nation of India. It is our sincere wish that the coming years will see a strengthening of this bond with the Indian people and a deepening of our friendship. This is possible because the Tamil people are truly inspired by your appointment to this eminent position.
"Sir, mixed with our enthusiasm at your appointment to this worthy role, we are hopeful that you might raise your own voice in support of self-determination for the Tamil Eelam nation and help to finally end the subjugation of the Tamil people, who are presently under physical attack in their own homeland.
May we stress that we wish you well in your role as Prime Minister of India and at the same time we pray for your earnest attention to the desperate and worsening plight of our people."
he month T ed to be neWS on the e preceding the tradit were full of hopeful possible settlemer The British broker ised between ther opposition UNP ol mary cause of this
The architect tiative was the forr der-Secretary of F Wealth afairs Dr Lj Sri Lankan “Lion” LTTE provided am dia to project the e) terms. It Was a cas lighter vein of cour The old fable W tiger fighting over each other fatally. A lay immobile sufferi in and made of W deer. The lion and t and merely watche got away,
The modern pc island inhabited by lions in the south. the sharing of pow third party is requ the lioness presid the lion hoping to are also not on talk is required to facil proach between b gers. So enter the at that This time to end and not pre Holl
The British ini two phases one somewhat implici resulted in the sigr tical in content, by Chandrika Kumar leader Ranil Wick ties agreed to forg towards the resol flict presumably d That agreemente ation where the g and consultthe Ul ing the ethnic con
15 MAY 1997
OF THE CHANDRIKARANIL
By DBS Jeyaraj
of April in Sri Lanka the harbinger of good hnic front. The Weeks onal New year of sura expectations about a t to the ethnic crisis, ld deal that materialling PA and the chief 3 April was the pribuoyant optimism. ehind this British iniher Conservative Unoreign and Commonam Fox. His name, the lag and the "Tiger" in ple scope for the meKercise in "animalistlic" te of two fables, All in se! (as about a lion and a a deer and mauling As the feline Creatures ng inagony a fox slunk ith the carcass of the ger could hardly move d helplessly as the fox
litical fable is about an tigers in the north and Both groups fight over er to the point Where a ired to mediate. Also ng over the lions and ucceed her some day ing terms, Athird party tate a hi-partisan apoth on talking to the tifox A British reynard is a third party hoping fit by the conflict, Tally
lative was primarily of xplicit and the other The efforts of Dr Fox ing of two letters, idenSri Lankan President tunga and Opposition emasinghe, Both par) a bi-lateral approach tion of the ethnic cone to British "pressure". visaged an “ideal" situvernment would brief P on matters concernct. The UNP Would not
seek to undermine or oppose any initiative undertaken with the concurrence of that party. The UNP was obliged to implement any decision taken with it's concurrence if and when it came to power in the future. This was the first phase of the Britishinitiative,
The second phase although not expressed overtly was that of one where direct talks between the Government and the LiberationTigers of Tamil Eelam was expected to occur.This was essentially a conjecture based on an assumption and related media reports. The assumption was in regard to the specific inclusion of the LTTE in the PA-UNP agreement as a party with which the government of SriLanka was likely to talk. Only the LTTE had been specifically referred to in the letter, This meant that talks With the LTTE was on the cards.
It was also surmised that Britain had obtained some definite guarantees from the LTTE regarding it's willingness and consent to participate in talks, Media reports that a senior LTTE leader Lawrence Thilakar had travelled clandestinely to Sri Lanka and had met With the LT TE Chief Velupilla Prabakharan reinforced this assumption. Media reports further indicated that Prabakharan had given the go-ahead and that two other LTTE personalities Anton Balasingham and Karikalan were now in the west awaiting a resumption of talks.
in that context hopes were raised about meaningful talks aimed at a negotiated settlement between the government and the LTTE being facilitated in due course. The UNP was not expected to obstruct it and some even conceived of a scenario where the UNP and the PA jointly talked to the tigers. This buoyancy in the island's political climate was reflected in the stock market with prices rising steadily in a "bullish" trend.
As the weeks passed this optimistic mood began evaporating. Apart from the release of the letters nothing seemed to move. The PA and the UNP were not displaying any forward movement in this regard. Statements by the government and the LTTE suggested an inflexible hardening of positions. The British intermediaries were caught up in electioneering. On
15 MAY 1997
the other hand a major confrontation was expected to breakout between the security forces and the tigers in the Wanni. Also subtle moves seemed to be afoot to abort the Select committee proceedings on Constitutional reform. The situation was gloomy and peace loving people were becoming slowly disillusioned.
Even though hopes are turning into dupes it would be premature to conduct an autopsy on the British brokered agreement in Sri Lanka. It is pertinent however to seek out the reasons behind the Current impasse faced by the British initiative.
A Prima Facie case can be made out that the chief cause for the decreased momentum is the government itself. Despite all the euphoric statements by government circles about the bi-lateral agreement it seems crystal clear that the PA has not got it's act together at least not just now. While the working and executive committees of the UNP have ratified unanimously the Chandrika-Ranilagreement the PA is yet to do so. There are valid reasons that would explain the government's seeming lethargy on the issue. But whether these reasons are acceptable from a Tamil perspective is another nnatter.
A basic attribute of any opposition in a democracy isto“oppose” and other constructive criticism. In Sri Lanka this opposition role had been distorted to an extent where the main party in opposition usually opposed every action of the government in power without being mindful of the general interests of the Country. The ethnic question in particular was the biggest Casualty in this respect. The ethnic crisis itself was created, compounded and perpetuated to a very great extent by the rivalry between the two major Sinhala parties. In fact a there is a strong correlation between the development of the two party system and the exacerbation of the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka.
Relations between President KumaraUn
ga and Opposition leaderWickremesinghe in recent times has reached an alltime low. There is a highly aggravated incompatibility of temperament between both. Their last one to one meeting was a disaster, Kumarutanga accused Wickremesinghe of not expressing a genuine commitment towards the resolution of the ethnic issue. The Colombo media quoted her as having said that Rani had "Pittu in his mouth" (Katay pittu). Wickremesinghe also expressed his resentment and said publicly that he would not meet with Kumaratunga again.
it was against this background that Dr Liam Fox pulled the bipartisan approach rabbit out of his hat. Fox was able
to do this because tionship he had bu singhe and Kadirge Kadirgamar was ab sident into going a initiative,
Both the goverr tion realise fully w tiative is not a singu try alone. Britain h ment and backing c ern nations includin Britain is fronting f in this exercise. Th primary aid donors litical party in powe ing to power in the f ignore or reject the c of these countries. ted some pressure made an offer that both parties compli.
in another sen British brokered de is also indicative of "sophistication" of matters like this. Re in an issue of this SO on them. Instead of way out is to go alon signing an agreeme spread praises forth played. Thereafter it constructive action. This is in striking which has been ha Chandrika-Ranilagr spersons have arti hostility to this agre erated their original dicating a seeming nce was totaly unw and has only helped tive image of the tig
President Kuma to sign this agreem the government in th International opinior to a position where under pressure to S commence negotia The PA-UNP agree sidetracking this lin gressive hostility ret to the new develop ease this mounting ment.
Although the Ch ment was hailed as particular manner ir made some observe tersidenticalinconte rately by both leader by Foreign minister lombo media report had tried to get bott
of the personal relait up with Wickrememar, Foreign minister e to convince his Prelong with the British
ment and the opposiIl that the British iniar effort of that counis the tacit endorsef almost all the Westthe USA. in a sense rall these Countries ese nations are the o Sri Lanka. Any por or any party aspirture cannot afford to iplomatic endeavours So when Britain exerand in "Mafia jargon" hey could not refuse bd,
e the signing of the al by the two leaders he greater pragmatic Sinhala politicians in fusing to co-operate rt would reflect badly demurring the easy g with the motions of it and receiving wideestatesmanship diss not followed up with
contrast to the LTTE arshly critical of the eement. LTEspokeculated tremendous ement and have reitdemands thereby ininflexibility. This staarranted at this stage to reinforce the nega9rs further.
'atunga's willingness ent has also helped international arena, was veering around the government was uspend the war and ions Vith the E. ment succeeded in of thought. The aglistered by the LTTE ment has helped to pressure for the mo
andrika-Ranilagreea breakthrough the which it was signed rs sceptical. The letht were signed sepa; and released jointly Cadirgamar. The Cod that Dr. Liam Fox leaders to sign the
TAMIL TIMES 9
letters at a joint meeting. Both declined. So the separately signed letters were released jointly. The million dollar question raised by the doubting Thomases was as to how two persons who did not want to sit at the same table and sign the letters would in the future meet and discuss matters intrust and confidence?The very fact that a British intermediary had to travel six thousand miles to get two people living within a mile of each other to sign letters of agreement itself was a straw pointing to the direction of the blowing political Winds,
After signing the letters the PA initially expected the UNP to back the Government in it's search for greater devolution. The UNP however made it clear that this agreement was not necessarily an unconditional endorsement of the PA's efforts in Constitutional reform. Moreover the inclusion of the clause "With the concurrence of" bestowed a great political advantage to the UNPThe Opposition leader when briefed and consulted by the President on steps pursued regarding the ethnic conflict was not obligated to support each and every move. He was not expected to concur totally with the government line. More importantly the UNP was expected to support and implement only those decisions taken with it's concurrence.This placed the UNP in a position where it could pull the plug at any juncture. Wickremesinghe also stated that his concurrence would be predicated on the UNP executive and working committees concurring on the issues concerned. It was on this basis that the UNP ratified the agreement unanimously.
Also Chandrika Kumaratunga being president the onus is on her to initiatesteps towards the resolution of the conflict. Ranil Wickremesinghe has only to respond to government moves. He can treat these moves on an issue by issue basis and express his consent or dissent. Even if Chandrika does not do anything or does not consult him it is not his problem. Since agreement on a bil-latəral approach does not signify a negation of politics Ranil can adopta watch and wait policy in expectation of the President tripping up.
Details of the Whole British initiative was kept a secret from the PA members including cabinet ministers. It was more or less a project of Foreign minister Kadirgamar and considered to be a feather in his political cap. The PA political leaders who are more sensitive to ground realities found that the PA-UNP agreement was politically advantageous to the latter. Although the statesmanship of Kumaratunga was also appreciated it was the UNP that stood to gain politically. Moreo
10 TAMIL TIMES
ver the basic principles behind the government's peace through war strategy and it's avowed aversion to third party facilitation was under challenge by this agreement. Also both the devolution and war lobbies within the government were disgruntled by this development. All this seems to have caused a revision of thought in government ranks. Combined with this is Kumaratunga's customary procrastinatory functioning style. This explains somewhat the fact that Chandrika has not obtained PA ratification even after six weeks of the signing of the agreement.
The 100 day truce between this government and the LTTE collapsed and war broke out again on 18 April 1995. Thereafter the Chandrika government has been following a two-pronged approach in combatting the LTTE. Militarily it seeks to weaken the Tigers through a "War for Peace" strategy, Politically it strives to isolate the tigers by formulating a political settlement embodying maximum devolution. In following this course of action the government has emphasised that it did not requireforeign third party involvement. Actually the government strategists are not in favour of talks with the tigers at this point of time since they feel that their project is not over yet.
Under these circumstances it was hardly surprising that the Colombo government remained lukewarm to offers of mediation made in the past by countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia, Norway and Sweden. inder Kumar Gujral was welcomedwarmiyin Colombo forenunciatinghis "Gujral Doctrine"for the South Asian region. Under this Doctrine India Would not intervene even with a benign intent a fact that warms the cockles of the Colombo heart. When Yassir Arafat offered to mediate it was treated as a "gaffe" by Colombo and casually disregarded.
Against that background the very fact that the government had consented to go along with the British initiative itself was a surprising development. It was in away a tacit admittance that the current government strategy was a failure. Still taking other factors into consideration the government may have been compelled to agree. But it soon made it's position clear when Kadirgamar stated publicly that there was no decision at "that point of time" of talking to the tigers or resorting to third party mediation. He emphasised that the original Preconditions for resuming talks with the LTTE still stood. This had a predictable outcome. The LTTE responded very harshly to Kadirgamar's views and reiterated their original position with a vehemence that shocked all those yearning for a peaceful solution.The
situation was back to The government an internal developm lobby led by Anurudd Devolution lobby he were dismayed. In th the concern was tha logue with the LTTE organisation raising One such demand Wi the army should reve tions. This was not ac tary lobby. Also that nt that it could make what is now tiger terri LTTE further. It must the "weakening the l army relates prima made in a positional and lacks an apprec sions of guerilla warfe are masters. So M Some more time to b and then negotiate position of strength.
in a separate de ponents of greater de fessor G L. Peiris Wer Parliamentary Select stitutional Reform ha ble progress in the dir sensus endorsing gr resumption of talks mean that those del in limbo.These misgi ened when subtle in process was made there was no need fo tee as the LTTE was tiations. The select Solved that in the e tering into talks witht linkage between tha mittee process shol that both processes other.
This then was th faced by the govern admit the failure of nged strategy comb reconcile the viewp both the military ar of thought. Adding sation that the UNP the PA in pushingth and that notwithsta Rani Wickremesin to endorse every ment. Along with ! factor where Presic parently is yet to g in meeting Ranilfc cumulative effect conspicuous lacko the government a ing the release o!
15 APRIL 1997
quare one again. as also faced with it. Both the military a RatWatte and the ded by G. L. Peiris case of the former an initiation of diaIould result in that Certain demands. s an insistence that t to pre-1996 posi:eptable to the milibby is still confideIreater inroads into ory and weaken the be understood that TE"concept of the ly to assessments Warfare frameWork ation of the dimenre of Which the LTTE RatWatte Wanted reak the LTTE back F necessary from a
velopment the proMolution such as Proalso dismayed.The Committee on Conas made consideraection ofa Wide conater devolution.The Nith the LTTE Would iberations would be wings were strengthnoves to scuttle the on the pretext that Ir the select commitgoing to enter negocommittee then reent of the LTTE enhe government some and the select comld be established so could reinforce each
) crux of the dilemma ment. A reluctance to he current two proned with the need to ints and demands of devolution Schools O this was the realiwas not going to back devolution package Iding the agreement he was not required ove by the governis is the "personal" nt Kumaratunga apover her "aversion" direct dialogue. The
all this has been a orward movement by ir the fanfare followhe Chandrika-Rani
Judging by the past experience of the Indian mediation exercise where the Indianintemediaries had to prod and nudge the Sri Lankan leaders into taking meaningful steps on the ethnic front it seems clear that only further action by the British could galvanise the government into taking further steps. Otherwise it would be a case of blissful inertia.
Unfortunately the British parliamentary elections and the campaigning involved prevented the British from taking further action on this, The election itself has seen the Labour in the corridors of power, Tory Foreign secretary Malcolm Rifkind has been defeated but the architect of the Chandrika-Ranil agreement Dr Liam Fox has retained his constituency, Heistipped to be the Shadow Conservative Foreign Minister. There is some speculation that Fox may be given some special status by the Labour government to continue with his mediatory efforts but others rule that possibility out.
Robin Cook, the new Labour Foreign Secretary had been briefed when in the opposition about the British efforts in Sri Lanka. He was broadly supportive of it. It Would be however the non-cabinet rank minister of state in Foreign Affairs Derek Fatchett who will be overseeing the Sri Lankan issue. Derek Fatchett was earlier the Labour spokesman on the South Asian region and is very familiar with the Sri Lankan situation. He has also addressed many Sri Lankan political gatherings.
incidently Prabakharan the LTTE leader has in a congratulatory message sent to Tony Blair appealed for "support and sympathy to win the political rights of the famil Nation in Sri Lanka”. Chandrika Kumaratunga in her message to the new British Prime Minister does not refer to the so called British initiative at all.
Political observers feel that there would not be a major deviation of policy towards Sri Lanka by the new British government. Still, it would require some time to get it's act together and address the Sri Lankan problem again.The danger is that the conflict may escalate during this interregnum and worsen the situation. Already both sides are preparing themselves for a massive confrontation in the Wanni region.
The expectations generated by the Chandrika-Ranil agreement made most peace loving people of Sri Lanka hopeful of a settlement. That euphoria is fading fast and a sense of dejection and disillusionment is setting in. O
15 APRIL 1997
SJ V Chelvanaya kam was born on 31 March 1898. His death occurred on 26 April 1977. He was elected to the first parliament in 1947 on the All-Ce ylon Tamil Congress ticket. Consequent to serious differences Within the Tamil Congress on a fundamental issue, the issue which was in the forefront at the time, being the Citizenship and Franchise rights of the Hill-country Tamils, he broke away from the Tamil Congress and formed the Federal Party in 1949.
Initially, the Tamil people were somewhat sceptical of his policies, such scepticism was soon dispelled and they reposed complete trust in him. He was overwhelmingly acknowledged by the Tamil people as their undisputed leader since 1956, and remained their supreme leader until his demise in 1977. Even after his demise, the vast majority of the Tamil people continued to look upon him as their guide and the mentor who showed them the correct path.
This tribute to a great leader on the eve of his 100th birth centenary year attempts to sketch some of the outstanding attributes of his political thinking, the manner in which he gave shape to his thoughts, both amongst his own people and in his dealings with successive Governments, and to some sterling, personal qualities for which he was held in the highest esteem by everyone, friend or adversary, who came into contact with him.
Firstly, Mr Chelvanayakam had a vision that was both far-sighted and crystal clear. He always kept his options open, but he was never confused and there was never a shadow of doubt in regard to his ultimate political objective.
Secondly, he possessed an indomitable will which would never succumb and which could not be conquered either by blandishments, inducements or force; he was however, always amenable to an honourable compromise in keeping with what he considered to be the legitimate aspiration of his people.
Thirdly, his integrity both in politics and in personal life was beyond any semblance of reproach. These were the hall-marks of Mr Chelvanayakam's character as a leader, which became the cornerstones of the political leadership he gave the Tamil people.
When he actively entered the political scene in about 1947, the Tamil people were on the horns of a political dilemma. The representations made on their behalf before the Soulbury Commission for balanced representation, had only resulted
in certain meagre S tion 29 of the 1947 subsequent events were utterly inadeq There were tw Tamil people - the easy option, was to to the majority-led the Tamil people re. turn to allay their n commitment in reg Tamils as a people understanding as such co-operation with the consequel compromises on vi that the governme the future.
The alternative yakam delineated option, which was t cal objectives, and ment of those ob Tamill-speaking pec cally a minority int were concentrated would acquire thou tional arrangemen ment and status, th their self respect, st He Wanted the Tam to fully understand policy he defined a commitment to its a Mr Chelwanaya
afeguards under SecConstitution which, as conclusively proved, |uate.
to options before the first, which was the ) extend co-operation Government, without ceiving anything in rehisgivings, nor even a ard to the future of the ), and without a clear o the basis on which was being extended, nce of having to make tal issues, in the hope nt would act justly in
which Mr Chelvanawas the more difficult o define certain politistrive for the achievejectives, so that the ple who were numerihe whole country, but ncertain parts thereof gh adequate constituts, a political entitleat would assure them curity and well-being. il people in particular, the implications of the nd develop a sense of
kam did not seek to
arouse the emotions of the Tamil people. He spelt out his thoughts to them in clear and cogent language, but With moderation. When : he spoke of the Sinhala 8 people, he did so with consideration and respect. He inculcated into the Tamil-speaking people, the Tamil people in particular who responded to him with sincerity, the awareness and the conviction, that the majority of people did not have the right in the guise of democracy to rule them or subjugate them.
He instilled into them, the realisation that vital concerns, such as their language, their culture, their social and economicwell-being, and the utilisation of the natural resources in the areas which they had historically inhabited, and where at the time of independence, they were concentrated, were intimately linked to their very survival as a people in the country, and that if they did not have the right and the power to make and implement decisions on such fundamental affairs, their lives would be devoid of the basic elements of human dignity and liberty.
These were the matters which Were at the core of the several resolutions passed by the Federal Party under the leadership of Mr Chelvanayakam at successive conventions and Constituted the pith and substance of the negotiations he conducted with successive governments. Mr Chelvanayakam campaigned for affective and foolproof arrangements for the sharing of the power of governance. He clearly identified the link between language and territory and was convinced that any resolution of the multiplying and mounting grievances of the Tamil-speaking people would have to accord recognition to this inextricable link.
Mr Chelvanayakam was the only Tamil leader who unified the Tamil people, differences based on region, religion orcaste, withered in the face of the policies which he so clearly articulated.
Mr Chelvanayakam was a Christian, but the Tamils, the vast majority of whom were Hindus, accepted him unequivocally as their unquestioned leader. Mr Chelvanayakam's unequivocal stand in opposition to the Government on Citizenship and Franchise relating to the Hill Country Tamils, earned for him their eternal esteem.
He was greatly concerned about the plight of the Tamil-speaking Muslims and made strenuous endeavours to explain his policies to them, andwin their confidence. Some Muslim representatives were elected to Parliament as candidates of the
12 TAM TIMES
The power and pelf that flowed from office in Government, however, proved too alluring for them to resist. The Muslimpeople trusted him and respected him. Dr MC M Kaleel, the much respected senior Muslim leader making reference to Mr Chelvanayakam after his death said "Chelvanayakam did not fight for the Tamil cause alone. Whenever and Wherever he found people being unjustly treated, he promptly took action to see that justice was done. For instance, in 1976, when the Muslims who gathered in the Puttalam Mosque completely unarmed were shot down by the police killing six and injuring many more, he was the only MP who promptly demanded from the Prime Minister Srimavo Bandaranaike to appointa Commission to inquire into the incident." Chelvanayakam was irrevocably committed to non-violence and peaceful methods of resolving the ethnic conflict. He constantly explained to the people the Gandhian philosophy of non-violence and wanted them to develop a belief in nonviolence and become strong adherents of non-violence. Ever since he assumed the undisputed leadership of the Tamil people in 1956, he endeavoured to resolve the conflict by peaceful methods with every successive governments.
The understanding with Prime Minister SWR D Bandaranaike, commonly referred to as the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam pact, was entered into in 1957. Between March and July, 1960, he held intense negotiations with the new leadership of the Sri Lanka Freedom party for the revival of the Bandaranaike-Chevanayakam pact.
The assurances given before the defeat of the United National party government in March 1960, were not even vaguely remembered after the electoral victory of July 1960, and once ensconced in the seat of power, though the Federal Party had even mobilised Tamil support for the SLFP in many predominantly Sinhala areas.
A civil disobedience "Sathyagraha" campaign was launched in early 1961 in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in protest against the unjust policies pursued by the government, particularly on the language issue. For several weeks, the Kachcheris, the offices of the Government Agent in the districts of the North-East, were blocked by thousands of Volunteers, who peacefully sat at the entrance reciting prayers and singing religious hymns. Government administration in the NorthEast came to a standstill during that period. Mr Chelvanayakam was firmly insistent that at no stage should the campaign become violent. This was amply demonstrated at a late night meeting held in Vavuniya at the height of the campaign at
tended by represent tricts to decide on the be taken in the event declaring an Emerge curfew which was cor Almostevery dele trict urged that the cu fied by getting the Tam streets in their thousa Mr Chelvanayake with characteristic pa stood up and said: ' come for us to sacrif people in that way. If a we shall suspend the shall resume it."
There was pindrc the last word. The u Prime Minister Dudley monly referred to as nayake-Chelvanayaka in 1965. In 1970 the g to frame a new Consti every effort to seek Tamil aspirations.
Not only were the provided in the 1947 away with, the new cor several provisions, in time the provision in character, which was a norities generally and ticular
It was a clear me: who were advocating new constitutional m would accommodate that the government their existence, and W Chelvanayakam resig liament in 1972 and ( ernment to contest demonstrate that the utterly unacceptable and that they abho by-election was not three years and whe Chelvanayakam vini with an overwhelmin The government repression against t Mr Chevanayakama cratic method to find national question. Hi tunately never recip Several efforts made After Mr Chelva the United Nationa elected in 1977 dic drafted the 1978 col trenched some of th troduced by the 19 1978 constitution h come an albatross. not partake in them constitutions. Justification
It was at this
15 MAY fgg/
ons from all disiction that should f the government y and imposing a idered imminent. ate from every disew should be depeople out on the |ds. n having listened ence to everyone The time has not :e the lives of our :urfew is imposed, campaign but we
silence. His was derstanding with Senanayake comthe Dudley Senampact was signed overnment sought ution and he made ACCommodation of
Constitution done stitution introduced cluding for the first egard to its unitary nathematothemito the Tamils in par
ssage to the Tamils the formulation of echanisms, which their aspirations, did not recognise ould neveryield. Mr ned hisseatin Parhallenged the govnim. He Wanted to Iew constitution Was to the Tamil people, red the same. The held for well-nigh eventually held Mr licated his position
majority. was unmoved and eamils continued. dopted every demojust solution to the efforts were unforbcated, despite the by him. ayakam's demise, Party government One better when it stitution. It even ennew provisions in2 constitution. The d now virtually behe Tamil people did king of any of these
ne, that the Tamil
United Front and thereafter the Tamil United Liberation Front Were formed. The Tamil people had reached a state of abysmal despair. Mr Chelvanayakam was the founder President of the Tamil United Liberation Front. Messrs G G Ponnamblam and S Thondaman were co-presidents.
The Vaddukoddai resolution of May 1976, which sought the establishment of an independent sovereign state, was clearly indicative of the commencement of the last-ditch struggle. Mr Chelvanayakam was left with no alternative.
An honourable compromise with the political leadership of the majority people had consistently proved elusive. The Vaddukoddai resolution did, however, have an electrifying impact on Tamilyouth, who in the context of all that had happened, began to feel, not without a degree of justification, that the battle had passed into their hands. Mr Chelvanayakam faced several disappointments in his continuous efforts to resolve peacefully the ethnic conflict. His indomitable will, however, prevailed. He never dithered, he could not be flustered, he remained calm and became even more determined than ever before to pursue his goal with single-mindedness. He knew that his goal was just and that it would be achieved. The country has paid and continues to pay an enérmous price for the failure to resolve the ethnic conflict peacefully during Mr Chelvanayakam's lifetime.
He was held in the highest respect by people of all communities and different walks of life. He was regarded as a leader of impeccable integrity, Mr J R Jayewardene, as Prime Minister, speaking in Parliament, on the vote of condolence said: “I have not met anybody in my community or any other community who said that Mr Chelvanayakam would let you down." Mr Chelvanayakam had been let down on so many occasions; yet, he was not a leader who would let others down, and this fact was being acknowledged on the floor of Parliament by the incumbent Prime Minister.
The Communist leader, Mr Pieter Keuneman described Mr Chelvanayakam as "a man of personal and political integrity"Mr Lalith Athulathmudali, of a younger generation, speaking in Parliamenton the vote of Condolence said: "Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam was born in Ipoh. Ipoh is known as the cleanest city in Malaysia. Perhaps it was in the fitness of things that Mr Chelvanayakam's life was marked by a cleanliness unknown in contemporary politics".
Mr Chelvanayakam wasable to conclude pacts with two Prime Ministers of the SLFP and UNP respectively, both of whom were much respected leaders and wielded considerable influence within the majority community. Both Prime Ministers
15 MAY 1997
were unable, during their periods of of fice, to implement the understandings they arrived at with Mr Chelvanayakam, but there can be no doubt that they accepted the substance of the said understandings,
He did not consider these pacts as final solutions. He made it clear that he regarded them as interim adjustments, but he was prepared to follow a gradualist approach in order to achieve his ultimate goal of having the diversity within the polity recognised by adequate constitutional mechanisms for the effective sharing of power.
As a leader Committed to non-violence and democratic Values, he Was convinced that he had to persist in that path. The contents of the pacts, however, defined important parameters on some vital issues for the eventual peaceful resolution of the conflict. The stronger party with the capacity to reciprocate was not willing to carry the process forward, and take decisions in the larger interests of the country.
The Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the current exercise in constitutional reform, regard certain aspects of the under standings reached with Mr Chelvanaya kamas useful benchmarks, Cumulatively, his thinking constitutes the foundation on which any superstructure can be built,
It is not without significance that the questions of citizenship and franchise rights of the hill-country Tamils have been substantially resolved. It is perhaps only certain limited aspects that need attention, Sinhala and Tamil languages are entitled to parity of status and the major political parties are no longer at variance on the acceptance of this position.
Lack of adequate political will at different levels coupled with bureaucratic prejudice and sloth have greatly contributed to tardiness in implementation even of the present provisions. At one time, these were considered explosive issues, brooking no accommodation. The country has come to accept today that these issues have to be resolved in a manner that is just and equitable by all people. Mr Chelvanayakam's basic position on these issues has been vindicated. Writing about him is synonymous with writing about the struggle of the Tamil-speaking people, particularly the Tamil people for equality and justice. No account about him can be complete without raising the question as to how he may have reacted in the present situation.
Mr Chelvanayakam would have candidly stated with much justification that the present situation was brought about not as a result of any fault on the part of the Tamil people, and that successive Governments had every opportunity to
arrive at an honol the Tamil people before the presen He Would hav of the immenses the Tamil people dured for over a p While acknowled valuable young liv in the course of C. Vigorously urged ple who face the | and that the agony rienced by the Tam duently endured fc decades. While act loss of valuable yo munities in the C would have vigorol Tamil people who cruel war and that t rors experienced Would be a neverunless the war is h strenuously urged bring the war to an
He would have Commitment to nor not have deviated fr losophy of civil disok resistance which he
PartyM and Talks
Twenty-two Sri L lans who attended in April on conflict r by the London-base have called for peac negotiations with th also supported the ic diation.
The Members of political parties, Sub to a parliamentary CO government's propo powers to regions air between the goverr gers, Sarath Amunug position United Na said. "We suggeste brought into any talk are possibly looking Amunugama toldth The group of M members of the ruli and many oppositio suggestion after ret ippines where group conflict resolution pre the Moro Nationa
ble compromise with nder his leadership, ituation developed.
eminded the country fering and sacrifices ve consequently en''iod offour decades. ng the tragic loss of rom all Communities nbat, he would have at it is the Tamil peo
unt of this cruel war
und the horrors expepeople have conseover a period of four owledging the tragic ng lives from all comurse of combat, he sly urged that it is the ace the brunt of this e agony and the hory the Tamil people nding phenomenon ulted. He would have hatsteps be taken to 2nd.
been steadfast in his -violence. He would »mthe Gandhianphiedience and passive all along, preached
O for Third ediati
ankan parliamentarfive-day workshop solution sponsored id International Alert e initiative including
e LTTE. They have ea of third-partyme
Parliament, from six hitted their proposal nmittee studying the als for devolution of ed at ending the war ment and Tamil Tj\ma, of the main oppnal Party (UNP), that the TTE be at a time when We ta peace initiative," DreSS. s, which included People's Alliance parties, made the ning from the Philembers observed ices by Manila and Liberation Front
TAMIL TIMES 13
and practised. Nevertheless, he would have understood the reasons for the radical transformation in the attitudes of Tamil youth.
Nelson Mandela was not prepared to renounce armed struggle while in jail, or even after he was released from jail, until he had reasonable cause to be convinced that the stage had been reached when the white Government was willing to enter into meaningful negotiations with the African National Congress. Mr Chelvanayakam would have advocated neutral mediation between the Government and the LTTE, even if he could not have supported the armed struggle waged by the LTTE, so that the thick air of distrust that prevails between the two sides could be attenuated.
He would have urged all the people of the country to extend their support to a just and peaceful resolution of the conflict, not merely in the interests of the Tamil people, but in the interests of the country as a whole.
If efforts at a just and peaceful resolution proved abortive he would have been as determined as ever before, that the struggle should continue.
The Tamil people will always remember Mr Chelvanayakam with affection and adoration. O
(MNLF) in their attempt to bring peace to Mindanao island.
The MNLF, the largest of the island's Moslem guerrilla groups, signed a peace accord with Manila in Septemberlast year after a 24-year-old battle. But two rebel splinter groups, including the Moro lislamic Liberation Front (MILF), are still waging war against Manila, despite nearly three years of negotiations.
"We thought the progress made by the Philippine government and the MNLF had brought about a positive stand to that conflict." Amunugama said. "It was their initiative that made us appeal to our authorities to draw the LTTE to peace talks," he said.
FORMER INDIAN INTELLIGENCE CHIEFGOES PUBLICONLANKA:
At a seminar organised in the last week of April by Dr.V.Suryanarayanan at the Centre for South and South-East Asian Studies of the Madras University, former Indian intelligence Bureau chief MK Narayanan went public with an account of what happened in the run-up to the ten-year-old peace agreement for Lanka signed by the late Rajiv Gandhi and J R Jayewardene. The meeting was ignored by the Chennai media, but TULF members were present, A key low profile confidant of Rajiv Gandhi involved in the political intrigues which preceded the agreement, Narayanan was bitter about the way the LTTE went back on its "assurances on рөace".
14 TAMIL TIMES
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15 MAY 1997
TOWARDS A CRE
ing half of its present term this Au
gust. There have been many pronouncements concerning the peace process, intended to end the fourteen-year old civil war and achieve lasting peace in Sri Lanka. What has been implied in this term is that peace, harmony and national unity could be achieved solely through constitutional reform. The devolution package proposed by the Government more than a year ago has not yet been approved by the Parliamentary Select Committee. Nevertheless, it has been heralded by the Government as the principal vehicle that will bring peace to the people in Sri Lanka. This simplistic assumption has ignored the many obstacles that must be overcome and the gulfs that must be bridged in order to move forward towards this goal. The reluctance of both sides to de-eScar late the war effort and begin negotiation for arriving at an acceptable political solution has only made the peace process appearan abstract concept,
T he PA Government will be complet
The trust of the Tamil people is vital for them to believe that all governments will implement the reformed constitution in good faith.Their past bitter experience concerning relevant constitutional amendments that assured some of their rights on paper but in practice were ineffective in eliminating discrimination by the State institutions in the contentious matters continues to haunt them. So far no tangible measures have been taken “to win the hearts and minds" of the people affected by the war, although this has been pronounced as necessary time and again by the Government.This tends to support the prevailing opinion of sceptics that acknowledging the right policy is one thing and implementing it is another
The underlying flaw in the current approach to the peace process is the perception that for the realisation of peace not several successive measures (some are complementary) but merely a single move in the form of a constitutional change is sufficient. Any political solution to be credible in the context of the past failures, therefore, requires not only a different approach but also built-in safeguards
to prevent the sub mental principles o
Bipartisan approa The undertakin dent and the Leade they will adopta cor resolution of the et departure from the taken in the past peacefully. Under t approach, the gove consult the main o. discussions with the ing the LTTE and ol before coming to them. The positives is that the search fo has been taken out that has been the since the mid-fifties
The negative a be used by the opp the settlement of the ceived to be tactica future. The grass on appears greener to may tempt the opp the impression that goods. If the Tamils parties to play the fa they cannot blame plight. So far the Ti have been diplomati with the governmen ties. They have beef With the Governme. before the two sides approach. The em tween the Muslims a helpful to prevent an ethnic minorities to opposition parties devolution proposal.
TTE too has to secession and the u its goal, in the lightc in Sri Lanka and the British Government main parties to agr proach. LTTE cannc sition taken by other wide with regard to it
TAMIL TIMES 15
ersion of the fundathe constitution.
ggiven by the Presiof the opposition that mon approach to the nic conflict signals a familiar failed route o settle the conflict he agreed bipartisan rnment is obliged to position party in all Tamil parties, includstain its concurrence any agreement with ide of this agreement or a political solution of adversarial politics bane of the country
spect is that it could osition party to delay conflict, if this is per|ly useful in the near the other side always Ome and this illusion osition party to give tonly can deliver the allow the two main miliar bali game, then anyone else for their mil political parties : in their relationship and opposition par| having discussions tand the UNP even agreed to a common rging solidarity bend the Tamils is also f division among the be exploited by the or undermining the
rethink its stand on e of force to achieve recent happenings nterest taken by the persuading the two e to a common apalso ignore the poovernments worlddemand fora sepa
rate independent state in the North-East. The common approach, based on the understanding that exists between the Conservative and Labour parties in Britain in dealing with IRA violence has other implications to the LTTE, if it continues to seek political power through the same violent method.
If the opportunities for a political solution continue to be missed, because of the intransigence of the Tamil rebels, political future of the Tamils in Sri Lanka will be jeopardised. Even if the militants succeed in gaining full control of a part of North-East, the ethnic problem will continue to remain unresolved with all its ramifications. These will only exacerbate the problem, inducing more Tamils to flee the country and causing permanent difficulties to those remaining in Sri Lanka. Tamils do not reside exclusively in the North and East of the country. Sizable numbers live in other parts of Sri Lanka along with the majority Sinhalese. Presentestimates suggest that the number of Tamils living in the exclusive Tamil areas of North-East has dwindled.
The real choice at this juncture for all the communities in Sri Lanka is to accept a political structure, where their concerns are dealt with in away that it neither permits domination of one ethnic or religious group over the others nor gives room for any fear that the future of any one group is in danger. This can be done only by recognizing their concerns first and then building jointly the constitutional frame starting from the basic principles that allays their fears - real or imaginary. There is an interconnection between the concerns of the various groups and therefore all must be considered together in designing the constitution.
In a recent interview, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris said:"One of the requirements for a democracy to function is that there should be abroad consensus with regard to fundamentals"This appliesto the constitution of a multi-ethnic country, if it is to be accepted and revered by all the citiZ8S.
Thanks to the initiative and effort of the International Alert Peace Group (APG), a group of parliamentarians belonging to six political parties in the government and opposition has urged the Select Committee on Constitutional Affairs "to make every effort to draw the TTE into discussions". In a letter addressed to the chairman of the committee, it has suggested that "the conclusions of any discussions with the LTTE should then converge with the constitutional re
16 TAMIL TIMES
forms envisaged by the Select Committee". The Government standsto gain considerable support nationally and internationally by making the first move towards this end. Given the way the last talks broke down and Eelam war lll was started instantly, a refusal by the LTTE to negotiate with the Government in good faith will severely damage its Credibility as a movement fighting for the liberation of the Tamil
The main concern of the minorities stems from the adverse treatment they received after independence from successive governments of the two principal parties - the SLFP and UNP. They had functioned simply on the doctrine of majoritarianism (in which the views of the minorities were irrelevant). In conseque-nce, the Tamils in particular felt alienated from the body politic and had no say in matters that affected their welfare, safety and security. They were also handicapped by national policies that denied them the same advantages given to the majority Sinhalese. Over the years the development of those areas, populated predominantly by the minorities had been neglected, while land development was tied to the colonisation schemes that altered existing demographic pattern in favour of the Sinhalese. Trincomalee was not developed for the reason that Sinhalese families had not been settled there in Sufficient numbers to change its ethnic composition.
The implementation of some state policies, which would have benefitted the minorities was either neglected or done half-heartedly. Even after the recent change from Sinhala only to Tamil also as an official language, those who cannot speak or read the Sinhalese language experience difficulties in dealing with different organs of the government. The constitutional rights of the minorities have been undermined by the application of other overriding provisions in the constitution. The pogroms, intimidation and acts of destruction that hurt the Tamils in particular and in which the State is believed to have had a hand are also a course of concern.
Military and other institutions responsible for security and the enforcement of law and order, dominated by the majority Sinhalese are perceived by the Tamils as a threat to their security. The blatant violations of fundamental human rights by the security personnel since the ethnic conflict escalated into a bloody war and in which the victims are mostly the civillans have only reinforced this feeling. Despite the various assurances of the authorities to punish those responsible for
these ghastly acts, th has happened in prac Concern. The Tamils fe have been Subjugate their dignity,
The concern of m its roots in the historic of Sri Lanka by Tamil also feel that under t policy of the British c the Tamils have ben though this perceptio to the current situatio ance persists. Associa Concern that once sc given to the Tamils th threat to the Sinhales a regional Tamil state rated by a strait which between the two co: fear. Often it has be the Tamils, the Sinhale nic group live only in S influential Buddhist cl role as the soleprote Buddhism, which the der threat, if the Tam gain unrestricted pow nationalism as a coun chauvinism has raise
The concern of th related to the way the cla branches of ele function. Over the pa tion in government; curtail democratic fr alisation of violence politicisation of admir including the publica ble for law and order; public funds; lack of tr countability in govern rupt public officers useful to the ruling p ship; and the harassm nts through various u been conspicuous.T restrictions on free have often been used of omission and con ments and to silence
The two main p ruled Sri Lanka since taken turn in accusir henchmen of the oth acts of killings, assal and destruction of p both the main parties resorted to the Sam tics to suppress the vicious circle of auth fied on the tit for tat established through
15 MAY 1997
fact that very little ice is also of much el that not only they but also robbed of
any Sinhalese has al invasion of parts cings in India. They e "divide and rule" olonial government efitted unfairly. Aln has no relevance n, yet the old griev|ted with this is their me ruling power is by would become a e. The presence of n south India sepaspans only 22 miles asts reinforces the bn cited that unlike se as a distinct ethSri Lanka. Politically ergy have taken the ctor of Theravada y fearwill come unils (non-Buddhists) er. The rise ofanni terweight to Sinhala d this fear,
he general public is executive and judiIcted governments st decades, corrupmisuse of power to }edoms; institutionin the body politic; istrative machinery uthorities responsimismanagement of ansparency and acment; shielding corconsidered loyal or arty and its leaderent of their opponenlawful means have he overt and Covert iom of expression to conceal the acts mission of governthe critics,
olitical parties that independence have g the members and er party of unlawful lts, threats, abuses operties. Ironically, when in power have unacceptable tacopposition, Thus, a oritarian rule, justiprinciple, has been onstitutional machi
nation and various devious methods. This has been made possible by the deliberate omission of checks and balances in the constitution needed for preventing the misuse of power. The institutions presumed to protect the rights of citizens and democratic freedoms are either powerless or controlled by the State that they are in effect worthless,
Extrajudicial punishments including killing with the tacit approval of government leaders, failure to bring to justice the violators of human rights and the undue delays in bringing lawsuits against Suspects accused of serious crimes (i.e. double standards in prosecuting suspects) have all heightened fears among the masses that an authoritarian or a police state under the cloak of democracy is surfacing. The days when anyone could register a legitimate complaint in the local police station and expect it to be dealt with earnestly according to established rules are history now. The fear of the powerless and the poor, including those who do not have any connection with those wielding power is that they cannot expect justice from a corrupt system. It is the Very process of obtaining prompt justice that has lost credibility,
Integrated approach to constitutional reform
A credible political solution to the national problem must sincerely tackle the causes that led to the present crisis. Unless this is evident in any effort to find a political solution, the latter is less likely to bebelieved by the people as credible, The approach to constitutional reform should not be piecemeal, as seems to be the case now, Any reform lacking coherence could make the key provisions such as those relating to equal rights of all citizens regardless of racial, linguistic or religious differences and devolution of powers to the regions ineffective. In this regard, the importance of specifying the values and principles supporting the entire constitution cannot be overemphasized,
The criticism of some experts on the incomplete draft constitution (only 18 chapters) released recently by the Chairman of the Select Committee to the public for their consideration and comments is that thas nottacked the centra deficiencies in the present constitution. This is due to the failure to deem the constitution as an instrument to protect the people against all arbitrary actions, on the part of the legislative and other branches of government. The various concerns mentioned above have to be considered together in detailing the principles,
The agreed bipartisan approach is re
15 MAY 1997
stricted to the resolution of the ethnic conflict. A broader consensus is needed to determine the constitutional principles that will provide the solid foundation on which the various chapters and the provisions can firmly rest. Even now it is not late to go back to basics and reach a broad consensus first on the fundamentals, including the structures of government and the checks and balances needed to prevent the misuse of power. In the first instance, especially the two main parties should agree to exclude the odious provisions in the present constitution that permitted the abuse of ruling powers in the past.
These may necessitate revising some parts of the chapters discussed by the Select Committee but this in the long term will prove to be worthwhile. The principles apart from helping in the design of the entre constitution will serve to decide whether or not any new orchanges to the laws and provisions that may be proposed in the future violate them. These will also ensure that different provisions are not contradictory. Any dispute in interpreting the provisions or the laws can be settled by the Constitutional Court or the Supreme court with reference to the specified principles. There are other reasons too for adopting this logical approach in the Sri Lankan context,
Conflicting signals have already been emerging from the statements issued by various influential members of the UNP with regard to both the structure and powers of central government and the devolution proposals presented by the Government. Some time back the leader of the opposition stated asymmetrical devolution of powers to the regions would help to resolve the ethnic conflict. There is merit in considering this concept, given the LTTE's demand for a separate state. Once an understanding is reached on the principles pertaining to devolution and the need for the same, it Would facilitate to reach a satisfactory formula to devolve powers. Parties would be bound by the agreed principles and any subsequent arguments in drafting the relevant provisions would be confined to secondary matters, which can be settled consensually without weakening the main frame. They will also find it difficult to vaciliate on or retreat from the stands taken earlier at the time of agreeing to the constitutional principles.
There are some other important issues which should be decided by consensus. These include: the basis of grouping the districts/provinces into different regions for devolution; relationship between the various regions and between regions
and the centre; a
police, finance, fc
in a specified regic
diciary at the regic
tem at the nationa els; organizationa sure the indepen police and otherla ties and the equali less of their ethnic and political affil
rules for appointin ent bodies respor adherence of cons and non-partisana els; bill of rights; a cunstances requi gency powers; ar rights of citizensul gency.
The memoran Reconciliation anc three major partie indispensable in ini making process th (APG) can play af: ing a similar agreen ernment and the rence of the UNPT as an impartial org ested in helping to couraging the antag a political settleme This should be clea took to familiarise both the governmel ties including those parties, with the Countries in resolv the hope that the te applied to Sri Lank cere statements mí present situation I conflict in Sri Lanka partiality of the orga he is a Sri Lankan as a positive factor
Reference is m cle published in the titled "The 1996 SC tion -Lessons for useful instruments
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hority over state land, eign aid given for use , development and juhallevel; electoral sysregional and local levarrangements to enence of the judiciary, f enforcement authorif of all citizens regardorigins, religious faiths ations; methods and persons to independsible for ensuring the tutionalism, rule of law dministration at al leVId the exceptional ciring the use of emerd the non-derogable der the state ofemer
dum of Agreement for Peace signed by the s in South Africa was iating the constitutionre. International Alert cilitating role in reachhent between the GovTE, with the concurhe credential of IAPG anization solely interrestore peace by engonists to negotiate for nt cannot be in doubt. ar from the initiative it he Lankan MPs from ht and opposition parrepresenting the Tamil xperiences of other ng ethnic conflicts in ssons learnt could be a. Moreover, the sinde by its head on the elating to the ethnic ; also indicate theimnization. The fact that hould be considered
hde to my earlier artiTof February, 1997, uth African ConstituSri Lanka,” for other ut in place to ensure
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TAMIL TIMES 17
the process of constitution making is smooth and efficacious. The power given to the Constitutional Court to overnule any provisions in the final draft (approved by the Assembly) inconsistent with the agreed principles is significant. The cour had no power to suggest changes to the principles, which remained sacrosanct once these were approved by all the main parties.
Urgent relief and rehabilitation
SeS The procedure outlined above for changing the present constitution aimed at addressing the various concerns, including those of the minorities takes time to succeed The needfor suspending hostilities arises not only to create a conducive atmosphere for reaching abroad consensus on all the key issues outlined above but also importantly to resettle the refugees in their original dwelling places. The much needed relief work to help them to regain their lost livelihoods also requires an organizational effort. The cooperation of all the concerned groups is also essential for this purpose. Without a ceasefire agreement, the reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the war-torn areas cannot proceed Swiftly,
Given the present plight of the people affected by the war, the humanitarian relief work cannot wait until the adoption of a revised constitution. A US Committee, which studied the conditions of the refugees has urged the Government to take urgent relief and rehabilitation measures or seek help from the international community. Foreign aid, promised by the donors for rehabilitation Work is contingent on the two sides agreeing to a negotiated settlement and in the interim ending all acts of violence. It is senseless to delay the implementation of these measures both from the economic and political standpoints. There cannot be a better way to begin the process of national reconciliation, which is crucial for lasting peace. These measures will also help towards reaching a credible political solution acceptable to the people. O
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8 TAMIL TIMES
relief and raised hopes in the hearts and minds of those thousands of mothers andfathers, brothers and sisters, and sons and daughters who have been yearning for peace. That event which generated this unprecedented euphoria of exuberance was none other than the news flashed over the media networks that President Chandrika Kumaratunge and Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe have signeda bipartisan Accord to mutually collaborate in all democratic efforts leading to a negotiated solution to the ethnic crisis. Whatever cogent motivation that seems to underline this unique gesture, be it political expediency or a mature expression of national leadership that transcends petty-mindedness and party sycophancy, the initiative and attempt to search for a just and durable solution to this debilitating malaise must be welcomed with the optimism it deserves.
Tongues will certainly wag and critics with a touch of cynicism will want to impute ulterior motives or intentions veiled invested interests to the Chandrika-Ranil Accord. Diehard fundamentalists and nationalists of the Worst sort, whose views have been rejected by the general public, will surely refer to the twosome as “traitors". They are those who wish to reduce the pluralist character of this country to one race, one language and one religion. These ultra-conservatives are wilfully blind to what this was has cost this nation in terms of human lives andlimb and material resources. The war effort has bled this country to the tune of Rs 23.7 billion in 1994, Rs 35 billion in 1995, close upon Rs 45 billion in 1996 and a projected Rs 50 billion for 1997 - an astronomical total of Rs 153.7 billion within a short period of only four years - not taking into what the country has had to bear since the inception of the ethnic conflict. If this proverbialsword had been converted into a mighty ploughshare, would not this beleaguered country have flowed with milk and honey several times over. But instead, if one were to calculate the damage caused to life and limb, then over 50,000 lives snuffed out by the war effort would be a reasonable guesstimate with thousands of others being maimed for life. What is most unfortunate is that those who have sacrificed their lives have been in their teens - the flower of our youth. Is this the horrendous legacy those who are hardhearted want us to bequeath to our future generations?
As: event sparked off a sigh of
The Motive Behind the Event
Rumours have been rife as to the suddenness of the Chandrika-Rani Accord. How was it possible for Liam Fox of the British government to manoeuvre such a consensus within so short a time? Were
the British Tones C abroad to boost th home prior to the or tions to be held on LTTE expatriates e, on the British Forei pressure on the ba did President Chanc When the "Political P led in Parliament? dum on the “Packa tion of the UNP in th ate? Was the stick tions being used tot What role will Brita mediator, facilitator ker? Has the gover its stance and expr to dialogue with the be the sole repres people? Multiple a remain unanswerec Adequate answ. may not be imme Nevertheless, thos placed or kosta love reached their tether lenge the leaders c cal parties to shed ferences in the gr country.
The Chandrika haps a small stepfo nөy towards peасе travails of a fourte deed are those wh these unctuous pro by President Chanc Wickramasinghe, could end in an bringing us all bac trated hopes in pre have created a ni people=s minds, w only when pronour matched with defil
Need for a Defini
The logical qu the minds of many one hand, the ong ns of abating. Des resources, runni Three Billion bein lete weapons - for
15 MAY 1997
3 Firth OMI, Director, Centre for Society and Religion
lecting credits from ir sagging image at coming general elec
1 May? Or, had the erted their influence Jn Office to ease the tlefield at home? Or rika fear a showdown ackage" would be tabOr would a Referenge" weaken the posie eyes of the electorof foreign aid restricame the government? in play. Is it that of a , and an honest bronment now changed essed its willingness LITTE? Will the LTTE entative of the famil re the questions that l. ers to these questions diately forthcoming. e who have been disdone in this War have and are ready to chalf the two major politiheir party political difeater interest of the
-Ranil Accord is perrward on the long jour. Having suffered the In year war, many ino are suspicious that Inouncements, made rika and the Hon Rani n the name of peace ollow political fiasco to square one. Frusrious peace initiatives che for scepticism in nich can bedislodged жөrmөnts on peace are ite plans for action.
stion that surfaces in S"What next?" On the ing war shows no sigite precious monetary g into over Rupees squandered on obsowhich no-one appears
to be accountable - the security forces keep engaging in one major operation after another with bold claims that the LTTE has been Weakened and that the War is 75% over. The government continues to operate on the assumption that the TTE can be pressurised into accepting the Devolution Package once the government forces have succeeded in taming the rebels.
However, what is not brought into the equation is the LTTE=s strong overseas lobby which is its instrument for propaganda and fund raising. The LTTE may find itself weakened on the manpower front, since certain populated areas have been captured by the security forces, weakening its potential for new recruits. But the LTTE=s was machinery still remainsformidable, as is evidenced by the repeated blows it has succeeded in inflicting on the security forces= air supremacy. How could a government which had refused to accommodate third-party mediation and talks with the LTTE, mobilising popular support under the slogan: "First War then Peace", suddenly express its opinion in favour of talking to the LTTE
Such contradictory stances must give way to conditions prevailing in reality. With LTTE manpower depleting and the government coffers being drained out on the War front, the War can never end With a victory to one party while the other suffers defeat. A win-win situationforal parties concerned will be possible only if a way out of the crisis can be worked out through dialogue.
Towards a New Sri Lanka
Having struggled for years to achieve the emancipation of his people, Nelson Mandela eschewed a Constitution for South Africa that would implant the supremacy of the black people over the whites. Rather, it was to be a new South Africa, born of a new vision where the rights of all South Africans would be guaranteed irrespective of colour or Creed. This is perhaps what a dialogue among all parties must attempt to ensure for the present and for posterity,
Our lives are constituted more by our own prejudices than by our judgements, (Continued on next page)
15 MAY 1997
Experience has taught us and history will show that talks and negotiations alone will not bring peace in Sri Lanka. Agreements and pacts were made from time to time between the two major ethnic communities but these did not help to bring about ethnic harmony. Often promises were broken or agreements abrogated even before they were implemented. This may be because the climate essential for peace and harmony was not present in the country, Wars, it is believed, do not begin on the battlefield. It is said in the preamble to UNESCO's constitution, "Wars begin in the minds of men. It is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed"Peace will not prevail when violence ends unless there is a change in the hearts and minds of the people. A spirit of "live and let live" should be born in our hearts. Respect and concern for our fellow beings should grow in our midst. How do We Create the necessary climate for lasting peace? What steps will pave the way for peaceful coexistence without fear and tension?
First and foremost, we should learn to see beauty in diversity. Diversity does not necessarily lead to conflict. In fact, life is more interesting and richer in a multicultural, multilingual, and multinational society than in a homogeneous society. Why do people love to visit India? It is because of the variety of cultures it has to offer with its cosmopolitan society and
P eace is not just the absence of war.
(continued from page 18)
As the philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer would want us to believe, in his book Philosophical Hermeneutics, "the concept of prejudice did not originally have the meaning we have attached to it. Prejudices arenotnecessarily unjustified and erroneous, so that they inevitably distort the truth... Prejudices are biases of our openness to the world. They are simply conditions whereby we experience something- whereby what we encounter says something to us. This formulation certainly does not mean that we are enclosed within a wall of prejudices and only let through the narrow portals those things that can produce a pass saying, "Nothing new will be said here." Instead We Wellcome just that guest who promises something new to our curiosity". This bias can be positive were we to perceive Sri Lanka as a plural-ethnic, multi-cultural society. The Sri Lanka. We Want to build for the future must be somethingnew. This bias needs to be fostered so that our experience of the others, as being different from us, will help us build for the future a pluralist Society where all religions, languages, and cultural differences could coexist harmoniously, each respecting the rights of the other,
the wide range of etc. Likewise, in S dances, drama, pa and appreciated b us, Music is consi form of communica ture speaks a thous speak even more. each other’s cultu lasting peace. By ders We could extel losing it. One of the Sri Lanka is the di prepared by each When it comes to cious dishes we h stand in our way. learn to accept diff live amicably. Glor past and turning a teous richness of C to isolate us from c advantage if we gi negative stereotypi all cultures in our thy,
Moreover, whe harmony, languag Communication, n and co-operation. profit if we study e This would be of ir ing bridges. Furthe pan Association fo Conference held there was a deleg Linguapax Inter which held talks a foreign languages' Linguapax combin gua" (language) a mean"peace throt and teaching. Eng peace studies in promote better ur different Cultures. and colleges in Eu undertaken with th ing the minds of cl ple. We too, shou in Sri Lanka in p learn new ideas a
Furthermore, a country where t of the World are
TAMIL TIMES 19
Sakuntala Kadirgamar, Tokyo
festyles, music, food, ri Lanka, the music, intings, etc. if shared everyone will enrich ered to be the best tion. It is said if apicand words, a song can earning to appreciate e is a prerequisite to Crossing cultural borhdour identity without things we all enjoy in ifferent kinds of food thnic community and savouring these deliave never let Culture Similarly, we have to erences if we want to ifying a monocultural blind eye to the beauther cultures is going others. It will be to our ve up prejudices and ng and remember that land are equally wor
in We think of ethnic e is often a barrier to hutual understanding Both communities will ach other’s language. nmense help in buildr, at the last JALIT (Jar Language Teaching) in November, 1996, ation from UNESCO's lational Committee, nd seminars to teach hrough peace studies. es the Latin words “linAnd "pax" (peace) to gh language learning ish language through Sri Lanka will help to derstanding between In many high schools ope peace studies are e intention of influencildren andyoung peoinvolve our children ace and get them to ld values.
is unbelievable that in e four major religions breached and where
about 99 percent of the people are religious violence has come to stay. What have these religions taught us? In every religion we are told to reach out with love and compassion to others. In the words of Fr Mervyn Fernando in his article, "Ethnic Conflict: have the religions failed?" he says "What has been particularly disconcerting is the paralysis of the religions visa-vis the ethnic conflict in the country. One would have expected the highest authorities of the respective religions to take the lead in going above and beyond the ethnic divide to bring the warring parties to negotiation and dialogue for a nonviolent settlement of the problem... But barring some efforts of a handful of individuals and groups, taken on their private initiative religious authorities have remained on the sidelines, perhaps making an occasional statement, throwing the onus of the matter on the government which is itself aparty to the problem."We cannot but agree that Sri Lanka is likely to be a better place if all religions direct their efforts towards peace. In a multi-religious society, we should avoid being dogmatic and learn to respect the teachings of other religions. This will pave the way for religious harmony to a great extent.
In addition, the pacifist, Rajmohan Gandhi, in his speech entitled "Preparing the World for Non-violence" said that a major obstacle to peace is our tendency to demonize others and forget our own evils. He referred to the 1919 British army massacre of 319 Indian men, women and children at Amritsar. Shortly after themassacre, a meeting of the Indian National Congress was held to condemn the British for the massacre at Amritsar and to condemn the Indian mobs who killed 5 British soldiers in retaliation. The Congress Party members overwhelmingly voted in favour of the first motion condemning the British massacre of Indians but voted against the second motion condemning the killing of the British soldiers. One participant stated, “No son of an Indian mother could have drafted that motion." At this point, Mahatma Gandhistood up to say, "The person who drafted the second motion was me. And I believe that only the son of an Indian mother could have draf(Continued on next page)
20 TAMIL TIMES
By S Kanesa Thasan
sioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has performed the important task of protecting and assisting the world's expanding millions of refugees and internally displaced people under the most difficult political, logistical and financial circumstances, it has been inevitably subject to pressures both from the countries of origin of refugees and displaced people, not to meddle in their internal affairs, as well as from countries of refuge, who look for UNHCR cover to avoid or minimise domestic political, social and financial pressures posed for them by the increasing refugee population. Since the countries of refuge are also the ones which finance the UNHCR almost entirely, it would be understandable for the UNHCR to be particularly sensitive to their interests - notwithstanding its claim of being "humanitarian and non-political."
Overall, the UNHCR has performed creditably in meeting its responsibility for the world's refugees and internally displaced people. Regrettably, however, the same cannot be said of its stance in Sri
-United Nations High Commis אך
Lanka. Sri Lankan Refuge Need UNHCR Prot The UNHCR's O ing “refugees” state many refugees ha years, the primary c. Wars and ethnic, tril ience. The UNHCR ple fleeing war and v and whose state is protect them, are in protection and shoul gees.” Refugees fi qualify for UNHCR a protection" being in groups of refugees, vidual cases, fleeing and widespread v rights."
While each indi try is clearly free to gee determination p its protection functic important role in ad up those procedure: implementations a
(continued from page 19)
ted that motion"Then in a totally unprecedented move, the conference agreed to revote on the two motions and subsequently passed them both. Therefore, according to Mahatma Gandhi, impartiality is absolutely essential when resolving a conflict situation. Let us be quick to condemn any act of violence no matter who committed it, irrespective of the numbers inwoMed.
One has to visit the peace museum and the peace park in Hiroshima to realise the horrors of war. There are paintings, pictures, videos and writings on the walls to take us back to August 1945 to show the sufferings, the desolation, and the misery of the people who were unfortunate to live through this tragedy. When my friend seated next to me expressed her anger by asking how human beings could be so cruel to inflict pain on others, my heart was miles away with the suffering people in the war-ravaged areas in my hometown. Although we didn't go through a nuclear holocaust, several items there
reminded me of th Lanka. The wome wandering in the s uge, the children i ents, the dead bodi and the roofiless bu Were similar to wha tunate brothers an enced in the War.T. mal and hopeless. outside and saw th city of Hiroshimare feelings formy cou The streets of Hire with people and t beautiful with its surrounded by the was an air of freed all, I had a feeling lity which l never We have the will a that the Japanese Corne out of this above the ashes a homes, Schools ar ginning will bring peace.
15 MAY 1997
S ction vn literature in definthat "The causes of e shifted; in recent uses have been civil al and religious vioconsiders that peoarrelated Conditions Inwilling or unable to need of international d be considered refu'om Sri Lanka also ssisted "international he category of "large as opposed to indipersecution, conflict iolations of human
vidual refugee Counestablish its Own refurocedures, as part of In the UNHCR has an vising them in setting s and monitoring their nd also in advising
e War victims in Sri With their children reets looking for ref| search of their paras, the broken homes ildings in many ways some of our less forsisters have experie future seemed disYet, when I stepped impressive modern built after the war, my try began to change. shima were teeming affic. The city looked uietly flowing rivers ilis. Everywhere there mand safety. Above f peace and tranquilxperienced before. If ld the determination eople had, we too can ragedy. We can rise d rebuild our broken hospitals. A new beforth long-standing
them about relevant conditions in the countries of origin of refugees.
UNHCR's statements On Sri Lanka have acknowledged that due to the resumed and escalating armed conflict in the Tamil North East, the human rights situation there is precarious. Both sides in the conflict are guilty of human rights violations there, However, the UNHCR's statements have painted a relatively benign picture of the security conditions and human rights situation for Tamils in the rest of the country. This is clearly intended to make the point that Tamils at risk in the North East have safe refuge elsewhere Within Sri Lanka.
Since the UNHCR is the international organisation responsible for the protection of refugees, its assessment has been a key factor in Sri Lankan refugees being denied even temporary protection, by refuge countries in the West. The results have been catastrophic. The BRC report notes, for example, that in the UK whereas between 1991 and 1993, 95% of all Sri Lankan applications for asylum were awarded Exceptional Leave to remain, between 1994 and 199694% Were refusals. Moreover, nearlyevery western country has launched aggressive programs of repatriation of Tamil refugees.
Other Sources Contradict UNHCR
The UNHCR has persisted with its assessment, even in early 1997 (UNHCR Return of rejected asylum seekers to Sri Lanka), despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary offered in several recent reports by the US Department of State (January 1977), the US Committee for Refugees (USCR) (March 1997), the British Refugee Council (BRC) (February 1997) and Amnesty International (AI) (various dates), Asia Watch (AW) and by other human rights organisations. The UNHCR's stance has been repeatedly criticised by Tamil organisations and by many human rights NGOs to no avail.
A particularly troubling aspect is that the UNHCR does not in fact have the resources in Sri Lanka to adequately and independently monitor the human rights situation or even the fate of the refugees who have been involuntarily repatriated to Sri Lanka. The UNHCR has acknowledged that it is involved only in "passive monitoring" of the situation.
All the reports cited confirm that serious human rights violations by security forces occur, mostly against Tamils, not only in the North East but also elsewhere, principally Colombo, These violations include disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and more pervasively torture, arbitrary detention and assault; that even the limited protection provided in the Emergency Regulations (ER) and the Anti-Tørrorism Act (ATA) are routinely violated and (Continued on next page)
15 MAY 1997
that security forces enjoy impunity for their violations, Moreover Tamils are under suspicion and under surveillance not only by the security forces but also by neighbourhood watch committees set up with Government support.
Typical of the UNHCR's relatively benign view of the security and human rights situation for Tamils even Outside of the North-East is the statement in the UNHCR information update of September 1996 (quoted by BRC) that "the treatment of detainees remained Correct and torture and other forms of mistreatment Were not practised by the police and security authorities in Colomb0, "This Contrasts Starkly with statements in the US State Department's human rights report for 1996 which noted the "deterioration in the human rights record of the security forces" and that "impunity for those responsible for human rights abuses remained a problem." After referring to the extension of Emergency Regulations to the whole country in April 1996, the report also notes that "crucial safeguards built into the ER were being routinely ignored by security forces, especially those provisions requiring receipts to be issued for arrests and ordering the security forces to notify the Human Rights Task Force (HRTF) of any artest within 4 hours. Although security force personnel can be fined or jailed for failure to comply with the ER, none was known to have been punished during the year."
The US State Department report also notes that "Members of the security forces continued to torture and mistreat detainees and other prisoners both male and female during interrogation. In November a Supreme Court judge stated publicly that torture continued unabated in police stations in spite of a number of judicial pronouncements against their use. During the year no one was convicted of torture under the anti-torture law." "security forces continued mass arrests of young Tamils, both male and female... Major sweeps and arrests occurred in Colombo, the east and increasingly in the Jaffna Peninsula."
The report of the BRC which focused on the UNHCR's assessment more directly, had the following comments on the position of Tamils in Colombo. "Despite the attempts by the Government to promote human rights, the culture within the Sri Lankan security forces remains suspicious of Tamils - in particular young males, although all Tamils, whether male or female, young or old, are at risk. That Tamils should come under suspicion because of actions of the LTTE is understandable, What is concerning is the continued use of detention without trial, and in contravention of the Emergency Regulations; of torture to extract confessions, often in language not understood or spo
ken by the signator executions which a rity forces. While th tematic reduction ir tions, particularly a population, there cc rights violations in against Tamils, wh appears to be unwil Vent. It is for this should not be assul
UNHCR's insenst The insensitivit attitude of the UN facing Sri Lankan T the recent intervi UNHCR Represent reporter from thene from his home Cour He is reported to ha have nothing to fea Jaffna, unless they tivities, thatTamils ei ment just like other therefore the famils rived in Amsterdal asylum as economi This Writer Wa UNHCR office in G Was "a distorted re the UNHCR had s alleged "distortions, provided with a cop after repeated req the sad fact remai statements are bro the general stance Lanka.
The UNHCR of also followed a sim stating the acute pro dreds of thousands Tamils in the North, of food, shelter, me tion. Since access t observers to the No by the Government, reports available ol
CR report. While C ernment for assum assisting internally c other civilians in a ment control, it not sands are at risk be will not provide the or medicines, shel nor allow the interr do so. The shortage is also confirmed by nt based in Vavuniy nt for supplies - in
after March 1996, foi been provided by 206,000 displaced
told hardship to the not in a position tc
TAMIL TIMES 21
f; and of extrajudicial e linked to the secuere has been a syshuman rights violagainst the Sinhalese intinues to be human Colombo, particularly ich the government ling or unable to preeason that Colombo ned to be safe for Sri
and almost cavalier HCR to the problems amils is illustrated by ew granted by the ative in Colombo to a Mwspaper“De Telgraaf" try, The Netherlands, We said that the Tamils r in Colombo or even ngage in terrorist acnjoy freedom of moveSri Lankans and that who had recently arm should be denied c migrants. as informed by the eneva that the report production" and that trongly protested the "However, he was not y of the protest, even uests. Nevertheless, ns that the reported badly consistent with of the UNHCR on Sri
fice in Colombo has ilar pattern of underblemsfacing the hunof internally displaced in terms of shortages dical care and sanitay reporters and other rth is tightly restricted there are few outside T the situation of the One is the recent USommending the Goving responsibility for lisplaced persons and reas outside governes that tens of thou:ause the government m with adequate food ter, water, sanitation, lational community to of essential supplies the Government Agea - the only transit pol1996. He notes that, odassistance has not the government for persons “causing unse families as they are earn any sort of in
come due to the severe drought in the area. "The USCR and the Government Agent also underscore the even greater cuts in the supply of medicines and medical care facilities.
The USCR report also states that the UNHCR should not use its Open Relief Centres (ORC's) for displaced Tamils in the North to "actively dissuade Sri Lankans seeking refuge in India" in the USCR's opinion, those seeking refuge in india have done so voluntarily. It states that the UNHCR should not seek to "impose the ORC on would be refugees or use its existence as a pretext for interdicting and returning refugees to Sri Lanka. "This comment was clearly promoted by UNHCR's controversial policy of actively promoting the involuntary repatriation of refugees.
Contrary to the UNHCR's assessment, the current security and human rights situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka can be summarised as follows. Tamils in the North East are exposed to severe war related conditions and human rights violations by both warring sides; their flight out of these areas either to the South Or to India is severely restricted by the Government for security and other reasons; and Tamils present outside the North East including several tens of thousands of internally displaced, are exposed to insecure condtions and massive violations of their human rights. There is also strong evidence that the Government, despite its numerous declarations of Commitment to human rights is at the very least "unable" to protect the human rights of Tamils. As noted by BRC, "The Government's attempts to promote human rights have been slow to change the cultural and institutional prejudices and practices which have resulted in continued patterns of abuse, particularly within the security forces."
An analysis of UNHCR's stance on the general security and human rights problems in Sri Lanka (and perhaps in other countries), is complicated by its reluctance to make public its views on these areas. It is the Writer's understanding based on his contacts with UNHCR that they are made available only to interested governments. Since the governments of the refugee country as well as of countries of refuge are not likely to chalenge an understatement of these problems, the interests of genuine refugees and displaced people could easily suffer. This is especially so when the UNHCR does not respond to criticism by the NGO's and others, when its views somehow become public, as in the above quoted instance in Sri Lanka. This practice of secrecy and non-accountability is unjustified, especially in the case of a humanitarian organisation like the UNHCR. (Continued on next page)
22 TAM TIMES
POINT OF VIEW
SHOUTAND PEAF TRINCOMALEE
by K.A.Reddiar, Trincomalee
which is available in the Trincomalee Urban Council library, I wish to express my opinion about this monthly journal. Although the news review and the various articles publishedonissues concerning the Tamils are useful to the Tamil expatriate community, wonder how many find the time to read them. They are always busy making money or preoccupied with other matters that concern them and their families only. An expatriate Jaffna Tamil, who is always inward looking, may not be bothered about the fellow countrymen, unless any of his close relatives are still in Jaffna. After the army took control of Jaffna and communications restored, it is now possible to contact people there with some difficulty. This would have helped them to be in touch with their relatives. In order to grasp the psyche of the Jaffna Tamils, like to mention in brief the following facts:
Jaffna Tamils heldsway in the 1950s
A. a regular reader of Tamil Times,
(continued from page 21)
There is thus a compelling humanitarian need for the UNHCR to review and modify its current stance on Sri Lanka and for it to urge countries of refuge to meet the Well founded case for international protection for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees - at least by way of temporary protection and the suspension of involuntary repatriation. The UNHCR Would have then done its legal and moral duty, irrespective of what the refuge countries do thereafter,
The Governments of refuge countries of the West also have a moral, if not legal, responsibility to offer such international protection, at least on a temporary basis, it is equally important that they act in every way possible to press for the improvement of the human rights situation, and for the resumption of negotiations between the GOVernment Of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. Only such actions will offer a real answer to the refugee problem which they confront. It is futile to regard the civil war, which is the underlying cause of the refugee problem, as a strictly internal problem to be resolved internally. O
and 1960s. They enji and migrated eventh entry was much easi ary notices publishec are reminiscent of when Jaffna Tamils p: dazzling heights. Wh sition of the Tamils ir ince and of the upcour show any sympathy ameliorate their pitifu The Jaffna man ( consider the Tamils fre vince as his equal. maintaining his supr Critical time. His own comes first before an lic servant from Jaffn oa with a travelling b returns to Jaffna after Zingly large amount paddy lands," was the rounds in the 1960s Whether the Jaffna province Tamils can COnSenSUS On mate Cern.
The root cause ol conflict is the discrir selecting students fo universities. The mai lection method were But the average Jaffna to realise a vital fact nize and appreciate. has helped the unde from the Batticaloa a to gain admission to neering and medical before by the privileg As a result, today all in the public service, tives in the Batticalo. from the Eastern pro The Tamil intellig ern province feel tha themselves politicall the Northern provinc depend on the Jaffr Eastern province ha ces, including skilled their future and be m tiny? The Muslim leac
15 MAY 1997
yed a powerful life en to the UK, when er, The avish obituin the Tamil Times heir glorious past rospered reaching at was then the pothe Eastern provtryTamils? Did they and helped them to living conditions?
ven now does not )m the Eastern ProHe is hell-bent on emacy even at this economic interest ything else. "A puba comes to Batticallag on transfer and few years with amaof wealth, notably saying that did the ... I doubt seriously amils and Eastern ver have a sincere rs of common con
the present violent hinatory method of ir admission to the n victims of this sehe Jaffna students. man even now fails that others recogThe quota system privileged students hd Ampara districts the science, engiacilities, dominated ed Jaffna students. nost all the Officers ncluding the execua districtare Tamils rince.
entsia in the Eastthey should not tie f with the Tamils in e. Why should they a Tamils when the s sufficient resourmanpower to shape asters of their deserstoo are privately
canvassing for controlling their future independently, without associating with the Tamils in the North.
Let us not forget that it is the Tamils in the Eastern province and Mannar district, who are facing the brunt of the terrible effects of the ongoing war. The peasants there are becoming poorer, while the Tamils in the North are able to keep their heads above water through foreign remittances even though they have lost much of their former financial clout. The Northern province has been hardly affected by state sponsored colonisation. In contrast, the situation in the Eastern province is very different. Now Trincomalee district is dominated by the Sinhalese in almost all walks of life. I wonder how many of the Tamil Times readers are aware that today neither the Tamils nor the Muslims can operate any passenger transport services in Trincomalee. Almost all fishing activities are also carried out by the Sinhalese. As things are, the next chairman of Trincomalee's urban council will be a Sinhalese.
Despite all these happenings, the Jaffna Tamil intelligentsia still wants to continue their dominance over theTamils in the Eastern province.They continue to boast publicly about their life in Jaffna and of their superior culture. They mourn with some dismay that it is the dropouts from the Jaffna society who decided to settle in Trincomalee.They are regarded as inferior and a Tamil girl from Trincomalee cannot marry afamil boy from Jaffna. So much for the domineering attitude of the Jaffna Tamils towards Tamils in the Eastern province and their self-serving economic interest.
Let me now come to the material published in the Tamil Times. The striking thing about the contributors to the Tamil Times is that they are exclusively Jaffna Tamils. This underscores the fact that Tamil Times is only concerned about their aspirations. It is supposed to be the only neutral journal of the kind published overseas on Tamil issues. Surely, it has much to offer to its readers. As an illustration, list below some issues that could be addressed, events that could be included in the News Review and topics of interest (but ignored so far) for articles so as to broaden its horizon:
(1) issues concerning the Tamils in the Eastern Province as well as the upcountry Tamils; (2) Social, cultural and religious events in both the Northern and Eastern provinces; (3) Living conditions in the North, East and the Upcountry for the Tamils; (4) Living conditions of Tamil expatriates/ refugees in Europe and other continents; (5) The attitude of the new generation of
5 WAY 1997
Tamils born and brought up in Europe and other Western countries towards the struggle in Sri Lanka; (6) Introductory essays on places of historical, educational and religious importance in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka; (7) If peace is regained, the prospects for the offsprings of the expatriate Tamils to socially integrate with their Counterparts in Sri Lanka; (8) The prospects for the return of normalcy (peace and tranquility) in the North and East as in the 1960s; (9) Background papers on the origin, social customs and culture of Tamils in the Eastern Province. Very little is known about the history of the Tamils in the Eastern province, since it is eclipsed by that of the Jaffna Tamils in most published articles; (10)The plight of unmarried girls in Jaffna due to the exorbitant dowry demanded and recently as a result of the dearth of suitable bridegrooms; (11)The ecological damage resulting from indiscriminate felling of palmyra trees and devastation of forest reserves in the North-East; (12)The long-term effects of malnutrition and acute shortage of medical personnel in the North and East of Sri Lanka; (13)The disruption to education and disappointing results in the last G.C.E (AVL) examination, particularly in Jaffna (not to be deceived by the few who obtained A grades in four subjects); (14) The wideninggapbetweenthe haves and have-nots as a result of the War and its long-term impact on the Tamil society after peace is restored; and (15)The growing influence of various church groups, especially among the underprivileged Tamils, who under the harsh economic conditions are induced (money is involved) to defect from Hinduism. The following are some specific questions to ponder, which hope will stir the minds of the contributors and the readers of Tamil Times. Surely, someone should be able to provide the answers: (a) Will the inward looking Jaffna Tamils with their financial power derived from the settlement of large number of their stock abroad and enterprising nature, integrate with the underprivileged and deprived peasants in Mannar and the Eastern Province? What is the thinking of the younger generation of Jaffna Tamils living abroad on this question? (b) How will the youths in the North and East, who have got used to the gun culture adjust their attitudes to ano-war situation? What sort of life will they lead then? (c) Can the Tamils patch up their differences with the Muslims? (d) Can the younger generation of Sinhalese and Tamils, after this atrocious War
78-year-old Inder dia's new Prime Minist and variously describe fist and cocktail socia store some of the pre inglorious reigns of Mr and Mr H O Deve GC will he last and can he pulls and pressures higgledy-piggledy coa Front for even the res
Already the rumb wake of the charge-sh ister Lalloo PrasadY Bureau of Investigatio ten days of Gujral's as are casting an oming Centre.
An opinion polic puted IndiaToday reve are to be held now, th to gain the most, att the United Front and BJP already gloating ( of its aggressive pr Advani in the money case, is going arounc ers and trying to winc only a few months sta power at the centre, t that is looking too fari isofimmediate intere: nario and the process
make peace and liv
mony? (e) Will unity among ity or a dream?
Wish to draWate the majority of Tamil write fluently in Englis glecting the languag the universities. , the the Tamils in the Nort country should be inv on the issues and top above, if they have d ing their views in Eng
Finally, I must em not written this letter cation, in case the rea a conclusion. I am flu guages and in my W. halese andTamil lang nce, I have the opport se of the people from
TAMIL TIMES 23
'Kumar Gujral is iner. Widely respected das a scholar, pacilist, he is sure to restige kost during the PV Narasimha Rao wda. But how long really withstand the inevitable in such a lition like the United t of 1997?
lings in Bihar, in the teeting of Chief Minadav by the Central n (CBI), barely within sumingoffice at that, bus shadow on the
onducted by the realled that if elections he BJP Would stand he expense of both the Congress. The Over the exoneration esident Lai Kishen 1-laundering racket preening its feathover regional allies - und between us and hey brag openly. But nto the future. What stis the current sces by which the mild
‘e together in har
the Tamils be a real
ntion to the fact that youths here cannot sh, as a result of nee in schools and in refore, Suggest that h, East and the Upited to write in Tamil ics that have listed ifficulty in expressyilish. phasize that I have out of some provoaders come tosuch lent in all three lanork place both Sinuages are used. Heunity to feel the pulall communities. O
mannered ex-fellow traveller came to occupy the top job.
If only the united front leaders show enough care to choose someone who would not be as petty and provincial as Mr Gowda, that Would bode Well for the nation, this correspondent had written in his last month's despatch. As it happens Gujral, the External Affairs Minister in the Gowda cabinet, is avery polite, self-effacing, relatively unambitious man who definitely has a much larger perspective of the world around him than his predecessor, the humble farmer who could not see beyond Karnataka and his own clan. But he lacks a mass base. Though he is part of the Janata Dal, he only has a marginal role to play in the party affairs, and he should be all at sea in the appaling politicking tearing apart of the rudderless Janata Dal. Ironically it is his soft-spoken, apparently unpushing and almostwimpy personality sans any political clout on his own which has unexpectedly catapulted him to the top, edging out Govindasamy Karuppiah Moopanar from Tamil Nadu in the process. The latter was seen as untrustworthy by the CPM because of his perceived proximity to Mrs Sonia Gandhi while their candidate Mulayam Singh Yadav from the Uttar Pradesh was unacceptable to the other UF constituents because of his abrasive and scheming nature, apart from the hostility he evokes among the Dalits in the UP And thus Gujral emerged as the compromise candidate. But then it is at best an unstable equilibrium because the selection process proved very contentious, even nasty, bruising many an ego and leaving many questions unanswered. Even the President Shakar Dayal Sharma remained convinced until the very end.
Ironically, it was the generally low-profile and non-controversial Moopanar who fired the first salvo when he made his displeasure at the way his claims were overlooked, and his MP's decided to stay out of the UF ministry as a sign of solidarity With their leader. The decision sent alarm bells ringing among the Indian industrialists too since the Tamil Maanila Congress's decision meant that Mr P Chidambaram would not be the Finance Ministry any more and such a prospect was perceived as a disaster to the liberalisation process. it took all the persuasive powers of the UF the Congress, Gujral, Kesri and everyone
24 TAMIL TIMES
who matter to assuage the Wounded feelings of Moopanar and the TMC trooped back ten days later.
There was also another irony in the Moopanar episode, in the very fact that he should have emerged as a front-runner in the race at one stage. For he is known to have displayed a distinct aversion to political office, turning down ministerial offers from the days of Mrs Gandhi. He is perceived to be content with holding court true to his background as a feudal lord and back-stage manoeuvres. Besides heading as he does a mere 20-strong group in the Lok Sabha, he should never have come to be projected as the future Prime Minister. But then he was for two reasons - one his general consensual politics, unwilling to tread on anyone's toes and, more than anything else, his acceptability to Mr Sitaram Kesri who had pulled the rug from under the feet of Gowda.
Moopanar himself kept everyone guessing about his intentions, though he would not categorically rule out his candidature, leading many to believe that he was positively inclined. In one of his off-therecord chats with some journalists including this correspondent he disclosed that he had stood down in favour of GOWCalast year only because he wanted to avoid the embarrassment of an encounter with Narasimha Rao who was still the Congress President and CLP leader at that time.
As speculation candidate oferec presumed that Mc foregone conclusi forces at work. Th known that it Wou close to the Cong ruling family to b feared that Moop proxy for Congres tingly and unwittin tion of the Congre. templated with ho the Congress is t its own bastions c rala; secondly he Congress some tir knell of the anti-C Besides Chief Mini nephew Murasoff cited at the prosp
Later on the ( had opposed Moc Credentials as all but because it pri Indian leader at til could take on the the next elections.
Samajvadi P, Singh's only attra mising anti-BJP s he enjoys among his image is that thugs, highly caste
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mounted and no other himself openly, it was panar's election was a n. But there were other CPM quietly let it be not like Someone too ess and the erstwhile come the next PM, t anar could become a and Sonia and so Witjy strengthen the posis, a prospectthey conror, especially so when le CPM's main rival in f West Bengal and Kecould merge with the he, sounding the death'ongress UF for good. ster Karunanidhi and his Mafan Were nOť ťOO eXCt.
PM was to say that it panar not because his JF leader was suspect ferred a strong North he helm of affairs who BJP the major threatin
arty leader Mulayam ction is his uncomprotance and the goodwill he Muslims. Otherwise of a dada, a patron of istand crafty. And since
15 MAY 1997
he has sought to destroy the CPI during his rule as the CM of the UP, it strongly opposed CPM's proposal. For his part Deve Gowda backed the candidature of Ramvillas Paswan, a Dalit leader but with nothing else to recommend him. It was in such circumstances that Gujral emerged as the compromise candidate,
Born in Jhelum in undivided Punjab, now in Pakistan, he studied in Lahore and took to both the freedom movement and Marxism early, Though over a period of time he became totally committed to the freedom movement, his fascination for Marxism remained,
During Mrs Gandhi's heydays of flirtation with socialism, he emerged as a key member of her kitchen cabinet. But he could not hold his own in the brash Sanjay Gandhi court and was shunted off to Moscow as india's ambassador. After some years in the political wilderness, he joined V P Singh's Jan Morcha against Rajiv Gandhi and became the external affairs
minister in the short lived V P Singh gov
And when it was toppled, Gujral went into semi-political retirement and became busy with his scholarly pursuits besides dabbling in some kind of activism. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar as a goodwill gesture by the Janata Dalwhich wanted someone like him to be part of the
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hen Sonia joined CoW ngress(), West Bengal chief minister Jyoti Basu expressed surprise saying that he never knew she had been out of it all these years! Well, such has been the power of the mystique of dynasty over Congressmen and women. Having grown accustomed to charismatic leaders for last Several decades, they are in need of one Gandhi. GKMoopanar showed his true Congress colours when he said her entry has "solved" the leadership crisis in the Congress(I). He compared her with Annie Besant, when asked whether a foreignborn woman could successfully lead the Indian people! The left must now be feeling glad that it did not allow this Congressman to become prime minister.
Sonia is relatively free now, having married off daughter Priyanka in March last. Son Rahul studies in the West, making occasional trips home. Sonia's only Gandhi family rival, Maneka, is an MP, but is out of the ruling Janata Dal for having been a follower of Ramakrishna Hegde. Maneka, in any case, is out of the rough and tumble of daily politics and spends her time giving television talkshows on being kind to fellow animals. Of course, Soniacan boast of running the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, which is engaged in constructive developmental projects.
The more important question is whether Sonia is a Gandhi, whether she can become an authentic offshoot of the Congress genealogical myth of empirebuilding. And whether Congress boss Sitaram Kesri, once a diehard sycophant, will allow her to take on him. Immediately after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi, the Congress satraps, including Kesri, in their Wisdom or otherwise, offered the party chief's post to her on a plat
REVING THEYNAS ONS CONGRESSAS
ter but she had dec residence, started qualities ever sinc ter P V Narasinha diehardsycophant, self, but she kept When dissidents lik Congress and sou silence became ur she chose to go pub of the Rajiv Gandhi Priyankato visit the quiry proceedings simha Rao was not as prime minister, a the Congress(I) pal is known to have su to party presidents simha Rao's exit.
It is clear that S tics has direct links deal probe which is The Deve Gowdar on the probe and L things, thereby incu ure. The probe fc Sonias Italian frie chchi, Who had sta than three decade the gun deal payoff give the slip to the ous Rao regime an Kesri, even with his new prime ministe may not be able to eventual extradition a lot more at stak
(continued from page 24) Gowda ministry.
His doctrine on relationship with India's neighbours, referred to in earlier reports, of non-interference and generous attitude towards smallernations, and his Pakistani origin does augur well on the foreign front. This combined with his general geniality, lack of vaulting ambitions and an unwillingness to engage himself in any machinations, should indeed make him an ideal choice in the current troubled conditions. Moopanar himself conceded, "I have no problem with him at all. He would make a much better PM than myself."
Still his lack of a mass base, his influence does not extend beyond New Delhi, particularly India International Centre, a favourite haunt of the capital's intellectuals, is sure to come in the way of his effective functioning as the pilot of the ship.
How could he rein i street-fighters like Lalloo, And what is can fall back on to
could he enforce his the fodder Scam - nation since indepe of Rs 950 crore, in off of government chase offodder byt Department of the
the late seventies at to the times of Lall cused is himself the Lalloo? Not manya goodforthejob, som effectual angel bea Void. If he manage; two more years and ing sway, that will i miracle, and a welc
A TWES 25
ined. 10 Janpath, her assuming mysterious 3. Later, prime minisRao, another oncedecided to assert himup a discrete silence. e Arjun Singh quit the ght her blessings, the bearable. Ultimately, licoverthe"skowness" trial and got daughter Jain Commission inat New Delhi. Naraeager to placate her, and later, as leader of rty in Lok Sabha. She pported Kesri's claim ship which saw Nara
ionia's entry into polis with the Bofors gun s nearing completion. egime put the screws nearthed quiet a few ring Sonia's displeasund out that Rajivond Ottavio Quottroyed in Delhi for more s, is a key recipient of s. He had managed to CBI during the previd is now in Malaysia. new-found clout with r lnder Kumar Gujral, stop Quotrochchi's to India, but Sonia has 9 than a mere Italian
n such cantankerous
Mulayam Singh or the support base he assert himself? How will in saya case like the biggest to hit the bindence, of the order folving the siphoning Funds meant for purne Animal Husbandry Bihar, dating back to hdflourishing right up oo - when a key acPresident of the JD, re optimistic. He is too neone like Arnolds inting his wings in the s to survive for even check the BJP's growndeed be a genuine one one at that.
TY MYSTIQUE-SONA AO FACES NDIGIMEI
The next issue at stake is the ongoing Rajiv assassination case trial at the Poonamalee subjail and the proceedings of the Jain Commission inquiring into the wider conspiracy behind the assassination. By joining direct politics, Sonia can keep the heaton the court and commission proceedings, since both have reached a crucial stage. In the assassination case trial, the defence examination of the investigating officer, T Ragothaman, has just been completed. The stage is now set for the questioning of all the 26 accused persons by the new Special Judge, VNavanee-tham. Arguments are expected to commence by June and conclude by September when the judge would reserve his orders. The Jain Commission proceedings got a fillip with the recent depositions made by Narasimha Rao,
Narasimha Rao denied charges that he was close to self-styled godman Chandra Swami who is suspected to be part of a close-knit group around former prime minister Chandra Shekhar and was opposed to Rajiv Gandhi taking over as prime minister after the 1991 elections. Narasimha Rao, however, stated that the Chandra Shekhar regime had dealt with the threats to Rajiv Gandhi's security in a casual manner.
Sonia's last predicamentarises from the squabbles within the Congress(I). Having withdrawn support to the Deve Gowda regime, Kesri is under attack from several factions as he never got to speaking about any alternative gameplan. Congressmen know that the next time Kesri tries such a gimmick, he may not hold any aces up his sleeve. A number of Congress leaders are looking for alternative power centres within the party, but none has emerged so far. Hence, Sonia may have decided to get into scene just to keep the Congress(I) flock together. The Congress(I) has been told by the Indian election commission to complete its organisational polls by the middle of next month. Under the present circumstances, Kesri is bound to get elected, but he may have to listen to Sonia,
The happenings within the Congress(I) would also be affected by the framing of charge-sheet against Narasimha Rao and 19 others in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha bribery case. The case relates to the sordid episode of corruption when four JMM members of parliament helped out Narasimha Rao to survive a no-confidence motion in parliament after receiving huge bribes. The list of accused reads like a who's who in Indian politics - Buta Singh, Satish Sharma, Ajit Singh (all (Continued on next page)
26 TAMIL TIMES
DMKMC es St
T N Gopalan, Madras
ow serious was the candidature of H Mr Karuppiah Moopanarin the prime ministerial race? Was he only
a media creation or were his chances really sabotaged by DMK chief Karunanidhi and his nephew Murasoli Maran? These questions will continue to haunt Tamil Nadu for a pretty long time to come. In the interim, the relationship between these two electoral allies has become severely strained. Though it is a bit too early to say that the two parties have reached a point of no return.
Truth will out, Karunanidhi declared in the State Assembly, and his innocence will be proved beyond doubt, Will it ever clarify the confusion surrounding the entire selection process? There are varying accounts doing the rounds in the National Press, some more credible and some less so. But the common thread running through it all is that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister was less than enthusiastic right through, though for the sake of records he did say at one stage that he was in favour of Moopanar.
However the sustained campaign by a section of the Press, led by someone like the inveterate DMK-baiter Cho S Ramaswamy, that Karunanidhi had gone out of his way to block his ally's candidature, seems to be a bit of an exaggeration and highly motivated.
While the TMC men do not hide their
anger about the DME talk of betrayal in pub self makes teasing st that Karunanidhi had his behalf and that h The general refrain a cles is that it only re push, some more ef panar into the South the Prime Minister) a reasons, Karunanidh hand. At one stage Mo no regrets and am not one who had oppose After all each one of th his own political co meaning will notbe lo res. it will be quite a nandhi overcomes th sabotaged the chanc
Already Jayalalith in troubled waters, ex felt sympathies for Mc directly, and blaming Squarely for doing in that. Evidently she i realignment of politic too distant future.
The developments third week of April ha blow to the prestige verely denting his cult ing above any hanke fices.
(continued from page 24)
former union ministers), Bansi Lal and Veerappa Moily (former chief ministers of Haryana and Karnataka respectively) and the bribe-takers, all belonging to a subaltern movement of a long-suppressed tribal region. The court also dismissed three pleas seeking to summon Kesrias an accused in this case.
Once the charge-sheet gets filed, Narasimha Rao is bound to feel the heat and the MPs under his control will find it tough to go along with him. Narasimha Rao is facing another case - one relating to the cheating of now-deceased NRI pickle-king Lakkubhai Pathak - and his son had been arrested in the Rs 133 Crore urea import scam. Kesri would be only too willing to use this to clip Narasimha Rao's wings within the party, but Sonia, by jumping into the fray now, can be expected to take over the Rao faction as Well.
That a former prime minister is facing trial for bribing legislators to drum up
support for his regim jor trends in contempt firstly, the judiciary i. secondly, political lea can manipulate these Sults to settle scores to protect their friend politics, Kesri's anti Rao's dithering certai first trend Neverthe in politics, comman Substantial sections is the paradox: politi Zen about their respc want to command re: Sonia is expecte cratic plunge anytim series of tours. She tions with the churc north-east and might two places. Whether Congress(I) or hers welcomed by the Bhi which is eager to go against the Congres. Italian-born Woman a
15 MAY 1997
leader's role and ric, Moopanar himatements implying hot lobbied hardon 2 is upset about it. mong the TMC cirquired some more ort to shove MooBlock (the office of und that for selfish i refused to lend a opanar said, "I have bitter towards anyld my candidature. em would have had mpulsions..." The st on the TMC cadwhile before Karute odium of having es of a fellowTamil. a has sought to fish pressing her heartXopanar, though inthe Chief Minister
an ally, a Tamil at s hoping for some a forces in the not
s in New Delhi in the ve come as a body
of Moopanar. Seivated image of bering for political of
e indicates two maorary Indian politics: s getting assertive; aders still think they cases and their re; with their rivals or s. Sonia's entry into cs and Narasimha nly do not reflect the less, all of them are iing the respect of of India's polity. This cians are quite braonses, but they also spect.
d to take the demoe by announcing a has excellent relah in Kerala and the start from one of the her entry helps the lf, it is bound to be aratiya Janata Party hammer and tongs s(I) for accepting an sits supreme leader
if he and his followers allowed themselves to be carried away by the media projections only to land with a thud, the DMK chief too made some strategic errors during those eventful days, cutting a sorry figure at the end of it all.
The moment Gowda tendered his resignation, there were furious speculations in the mediathat Moopanarwas a hotcontender, even the natural choice, because of his general acceptability among all the UF constituents and to the Congress especially. In the past, he used to repudiate in public any ministerial aspirations, but this time round kept his peace. At the height of political activity, he retired to Coimbatore to participate in the first anniversary celebrations of the Tamil Maanila Congress. There was a general mood of expectation and the apprehension among the senior leaders centred around Karunanidhi's own game-plan.
"He could be up to any mischief. He would not relish the prospect of Moopanar's accession? Someone who is less powerful than him in the State? At the very minimum he will have to go to the airport to receive Moopanar every time he comes to Tamil Nadu, a very galling proposition. Thus far it has been the TMC leader who Would call on the Chief Minister. At a more serious level with Moopanar at the helm of affairs, he could be expected to strengthen his party and prepare to go it alone in the next elections. That Could come in the way of the Karunanidhi's mind at that point of time. Veiled threats were held out at the plans for Stalin in the State. At least that was how the TMC interpreted convention to the DMK government"if you stand in the way of our leader, we could create problems for you." Such was the message.
The Chief Minister maintained an enigmatic silence, giving rise to all kinds of speculations. Only on 17 April when he left for New Delhi, he at last spoke up in favour of his ally. That too in a convoluted way - "if the mantle is passed on to Tamil Nadu whom else would I support other than Moopanar?" As if the Prime Ministership goes by rotation, snapped the TMC leaders later,
Even as the D-day neared and the CPM went about thwarting Moopanar's candidature, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, the Assam Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Karunanidhi himself, all members of the Federal Front, did not really bother to rush to the rescue of the chief of the other constituent of the Front, the TMC. Each of them had his own reservations about Moopanar, and finally when Gujral's name cropped up, they enthusiastically backed him.
Now, according to some reports Moopanar was neveraserious candida'
15 MAY 1997
ill-informed media persons and some business houses actively promoted his case. He neverstood a ghost of a chance. Apart frcm the TMC itself no one else was for him, it is argued. However the fact remains that the CPM threw up Mulayam's candidature only to spike Moopanar's chances, the very same party which had offered the job to the TMC man last year. They said openly Moopanar might walk back to Congress, ditching the UF at some stage, Karunanidhidid not protest. That is the TMC's major grouse. "How could the DMK keep quiet when its credentials as the UF constituent was questioned?"Moopanar himself wondered.
Chidambaram lashed out at the other members of the UF at the final meeting of the Steering Committee when Gujral's name was decided upon.
Outraged at the tun of events, the TMCMP's spontaneously decided against joining the new ministry. We will support from the outside, they said, making President SD Sharma Wonder about the new government's stability. Karunanidhi claimed that he had been kept in the dark otherwise his party too would have kept out in solidarity. "We are really sorry that our ally could not make it. But there was little We could do about it when there were no takers for him." Such was his defence, But it did not wash. The general perception was between them the uncle-nephew duo had blown up Moopanar's chances. And so passions ran high in the State. A TMC man burnt himself to death in despair over the loss of face experienced by his leader. Self-immolation has thus far been a hoary Dravidian practice. Some agitated youngsters burnt an effigy of Maran. Fierce speeches denouncing the DMK's treachery were made at the state executive of the party.
Meantime in the assembly the TMC MLA's had started turning the heaton the government, charging it with laxity on the law and orderfront, of taking half-hearted measures to curb the "infiltration by the Tigers" of increasing corruption in the administration and so on,
At a public meeting in Kumbakonam while Karunanidhi denied the charges against him, Union Minister of State for Petroleum, TR Balu came down hard on the TMC for the effigy burning and dismissed its pretensions with contempt. The very next day Chidambaram's effigy was burnt in Nagapattinam. Both Moopanar and Karunanidhi acted swiftly to contain the damage - a student congress officebearer resigned owning responsibility for the effigy incident, the guilty DMK men were arrested and Karunanidhi issued a strong warning against those maligning the TMC leaders and maintained that his relationship with Moopanar continued to be fine,
he and of Pun T been the Cros eastern civilis continent, has man ministers of two Cou months: Nawaz Shal Gujral share topogra both speak Punjabi determined to get p to their once-undivi rivers. Of course, 78 had the additional c fought for the indep continent from the bi in Pakistan. No othel ter except Jawaharl such enthusiasm anc as Gujral. Pakista Gohar Ayub Khan e predicting that Gujr minister.
The setting is d ebrating the 50th y ence.Anda Pakistan ing the country on ag hoping foran India-P kistani players don't the possible antipat
Having made h asked his MP's to ge try, providing that m the Gujral governme a sigh of relief. But ti is over Karunanidhi" ing to take the snub ever way it can, it will the DMK. Only beca mediate elections of has put on hold any people on issue of “tir as seen in the sideBut surely this is the of the aliance, Whetř cept the proffered ha the AIADMK or Jaya entice him With the le DMKfrontor a coup AIADMK to dethrone an alliance led by formed are all quest SWers at the moment has some unnerving it, and the state polit a tumultuous phase,
TAM TIMES 27
jab, which had long sing point for nearations into the subaged to offer prime ntries in the last few riefand Inder Kumar phy and history; they
and Urdu; and are eace and prosperity ded and of the five -year-old Gujral has distinction of having endence of the subanks of Jhelum, now rindian prime minisal Nehru has evoked goodwill in Pakistan ni foreign minister ven claims Creditfor all will be the prime
reamy: India is celbar of its independCricket team is tourloodwill mission, ever akistan cup final. Paseem to be minding hy of Indian crowds
is point Moopanar et back to the minisuch more stability to nt. Everyone heaved he TMC, cut up as it s betrayal is not golying down in whatcreate problems for use there are no imh the anvil, the party blans tomobilise the lehurt to Tamil pride" lining of Moopanar. beginning of the end her Moopanar will acnd of friendship from laitha herself would adership of the antiwill be staged in the Jaya and thereafter Moopanar will be ions which defy an. But surely the DMK moments ahead of ics is all set to enter
at all. Attacking batsman Shahid Afridi, a 17-year-old, says his dream is to play in dia in India. Saqlain Mushtaq, the willy off-spinner, says the huge crowds are at additional factor why Pakistanis shoul propel themselves to give their best. Both players are here for the first time. "It's great to be here," says captain Rameez Raja, all smiles. "Apne kog hai na "he says in Urdu, commenting on the crowds. The sense of homecoming is evident. Andone wishes the two countries were had never separated in the first place!
The Congress(I)'s decision to withdraw support to the Deve Gowda regime has, willy-nilly, brought Gujral to the seat of power. Well, such are the turns of history. The withdrawal of support, it may be recalled, came just when Indo-Pak talks were being held in New Delhi. And Gujral, then foreign minister, was stunned into deep silence! Clearly, the Congress(I) was jealous of the Gujral doctrine of buying peace with India's neighbours. Not that the Congress had any other choice if it could manage to ascend to the Delhi throne, but the party didn't want the united front to hog all the credit for the expected breakthrough in the talks. However, the Congress has to now contend with Gujral meeting Mian Nawaz Sharif in Male during the SAARC summit!
During the talks held in March last, Pakistani secretary of foreign affairs Shamshed Ahmed insisted on according primacy to the Kashmir problem. This is in line with Nawaz Sharif's oft-repeated stand. Pakistani president Farooq Ahmed Leghari had also sought to raise the isSue several times. Pakistan had managed to get a resolution passedat the Organisation of Islamic Countries special summitat Islamabad in March expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir. India responded by saying that the Kashmirissue should not be raised at all during the talks, except within the ambit of the 1972 Shimla agreement. Pakistan has now taken the stand that the Kashmir problem cannot be brushed aside, which means that it wants to discuss Kashmir and other issues simultaneously,
Gujral, on his part, has criticised Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah's suggestion to let the Pakistan
28 TAMIL TIMES
occupied Kashmir to remain with that country. Before the first round of talks, there was an agitation by Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders on March 12 at Srinagar protesting against custodial killings.Three senior leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, MohammedYasin Malik and Abdul Ghani Lone, were arrested and released later. Later in the month, Shabir Shah, senior Kashmiri militant leader, was arrested while on his way to the United Nations Military Observers' Group (UNMOG) in Sonwardemanding that the Kashmiris be given place in the ongoing Indo-Pak talks. The Hurriyat leaders were prevented from holding a similar demonstration in New Delhi. And the Hurriyat ended up getting the valley to hold a bandh against the talks.
During the first round of talks, the Indian side avoided getting provoked. This was clear from the fact that two major events did not get politicised. The first was the discovery of a 34-metre-long tunnel in the Indo-Pak border on March 15. The tunnel, in the Ajnala sub-sector of the Punjab border, might once have been used by the Khalistanis and smugglers, The second was the gunning down of seven Kashmiri pundits in Sangarampura in central Kashmir on March 22. These families had not left the troubled valley even during the 1990s when the majority of pundits decided to migrate.
Gujral, indeed, in the meantime, had come up with several major concessions. for Pakistani visitors. According to him, the Indian government will
exempt young and elderly visitors from police reporting, an extremely troublesome affair;
waive visa fees for elderly Pakistani visitors;
" increase the number of Indian shrines which can be visited by Pakistani pilgrims;
expand cultural contacts between the two countries;
all free flow of Urdu, Punjabi and English books; and
"allow one-year multi-entry visas for Pakistani businessmen.
The announcements evoked thunderous cheers from across the border and Pakistan was forced to make some gestures including the release of 38 indian children held for over two years at the Edhi centre in Karachi. Pakistan also has spoken of a reciprocal relaxation of visa restrictions for Indian pilgrims who want to Visit Sikh shrines in Pakistan and Indian business teams.
The run-up to the second round of talks has not been without hiccups either, Pakistan suspects that the former chief minister of the Sind province, Abdullah Shah, may have crossed over to India. Shah is facing several charges including
South Asia has n the world's poor around 4 billion India ranks 142 terms of real per first in total arms comparative rank India and Pakist twice a Smuch on during 1988-92 though the Saudis han the two colul Global military down by 37 per c but military spen Went up by 12 pe n India and Pak ture continues to India is trying to dolars Worth ar primary educatio dren, provide saf 220 million peop. ning services foi couples.
the sensational mur in Karachi in Septe
in the Kashmir foiled an attempt of large quantities of sector. On May 5, th accused Pakistani unprovoked firing in Indian government AfghanTaliban unit extreme slamic out have been disturbin Taliban threateni Bamyan valley knc
CHENNA POLIC BD FROM LAN: Lankans Were arre tempting to extort kan family staying Chennai early this r sted youth, three Puzhal refugee cal the city. They had Kamalalakshmi Dt part with the amour through a similar ago when Mr. Dura by suspected TEl leased later.
GNLF TO INSTA
DAREELING: Str Gorkha National Subhas Ghising t serves a statue in tion of Darjeeling,
ship with Netaji S
15 MAY 1997
arly 40 per cent of eople, but spends bars on arms.
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arms procurement as Saudi Arabia, are 25 times richer
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his can finance for 45 milion chi drinking waterfor and family plan 22 million more
der of Murtaza Bhutto mber last.
front, Indian troops April 22 to smuggle arms in the Kupwara Ile Indian government troops of resorting to the Kargill sector.The is also worried that s might start backing fits in Kashmir. There g reports of idol-hating ng to take over the wn across the World
for its huge stone Buddhas dating back to the Gandhara period, India has just been witnessing an exhibition of the famous French writer Andre Maulraux'fascination with Gandhara art and the statues are dear to all artlovers here, in any Case, there has been Some news that Taliban going slow on Bamyan. Also, Pakistan has been distancing itself from Taliban militias. In any case, there has beena clear sign of de-escalation of conflicts, at least in the Mohar sector of the Kashmir valley, where the Indian government decided to replace regular army units with paramilitary troops.
Pakistan also fears that sub-regional co-operation among the seven SAARC members, at India's behest, will lead to isolation of Maldives and Sri Lanka. Nawaz Shariff is expected to raise this issue at the SAARC summit at Male.
it is to the credit of Nawaz Sharif that, in the meantime, he got the Pakistani national assembly to vote unanimously to scrap the dangerous provisions of the Eighth Amendment invoked by president Legharito dismiss prime minister Benazir Bhutto in November last year. The move to scrap the provisions was part of the poll promises given by Nawaz Sharif. Predictably, Bhutto backed Sharif's move. Sharif himself had been dismissed in 1993 when the then president Ghulam İshaq Khan invoked the same powers which had been put into the constitution by Genzia UIHaq. Sharif is now expected to concentrate on the Council for National Defence institution set up by president Leghari. Sharif might soon get a bill passed in the national assembly authorising the prime minister to appoint the military chiefs. O
E FOIL EXTORTION CAN FAMILY: Four ited on charges of atRs 2 lakh from a Lanat Mylapore in south month. Of the four arrewere inmates of the np on the outskirts of written a letter to Mrs airajah asking her to t. The family had been xperience ten years rajah was kidnapped O members and re
HITLER STATUE IN unge it may seem, but beration Front leader inks Adolf Hitler dee picturesque hill stabecause of his friendbhas Chandra Bose.
Ghising may well have his way because chairs the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council created after a decade-long confrontation with the left front government. He has already installed a Hitler statue at Shikhola in Kurseong subdivision. The left front leaders of West Bengal have been stunned by Ghising's antics and have been quick to point out that Hitler did not aid Netaji though the latter is known to have met him twice during his year-old stay in Berlin in 1943 and that Netaji had to slip out of Germany and go to Japan for aid.
ANCIENT CONS CONFIRM LINKS WITH ROME: Roman coins issued by emperor Glory Aroma Norum, who ruled during 5th century AD, have been unearthed in Alagankulam in Ramanathapuram and Kodumanal in Periyar districts of Tamil Nadu. Other significant artefacts unearthed including pot shards, semi-precious stone beads, deer horns, born arrow heads and crystal sickle confirmed that Kodumanal played a vital role in export trade during the sangam era of the ancient famils.
15 MAY 1997
ous danger of committing in the second half-century of our Independence the mistakes that have plagued Sri Lanka in the first half-century of its independence. In both countries, the core problem of nation-building has been the relationship between ethnicity and nationhood. We found one answer. The Sri Lankans found another. Ours was the right answer:We have survived. Theirs Was the wrong answer: their problem has become intractable. What underlines the apprehension of our making their mistakes is that there is an astonishing parallelism in the political history of the two countries, especially in the dimension of ethnicity and nationhood, through the 20th century.
As in India, so in Sri Lanka, till the advent of the Twenties there Was a relative absence of Communalism, either religious, racial or linguistic, in nationalist politics. The brothers Ponnambalam - Sir Arunachalam and, later, Sir Ramanathan - were not only the unchallenged leaders of the Tamil-speaking community, but also the leaders of the Sri Lankan political class, in easy and comfortable relationship with eminent Sinhalese like F. R. Senanayake and D, B. Jayatilaka. Divellone
The papering ower of communal divisions in Indian politics by the Lucknow Pact of 1916 was paralleled in Sri Lanka by the formation in 1919 of a nationwide, al-ethnic, secular, Ceylon National Congress, under the leadership of Ponnambalam Arunachalam, But even as the Hindu Mahasabha and the Muslim League between them communalised Indian politics through the '20s and '30s, so in Sri Lanka did the ethnic factor begin rearing its head in all its dimensions - religious, linguistic, racial. The somewhat unceremonious exit of Arunachalam from the Sri Lankan political scene in 1921 signailed the emergence of ethnicity and nationhood as the leitmotif or politics in the island; the appointment of the Donoughmore Commission in 1931 to examine the further evolution of constitutional arrangements for the country further aggravated the communalisation of Sri Lankan politics. It Was, in fact, to underline the ethnic divide, rather than find a solution for it, that in 1926 the young SWRD Bandaranaike proposed federalism as the answer to Sri Lanka's then nascent ethnic problem. His position was the logical culmination of the philosophy of ethnic separatism underlying the approach to nationhood of the Sinhala Mahajana Sabha, established in the same year as the Ceylon National Congress.
Indeed, so consistent was SWRD Bandaranaike in his approach to state
f we do not watch out, we are in seri
structures based that as early as ' Cal Government, Councils. Tragical they had no Maha nationalist mover als of narrOW eth munal politics. T like the Senanay tilaka Were tOO er the Sinhala Maha from its sectarian much, in their per phical attitudes, th to an eclectic, inc tion. Hindu Mahasabh The top rung c self away from c communal politics hibited the particip in the activities of the RSS and other sations. In Sri La top-rung secular S not so careful. The was not only a gr 3OS and 40s betw Sinhalas, there al between the soft
Sinhalese natic yake brand and th tionalism of the Ba The initiative fo composite all-ethni passed to the Left able labour leader after his eclipse i Lanka Sama Sami Perera, Phillip Gur Keuneman. Alas as ka, the Left did not Marxism-Leninisri much on the urbar ised labour and inc masses, with the re tries the Left lost such poor countrie agined might well h by right.
The Partition O Independence, rei minished the impe pendent India towa composite nationh ment of a Secular : the other hand, the ideological commi nationhood brought morrow of indepen ethnicity and nation ued Sri Lanka ewe ristically (and, there stically), whereas nationhood and a | posited a plural na state. The Indian fo!
AN MES - 29
n ethnic separateness |40, as Minister of Loe proposed Provincial however, for Sri Lanka na Gandhi to steer the }nt away from the shoic identities and Comeir nationalist leaders ce brothers and Jayaneshed in the ethos of ana Sabha to escape compulsions, however onal lives and philosoy might have belonged usive, composite tradi
f the Congress kept itommunity-based and and, after 1937, proation of Congressmen he Hindu Mahasabha, Buch communal organinka, in contrast, the inhala leadership was result Was that there owing rift through the ben the Tamils and the so developed the rift
bnalism of the Senanae harder Sinhala Nandaranaike brand.
rmantaining a secular Sri Lanka nationhood
primarily the remark
A. E. Goonesinha and, the late 30s to the ja Party under N. M. awardene and Pieter in India, so in Sri Lanndigenise its imported , concentrating too prolitariat and organenough on the rural sult that In both counhe role Which in tWO } One Would have imWe deWolved on them
India as the price of orced rather than diis in the newly indeds the assertion of a bd and the establishate, in Sri Lanka, On absence of a similar ment to a composite p the fore, on the very once, the problems of oodwhich have plagsince. To put it aphore, somewhat simplilia posited a unitary rai state, Sri Lanka nhood and a unitary ula Worked because
a unitary nationhood permitted of the devolution by the Union of the Union's powers to the federal units without calling into question the indissolubility of the Union.
in Sri Lanka, the call for federation came to be associated with the apprehension of claims to independence, now or in due course, for the Several Sri Lankan 'nations' (leading, inter alia - and notoriously - to SWRD Bandaranalike's rejection of his youthful espousal of "federalism' and "Provincial Councils'.) The selfdescription by the Sinhalese of themselves as the Sinhala nation provoked the backdash of the Tamil describing themselves the Tamil nation. Chelvanayakam, founder of the lankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (which misleadingly but quite deliberately, he translated into English as the Tamil Federal Party) put this point bluntly in a speech at Jaffna College on August 24 1952: "When first Went to the South of Ceylon in 1915, the Sinhala people there lived as a race; today they have become a nation. We in North and East Ceylon should also achieve national status, Independence
That was the beginning of the end of G. G. Ponnam-balam's last-ditch effort to promote Tamil interests within the framework of a composite Sri Lankan nationhood. Sinhala majoritarianism had, in any case, made the Ponnambalam position look unreal, even catatonic, Indeed, not even Chelvanayakam's stinging remark, "This is your independence, not ours." could persuade the Sinhala political leadership to abandon its espousal of a majoritarian nationhood. The rejection of a composite nationhood by both Tamil and Sinhala leaders generated an upward spiral of clashes followed by insincere agreements followed by betrayal, until the Holocaust Was unleashed in 1983,
The Sinhala dream of an island Which they would rule with the Tamils living on Sinhala sufferance has become a nightmare. On the Tamil side Tamil nationalist politics is so caught in the coils of violence, fratricidal killings and internecine war that a Jaffna University Tamil academic Rajan Hoole, mourns, in the current issue of Counterpoint, Colombo's thought-provoking political magazine, that "The (Tamil) people have become so disillusioned with the politics of liberation that they expect nothing good from the liberators." Tamil Eelam, he bemoans, is “neither policy nor a goal". It is, he says, "a slogan'. There seems no way out of this unending tunnel.
if Hindutva either rules or becomes the determining parameter of our conception of ourselves as a nation, all that the Sri Lankans have suffered for the last fifty years would be ours to suffer for the next fifty. Therefore before we begin preening ourselves on India at Fifty being better than Pakistan, we must ask ourselves whether we intend india at Hundred to be Worse than Sri Lanka. The Hindu
30 TAL- MES
Jaffna Hindu brother, professional engineer and Canadian citizen, working in Canada, seeks educated vegetarian groom for his slim, fair, strict vegetarian science graduate sister, 32 years, 5'3", teaching Physics and Computers at Colombo. Please telephone 613 547 5940 (Canada).
Jaffna Hindu parents seek partner for doctor daughter, 27 years old, 52" tall, residing in Australia. though intended partner is preferred in same profession, other professionally qualified persons are also considered. Contact with horoscope and full personal details. State whether willing to migrate to Australia. M 936 C/o Tamil Times.
Jaffna Hindu parents seek qualified bride for doctor son, 28, permanent resident. Send horoscope, details. M 937 Cso Tamil Times.
Jaffna Hindu parents seek professional bride in UK for son, 30, M.Sc. Computers in excellent employment. Send photo, horoscope, details. M 938 c/o Tamil TimeS.
Jaffna parents seek suitable bride below 35 for Engineer settled abroad, disabled, religion immaterial. M 939 c/o Tamil Times.
Jaffna Hindu parents seek professionally qualified bride in UK for graduate son, 28, British Citizen, Analyst Programmer in permanent employment. Send horoscope, details M 940 c/o Tamil Times. Jaffna Hindu sister in Canada seeks bride for brother, 37, in good permanent employment in Canada, Mars afflicted in Seventh houSe... Send horoscope, details M 941 c/o Tamil Times.
Jaffna Hindu sister in Canada seeks bridegroom for sister, 33, permanent resident working in Canada. Send horoscope, details. M942 C/o Tamil Times.
Jaffna Hindu sister in Canada seeks groom for sister, 44, permanent Canadian resident.
Box No. 3. (Wat 17 so extra) Prepayment essental :
the Advertisement Manager.
Sutton, Surrey SM13TD RM Phone: 0181-644 0972 Fax 0181-2414557
Si Sole charge to
Divorcees, widowers considered. Send horoscope, details M 943 C/O Tamil Times.
Jaffna brother in Canada seeks bridegroom for sister, 40, Smart, young looking, teaching in Colombo. Send horoscope, details, M944 C/o Tamil Times.
Mr. Sabaratnam Sabanathan, Consultant Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Bradford Royal Infir. mary; Huntarian Professor, Royal College of Surgeons; Examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Honoured in Marquis Who's Who in the World, 1997; beloved husband of Thirumani; loving father of Anusa (Student, Kings Medical College, London) and Anetha, son of the late Mr. Sabaratnam, teacher and Mrs. Maheswary Sabaratnam; sonin-law of Mr. & Mrs. Thirunavukarasu (Canada); lo ving brother of Sabananthan (Australia), Sa ban esan, Sabaeesan (both of London), Sabaniranjan (Colombo), late Sabalingam, Gowri, Sumathi and Vanathi (all of France); brother-in-law of Thirukumar, Yogendran (both of London), Udayakumar and Shanthi (both of Canada) passed away on 29th April 1997 and was cremated on 2nd May.
The members of the family wish to thank all friends and relatives who attended the funeral, sent messages of sympathy and floral tributes and assisted in several ways during the period of great sorrow. - 8 Foster Park Road, Denholme, Bradford BD134BE, Yorkshire.
15 MAY 1997
Arasaratnam - Parimalam: loving wife of late J.M. Arasaratnam of Navalar Road, Nallur South, Jaffna, dearly beloved mother of Jayaseelan (Surrey), Indra (Sydney), Sakuntala (Tokyo) and Dharmaseelan (Chennai); mother-in-law of late Carmini and Vimala, A.C. George and Silan Kadirgamar; much loved grandmother of Rosh an and Nilan thi Jayaseelan, Nimalan George, Nirmini Somanader, Ajayan and Ahilan Kadigamar and great-grandmotherof Nathan and Jonathan George, sister of late Mrs. Rasammah Arulambalam, late P.A. Senathirajah, late P. W. Rutnam, and sister of Mrs. Pooranam Arumainayagam (Jafna) sister-inlaw of Mrs. Lily Jesudason (U.K.) and Mrs. Gnanaparani Rutnam (Sydney), passed away peacefully at Durdans Hospital, Colombo after a brief illness while visiting Sri Lanka with her daughter and son-inlaw. Funeral services in Dehiwela were conducted by the Ven. Joseph Sarvanandan, Archdeacon, Church of Lanka, Jaffna, Rev. A. Jeyakumar (JDCSI) and Rev. S. K. Kadirgamar (Methodist Church). Tributes were paid by long time friends of the family the Ven. Sarvanandan, Rev. Yohan Devananda and the Ven. Samitha Baddegama Thero. Members of the family wish to thank all friends and relatives who attended the funeral and sent
messages. - 5-4-22 MinamiAoyama, Minato-Ku, Tokyo 107, Japan & 44 Athabaska Ave., Seven Hills, N.S.W. 2147 Australia
Mrs. Suntharavalli Tharmalingam (82), beloved wife of Dr. S.A. Tharmalingam (89) former Mayor, Jaffna Municipal Council and daughter of Dr. & Mrs. Saravanamuthu of Kaddudai, Jaffna loving mother of Mrs. Tharma mbal Na va ratnam (Brentwood), late Dr. (Mrs.) Tharmavalli Sathyamoorthy, Dr. (Mrs.) Tharmasothy Balarajan (London) and Dr. (Mrs.) Tharmadevi Vignarajah (Australia); loving mother-in-law of Dr. Navaratnam (Brentwood), late Dr. Sathyamoorthy, Prof. Balarajan (London) and Dr. Vignarajah (Australia); grand mother of Sarvesvaran, Janani, Jeyaganeshan, Dr. Vaseeharan (South Africa), Anand, Varshini, Yarlini, Thayalan and Dinesh passed away peacefully after a brief illness on 4.5.97 in Brentwood and was Cremated at Upminster crematorium on 8th May.
The member of her family wish to express their sincere thanks to all friends and relatives who attended the funeral, Sent floral tributeS and meSsages of sympathy and assisted them in several ways during the period of great sorrow. - 5 Windy Hill, Hutton, Brentwood, Essex CM132HF. Tel 01277223981
O Conveyancing (Sale and
Purchase-houses, Flats Commercial property)
O Partnership agreement,
Power of attorney, last wills etc.
| BALA 88 CO
Solicitors and Administrators of Oaths We offer friendly legal service on
Legal Aid also available
Address: 101 Wakefield Street, East Ham, London E6 1 NR Telephone: 0181-548 8808
O Immigration O Divorce and Matrimonial O Civil and Criminal Litigation O Landlord and Tenant O Employment
15 MAY 1997
Seventh Death Anniversary
in loving memory of the late Mr. W.V. Selvaratnam, Retired Secretary, Local Government, Sri Lanka, who passed away on 14th May 1990, in Dartford, UK.
Fondly remembered by his wife Rajeswary (Dartford, UK); son Rajase/van and family (Toronto, Canada); daughters Vathsala (Dartford, UK) and Vasanthi and family (Canter
bury, UK). - 119 Hawley Road, Dartford, Kent DA 1 1 PEB. Tel: O1322279.451.
ln loving memory of Mr. Thambidurai Shanmugarajah, Attorney-at-law, J.P., U.M., of Kondavil East, Sri Lanka on the third anniversary of his passing away on 5th May 1994.
Sadly missed and fondly remembered by his beloved wife Ananthavalli, loving daughter Sharmini; son-in-law Ranjit; loving grandchildren Praveen and Anjana and mother-in-law Mrs. Sivapackiam Navaratnam. - 102 Loutit Street, Yellowknife, N, W. T., Canada X(1A 3M5. In everloving memory of Dr. Parameswaran Kandiah on the seventh anniversary of his passing away on 125.90.
It is springtime now and time of election fever. The Canadians go to the polls on the 2nd of June to elect a new Government. The ruling Liberals are expected to win again but with a greatly reduced majority. The real contest is for the second place for which The Reform Party, a national party
Quebecua, a regional party from Quebec are vying with each other. The leader of the party in this contest will be the leader of the opposition. The Suresh Manickavasagam Trial is about to resume in two week's time. He was detained an year ago under The immigration Act for allegedly being a member of the LTTE.
The Tenth Anniversary of the Tamil Catholic Community of Toronto was celebrated with a dinner dance on 3rd May at Etobicoke. The occasion marked the 40th anniversary of the priesthood of Rev. Fr. Christie Joachim Pilai, the spiritual director of the Organisation. Fr. Christi is a graduate of the Gregorian and Angeleum Universities of Rome and is at present Professor at the St. Augustine Seminary of Toronto and Visiting Professor of the University of Toronto. He has also served at the Ampitiya Seminary in Kandy and has WOrked in the Seminaries in the United States before going over to Canada. He is a highly respected and sought after person in Toronto.
The Chief Guest of the function was His Excellency Most Reverend Nicola De
Angelis, the Bishop it communities in Toron ident of the Tamil Ca Toronto is Mr. P.S. past presidents were narajah, Mr. Philip J. Jeyanathan.
One of the noble organisation is the se care facility. The Sri with the assistance O government, this orga in meeting this long Lankans.
Alaveddy Arunoda (Canada Branch) h General Meeting on 1 C.R.C., Don Mills and office-bearers for 9, Sivalingam, Vice-Pre & Mrs. Gnana Navar Gangatharan, Asst. manathan, Treasur Asst. Treasurer: D. tee ilnathan, S. Sivaling nathan, S. Surenthira Vinayagaratnam and mkunmar.
The function ended dinner.
Basket Ball First
Canada: Anton Bapt
Institute, Toronto há represent Canada a Toronto All-Stars On Ball Tour. Anton w European Communit
Sorrowfully remembered by his beloved wife Pathmasany and loving children Thayalan and Anjali. - 29 Mounston Close, Hartside Grange, Hartlepool TS26 OLR, UK.
FORTHCOMING EVENTS June 1 Ekathasi. June 2 Pirathosann. June 3 Karthigai. June 4 Anna Vasai. June 5 Feast of St. Boniface. June 7 7.00pm Shruthi Laya Shangam & Mahajana O.S.A. (UK) present Vocal Recital by
K.J. YeSuidas at Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London EC2.
TAM TIMES 31
Tel 0181 399 7848. June 8 Association of Sri Lankan Catholics (UK) celebrate Feast of St. Anthony at St. Bernard's R.C. Church, 17 Manda ville Road, Northolt, Middx. Holy Mass at 4.00pm followed by refreshments. All devotees welcome. Tel: 0181 422 6126. June 9 Sathurthi. June 11 Shasti, Feast of St. Barnabas. June 15 Fathers' Day. June 16 Ekathasai. June 18 Pirathosam. June 20 Full Moon. June 21 South London Tamil Welfare Group organises Day Trip to Margate Beach. Tel: 0181 545 3313. June 27 Feast of St. Cyril, June 30 Ekathasi.
At Bhawan Centre, 4A Castle
town Road, London W14 9HQ. Tel: O171 381 3086/ 4608. June7 6.30pm Flute Recital by Ronu Mazumdar from lindia. June 21 6.30pm Hindustani Music Concert by Chaya Matanga & Troupe from India.
charge of the ethnic to. The present Presatholic Community of
Soosaithasan. The Brigadier David Ratseph and Mr. M.J.A.
| objectives of this ting up of a long term
Lankans hope that the Church and the nisation will succeed felt need of the Sri
ra College O.S.A. ld its Third Annual th April at the Oriole alected the following '98. President: S. idents: V. Velupillai nam, Secretary: T. ecretary: S. Pathr: T. Jegadasan, hayalan, Commitasalam, T. Senthnathan, R. YogaK. Villavarajan, T. Mrs. Kamala Pre
with a well attended
r Sri Lankans in of Bloor Collegiate
been selected to a member of The e Belgium Basket
take part in the Tournament to be
held in Antwerp, Belgium. The group will consist of 400 participants and their parents from United States and Canada.
London Tamil Theatre Group Performs in Canada
The Tamil Performing Arts Society (TPAS) of London, a very popular and well respected Tamil Theatre group is participating in a Tamil Drama Festival in Canada at Birchmount Collegiate Institute Hall, 3663 Danforth Avenue, Scarborough.
The festival consisting of four of their plays will be held on 24th May 1997. When the group visited Canada in 1994, the plays were hailed as very modern and appealing by many critics and they have been invited again. The members of the group travelling to Canada include Kanagasabai Krishnarajah, Anandarani Balendra, Mano Manuelpillai, Sathiamoorthy, Santhakunam, Vasudevan and Director K. Balendra.
TPAS has performed over 170 times in Sri Lanka and in the U.K. During the past few years, it has presented similar drama festivals successfully in Australia, France, Switzerland and Norway and has given special performances in Holland and Ger
32 TAMIL TIMES
many. Some of their plays have been broadcast over national radio and televiSion network in Sri Lanka and Over the community radios in Canada and in London.
For more details please telephone 416 7558470 (Canada).
Tamil Senior Citizens' Association, New South Wales: As part of the 'Seniors Week' programme, an interesting cricket match was played on 20th March at Airey Park, Homebush between the President's Eleven and the Secretary's Eleven captained by Messrs. Murugesu and Thangarajah respectively, Prior to the start of the match Mr. Andrew Ho, Council Member, Strathfield Municipality hoisted the Nationall flag. It was a keenly contested match in which the Secretary's team won by a narrow margin of 14 runs. A notable feature was that each team had a playing lady member.
An elegant trophy was donated by Dr. A. Balasubramaniam of Homebush in memory of his father-in-law, the late Senator S.R. Kanaganayagam, in addition to individual trophies for the players, umpire and scorers. This generous gift was gratefully acknowledged by the President on behalf of the association. The president also thanked the players, the umpire, the scorers and Mr. P. Rajaratnam who successfully organised the match.
The trophies were distributed by Mrs. Dewi Balasubramaniam. Dr. Balasubramaniam congratulated the association on the excellent services it was providing for the Tamil Senior Citizens of the area. There was a large attendance and a raffle was conducted with three prizes donated by Sivasakthi Stores, Homebush, Dr. J.C. Thuraisingham (on holiday from London) and Mr. P. Rajaratnam.
The Tamil Senior Citizens organised a Food Fair on 26th April to raise funds to
help the needy in the North and East of Sri Lanka. It was held at the Homebush Primary School from 9am to 2pm. Poetry Competition: Mr. Thuraiappah Kanagarajah, a member of the Tamil Senior Citizens' Association has reached the semi-final position of The 1997 international Open Amateur Poetry Competition. His poem was entitled Australia'. The finals are to be held in mid-1997. Hindu New Year Celebrations: The Tamil Senior Citizens celebrated the Hindu New Year with prayers for the Tamils of Sri Lanka at the Sydney Murugan Temple on 14th April. On 20th April a very large number of them travelled by coach to the Sri Venkateswara Temple, Helenburgh to participate in the Sangabhishekam to Lord Ganesha,
The New South Wales Federation of Tamil Schools Inc. organised a book launch on 6th April at the Homebush Primary School Hall. The proceedings began with songs in praise of the Tamil Language and the Tamil people. The
president Mr. Prabh gathering and this launching of the two speakers reviewed proceedings ended from the secretary.
- An Ap|
The tragic and
Pradeepan Jegar hands of car hijack March 1997 has ser the whole spectrum community in South
My own close frie father goes back to known Pradeep fro vividly the beautiful and later his progre; he left Sri Lanka in for Lusaka, Zambia, South Africa in 1: graduated and was the Department of also following the E Mathematics as a pé completing it joined Town for the M.Sc Sheer merit he was while following the completed the M.Sc year was appointed tics at his Alma Ma Transkei - a post h "With absolute dedi (to borrow the ph Naayiyana, his Vic University).
Pradeep was a supported himself of his post gradua the persuasive of firmance full tirme Stu was nearing com 1997. He was a h son, had always a sisted prejudicial generous to the le. made his generosi that for the past tw paying University t students. He never "Foreign Currency M to live well and help failing was the love he realised his dre bought a BMW 5 tragically cost his I hi-jackers. Fate ha the killers and engi He got his migrati 1994, but chose ta qualify for his sabl an year at the end c thesis would also h; was to have ate Mathematical Syrir during the last wee was refused beca passport. His par another Mathernati bane during the firs trip was frustrated Vice-Chancellor.
haran addressed the was followed by the Tamil books. Various the books and the (with a vote of thanks
untimely death of athan (32), at the rs on the night of 31st shock waves through pf the Asian expatriate Africa,
idship with Pradeep's half a century. I have n his infancy. I recall
bonny baby he was is stage by stage until 1980 with his parents
When ! Canne OVer fO 288, he had already working as a Tutor in Mathematics. He was .Sc. (Hons) course in rt time student and on the University of Cape . Here again through able to get a tutorship part time course. He , in 1991 and the next Lecturer in Mathemafer - the University of le held until his death 2ation and distinction' rase from Prof. Dan e Chancellor at the
self-made man who through the major part te education declining ers of his parents to dy for the Ph.D., which pletion in December ghly independent peran open mind and reviews, He Was very ss fortunate, but never ty public. It was ironic vo years, he had been tuition fees to two local believed in 'Savings' or Accounts. His wish Was the deserving. His only for a powerful car and lam last year when he 535i - the car which ife at the hands of Car d nicely conspired with neered Pradeep's end. on visa to Australia in continue till he could patical full-pay leave of of 1997, when his Ph.D., ave been submitted. He inded an International posium in the States k of March, but the visa use of his Sri Lankan per was accepted for cal Conference in Brisst week of April, but this by the inability of the Disappointed by these,
15 MAY 1997
he planned to spend 10 days with his course supervisor in Cape Town and give transport to his mother to Cape Town to consult a rheumatologist. He planned to leave on the 31st morning but his mother preferred to leave on 1st April. When he did arrive on the 31st night, the car hijackers were just there to accomplish their job! One has to believe in FATE to piece out the mystery of his death.
He had few friends; but the few he had he held them to his heart with "hoops of steel". Those of us who knew him well, will always remember his smiling face, his irresistible sense of humour, his warmth and humility, his incisive intellect, his love for classical music and his passion for travel. They say 'those whom the Gods love, die young', and so it was with Pradeep who lived truly through only the first phase - "Bhramachariyam, missing the more fulfilling phase "laram'.
To his parents, sisters and brothers the loss is colossal and the gaping wounds will remain unhealed for many years - perhaps for a lifetime. I can only commend to them the message of Pradeep's Professor, Ghris Brink, "In mourning for what he will now not be able to achieve, let us not forget to be grateful for what he has already achieved, and let this help to sustain us'.
May his soul attain eternal bliss.
in Memory of Mellitus A.S. Tisseverasinghe On the First Anniversary of His Passing Away
Born 4.1. 1948. Died: 18.5.1996. Mr. Mellitus Anton Sugunarajah Tls severasinghe known by some as Mellitus, by others as Rajan, even as Mr. T, but for me he was always Tisse.
Tisse had his secondary education at St. Patrick's College, Jaffna and went on for higher studies to St. Joseph's College, Colombo. He excelled in his studies and became the youngest Chartered Accountant I know of, having qualified at the age of 23. After working for a short time in the corporate sector, he set up his own practice in 1974 under the name and style of "Tisseverasinghe, Sothylingam & Co.' which is still very well known as T.S. & Co. His dynamic personality, enthusiasm an
15 MAY 1997
energy enabled the firm to gain high recognition in accountancy circles. He secured contracts with Price Waterhouse, Dubai which provided his staff and the firm with international expertise.
Tisse distinguished himself as a Fellow of the Institute and served as a member of the Chartered Accountants Council from 1980-81. As a young member of the council he was always enterprising. He took an active interest in the activities of the Institute and focused Specially on the need for education and professional training. He contended that the Institute should make every endeavour to raise educationall standards of students and provide thern with reference material and training facilities so that the accountants produced by the Institute would rank supreme. To demonstrate this he took special interest in his trainees and liaised with the Institute on their behalf. He was not only concerned with his trainees' professional education but also lent a helping hand to all those in need.
Tisse was a keen sportsman, having won a gold medal in the Public Schools Sports Meet in Sri Lanka for discus throw.
He moved to the UK in 1985 to provide his children with the best possible educational opportunities and their achievements have been a source of great pride to him. He was the Hon. Auditor of St. Patrick's O.B.A. in UK, and Hon. Treasurer of the Chamber of Commerce. He always focused his attention on new things to do.
Tisse was always a loving son, brother and son-in-law. He was a devoted husband to his wife Lorraine and a loving father who was very proud of his two children Jitesh and Sharmila and he knew that they would carry his name with pride. Tisse will always be remembered as a kind and considerate man, who always kept his promise to others, and extended to them the same warmth as for those closest to him. People used to think that he was a reserved man, but he was a fun loving and outgoing person whose eyes twinkled with his joy of life. His smile was worth a thousand words. He is greatly missed and remembered by my family and myself and everyone who knew him. I hope that this humble tribute will catch the eye of those Sri Lankans who knew him and those that did not as his heart was always in Sri Lanka.
"They that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them let the light shine'. Isayah - Chapter 9 Verse 2. Dubsy P. Kanagaratnam.
Hartley Past Pupils Hold Kalai Vasantham
Hartley College Past Pupils' Association (UK) held its annual Kalai Vasantham on 26th April 1997 at Coombe Girls' School Hall, New Malden, Surrey. The proceedings started with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by the Chief Guest, Mrs. Chandra Ratnavel (nee Alagaratnam), a former teacher, who spoke of her days at Hartley, which brought happу тетоries.
Mr. V. Santhalingar Association appeal join the Association
The programme fc the singing of the Sc Kannan Dance, Pe Strumental Ensen Natyam all pertome leyites and their fr Were an innacula performance by stua Sivadasan, a brillian Sriskantharajah and na by Dr. Baskar Manisi Vendam Kas hilarious farce decry Nimala Rajkumar f. and Mr. G.D.M. Kulle any proposed the evening's items were Easwaramohan, the the function was at Hartleyites and frien Ceived.
Kokuvi Hindu Cultural
Kokuvil Hindu Colleg Ciation (U.K) had its ing on Sunday, 3rd High School, Kentor ment of an excepti was provided by artis music, Veena and almost all of them di gious Bharathiya V Sivasakthi Sivanesar ence with her excelle Sivasakthi's stude talented young girls. ence with their fine Veena. Students of S de received rapturou Bharatha Natyam. T, evening was provide Mr. M. Balachandran the two teenage by (Ganjeera) and Piras Gadam). The humorc dered by Pirashann appreciated and apple Mr. S. Sivanayagan ter of Saturday Revie Old student of Koku Guest. In his short sp student days and paid Mater and to his Guru aasah, the President welcomed the gatherin for their co-operation a
Shropshire/S Tamil Assc
This association held th the Crown Centre, Sto lands on 16th March 1 lunch held every year,
charities both local an Lanka, which is bein On-going ethnic war. T. founded in 1985 and si a total of £17,000.00 u year. Funds have beer Hospital, Refugee Re
TAM TIMES 33
the President of the to all Hartleyites to nd strengthen it.
the evening included ool Anthem in Tamil, Cock Dance, an inble and Bharatha by children of Hartnds. The highlights
· Bharatha Natyam ints of Mrs. Subathra recital by Mr. Arunan a Tamil comedy draand friends titled ai Pidi, an extremely ng social evis. Mrs. nctioned as compere singham, the SecretOfe of thanks. The organised by Mr. A.
Vice-President and ended by over 400 is and was well re
Old Students' Evening
e Old Students ASSOannual Cultural evenof May, at Claremont . A Variety entertainonally high standard tes in carnative vocal
Bharatha Natyam, rawn from the prestiidhya Bhavan. Smt. enthralled the audint VOCal music recital. nts — an array of - delighted the audiperformance on the ri Prakash YadagudS applause for their he Orchestra for the d, among others by on Miruthangam and rothers Prytharshan hanna (Morsing and жиs тonologue rena was very much auded.
7, journalist and wriw fame, himself an vil, was the Chief 2ech he recalled his tributes to his Alma s. Dr. P. Arumugarof the Association, g and thanked them ind support.
heir Annual Lunch at urbridge, West Mid997. The aim of this is to raise funds for d in North East Sri g ravaged by the he aSSOCiation Was ce then has raised p to the end of last sent to the Jaffna lief Organisations,
the Ramakrisha Mission Orphanage at Batticaloa etc. Recently they sent £6808.00 to the Jaipur Limb Fitting Workshop in Jaffna in association with the Rotarians Handsworth and International. This was in addition to £1,800.00 sent by then earlier.
They are a purely social organisation comprising just 9 families in the Shropshire and Staffordshire area mainly. However, for Annual Lunches they obtain assistance from a few other non-member volunteers. These 9 families meet Once in about 3 months to discuss matters arising with fund raising and future plans, and also make it a social occasion.
At the recent lunch about 200 visitors arrived, with good ticket sales at the door, mainly due to the publicity efforts of its few members and their friends. They expect to raise a net figure of at least £1,000.00 for charitable causes. These Annual Lunches also enable the younger generation to meet and display their entertainment talents, while the older generation meet friends and acquaintances they have not met for a long time and reminisce and chat. They also enjoy a nice meal of rice and curry in congenial surroundings. Lunch is followed by a short period of entertainment. This time they had Bharatha Natryam, tap dancing and singing for half an hour only, to enable visitors to get back in time to their homes in far away places.
It is sincerely hoped that more funds would be raised in similar fashion by the Tamil Diaspora of Great Britain.
Past Copies of Tamil Times
Past copies of Tamil Times are available for sale in 15 volumes, the present series being volume 16. The price of each volume is £25 by surface mail. The price for each volume in other Currencies is US$45/Can$50/AuS$55. Australian dollar cheques should be drawn on Australian Banks only. Those interested are requested to send a chequesdraft/money order in favour of Tamil Times Ltd to
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