Friday, January 6, 2012

Danger Signs We Ignored for 105 Years are Ominously Back on the Horizon

There are thousands of issues that take the attention of the citizenry everyday. However, national security cannot be pushed to the backburner. Tamil Elamists are on the march again. Tamil intellectuals, priests, academics, lawyers, teachers, doctors and various other ‘front-end’ service providers who constantly interact with thousands of people have demanded from the TNA that it sticks to its guns of Tamil racism. They have warned TNA against “giving into” government pressure and dropping Tamil nationalist demands including a Tamil Nation for 85 million Tamils around the world.

Readers are requested to read the above and take a note of the signatories, their professions and take in the fact that they are opinion creators in the society.

Since ancient times Tamil invaders tried to take over the island nation. They were violently defeated. Sri Lankan policy makers since 1948 let the past bury its dead and carried on regardless of the imminent danger that was unfolding around them.

We don’t seem to be doing anything about it! Doing the same thing (or abstaining from doing what needs to be done) and expecting a different result is insanity according to the great mathematician Albert Einstein. History is already repeating. It will be a matter of years when the next major terrorist attack occurs.

Tamil violence and ultimately militancy grew stage by stage since the late 19th century.

Why didn’t we see this coming? – Earliest warnings of Tamil violence 
“In 1871, Caste clashes erupted between Vellalar, dhoby caste and barber caste in Maviththapuram. The root cause of the riot was alleged that dhoby caste people refused to wash the clothes of barber caste people. Vellalar caste people were blamed for the violence. This is the first known caste/race riot in the island.

September, 1923 saw another caste riot in Jaffna. In Sutumalai, Vellalars attacked Paramba caste people who had hired drummers for a funeral alleging that Paramba caste people had no right to emplot drummers for their funerals as they were ‘low caste’. In 1931 a similar violent riot took place in Canganai, Jaffna where Pallar caste individuals were attacked by Vellalar people for hiring drummers for a funeral. According to Tamil tradition, only ‘high caste’ people could hire drummers and ‘professional mourners’ (a unique practice in the north) for funerals.

In June 1929 caste riots broke out again in the north in response to the ‘equal seating directive’ of the government which was applicable to grant-aided schools. Under this directive ‘low caste’ students were allowed to sit on the bench. Until then they sat either on the floor or outside the classroom. Resultant riots bunt a large number of houses mainly of low caste Tamils. Their children en masse were stopped from attending schools. Repeated petitions were made to the government by ‘high caste’ Vellalars begging to cancel the directive!”

Quoted from: Tamil Caste Discrimination by Thomas Johnpulle, Sri Lanka Guardian,

If the Vellahla Tamils could unleash violence for nothing on their own kind, what would stop them from using violence against the Sinhalese? Please note that the first race riot was not the 1915 riot but the 1871 (105 years before the start of the Vadukoddai War in 1976) caste riot within the Tamil community. Since then, until independence, periodic Tamil caste riots took place. Tamils were also responsible for the 1939 Tamil-Sinhala riot that started in Nawalapitiya and the 1958 riot started with SJV Chelvanayagam’s tar brush campaign against the Sinhalese and the Sinhala language. Even the 1983 riot was initiated by Tamil Tigers. The 1985 Tamil-Muslim riot and the 2002 Valachchenei Tamil-Muslim riot were also initiated by Tamil nationalists.

Despite these clear indications, why didn’t we see a full scale war coming our way following independence?

Why didn’t we see this coming? – Latter warnings of Tamil violence 
“The failure of the 1961 “satyagraha” set several (Federal Party) leading lights thinking. Mahatma Gandhi, they argued, succeeded in India with his concept of non-violence and non-cooperation because he was leading a majority against a minority, however powerful; whereas in Sri Lanka, the Tamils were a minority seeking rights from a majority. And the majority was not willing to give concessions.

Some of 20 men associated with the Federal Party thought Gandhism had no place in such a scenario. They decided after the prolonged deliberations to form an underground group to fight for a separate state. Most of them were civil servants and had been influenced by Leon Uris Exodus. At a meeting in Colombo, they christened their group Pulip Padai (Army of Tigers).

On August 12, 1961, the Pulip Padai members converged at the historic Koneswaran Temple in the eastern port town of Trincomalee and, standing in its holy precincts facing the sea took a solemn oath to fight for a Tamil homeland.

Pulip Padai immediately got into the act, putting out leaflets and pamphlets printed clandestinely, advocating militancy. A student wing called the Manavar Manram (students council) was set up in 1963. Two Federal Party leaders the Pulip Padai strongly backed were Amirthalingam and V.Navaratnam ( Chavakachcheri MP).

Two of them were A.Rajaratnam and K.Sivagnanasundaram. Rajaratnam died in 1975 in Madras of asthma.( Rajaratnam was awarded a gold medal posthumously by Pirabaharan at a Jaffna public meeting after Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination. Indian investigators believe that Dhanu, the woman who acted as the human bomb to kill Gandhi was Rajaratnam’s daughter). Sivagnanasundaram became the staunch supporter of the LTTE. He was killed in Jaffna in 1988 by the EPRLF.

In 1969, Thangathurai and Kuttimuni and a few friends gathered in Jaffna to form an informal group that the former wanted to name the Tamil Liberation Organisation (TLO).

A college Prof’s house at Point Pedro, in Jaffna, was a regular meeting point for the group. It included among others Periya (big) Sothi, Chinna (small) Sothi, Chetti, Kannadi (a radio mechanic), Sri Sabaratnam (TELO leader) and V.Pirabaharan (LTTE supremo). One man who drifted by but broke away to chart an independent course was Ponnudorai Sivakumaran, who was to become one of the first martyrs to the Tamil cause.

In April, 1971, Thangathurai, known as mama ( uncle) and some 15 others were making explosives at the Thondamanar high school when a bomb went off, seriously injuring Chinna Sothi. The next year, a similar blast occurred, causing burn injuries to Thangathurai, Chinna Sothi, Pirabaharan and V.Nadesuthasan.”

Quoted from: Early Tamil Militancy, M.R. Narayan Swamy
(A selected electronic version can be found in:

The funny thing was they met in Colombo and formed the Army of Tigers in 1961! What were we doing?
Also of note is how government servants (teachers and lecturers) spearheaded the terrorist campaign while on the payroll of the government. Rings a bell? Well this is being repeated today!

What ought to have been done to the initial group of Tamil nationalists? They should have been secretly eliminated from the society without a trace. That could have saved the Tamil society from total destruction. The link between the creation of the political need for a Tamil nation by Chelvanayagam, etc. to the experiments with bombs is clearly explained in the above book.  

Why didn’t we see this coming? – Humble beginnings of uncontrollable Tamil violence 
“The first successful robbery blamed on Tamil militants took place in 1974 when 91,000 rupees was taken away from the Multipurpose Cooperative Society of Tellipallai. Tamil sources said Chetti and one of his cousins were among the responsible for the robbery, while one published account attributed the raid to Pirabaharan. Around the same time Chetti slipped to Tamil Nadu and teamed up with a crowd Valvettithurai that was camping in Salem.”

On March 5, 1976 Pirabaharan led a raid on the state run People’s Bank at Puttur and escaped with a half a million rupees in cash and jewellery worth of 200,000 rupees after holding the employees at gun point. It was the first successful bank robbery in Jaffna.”

Quoted from: Early Tamil Militancy, M.R. Narayan Swamy

 These were matters to be handled by the armed forces not by the police. Despite the JVP using these very same tactics in 1971 to finance its violent campaign, the then government ignored them. It was a grave mistake for which the nation would pay a very heavy price. Lack of counter insurgency expertise was the main reason for the failure. Security was given a break until a dire security situation arose. At the very least now, this “wait and see” approach must change.  

 What most of us didn’t know about the 1970s Tamil Diaspora
Did the Tamil Diaspora turn anti-Sri Lankan after 1983 riots? No. Tamil Diaspora especially those who were in the United Kingdom were looking for violence and separatism way back in the early 1970s.
“EROS was formed in 1975 by Eliyathamby Ratnasabapathy and Shankar Rajee, both of whom were living in Great Britain at the time. Initially a think-tank concerned with Tamil issues, its leadership established ties with the Palestinian Liberation Organization and formed militant training camps in Sri Lanka. These camps eventually militarized and trained most of the rebels who formed other Tamil movements in the 1980s. Although the most radically nationalist of all the Tamil groups, EROS was the least militarily active of all such groups. However, the group was responsible for a string of bombings in Sri Lanka in the mid-1980s as well as for the kidnapping of British journalist Penelope Willis.

EROS gradually lost its influence as Tamil independence movements emerged as offshoots of EROS. These groups, the largest of which is the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), took the majority of EROS members with them.”

Tamil intellectuals in the Tamil Diaspora with their resources, intellect, networking and organisational skills initiated the Tamil armed violence that was absorbed by the LTTE and ran with it. This not only gave the LTTE vital initial funds, but also an international network.
Isn’t this what is happening today?

The only solution
Equipped with the knowledge of history, ancient, past and modern, we must approach this problem proactively. Support for Tamil Elam was not the same in all Tamil enclaves in the island nation. It was mostly concentrated on the north which was over 96% Tamil at that time. Today the north is 100% Tamil as others are not allowed to live there by Tamil politicians and their voters.

State sponsored and military backed new settlement schemes must be put in place to dissolve Tamil-only ideologies. Tamil separatists must be identified early through a wide spread secret service and eliminated without a trace. Time to time the northern Tamil-only societies should be given baits to identify Tamil separatists hiding in the society. Tamil Diaspora activists’ local agents should be closely monitored and any suspicion of Tamil nationalism should be handled using appropriate violence. There are no sizable pro-Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora groups at the moment.

Giving into Tamil demands is the worst crime the government can do. Appeasement doesn’t solve any problem. Instead it encourages further demands. Northern development should be separated from developing Tamils. Northern development should benefit 74% Sinhalese, 8% Muslims, 12% Sri Lankan Tamils, 5% upcountry Tamils and 1% others.

The only political solution is ethnic integration, especially in the north by creating multi ethnic colonies. Any other political solution will fail and end up in war again.
Every year the government spends 750 billion rupees of taxpayer money on the Jaffna University. Unfortunately the Jaffna University is at the heart of Tamil separatism. From student unions to prominent lecturers, graduates and connected persons, there is a huge movement towards Tamil racism. Are we to allow this in the open?

At the moment there are 5,000 undergraduates studying at the Jaffna University, almost 99% of undergraduates and lecturers are Tamils. Just like a Tamil Nadu university. It was a very unwise move by the government to establish the Jaffna University in 1974 that is now a hotbed and safe house of Tamil racism. Tamil intellectuals instead of being grateful to the then government for a Tamil-only university, strongly drifted to the ultra-racist Vadukoddai Resolution at the 1977 election. It is time to learn lessons or dig our own grave with our own money.

The government should strongly clamp down on lecturers and students who engage in promoting Tamil nationalism. Disciplinary action must be taken and either the university should be weakened gradually or the ethnic composition should be changed. Interestingly although the government follows a strict approach towards all other university student trouble, it has been very reluctant to discipline Jaffna University’s violent and illegal student unions! Naturally this will encourage further violence.

National security related decisions must be taken by those who are educated and experienced in defence, not by those ignorant of defence. The former group would use military theory to resolve matters successfully whereas the latter group would resort to unscientific means to resolve the issue. LTTE violence never responded to spiritual, moral or religious approaches.

Peace everyone enjoys today came after millions of kilograms of bombs were dropped in Tiger controlled areas, tens of thousands of artillery and mortars fired at them and the entire shipping fleet of Tamil Tigers was sunk in the mid-sea. These extreme measures can be avoided if and only if troublemakers are identified early and eliminated. There aren’t the resources to mollycoddle them. Nor the people have the patience to put up with them and their racist demands.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

LTTE Human Rights Violations and War Crimes against North East Muslims

(By: M.I.M. Mohideen)

Courtesy: The Island

Before the Ceasefire Agreement of 22nd February 2002
With the increased activities of the Tamil militants in the early part of 1985, the animosity and resentment of the Tamils towards the North East Muslims took a more acrimonious turn. Consequent to it, numerous incidents of extortions of money, robbing jewellry and other valuables at gun point, and threat to co-operate with the separatist movement took place.
The breaking point came when the Tamil terrorists tried, in the course of robbing a rich Muslim trader, to take his daughter as hostage in Akkaraipattu, a predominant Muslim Town, in the Ampara District. Angered by this, the Muslims registered their protest by a- peaceful hartal from 08th to 12th April 1985 and hoisted Sri Lanka National Flag in the bazaar, declaring solidarity of the Muslims with the government and their rejection of the division of the Country.
With this incident, the Tamil, Muslim ethnic violence swiftly spread to Kalmunai, Kattankudi, Eravur, Ottamawadi, Valaichenai, Muthur and Kinniya. Hundreds of Muslims were killed by the armed Tamil separatists and many billions of Rupees worth of properties belonging to both the Tamil and Muslims were burnt and destroyed. It is during the April 1985 riots, that the Tamil and Muslims fought each other as separate communities for the first time in the East.
About 26 Muslims were killed and another 200 were injured when the IPKF shelled Ottamawadi, a predominant Muslim Village in the Batticaloa District on 02nd December 1987. A Number of houses and shops belonging to Muslims were burned and destroyed. Some Muslims women were also reported to have been raped by the IPKF. About 14,000 Muslims became refugees and fled to the North - Central Province, Polonnaruwa.
Kattankudi, the home of nearly 60,000 Muslims, situated 4 miles down South of Batticaloa, was attacked by the armed Tamil separatists on 30th of December 1987. In this fierce attack, nearly 60 Muslims were killed and more than 200 were injured. Properties worth 200 Millions belonging to the Muslims were burned and destroyed by armed Tamil militants. All these happened in the presence of the Indian Peace Keeping Forces - IPKF. Although the attack lasted for two days, Kattankudi was under siege until the 8th of January 1988. During this period, all movements, in and out of the area were blocked by the armed Tamil militants while the IPKF was supposed to be in control of the area.
Ethnic Cleansing of Muslims by the LTTE
The Muslims from the Northern Province were forced to leave their homes in the third week of October 1990. The ultimatum in many places was that they should leave the region within 48 hours. Most Muslims refugees continue to live in abject conditions outside the North. Contrary to many other situations of displacement in the country, the majority of the displaced Muslims as a result of the ethnic cleansing by LTTE have not been able to go back to their places of birth in the North. At present, there are about 65,000 Muslim refugees living in the North-Western coastal region in the Puttalam district. The value of assets robbed by the LTTE during 1990 ethnic cleansing is more than Rs. 10,256 Million or US$ 110 Million. Houses damaged 11,110 Million. The lands forcibly occupied 30,400 Acres.
Nearly 63,000 acres of paddy lands belonging to Muslims of the Eastern province were forcibly taken over by the LTTE and agricultural produce confiscated. The lands that belonged to the displaced Muslims from the Northern Province continues to remain under the control of the LTTE. Besides, agricultural implements, motor vehicles and cattle were taken away by force by the LTTE. Under the law of property in force in the country, a land owner loses his or her right to possession if their property is occupied by usurpers for 10 years. It is now more than 21 years since Muslims in the North East have been forcefully displaced from their properties by the LTTE.
Economic Destabilization of Muslims in the North - East
A politico-military strategy of the LTTE has been to weaken the economic strength of the Muslim community. In order to realize this objective, the LTTE, as was the case with other Tamil militants, have targeted economic ventures and business places of the Muslims. Robbing of business goods and abduction of businessmen for ransom remain the common spectre in the North-East.
Denial of Fishing Rights
With the eviction of the Muslim community from the North East, a considerable section of the Muslim fisher-folk have been rendered unemployed. In areas such as Valaichenai, Ottamavadi, Eravur and other coastal areas in the East, boats and fishing gears were routinely robed by the LTTE. Many Muslim fishermen have also been killed while at sea by the sea tigers.
Non-respect for Religion and Culture
In many instances, in the North East, the cultural and religious symbols of the Muslim community have come under attack from the LTTE and other Tamil militant groups. The grenade attack on a mosque in Akkraipattu and massacre of Muslims at congregational prayer in Kattankudy and Eravur, as well as the cold-blooded murder of Hajj pilgrims returning in 1990 in Kaluwanchikudi, demonstrate the extent of intolerance shown by the LTTE and Tamil militants towards the religion and culture of the Muslims.
Summary of identified Muslim Civilians Killed by LTTE-Tamil Militants.
* 26 Muslims at Ottamawadi in December 1987
* 41 Muslims at Karaitheevu in November 1987
* 35 Muslims at Kinniya in April 1987
* 52 Muslims at Mutur in October 1987
* 21 Muslims at Sammanthurai Mosque in April 1989
* 67 Muslims at Valaichchenai from April 1985 to July 2002
* 67 Muslims at Kattankudy in December 1987
* 168 Muslims at Kattankudy in July 1990
* 147 Muslims at Kattankudy Mosque in August 1990
* 58 Muslims at Akkaraipattu in July 1990
* 14 Muslims at Kattankudy Mosque in July 1990
* 13 Muslims in November 1989
* 19 Muslims at Alimnagar in August 1990
* 126 Muslims at Eravur in August 1990
* 53 Muslims at Ambalanthurai in August 1990
* 23 Muslims at Sainthamaruthu in September 1992
* 15 Muslims at Addalachchena in May 1990
* 37 Muslims at Pallitthidal, Akbarpuram in October 1992
* 200 Muslims at Kalmuna, Akkaraipattu and Pottuvil in June 1990
* 33 Muslim farmers at Ampara in August 1990
* 186 Muslims in June 1990
* 147 Muslims at Alingippottanai in April 1992
* 30 Muslims at Pottuvil in June 1991
After the Ceasefire Agreement of 22nd February 2002
On Friday the 28th June, 2002; Valaichena Pradeshiya Sabha Office was set on fire and destroyed. In the grenade attack on Muslims returning from Friday "Jummah" prayers, 7 were injured - 2 critically. Additional troops and Special Task Forces were airlifted. The Batticaloa and Ampara Districts were placed under curfew.
On Sunday the 30th June 2002, two bodies were found by the police in Kalmadu Village in Valichena. They were the two Muslim cooks who went to the house of a Tamil in Valichchnai, on Wednesday the 26th June, to prepare the wedding meals. The LTTE cadres have abducted the two Muslims killed and threw them in a paddy field. The father and few members of their family went to identify the bodies. After the post-mortem, the police loaded the dead in a tractor trailer to be taken for the burial according to Muslim rites. But the LTTE cadres with arms objected to the removal of the bodies and insisted the burning of them at the site. The Army Major Hettiarachi contacted the Head Quarters and he was given the orders from Colombo to leave the bodies and avoid any confrontation with the LTTE. Then the LTTE cadres put the bodies on a heap of tyres and burned them in front of the Army and Police and. destroyed all evidence of the horrendous human rights violation of the LTTE during cease fire.
Soon after the ceasefire agreement, the Muslims went back and started paddy cultivation in their fields in Kurangupanchan, Kinniya. They renovated the Mosque as decided at a meeting held on 11.06.2003. LTTE chased the Muslims families resettled here and put up their military camp in the Mosque building.
LTTE War Crimes against the Muslims
When the LTTE closed the Mavillaru anicut the government and the Army never understood their true intention in order to capture Muthur. They strengthened the safety of the Mavillaru area neglecting the security of Muthur. The government removed around 400 security personnel who were deployed in Muthur and posted them in the Mavilaru area and this had made Muthur more vulnerable to LTTE attacks.
The LTTE carefully observed the situation and entered Muthur on 02nd of August 2006 without any resistance from the security forces. They disconnected the electricity. The Muslims without any protection were caught unaware. They vacated their homes and went into the mosques and Arabic College hoping that they will not be attacked in those places. However what happened was something else. The LTTE used the Muslims as human shields when the army attacked them. The Muslims got caught in the crossfire.
Since Muthur was totally surrounded by LTTE, the town could not function normally. Business came to a stop. People did not have means to acquire their daily food, children suffered without milk, patience both from the hospital and the casualties suffered without treatment. The Muslims had to struggle for their mere survival.
The Muslims while running for their lives with white flags were attacked by the LTTE on the way. The women and elderly were tortured and the youngsters were separated and murdered. LTTE has been trying various methods, first it was the Interim Administration in the North East, then the Sub-committee on De-escalation and Normalization (SDN) and later the Sub-committee on Important Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs (SIHRN). The primary object of all these arrangements was to transfer the powers vested with the Centre to North East or rather to LTTE with international recognition. By this Process the LTTE was trying to get legitimacy and international support for its role as the sole representative of the North-East - the area of historical habitation of the Tamil speaking peoples - Tamils and Muslims.