If anybody were to talk about human rights ... the LTTE must stand up and be the biggest violator of them all.
[This message has been edited by thadhasinhalaya (edited October 11, 2000).]
LTTE TERRORISM AND POLITICAL CLAIMS
Gamini Iriyagolle, Sri Lanka
This is a response to an article by Karen Parker, said to be a specialist in international law, published on 14th June 2000 in the Ottawa Citizen. The writer declares that the LTTE is not a terrorist organization but is a legitimate armed force fighting a war of Tamil liberation against the armed forces of the Sri Lanka government. The article also states that the Tamil people had a separate state before British colonization which the LTTE is now fighting to liberate.
The writer seems to be unaware of both fact and principle relative to the LTTE and to Tamil political claims.
It is well known that the LTTE carries out massacres of Sinhala people living in villages and carries out bomb attacks in cities such as the capital Colombo. Its atrocities are committed as a matter of policy in pursuit of the declared goal of a Tamil state. Detailing each and every one of them would fill a volume. Only some of the acts of terrorism can be referred to here.
After early operations such as robberies and murders of individual policemen and off duty military personnel in the seventies, the LTTE commenced massacres of non combatant civilians and attacks on places of worship sacred to Buddhists in 1984 and 1998. In May 1985 its cadres descended on the sacred city of Anuradhapura, massacred 146 people and machine gunned the precincts of the 2000 year old Sacred Bo Tree killing a number of devotees worhipping there. Later the LTTE boasted that it took the massacre at Anuradhapura to bring the government to the negotiating table in July 1985. In 1986 a passenger aircraft waiting to take off from the Colombo International Airport was bombed on the tarmac killing and maiming a number of passengers seated in the aircraft . The victims were of various nationalities. If ever there was an act of international terrorism this was it. In 1987 a powerful bomb was exploded during the evening rush hour close to the central bus station in Pettah, Colombo killing over 150 Sinhalese most whom on their way home after work. Tamil office workers had been secretly warned to stay away. Another bomb at Maradana also in the heart of Colombo killed and maimed a number of commuters.
During this period several Sinhala villages both in and outside the area claimed for a Tamil state were attacked with submachine guns and carving knives. In a village I visited soon after an attack I was shown two huts the inhabitants of which had been attacked two weeks before. The victims in one were a young mother and her two year old child who was being fed. The mother fled with the child. Karen Parkerís "freedom fighters" shot and killed both with the sophisticated weapons Parker says the alleged legitimate Tigers are duly armed with (I must state here that I used to visit the scenes of such attacks and also threatened villages till September 1990 when I was crippled by a spinal injury). Serunewa was a miserably poor Sinhala village in a forest reserve in Anuradhapura District ; its crime was to be located on a forest route used by the "freedom fighters" to move from the Northern Province to the Eastern Province. The LTTE attacked it twice murdering a number of villagers each time; the village wa abandoned. After one attack the LTTE cut off the heads of two young women and strung them up on a tree at head level at a bend in the footpath to be thus discovered by officials.
In June 1990 the honeymoon between President Premadasa and the LTTE was violently terminated by the latter simultaneously attacking polic e stations and army camps. The LTTE negotiators were enjoying government hospitality at a 5 star Colombo hotel at the time. The Police stations were ordered by the government to surrender to the attackers with their armouries. 600 policemen, in various stations, who surrendered in obedience to these orders had their hands tied behind backs, shot dead and buried in mass graves presumably in the name of self determination. Several of these graves were discovered later. How does this fit in to Parkerís scheme of conformity to law ? When I visited the largely Muslim town of Kinniya in Trincomalee District in the Eastern Province in August 1990 I was shown the shell of the police station set fire to by the LTTE in June. 37 Sinhala policemen had been locked into one room and burnt alive. The distinctive smell of death was still there two months after the atrocity.
I leave out of this account for want of space the details of terrorist atrocities (including raping of girls in front of their parents in a night attack on the remote village of Mangalagama ) such as the bombing of the election meeting at Grand Pass in Colombo, the Central Bank, the Temple of the Tooth, the passenger train at Dehiwala, the Heroes Day procession on June 7th 2000 and so many others acts of systematic terrorism. The LTTE is a Tamil terrorist organization waging a war against ordinary Sinhala people as much as or more than against the state armed forces. When a Sinhalese sets out to work in Colombo in the morning neither he nor his family could be certain of his return. The Tamil population of Colombo is so confident of its security that in the period between the last national census of 1981 and the partial census of 1994, the Sri Lanka Tamil population of Colombo District had increased by 39% mainly by to migration from Jaffna and Batticaloa while the Sinhala population increased by only 15%, a natural increase.
The claim that the LTTE is an organization which should be recognized as a legiimate army engaged in a war of national liberation is disproved by Parkerís own criteria. It never had independent control over any area at any time. I say this because in every area it dominated militarily all the civilian public servants and all the civilian services have been provided and funded throughout by the central government from the national budget. The LTTE was not capable of providing any of these; it could only terrorise Tamil public servants and ordinary Tamil citizens to obey their commands. Food supplies have been sent from Colombo. One of the vociferous LTTE demands has been that the government it was fighting should provide the supplies and services in the areas under its (LTTE) control.
The claim for a separate state and of a right of self determination are so untenable that the Tamil groups demand that they be accepted without evidence.The following facts serve briefly actually to disprove them.
The All-Ceylon Tamil Congress was formed in 1944 to claim the rights of the Tamils and to put forward proposals for constitutional reform before the Soulbury Commission. The leaders who included Chelvanayakam, the inventor in 1949 of a right of self determination and in 1976 of an ancient Tamil state, submitted a memorandum to the Commission and gave oral evidence before it at a public sitting.
Chelvanayakam was so dissociated then from the idea that the Tamils had a right of self determination that the main constitutional demands made by him and the other leaders orally and in writing were that the British continue to be rule the entire island, that the powers of the colonial Governor be increased, and that the Sinhalese be reduced to the status of a political minority. Thus in 1945, according to the Tamil leaders themselves, there was no Tamil nation, no separate ancient Tamil state in the island and no "right of self determination". All these were invented between 1945 and 1949 by the very Tamils who sought perpetuation of colonial rule.
After the grant of independence in 1948 Chelvanayakam changed his plans and purposes and formed the Lanka Tamil Government Party (dishonestly called the Federal Party) inventing an exclusively Tamil historical homeland, more than half of which had been populated and ruled by the Sinhalese for centuries. Minority rights ceased and "national" rights were born just 50 years ago.
In 1976 Chelvanayakam invented an ancient state of "Tamil Eelam" and formed the Tamil United Liberation Front to fight for its "restoration"; he and his lieutenants also sponsored terrorist groups including the LTTE to take up arms to enforce the false claim by violence. The present situation is the result.
All the political assertions made by the TULF, the LTTE and its advocates are demonstrably false. The history of the island is very well documented and it is impossible to falsify that history. The word "Eelam" is itself the Tamil form of the word "Sinhala". "Tamil Eelam" is thus "Tamil Sinhalaland" a piece of nonsense that could come straight out of Through the Looking Glass.
Note from SPUR :
Gamini Iriyagolle is a law graduate of the Universities of Ceylon and Cambridge and is also an Attorney-at-law. He was in the elite Ceylon Civil Service till its abolition and was absorbed into the Ceylon Administrative Service thereafter. He has held several public appointments including those of Deputy Land Commissioner, Deputy Director of Agricultural Development, Director Agrarian Research and Training, Director Industrial Policy and Chairman Industrial Development Board of Ceylon, all before he was 40. As a very young public servant he was briefly in Jaffna in 1961 in charge of civil adminstration. After he reverted to legal practice, he was for some time a visiting lecturer at the Sri Lanka Law College and a Vice President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka. At the height of the anti-Tamil riots of 1983 he, like many other Sinhalese, he risked himself and his family to rescue and gave shelter to Tamil victims. He has made an intensive study ot the Sri Lanka Tamil issue and its background, written extensively on the subject for the past sixteen years and addressed many audiences in Sri Lanka and abroad. When requested by President J.R. Jayewardene in 1984 to agree to political compromises with Tamil extremism, he refused, and instead offered to live in Jaffna and to eliminate terrorism while dealing fairly with ordinary Tamil citizens if he were given the necessary civil and military authority. President Jayewardene was not interested.
Ms. Parker was arguing it from a military point of view. Her point was that since the LTTE uses convential military weapons and its administration within its rank is military just like the Sri Lankan Army, it's illogical to call the LTTE a terrorist outfit. If by your account the LTTE is a terrorist organization, then the Sri Lankan Army is a terrorist group as well.
The army is the military arm of the democratically elected government of a soverign state. the legitimacy of the powers they exercise and their powers to bear arms arise on that basis. There is a big difference in legal legitimacy of the Army and the questionalble legitimacy (if at all) of a 'self proclaimed' military force such as the LTTE.
Interesting how Ms Parker copletely shied away from the rights available to the government of a sovereign state to take action to defend it's constituent people, infrastucture and organs of society when faced with INTERNAL CIVIL CONFLICT.
Ms. Parker is a terrorist, right?
In fact, if the truth be told, by referring to her "support for the LTTE" - quote "since she supports the Tamils and LTTE " unquote - it is actually you who are closer to accusing her of being a terrorist than I am.
Could you tell me why Ms. Parker needs to get paid by a group in a third world country in Asia when she obviously doesn't have to given her credentials at the UN and the US Congress?
Perhaps her speech could have made it clearer whether she was engaged to appear in Congress by the LTTE or whether she was doing it 'out of the goodness of her bleeding little heart".
The comparison to Pol Pot was made by some some
obscure journalist in The New York Times I believe and since you're canvassing support for state terrorism, you're
trumpeting it. In regards to your question, check out the
below news article.
[Courtesy of TamilNet]
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