Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Myth about the village.....!!!

Myth about the village

by S. Sivathasan

Much has been said about the mystical excellence of rural existence. A mythical quality is attributed to the village which is home to such a life. Society is even left to infer that as it matures over time, it will discard the process of urbanization and relapse into a life, simple in style and noble in thought. Are these perceptions tenable? To some, the village is on life support. When demise is for sure, why lend assistance is their query.

Urbanisation pace

Rome developed into a city of a million inhabitants 2,000 years back. For the next city of a million citizens-London- to emerge, it took 1,800 years. It is forecast that by 2015, there will be 475 cities with more than one million citizens each. In addition, a further 22 mega cities will have more than eight to 20 million people each. An urban population of 220 million in 1900 is projected to grow to 3,820 million by 2015. Is it rational to presume that more than half the world’s population does not have an intelligent approach in selecting its place of work and residence?

Demographic shifts

Urbanisation is not induced by plan or persuasion. The very dynamics of economic development bring about a demographic shift. Farmers in US were 60% of the total work force in 1900. They were 0.9% in 2009. In Japan 60% were engaged in farming in1946. They became 4% in 2009. Similar trends were seen in the livestock and dairy sector as well. Several of the developed countries present the same pattern of change. Peter Drucker pointed out about two decades ago that the demographic shift enabled farm output and industrial production to triple and quadruple. Could the developed countries have taken their economies to a different trajectory with cosmetic changes to rural livelihood?

Response to challenge

"Wisdom consists in going the way of the world." So said a Tamil poet two millennia back. Merits and demerits of urbanisation apart, what needs to be discerned is the inexorable nature of global trends. When opportunities opened up, occupational change was the response. Locational shifts followed and the demographic profile altered. Growth of cities was the outcome and depopulation of the countryside a consequence. Taking the cue there from, intellectual resources have to be devoted to turn the cities to the best advantage. The speed of transformational programmes has to match the pace of economic advance. It may be noted that in the 20th century it took the US 58 years to double her per capita output. China reached it in 10 years. India took only a few years longer. It is pointed out by Huntington that by 2020, Asian societies will account for over 40% of the global economic output. To meet this challenge, the whole corpus of infrastructure for urban development needs to be in place.

Wealth creation

It is estimated that, over 80% of wealth creation is in the cities. Bearings can be taken from the actual order of things in the US. There, the metro areas comprising 12% of the land extent are home to 65% of the population. The metro economy accounted for 68% of the jobs and 75% of the GDP. The OECD, comprising 36 countries, with a population of 1.175 billion would present a comparable picture. One can see this happening in India even as an agrarian economy is witnessing increasing dominance by industry and services. In most developing countries too, the urban magnet is exerting its pull and deserted villages will become the visible phenomenon. The rural economy and the rural institutions will at best remain for a century more. Within this span of time they will be drawn relentlessly into the vortex of urbanization.

Modes of Governance

For over two millennia, governance sought acceptance through bread and circus. Empowering the inept is the third dimension. It has gained currency now. Devises are varied. The village is selected for attention. In India, the Village Panchayat composing the Panchayati Raj is one among them.

Panchayati Raj

India has 600,000 villages. Out of them 286,000 have a population of less than 500. A further 145,000 villages have less than 1000. Thus 72% of the villages is home to an estimated 20% of the population or less. For 431,000 villages there are 265,000 Village Panchayats. The Panchayats are lower in number than the villages, since several thousand villages are so small that they have to be pooled together to form a Panchayat. Having no resources of their own, they subsist on meagre grants from the centre and the state. They attend to low technology work like gravelling lanes, de-silting drains, digging a well or erecting a few lamp posts. ‘Social evil’ like cross caste elopement is tackled by tattooing the culprits. Promoting cow worship and installing a biogas plant in a village are among the achievements. Better ones may do a little more.

Panchayats in Tamil Nadu

The state government of Tamil Nadu in its Policy Statement quotes Mahathma Gandhi-"Villages are the backbone of a nation’s prosperity". The government prates "we must try to achieve prosperity by developing the villages". The principal occupation of the villages in the state is agriculture and the state government is supporting agriculture by giving 25% of the state’s electricity absolutely free. There are very many subsidies targeting the villages. Yet in 2007, the government of Tamil Nadu waived Rs.70 billion in agricultural loans since the farmers in the village were too impecunious to pay back. The backbone though ‘broke’ has 12,620 village Panchayats instituted for them. What can they do to uplift the state? Nothing.

Tamil Nadu is the most urbanized state in India. An accelerated tempo of urban development is now the trend with massive investments in infrastructure, information technology, manufacturing and housing. Plaintive cries are made by employers about persistent demands for higher wages. Labour shortages are complained of with no inclination shown for offering attractive salaries and wages. These are indices of fast track development.

Instead of assimilating the change and responding appropriately and positively, there is a hark back to earlier times of rural goodness. In the onrush of rapids, the Panchayati pebbles will be washed away.

Rural institutions

Power lies where intelligence lies. It also lies where money lies. Neither lie in the rural hinterland. Village communities impecunious for generations, outside the pale of participatory governance, lacking in education and therefore devoid of confidence cannot reach beyond the Panchayat level of capability. To create the delusion of power sharing, the Village Panchayat is superciliously palmed off to them. To sustain the illusion, grants are made from central and state funds. Habituated to what Marx called "the idiocy of rural life" how efficient can rural institutions manned by such communities be? To compensate for lack of capacity they are said to possess grassroots experience. Under the ground, steeped in darkness, how clear is their vision? With what wisdom the Japanese said, when the sun rises, the summit catches the rays first!

The future

Having seen the astounding changes in the last two decades, it appears prudent to go by the wise prescription of Peter Drucker made in 1975 - "to learn to factor the world economy into their thinking, planning and decisions".

He also said that "the newest energy of all – information - is totally knowledge intensive. In the knowledge society, the knowledge base is the foundation of the economy". Whichever segment of society measures up to it, can take it on.


If the wealthy nations of the world wish to donate schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, then there seems no reason to refuse it..!!!

Real Independence means refusing charity

by Douglas King

Sri Lanka is again on the receiving end of charity, as has been the case for many years. If the wealthy nations of the world wish to donate schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, then there seems no reason to refuse it. However, when India recently donated 500,000 sheets of roofing, food and various other contributions including specialists in various fields, the mind boggles. India itself is the recipient of massive aid from world charities such as Oxfam, Save The Children and World Vision. The image that India tries to portray is one of a rapidly rising standard of living in a society that is becoming technologically sophisticated. Affluence, along with luxury shopping malls, and condominiums do exist, but only for the middle class, around 10% or 150 million people. Many of the other 90% face degrees of poverty highlighted by slums, malnutrition, disease and illiteracy. It is not quite the "incredible India" seen on the television advertisements. Travel into the heartland of rural India and nothing much has changed in decades. Of course, tourists love the picturesque photographic opportunities to show their folks back home, but grinding poverty is not the image India wants to show.

India's capital of Delhi has a million and a half out of fourteen million living in slums. Mumbai is worst with a greater percentage living in slums. Newly built cities like Chandigarh and surrounding towns where shantytowns could have been avoided altogether have now slums. The forgoing is India's shame despite huge progress. Poverty, slums and urban squats are not going to go away in next 20 to 25 years. India is home to the world's largest population of street children, estimated by UNICEF at between 11 and 18 million. Many international charities work with these children, otherwise the numbers would even be greater.

The Republic of India is the seventh largest and second most populous country in the world. With acceleration in economic growth, India has become one of the fastest growing developing countries. This has created a rift between poor and rich; 22 percent of the population lives below the income poverty line of a dollar a day and a further 30% below two dollars. This might be sufficient for the very basics, but little more. Save The Children report that 2 million children under five die every year - 1 every 15 seconds, and WHO report that India is 171 out of 175 countries for health spending as a percentage of its income.

Owing to unemployment, increasing rural-urban migration, attraction of city life and a lack of political will, India now has one of the largest number of child labourers in the world. Street children are subject to malnutrition, hunger, health problems, substance abuse, theft, commercial sexual exploitation of children, harassment by the city police and railway authorities, as well as physical and sexual abuse, although the Government of India has taken some corrective measures and declared child labour illegal. Child labour in India is a human rights issue for the whole world. It is a serious and extensive problem, with many children under the age of fourteen working in carpet making factories, glass blowing units and making fireworks with bare little hands. According to the statistics given by Indian government, there are 20 million child labourers in the country, while other agencies claim that it is 50 million.

India has 22 per cent of the world's population, but 46 per cent of the world's illiterates, and is home to a high proportion of the world's out of school children and youth. While India does well compared to Bangladesh and Pakistan, it lags substantially behind all the other BRIC countries and Sri Lanka. The findings make grim reading. In 2006, nearly 47% of children who were in school and studying in grade 5 could not read the story text at grade 2 level of difficulty. In arithmetic, 55% of grade 5 and 25% of grade 8 children could not solve a simple division problem (3 digits divided by 1 digit). There was a considerable state

variation in student performance. For example, in 2005 based on the sample of grade 5 children, in West Bengal, Haryana, Bihar, Uttaranchal and Chhattisgarh less than 50% of children were able to do the simple division problems. In the bottom five states, 62-75% of grade 5 children could not solve the same division problem. Yet India portrays an image of a superior mathematics standard and a country where English is widely spoken. In reality, though many are familiar with very simple English that has become a part of the mother tongue, only a minority have any fluency. Despite these facts, India offers numerous scholarships to Sri Lankan students and is making a major contribution to the government English language initiative, through Hyderabad University. This does seem rather bizarre when the majority of Indian school students have less English than their Sri Lanka counterparts. The middle classes that are proficient have mainly attended private schools and English medium syllabus.

India spends lavishly on space research that gives prestige in the international community. Numerous call centres provide employment to university graduates. It has an average 8% GDP growth rate and is becoming a world leader in the manufacture of all types of vehicles. Despite these positive indicators, the majority of the population would benefit from India getting its own house in order before offering generosity to Sri Lanka. Even with all its failing in education, Sri Lanka can advise India on achieving universal schooling and literacy. Whereas in India, many rural communities have little access to modern health care, Sri Lanka has a surplus of doctors, nurses and teachers, who could give one or two years service to India. In defeating terrorism, Sri Lanka might well offer advice to India which has been plagued by insurgencies for decades. Maybe a good-neighbour offer would be to mediate between India and Pakistan to assist on a road to cooperation and peace.

The war is over and Sri Lanka should now be able to stand on its own two feet. It is now recognised as a "middle income" country, and way ahead of India on numerous accounts. India may be willing to offer generous aid, but it should be politely refused. India's tourist slogan is "incredible India" but such a slogan is no better than the "small miracle" offered by Sri Lanka.


To ensure early rehabilitation and resettlement of the war displaced in northern Sri Lanka...!!!

Indian boost for IDP resettlement
by Shamindra Ferdinando

Indian assistance in de-mining the war-torn Vanni region will be crucial to Sri Lanka’s efforts to resettle the war displaced.

Although a section of the international community believed that Sri Lanka could not cope with the situation, Indian assistance, along with support given by several other countries, facilitated the re-settlement programme. Government sources told The Island that people could not be resettled unless mine clearing operations meeting UN standards were completed.

The Sri Lankan Army is the main player in mine clearing operations.

Indian High Commissioner Ashok K. Kantha recently visited the Vavuniya and Mullaitivu districts, where Indian de-mining teams are deployed. Accompanied by Mullaitivu Security Forces Commander, Maj Gen. Athula Jayawardena, Kantha visited Oddusuddan and Kathaliyar samalankulam.

Indian High Commission official said that the operation was run by Sarvatra Technical Consultants, an India-based de-mining organisation, which along with another Indian organization, Horizon Assignments, runs seven de-mining teams. He said that they were fully funded by India at a cost of about US $ 4 million (Sri Lankan Rs. 450 million).

Northern Province Governor Maj. Gen. (retd) G. A. Chandrasiri told The Island that mine clearing operations had reached a crucial stage. According to him, their focus was on the Vanni east, the area east of the Kandy-Jaffna A9 road.

The Indian High Commission statement, issued yesterday, quoted Kantha as saying that de-mining operations undertaken by India was a sterling example of Indo-Lanka cooperation and a major contribution to accomplishment of the shared objective of the two governments to ensure early rehabilitation and resettlement of the war displaced in northern Sri Lanka.

Indian de-miners were deployed in the wake of the Norwegians arranged CFA coming into operation in February 2002.

According to the High Commission, India deployed four de-mining teams (two each from Sarvatra and Horizon) comprising 50 members each in June 2009. Subsequently, at the request of the Sri Lanka government, the Government of India deployed three additional teams (two from Sarvatra and one from Horizon) in November 2009.

They have so far cleared an area of approximately 63,012,876 sq. metres in Vavuniya and Mannar districts.

They are also engaged in carrying out a non-technical survey in Mullaitivu and Vavuniya district to identify areas, which need to be cleared of mines.

Throughout the Eelam war IV, Sri Lanka received Indian assistance, though many tried to dissuade New Delhi from helping Colombo. Sources said that Indian help was crucial to post-LTTE era reconstruction, rehabilitation and resettlement process.


Monday, March 22, 2010


Thank you, shan‏

Fra: Barack Obama (
Sendt: 22. mars 2010 05:39:30
Til: shan Nalliah (

shan --

For the first time in our nation's history, Congress has passed comprehensive health care reform. America waited a hundred years and fought for decades to reach this moment. Tonight, thanks to you, we are finally here.

Consider the staggering scope of what you have just accomplished:

Because of you, every American will finally be guaranteed high quality, affordable health care coverage.

Every American will be covered under the toughest patient protections in history. Arbitrary premium hikes, insurance cancellations, and discrimination against pre-existing conditions will now be gone forever.

And we'll finally start reducing the cost of care -- creating millions of jobs, preventing families and businesses from plunging into bankruptcy, and removing over a trillion dollars of debt from the backs of our children.

But the victory that matters most tonight goes beyond the laws and far past the numbers.

It is the peace of mind enjoyed by every American, no longer one injury or illness away from catastrophe.

It is the workers and entrepreneurs who are now freed to pursue their slice of the American dream without fear of losing coverage or facing a crippling bill.

And it is the immeasurable joy of families in every part of this great nation, living happier, healthier lives together because they can finally receive the vital care they need.

This is what change looks like.

My gratitude tonight is profound. I am thankful for those in past generations whose heroic efforts brought this great goal within reach for our times. I am thankful for the members of Congress whose months of effort and brave votes made it possible to take this final step. But most of all, I am thankful for you.

This day is not the end of this journey. Much hard work remains, and we have a solemn responsibility to do it right. But we can face that work together with the confidence of those who have moved mountains.

Our journey began three years ago, driven by a shared belief that fundamental change is indeed still possible. We have worked hard together every day since to deliver on that belief.

We have shared moments of tremendous hope, and we've faced setbacks and doubt. We have all been forced to ask if our politics had simply become too polarized and too short-sighted to meet the pressing challenges of our time. This struggle became a test of whether the American people could still rally together when the cause was right -- and actually create the change we believe in.

Tonight, thanks to your mighty efforts, the answer is indisputable: Yes we can.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee -- 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
This email was sent to:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I Have a Dream....!!!

I Have a Dream
by David Bandara

I have a dream that noise pollution by politicians, temples and mosques using huge loudspeakers will be prevented from infringing the peace that is everyone’s right.

I have a dream that drivers will observe the laws of the roads, and not subject pedestrians and responsible drivers to their dangerous and selfish lack of driving skills.

I have a dream that all Sri Lankans will realize that preventing rubbish pollution in town and country is their responsibility.

I have a dream that politicians will act like responsible adults and not like spoilt and immature children.

I have a dream that unregulated advertising hoardings and posters will no longer spoil the beauty of town and country.

I have a dream that Sri Lanka will one day have first class institutions such as concert halls, art galleries, museums and theatres that reflect the best of cultural diversity.

I have a dream that one day school children will not be subjected to the pressures of the scholarship examination and tuition classes and schools and teachers will give all children the education they deserve.

I have a dream that corruption at all levels of government service will cease to be a problem.

I have a dream that thousands of mothers will not have to desert their children by working, often for many years, in service jobs in Middle Eastern countries.

I have a dream that good governance through competent Ministers and other officials will bring much needed improvements in all aspects of the country.

I have a dream that Sri Lanka becomes a model nation for South Asia.

I have a dream that civil servants who are there to serve the public become polite and helpful.

I have a dream.

(influenced by Martin Luther King’s famous speech "I have a dream")


Saturday, March 20, 2010

மூவரும் குடிசைக்கு வந்தவுடன் உறக்கத்திலிருந்த அனைவரையும் சுற்றிவளைத்துக் கொள்கின்றனர். பொலீசாரின் சந்தடியில் விழித்துக்கொண்ட அனைவரும் செய்வதறியாது..!!

Saturday 20th March

நிசப்தம் கிழித்த கொலைகள் – ஈழப் போராட்டத்தில் எனது பதிவுகள் : ஐயர் (பாகம் பத்து)

கனகரத்தினம் கொலை முயற்சி நடைபெற்ற சில நாட்களின் பின்னதாக கணேஸ் வாத்தி கொழும்பில் பொலீசாரால் கைது செய்யப்படுகிறார்.வழமைபோல அவரும் பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை என்ற காவல்துறை அதிகாரியால் விசாரணைக்கு உட்படுத்தப்படுகிறார். பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையின் சித்திரவதை தொடர்பாக நாம் அனைவரும் அறிந்திருந்தோம் கணேஸ் வாத்தி கைதானது தொலைத் தொடர்புகள் அரிதான அந்தக் காலப்பகுதியில் எமக்குத் தெரிந்திருக்கவில்லை.

1978 பெப்ரவரி இறுதி அல்லது மார்ச் மாத ஆரம்பமாக இருக்கலாம். அப்போது தான் கணேஸ் வாத்தி கைது செய்யப்பட்டிருக்க வேண்டும்.அவர் எமது மத்திய குழு உறுப்பினர் என்பது தவிர முழு நேரமாக வேலை செய்து கொண்டிருந்தார். வார இறுதிகளில் கொழும்பு சென்று மேலதிக வேலைகளில் ஈடுபடுவதும் உண்டு. இதனால் எமக்கு அவர் கைதுசெய்யப்பட்டிருக்கலாம் என்ற சந்தேகம் எழவில்லை.

கணேஸ் வாத்தி சித்திரவதைகளின் கோரத்தில் எம்மைப்பற்றி தகவல்களைச் சொல்லிவிடுகிறார். பொலிசார் எமது பலம், நாம் வைத்திருந்த ஆயுதங்கள், உறுப்பினர்கள் போன்ற அடிப்படைத் தகவல்களைச் சேகரித்துக்கொள்கின்றனர்.

தேடப்பட்டவர்கள்,முக்கிய உறுப்பினர்கள் அனைவரும் மடுப் பண்ணையிலேயே வாழ்ந்தார்கள். அங்குதான் எமது முக்கிய முடிவுகளும், பிரதான தொடர்புகளும் பேணப்பட்டன.

நான் நிரந்தரமாக ஒரு குறித்த பண்ணையில் தங்குவதில்லை. பண்ணைகளின் நிர்வாகம் எனது பொறுப்பிற்கு உட்பட்டிருந்ததால் நான் நிரந்தரத் தங்குமிடம் ஒன்றை வைத்துக் கொள்ளவில்லை. சந்தர்ப்பவசமாக அன்று நானும் மடுப்பண்ணையில் தங்கவேண்டியதாயிற்று.

பொழுது இன்னும் முழுதாகப் புலராத நேரம். அதிகாலை ஐந்து மணியிருக்கும். அடர்ந்த காட்டில் சேவல் கூவவில்லை. பறவைகள் மட்டும் அங்கும் இங்குமாய் சோம்பல் முறித்து மெல்லிய மொழியில் பேசிக்கொண்டன.

பண்ணையின் அமைப்பு முறை ஓரளவு பாதுகாப்பு முன்னேற்பாடுகளுடன் கூடியதாகவே அமைந்திருந்தது. மரங்களுக்கு மேலே நான்கு பேர் தங்கியிருக்கக் கூடிய வகையிலான பரண் அமைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தது. தவிர ஒரு குடிசையும் அமைத்திருந்தோம். பரணில் நானும், உமாமகேஸ்வரனும், நாகராஜாவும் உறங்கிக் கொண்டிருந்தோம். நான் அப்போது சற்று கண்விழித்திருந்தேன்.

கீழே கொட்டிலில் செல்லக்கிளி, ராகவன், நிர்மலன்,ரவி, சித்தப்பா,யோன் ஆகியோர் இருந்தனர். பரணுக்கும் கொட்டிலுக்கும் இடையே அரைக் கிலோமீட்டர் இடைவெளி இருந்தது. இதே வேளை அந்தக் காலை நேரத்தில் பொலீஸ் வாகனத்தில் அதன் சாரதியோடு கைது செய்யப்பட்ட கணேஸ் வாத்தியையும் சற்றுத் தூரத்தில் நிறுத்தி வைத்துவிட்டு பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை தனது உதவியாளர்களுடன் குடிசையை நோக்கி நடந்துவருகிறார்.

அவரோடு இன்னும் இரு முக்கிய அதிகாரிகள் இருந்தனர். பேரம்பலம், பாலசிங்கம் ஆகிய அந்த இருவரும் கூட தமிழ் இளைஞர்களின் தீவிரவாத நடவடிக்கைகளுக்கு எதிராக அறியப்பட்டவர்கள் தான்.

மூவரும் குடிசைக்கு வந்தவுடன் உறக்கத்திலிருந்த அனைவரையும் சுற்றிவளைத்துக் கொள்கின்றனர். பொலீசாரின் சந்தடியில் விழித்துக்கொண்ட அனைவரும் செய்வதறியாது திகைக்கின்றனர். அதிர்ச்சியில் எழுந்த அவர்கள் பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை குழுவினருடன் பேச்சுக்கொடுக்க ஆரம்பிக்கின்றனர்.

பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை திறமைமிக்க அதிகாரி. அந்த நேரத்தில் தீவிரவாத அரசியலில் ஈடுப்படுள்ளவர்களின் தரவுகள் பல அவரின் மூளைக்குள்ளேயே பதியப்பட்டிருந்தது. ஆக செல்லக்கிளி போன்ற தேடப்படுகின்றவர்களை அவர் அடையாளம் கண்டுகொண்டிருப்பார் என்பது எமது எல்லோரதும் ஊகம்.

அங்கிருந்த போராளிகள் தாம் வந்திருப்பது விவசாயம் செய்வதற்காகத் தான் என்று பொலீசாருக்குச் சொல்கின்றனர். அக்காலப்பகுதியில் இளைஞர்கள் காடுகளைச் சுத்திகரித்து விவசாயம் செய்வது வழமையன நிகழ்வு என்பதால் அவர்கள் அவ்வாறு கூறுகிறார்கள். பஸ்தியாம் பிள்ளை குழுவினர் இவர்கள் கூறியதை நம்பினார்களோ என்னவோ நம்புவது போல் நடித்துக்கொண்டிருந்தார்கள்.

நான் ஏனைய பண்ணைகளுக்குச் சென்று வேலைகளை கவனிக்க வேண்டும் என்பதால் வழமையாகவே நேரத்துடன் எழுந்துவிடுவேன். அன்றும் பாதி உறக்கத்தில் என்னோடு பரணில் இருந்த உமாமகேஸ்வரன்,நாகராஜா ஆகியோரிடம் விடைபெற்றுக்கொண்டு மற்றப்பண்ணைகளுக்குச் செல்லும் வழியில் குடிசையை நோக்கி நடக்கிறேன். அங்கு நிலைமைகள் வழமைக்கு மாறானவையாக இருப்பதை சற்று அண்மித்ததும் அவதானிக்கக் கூடியதாக இருந்தது.

அதிகாலையில் அமைதியாக இருக்கும் பண்ணையில் ஆள் அரவமும் பேச்சுக்குரல்களும் கேட்டன. இவற்றை அவதானித்த நான் ஏதோ அசம்பாவிதம் நடந்திருப்பதாக எண்ணி மிக அவதானமாக ஓசை படாமல் அருகே சென்ற போது அன்னியர்களின் பேச்சுக் குரல்களை அவதானிக்கின்றேன். உடனே பரணுக்குத் திரும்பிச் சென்று உமாமகேஸ்வரனையும், நாகராஜாவையும் உசார்படுத்துகிறேன்.

உறக்கம் கலைந்த அவர்கள், பரணைவிட்டு இறங்கி மூவருமாக குடிசையை நோக்கிச் செல்கிறோம்.

நாங்கள் மூவரும் மெதுவாக அடர்ந்த காட்டு வழியில் வேறு வேறு திசைகளில் சென்று குடிசையைச் சுற்றி வளைத்துக்கொள்கிறோம். நாகராஜவிடம் ஒரு குறிசுடும் துப்பாக்கியும் உமாவிடமும்,என்னிடமும் ஒவ்வொரு கைத்துப்பாக்கியும் இருந்தது. அருகே சென்றதும் அங்கிருப்பது பொலீஸ் என்பது எமக்குத் தெரியவருகிறது. நாம் மூவரும் நகரவில்லை நடப்பதை மறைவிலிருந்தே அவதானிக்கிறோம்.
இதற்கிடையில் குடிசையிலிருந்த எம்மவர்கள் பஸ்தியாம் பிள்ளை குழுவினருடன் சாதரணமாக பேச்சுக்கொடுத்துக் கொண்டிருந்தனர்.

பஸ்தியாபிள்ளை குழுவினருக்கு அவர்கள் அனைவரையும் பொலீஸ் நிலையத்திற்கு அழைத்துச் செல்லும் நோக்கமும் இருந்தது.

பொலீஸ் அதிகாரிகளைத் தேனீர் தயாரித்து அருந்த அழைத்ததும் அவர்களும் ஒத்துக்கொள்கிறார்கள். அவ்வேளையில் அங்கே இருந்த குறி சுடும் துப்பாக்கியைக் கண்ட பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை அது எதற்காக எனக் கேள்வியெழுப்புகிறார். யானைகள் அதிகமான காடு என்பதால் பாதுகாப்பிற்காக வைத்திருக்கிறோம் எனக் கூறி எம்மவர்கள் தப்பித்துக்கொள்ள முனைகின்றனர்.

தேனிர் தயாரித்தாயிற்று. குடிசையைச் சூழ மரக் குற்றிகள் இருந்தன. அவற்றின் மேல் அமர்ந்து இளைப்பாறியபடியே தேனீர் அருந்துகின்றனர்.

பரணிலிருந்து இறங்கிவந்து குடிசையைச் சுற்றி மறைவிடங்களிலிருந்து அவதானித்துக் கொண்டிருந்த எமக்கு அங்கு என்ன நடக்கிறது என்பது குறித்துக் குழப்பமடைந்திருந்தோம்.

மரக் குற்றிகளில் அமர்ந்திருந்த போது பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை கொண்டு வந்திருந்த இயந்திரத் துப்பாகியை தனக்கு அருகில் வைத்துவிட்டு பேசிக்கொண்டிருந்தார். எம்மில் அனைவரும் இயந்திரத் துப்பாக்கி பற்றி அறிந்திருந்தோம் ஆனால் யாரும் தொட்டுக்கூடப் பார்த்ததில்லை.

இந்த சந்தர்ப்பத்தைப் பயன்படுத்தி துப்பாக்கியக் கைப்பற்றினால் தப்பித்துவிடலாம் என அங்கிருந்த எம்மவர் மௌனமாகத் திட்டமிட்டுக்கொண்டனர். அதற்கு முதலில் பொலீஸ் அதிகாரிகள் ஒவ்வொருவரையும் தனிமைப்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்பதையும் திட்டமிடுகிறார்கள்.

இவ்வேளையில் பேரம்பலம் முகம் கழுவிக்கொள்ள கிணற்றுக்கு அருகே அழைத்துச் செல்லப்படுகிறார். கிணறும் கூப்பிடு தொலைவில் இருந்தாலும் குடிசைக்கு மறைவாகவே இருந்தது.

யோனும், சித்தப்பாவும் பேரம்பலத்தைக் கிணற்றிற்குக் கூட்டிச் செல்கின்றனர். அவர் போக மற்றைய இருவரும் இன்னும் உரையாடலில் இருந்தனர். ஆக இரண்டு பொலீசார் நான்கு போராளிகள் அங்கு எஞ்சியிருந்தனர்.

நாகராஜாவும் தொலைவிலிருந்தே என்ன நடக்கப் போகிறது என்பதை ஊகித்துக்கொண்டதால் குறிசுடும் துப்பாகியோடு குடிசையை மேலும் அண்மிக்கிறார்.

இவ்வேளையில் தான் திகில் சம்பவம் ஒன்று நிகழ்கிறது. ரவி பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையின் இயந்திரத்துப்பாகியை எடுத்துவிடுகிறார். பதட்டம் பரபப்பு எல்லாம் ஒருங்கு சேர ரவிக்கு அதனை இயக்கத் தெரியவில்லை. அங்கும் இங்குமாக பல தடவை இயக்குவதற்கு முனைகிறார்.
ரவி துப்பாகியைக் கைப்பற்றிய அதே கணத்தில் விரைந்து செய்ற்பட்ட ராகவன் பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையை மடக்கிக் கட்டிப் புரள்கிறார். மறுபுறத்தில் பாலசிங்கத்தை மடக்கிய கறுப்பி என்ற நிர்மலன் அவரோடு குறிசுடும் துப்பாகியொன்றைக் கைப்பற்றுவதற்காக மல்யுத்தம் நடத்திக்கொண்டிருந்தார். இவ்வாறு இரு முனை யுத்தம் நடக்க திகில் நிறைந்த திரைப்படக் காட்சிபோல அனைத்தையும் நாம் அவதானித்துக்கொண்டிருந்தோம்.

இதே வேளை பாலசிங்கத்தை நோக்கி மறைவிலிருந்த நாகராஜா தன்னிடமிருந்த துப்பாக்கியால் சுடுகிறார். இதனால் நிர்மலனது கையில் கூட ஒரு காயம் ஏற்படுகிறது.

ரவி இயந்திரத் துப்பாகியை இயக்க முனைந்து கொண்டிருந்த வேளையில் விரைந்து செய்ற்பட்ட செல்லக்கிளி பஸ்தியாம் பிள்ளையின் தலையில் குறிசுடும் துப்பாக்கியால் அடித்துவிடுகிறார். அடிவிழுந்ததும் பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை நினைவு குலைந்த நிலையிலேயே ராகவனோடு கட்டிப்புரழ்கிறார்.

இது நடந்துகொண்டிருந்த வேளையில் பேரம்பலம் என்பவர் கிணற்றுக்கு முகம்கழுவச் சென்றவரை அவரோடு சென்ற யோனும் சித்தப்பாவும் கிணற்றுகுள் தள்ளிவிடுகின்றனர். இவ்வேளை ஒரு எதிர்பாராத சம்பவமும் நிகழ்ந்தது. அவரைத் தள்ளி விழுத்தும் போது யோனும் சேர்ந்து கிணற்றினுள் விழுந்துவிடுகிறார். அதிஷ்டவசமாக யோனுக்கு நீச்சல் தெரிந்திருந்ததால் அவர் நீந்திக்கொண்டிருக்க பேரம்பலம் தண்ணீரில் தத்தளித்துக்கொண்டுருந்தார்.

அனைத்துமே திகில் நிறைந்த திரைப்பட்ம் போல் ஒன்றன்பின் ஒன்றாக நிகழ்கின்றன. கண்ணிமைக்கும் நேரத்துள் அனைத்தும் தலை கீழ் நிகழ்வுகளாகிவிடுகின்றன. ஆரம்பத்திலிருந்தே எம்மவர்கள் யாரும் சரணடைவதற்கோ விட்டுக்கொடுப்பதற்கோ தயாராக இருக்கவில்லை. இறுதிவரை போராடுவதாகவே தீர்மானித்திருந்தனர்.

ரவியிடமிருந்து இயந்திரத் துப்பாக்கியை வாங்கிக்கொண்ட செல்லக்கிளி சில கணங்களுள் அதனை எவ்வாறு இயக்குவது என்று கற்றுக்கொள்கிறார். உற்சாகமாகிவிட்ட அவர் விழுந்துகிடந்த பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையைச் சுட்டுக்கொல்கிறார். உடனடியாகவே கிணறு இருந்த திசையை நோக்கி ஓடிய செல்லக்கிளி அங்கு கிணற்றினுள் தத்தளித்துக் கொண்டிருந்த பேரம்பலத்தையும் சுட்டுக்கொல்கிறார்.

மூன்று பொலீசாரும் திகில் நிறைந்த சில கண நேரத்துள் மரணித்து விடுகின்றனர்.

ஆர்ப்பாட்டமில்லாத இராணுவ வெற்றி நிலைநாட்டப்படுகிறது. இலங்கையில் தமிழர்கள் எங்கிருந்தாலும் பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையை அறிந்திருந்தனர். இலங்கையில் இருதயப்பகுதியில்,பலத்த காவல் துறை பாதுகாப்பு ஏற்பாடுகளுக்கு மத்தியில் நிகழ்ந்த கனகரத்தினம் கொலை முயற்சி ஜெயவர்தன அரசை உலுக்கியிருந்ததது.

அதன் பின்னர் இலங்கையின் உளவுத்துறையில் பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையின் செல்வாக்கு உச்சமடைந்திருந்தது. அவர் இப்போது எமது குடிசைக்கு முன்னால் உயிரற்ற உடலாக… எல்லாம் ஒரு கனவுபோல நடந்து முடிந்தது.
செல்லக்கிளி ஒரு உணர்ச்சிப் பிழம்புபோல. எதையும் உணர்வுபூர்வமாக மட்டுமல்ல உணர்ச்சி பூர்வமாகவும் ஈடுபாட்டோடு செய்யவல்லவர். இயந்திரத் துப்பாக்கியை இயக்கி பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளையைச் சுட்டதும் உரத்த குரலில் ‘வாழ்க தமிழீழம்’ எனச் சத்தமிட்டது காடுமுழுவதும் மறுபடி மறுபடி எதிரொலித்தது. செல்லக்கிளியின் குதூகலத்தோடு மறைந்திருந்த நான்,உமாமகேஸ்வரன். நாகராஜா ஆகியோரும் கலந்து கொள்கிறோம். எம்மையே எம்மால் நம்ப முடியவில்லை. இளைஞர்களுக்கும், தமிழ்த் தேசியக் குரலுக்கும் சிம்ம சொப்பனமாக இருந்த பஸ்தியாம் பிள்ளையை அவரது துப்பாக்கியாலேயே சுட்டுக் கொலை செய்த சம்பவம் எமக்கெல்லாம் ஒரு பெரும் சாதனை.

07ம் திகதி ஏப்பிரல் மாதம் 1978 ஆம் ஆண்டு இந்தச் சம்பவம் நிகழ்ந்ததாகப் பல குறிப்புகள் பதியப்பட்டிருக்கின்றன.

அந்த இராணுவ வெற்றியின் அரசியல் பலாபலன்களை எடை போடவும் அதன் பின்னரான அரசியலை வழி நடத்தவும் நாம் திட்டமிடவில்லை. அதற்கான கட்டமைப்பும் மக்கள் திரளமைப்புக்களும் இருந்ததில்லை. எமது நோக்கம் பலமான இராணுவத்தைக் கட்டியமைப்பதாக மட்டும் தான் அமைந்தது. அதற்கு மேல் எதுவும் இல்லை. அந்தப் பலமான இராணுவத்தை நோக்கிய பயணத்தில் இந்தக் கொலைகள் ஒரு மைற்கல்லாகவே எமக்குத் தெரிந்தன.
அன்று மட்டுமல்ல முள்ளிவாய்க்கால் வரை யாருமே அரசியல் எதிர்விளைவுகள் குறித்துச் சிந்தித்ததில்லை. எத்தனை மனித் உயிர்கள் எத்தனை இராணுவ வெற்றிகள் !

இதன் பின்னர்தான் இவர்கள் வந்த வாகனம் பற்றியும் அதில் வேறு யராவது இருக்கலாம் என்ற நினைவும் வருகிறது.செல்லகிளியும் வேறு இருவரும் பாதை வழியே பதுங்கியபடி செல்கின்றனர். இவர்கள் காரை நோக்கி ஒடிச்செல்லும் போது சாரதி காரிலிருந்து தன்னைக் காப்பாற்றிக் கொள்ள இறங்கி ஓட முனைகிறார். அவரை சிறிது தூரம் துரத்திச் சென்ற செல்லக்கிளி இறுதியில் சுட்டுக் கொலை செய்துவிடுகிறார்.

சிறிவெர்தன என்ற அந்தச் சாரதியைக் கொலை செய்வதைத் தவிர அவர்களுக்கு வேறெந்த மாற்றும் இருக்கவில்லை. அவர் அங்கேயே கொலை செய்யப்படுகிறார்.

கொலைகளின் பின்னால்,அது எந்த வடிவில் அமைந்திருந்தாலும்,தனிமனித வக்கிர உணர்வுகள் மட்டும் தான் காரணம் என்பது வரட்டுத்தனமான வாதம். அதன் பின்புலமாக அமைந்த அரசியல் தான் மாற்று வழிமுறையற்ற கொலைகளை ஏற்றுக்கொள்ளுமாறு நிர்ப்பந்தித்தது. நாம் மக்கள் என்ற கடலில் மீன்கள் போல வாழ்ந்த கெரில்லாப் போராளிகளல்ல, மக்களிலிருந்து அன்னியமாக வாழ்ந்த வெறும் தலைமறைவுப் போராளிகள் தான்.
நிலைமையை புரிந்துகொண்ட கணேஸ் வாத்தி கையை மேலே தூக்கிக் கொண்டு இறங்கி வருகிறார். பின் அவரையும் ஏற்றிக் கொண்டு குடிசையை நோக்கி வாகனத்தை செல்லக்கிளி ஓட்டி வருகிறார்.

எமக்கு அதன் பின்னர்தான் இவை அனைத்துமே கணேஸ் வாத்தி வழங்கிய தகவல்களின் அடிப்படையில் தான் நிகழ்ந்தது என்பது தெரியவருகிறது. அதிர்ச்சிக்கு மேலாக அனைவருக்கும் அவர் மீதான ஆத்திர உணர்வு மேலிடுகிறது. அப்போது ராகவன் கணேஸ் வாத்தியைச் சுடவேண்டும் என்று துரத்திக்கொண்டு வரும் போது கணேஸ் வாத்தி எனக்குப் பின்னால் பதுங்கிக் கொண்டு உயிர்ப்பிச்சை கேட்கிறார். நான் தவறு செய்துவிட்டேன் மன்னித்துவிடுங்கள் என்று கெஞ்சுகிறார். அப்படியிருந்தும் ராகவன் ரவி ஆகியோர் அவரை தாக்கிவிட்டார்கள். கணேஸ் வாத்தியோ எனக்குப்பின்னால் ஒரு குழந்தை போல பயத்தில் பதுங்கிக் கொண்டார்.
இப்போது சூடு பட்டடதில் நிர்மலனுக்கு கையிலிருந்து இரத்தம் வடிந்துகொண்டிருந்தது. முதலில் நாம் அனைவரும் அங்கிருந்து தப்பித்துகொள்ள வேண்டும். அதுதான் எமது அடுத்த திட்டம். எங்கே போவது என்பதெல்லாம் பின்னர் முடிவெடுக்க வேண்டும் ஆனால் தப்பித்தாக வேண்டும்.அது தான் பிரதான நோக்கம்.

கிணற்றினுள் இறந்து கிடந்த பேரம்பலத்தை வெளியே எடுத்து எரிப்பதற்கு எமக்கு நேரமிருக்கவில்லை. அவரை அப்படியே விட்டுவிடுகிறோம். பாலசிங்கத்தினதும் பஸ்தியாம் பிள்ளையினதும் உடல்களைத் தூக்கி குடிசைக்குள் போட்டுவிட்டு, கிடைத்த காய்ந்த மரங்களையும் சருகுகளையும் அவற்றின் மீது போட்டுவிட்டு தீவைத்து விடுகிறோம்.

அவ்வேளையில் அங்கே தண்ணீர் இறைக்கும் இயந்திரம், சைக்கிள் போன்றன இருந்தன. அவற்றையும் அங்கேயே வைத்து எரிக்கிறோம்.
ஆக, தடயங்களையும் உடல்களையும் அழிப்பதற்கான வேலையை ஓரளவு செய்து முடித்து விடுகிறோம்.

இப்போது எவ்வளவு விரைவாகத் தப்பிச் செல்ல முடியுமோ அவ்வளவு விரைவாகச் செல்லவேண்டும் என்பது தான் அடுத்த நோக்கம். அதற்கு முன்பதாக நிர்மலனின் கையிலிருந்து இரத்தப்பெருக்கு அதிகமாக, அவரை மன்னாருக்குக் கூட்டிச் சென்று சிகிச்சையளிப்பது என்பதும் முடிவாகிறது. அப்போது எமக்கு பொலிசார் வந்த கார் கைவசம் இருந்ததால் அதே காரில் மன்னாரை நோக்கிச் செல்ல முடிவெடுத்து, நாகராஜாவும், ராகவனும், நிர்மலனும் செல்ல செல்லக்கிளி காரைச் செலுத்துகிறார். அவர் ஒரு திறமையான வாகன ஓட்டுனரும் கூட.

மன்னாருக்குச் சென்று அங்கிருந்த தெரிந்த வைத்தியரின் உதவியோடு நிர்மலனுக்கு மருத்துவம் சிகிச்சை மேற்கொள்ளப் படுகிறது. ராகவனும்,நிர்மலனும் அங்கேயே தங்கி விடுகிறார்கள்.

செல்லக்கிளி திரும்பி வந்து சேர்வதற்குள் நாங்கள் எம்மால் முடிந்த அளவிற்குத் தடயங்களை அழித்துவிட்டோம். அந்த இடைவெளியில் கணேஸ் வாத்திக்கு மரண தண்டனை வழங்குவதில்லை எனவும் முடிவெடுக்கிறோம். ஆனாலும் அவர் தொடர்ந்தும் இயக்கத்தில் இணைந்து இயங்குவதற்கு அனுமதிப்பதில்லை எனவும் கூடவே மற்;றொரு முடிவையும் அங்கிருந்த அனைவரும் சேர்ந்தே மேற்கொள்கிறோம்.

பின்னர் முகாமிலிருந்து புறப்பட்ட அனைவரும் வவுனியா வரை பஸ்தியாம்பிள்ளை குழுவினர் பயன்படுத்திய காரிலேயே வருகிறோம். செல்லக்கிளி தான் காரின் சாரதி. எங்களை எல்லாம் பொலீசார் எப்போதும் கைது செய்யலாம், சித்திரவதைக்கு உட்படலாம் என்று எண்ணியிருந்தோம். ஆனால் பொலீஸ் வாகனமொன்றில் முழுச் சுதந்திரத்தோடு பிரயாணம் செய்வோம் என நாம் எதிர்பார்த்ததில்லை.
எல்லோரும் வெற்றியின் பெருமிதத்தில் இருந்தோம். கணேஸ் வாத்தியைத் தவிர. கணேஸ் வாத்தியை வவுனியாவில் இறக்கிவிட்டு இனிமேல் இயக்கத்தோடு தொடர்பு வைத்துக்கொள்ள வேண்டாம் என்று எச்சரிக்கிறோம். அவர் அங்கு இறங்கி எம்மோடு எதுவும் பேசாமலே சென்றுவிடுகிறார்.

இன்று உச்சமடைந்திருக்கும் இனப்படுகொலையின் கோரம் அப்போதும் பண்பியல் மாற்றமின்றி இருந்தது. அப்போது கூட நட்பு சக்திகளுக்கும், எதிரிகளுக்கும் இடையேயான இடைவெளி கூட மிக நெருக்கமானதாகத் தான் இருந்தது. சில மணி நேரங்களில் கணேஸ் வாத்தி என்ற மத்திய குழு உறுப்பினர் துரோகியாகிப் போய் மயிரிழையில் உயிர் பிழைத்த நிகழ்வு, ஆயுதப் போராட்டத்தில் ஆய்வுகளினதும் அரசியலினதும் தேவையை உணர்த்தி நிற்கிறது.

எம்மால் உருவாக்கப்பட்ட துரோகிகளை அழிக்கும் செயன்முறை மறுபடி மறுபடி வேறு வேறு வடிவங்களில் இன்று வரை தொடர்ந்து கொண்டிருக்கிறது. மக்கள் திரள் அமைப்புக்களை அடிப்படையாகக் கொண்டு உருவாகும் போராட்டங்களிலெல்லாம் நீதிக்கும் தீர்ப்பு வழங்கலுக்கும் புதிய வடிவங்களைக் காண்கிறோம். மக்களின் பிரதிநிதிகள் மக்கள் மன்றத்தில் வழங்கிய தீர்ப்புக்கள் குறித்தும் அவற்றின் நடைமுறை குறித்தும் நாம் அப்போது அறிந்திருக்கவில்லை. தனிமனிதர்களின் முடிவுகளே தீர்ப்புகளாயிருந்தன. அதிலும் ஆயுத பலம் கொண்ட மனிதர்கள் சிலர், தாம் சரி அல்லது தவறு என்று முடிவு செய்வதற்கு தமக்குத் தாமே அதிகாரத்தை வழங்கியிருந்தனர். புலிகளுக்கு மட்டுமல்ல சிறுகச் சிறுக ஈழத்தின் ஒவ்வொரு மூலைகளிலும் உருவான இயக்கங்கள் அனைத்திற்கு இது பொருந்தும்
கணேஸ் வாத்தியை கொலை செய்வதற்கு என்னோடு இணைந்து எதிர்ப்புத் தெரிவித்தவர்களுள் உமாமகேஸ்வரனும் ஒருவர். அவர் மற்றவர்களோடு வாத்தியை மன்னித்து விடவேண்டும் என்று விவாதித்தார்.

இந்தச் சம்பவங்கள் எதுவுமே பிரபாகரனுக்குத் தெரியாது. அவர் அவ்வேளையில் யாழ்ப்பாணத்திலேயே தங்கியிருந்தார்.

இப்போது எனது வேலைகள் கடினமானவையாக அமைகின்றன. நான் ஏனைய பண்ணைகளுக்குச் செல்லவேண்டும். அவர்களின் இடங்களை மாற்ற வேண்டும். இலங்கை அரசின் உளவுப்படை அவை குறித்தெல்லாம் தகவல்கள் வைத்திருக்கின்றனவா என்பதெல்லாம் எமக்கு உறுதிப்படுத்தப்படாமல் இருந்தது. ஆக, நான் பண்ணைகளை மீழமைப்புச் செய்யவேண்டிய நிலையில் இருந்தேன்.

இதனால் நான் புளியங்குளம் பண்ணைக்கு அருகாமையில் இறங்கிக் கொள்கிறேன். ரவி, நாகராஜா போன்றோர் ஏனைய பண்ணைகளை நோக்கி அங்கு பாதுகாப்பு ஏற்பாடுகளைக் கவனிக்க விரைகிறார்கள்.

உமாமகேஸ்வரனும் செல்லக்கிளியும் முறிகண்டிக் காட்டினுள் சென்று காரை எரித்துவிட்டு கைப்பற்றப்பட்ட இயந்திரத் துப்பாக்கியையும் மறைத்து வைத்துவிட்டு பிரபாகரனிடம் தகவல் சொல்வதற்காக யாழ்ப்பாணம் நோக்கி விரைகிறார்கள் .எல்லாவற்றிற்கும் மேலாக ஆயுதங்கள் மட்டுமே விடுதலை பெற்றுத்தரும் என முழுமையாக நம்பியிருந்த எம் வசம் இப்போது ஒரு இயந்திரத் துப்பாக்கி இருக்கிறது. போராட்டம் என்பது அடுத்த நிலையை நோக்கி வளர்ச்சியடைந்து விட்டதான பிரமையில் அனைவரும் உற்சாகத்திலிருக்க அந்த மக்ழ்ச்சியைப் பிரபாகரனோடு பகிர்ந்துகொள்ள உமாமகேஸ்வரனும் செல்லக்கிளியும் யாழ்ப்பாணம் நோக்கிச் செல்கின்றனர்.

இன்னும் வரும்…


இன்னும் சிலரின் இனிய நினைவுகள்..

நந்தன் : வடமராட்சியைச் சேர்ந்த இவர். அரசியல் ஆர்வம்மிக்க ஒரு போராளி.மார்க்சிய,லெனிய, மாவோயிசக் கருத்துக்களோடு பரிட்சயமான நந்தன்,மனோ மாஸ்டரோடு காரசாரமான விவாதங்களில் ஈடுபடுவார். ஏனைய போராளிகளோடு இணைந்து பண்ணைகளில் வாழ்ந்த நந்தன் அதிகமாகப் புத்தகங்களையும் அரசியல் தேடலையும் நேசித்தவர். பின்னாளில் தமிழீழ தேசிய விடுதலை முன்னணி(NLFT)யின் மத்தியகுழு உறுப்பினராகவும் இருந்தவர்.

டானியல்: கிழக்கைச் சேர்ந்த இவர், உற்சாகமான உணர்வுபூர்வமான போராளி. கிழக்கின் கோரமான இராணுவ ஒடுக்குமுறை இவர்களின் உணர்வுகளில் தேசிய இரத்தத்தைப் பாய்ச்சியிருந்தது. மிக நிதானமான பண்பு கொண்ட இவர், நேர்மையானவரும் கூட. டானியல் கிழக்குப் பண்ணைகளுக்கும் பொறுப்பாக நியமிக்கப்பட்டார்.

பொன்னம்மான் : யோகரத்தினம் குகன் என்ற இயற்பெயரைக் கொண்ட இவர் கலட்டி என்ற யாழ்ப்பாணப் புறநகர்ப்பகுதியைச் சேர்ந்தவர். இராணுவத் தாக்குதல் தயாரிப்புச் சம்பவம் ஒன்றில் மரணித்துப் போன பொன்னம்மான், பண்ணைகளில் வாழ்ந்திராவிட்டாலும், யாழ்ப்பாணத்திலிருந்தே பல முக்கிய பணிகளில் ஈடுபட்டார். உயர் மத்தியதர வர்க்கத்தைச் சேர்ந்த இவர், உறுதிமிக்க போராளி. பின்னாளில் இவரின் சகோதரரும் கூட தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளில் இணைந்து செயற்பட்டார். பொன்னம்மான் யாழ்ப்பாணப்பகுதியில் பல தொடர்புகளைப் பேணுவதில் பிரதான பாத்திரம் வகித்தவர்.

கே.பீ : இன்று இலங்கையிலிருக்கும் இவர், எம்மிடம் முதலில் இருந்த விசைப்படகுக்குப் பொறுப்பாக இருந்தார். பல்கலைக் கழகத்தில் படித்துக்கொண்டிருக்கும் வேளையிலேயே இயக்கப் பணிகளையும் மேற்கொண்டார்.

லாலா ரஞ்சன் : ஞானேந்திரமோகன் கனகநாயகம் என்ற இயற்பெயரைக் கொண்ட ரஞ்சன், பருத்தித்துறையைச் சேர்ந்த இளம் போராளி. இராணுவப் பயிற்சிகளிலும் பண்ணை வேலைகளிலும் ஆர்வமுடைய இவர் இலங்கை அரச படைகளுடன் ஏற்பட்ட மோதலில் 1984 ஆம் ஆண்டு தொண்டமனாறில் கொலை செய்யப்பட்டார்.

அன்ரன்: இன்னுமொரு பல்கலைக்கழக மாணவன். எம்மோடு உறுதியான தொடர்புகளைக் கொண்டிருந்தவர். பேரினவாத அடக்குமுறைக்கு எதிரான போர்க்குணம் மிக்க போராளி.

கணேஸ் வாத்தி : எமது மத்திய குழு உறுப்பினர்களில் ஒருவர். ஆரம்பத்திலிருந்தே புலிகளில் பங்களித்த போராளி. பகுதி நேரமாக மட்டும் தான் எம்மோடு இணைந்திருந்தார். பண்ணைகளை உருவாக்கத்தில், அதன் ஆரம்பப் பணிகளில் பங்களித்தவர்.

பாகம் ஒன்பதை வாசிக்க..

பாகம் எட்டை வாசிக்க..

பாகம் ஏழை வாசிக்க..

பகுதி ஆறை வாசிக்க…

பகுதி ஐந்தை வாசிக்க…

பகுதி நான்கை வாசிக்க..

பகுதி மூன்றை வாசிக்க..

பகுதி இரண்டை வாசிக்க..

பகுதி ஒன்றை வாசிக்க..
Prabhakaran’s timekeeping

Memories of a much-mythologised rebel leader by a former LTTE fighter.

By Ragavan

“Those who bear arms acquire and wield an extreme measure of power. We believe that if this power is abused, it will inevitably lead to dictatorship.”
– Prabhakaran, from an interview with N Ram, 1986

The LTTE’s supreme leader and commander, Velupillai Prabhakaran, along with his wife, children and the entire leadership of the LTTE, have been completely wiped out by the Sri Lankan military. The LTTE began as a guerrilla unit during the 1970s; at its peak, it controlled vast territory and built up a conventional army consisting of an army, navy and air force. The group won many battles against the Sri Lankan Army, crushed all Tamil opposition groups functioning in Sri Lanka, and was seen as a deadly, brutal and disciplined organisation. In recent years, however, the myth of the rebels’ invincibility began to crumble, and within two years they were cornered into a small area, where they were brutally eliminated by the Sri Lankan armed forces.

Since the LTTE came into existence in 1976, more than 27,000 of its members have perished. The brutal war resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of civilian lives, and hundreds of thousands more displaced. Many civilians were disabled due to bombing and shelling. Although I blame the LTTE leadership for their suicidal politics, militarism and intolerance of criticism, I believe that the root cause of the problem was the Sri Lankan state’s failure to accommodate minorities within the democratic constitutional framework of Sri Lanka. The LTTE was a by-product of the majoritarian political landscape of Sri Lanka. However, the internal dynamics within the LTTE later developed as an authoritarian structure, and loyalty to the leader was the foremost precondition. The leader and the organisation had become synonymous.

Prabhakaran was not a natural born killer with evil qualities. It was the social and political conditions that created a hierarchical organisation and, in that juncture, Prabhakaran took a lead role. Yet in this process, he became a charismatic leader and a cult figure, and this in turn changed his personality. He began to believe that he was the supreme controller of the entire Tamil population, and had the right to punish or kill those who disobeyed his orders. He was there to decide what was right and wrong, what was good and evil. He was there to liberate the Tamil nation – and he would carry out his duty until the nation was liberated. All those who opposed his methods, meanwhile, he believed should be eliminated. It was this mindset that led to the escalation and continuation of the nightmare of civil war and untold suffering for a people and a country.

New tiger
It was 1974, and I was 18 years old. As a Jaffna Tamil middle-class youth and immature idealist, I was influenced by the Tamil nationalist ideology and armed struggle, and was able to make contacts with a few of those who were already committed to this approach. One day, a short young man came to visit me with another man named Chetti, who briefly introduced the first man as Thambi, which means younger brother. That was my first encounter with Prabhakaran. I did not meet him again for a while, during which time Chetti had been caught and detained by the police.

On 27 July 1975, Jaffna Mayor Alfred Duraiappa was shot and killed. Duraiappa was portrayed as a traitor to the Tamil cause by the TULF, a Tamil political party, because he had taken the side of the Sri Lankan government in the escalating unrest. I later came to know that Duraiappa had been assassinated by Prabhakaran. At that time, I was happy that a ‘traitor’ had been eliminated. After this incident, around August 1975, Prabhakaran came to my grandmother’s house, in my village. (I would normally stay at my grandmother’s house, as she was very fond of me.) At that time, I knew that he was a ‘wanted’ person, but Prabhakaran said that he wished to stay at my grandmother’s house for a while. Without any hesitation, I said yes.

During that time I was tutoring students, which offered the pretext by which I could ask Prabhakaran to stay at my grandmother’s house. My father was a very strict man, and he noticed that while other students went home, this young man continued to stay at my grandmother’s house. I was more scared of my father than of the police. Eventually, he called to ask why this boy was staying there. I told him that he had some problems with his parents, to which he responded: “You should not allow him to stay, as it is not in the interests of that boy. I will take him to his parents’ house.” I had no choice but to tell my father that he was a wanted man. My father was taken aback, and told me that if he was a wanted man, we needed to inform the police. I explained that this young man was a liberation fighter, fighting for the Tamil cause. I suddenly became courageous, and told my father, “One day the same thing could happen to your son, and then what would be your reaction?” My father had no choice but to accept my argument. This was the beginning of my contact with Prabhakaran and a few members of what was then called the Tamil New Tigers. This was eventually changed to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on 5 May 1976.

I was inspired by Prabhakaran’s dedication and discipline. He was always thinking of action, and he was a meticulous planner, efficient organiser and a perfectionist. He was extremely careful about his own safety and that of others. His knowledge was also very wide-ranging, even though his formal education was minimal (he had failed the GCE examinations on two attempts). He would talk for hours as to how we could build up an underground network, citing examples of Bhagat Singh and other Indian liberation fighters such as Netaji. He would say that the armed struggle was the only way forward, and that there was no point in engaging in peaceful protests. He read Captain Clive, who came as a clerk in the East India Company and was eventually able to lead the British army. He would talk about the Irish struggle. He was also fond of Tamil historical novels, which romanticised the valour of Tamil kings and warriors. He would talk about Israel, and how the Jews were able to establish a powerful country.

As he talked about such things he would also say that we were oppressed by the Sinhalese rulers, because the Tamils did not have a homeland. Our duty, he said, was to fight and liberate our country, and that for this reason we needed to give up family ties, and not indulge in love affairs or marriage. All of these desires, Prabhakaran told us, would be a hindrance to the cause. If you were prepared to fight for the country, he would say, you needed to have total dedication, which such desires would only undermine.

A few years later, the two of us went to see an English movie. It was a World War II story, in which the mission was to assassinate a Nazi commander in Czechoslovakia. A Czech family provided a safe house for the young men on the mission. After the commander was assassinated, the Nazis managed to capture the man of this family, and told him that if he cooperated with them, his family would be safe. The man decided to tell the truth. At that point, Prabhakaran turned to me and said, “This is why I insisted that family life is not suitable for the cause.”

Paranoia and philosophy
Prabhakaran’s timekeeping was perfect, though there was a reason for this. If another did not turn up at the arranged time, he would not wait, because he would sense some sort of danger. He would ask people to come to a station or bus stop, but he would not be there; instead, he would be waiting a short distance away, to see whether the individual had been followed. If he had the slightest doubt, he would simply leave. Due to his security-conscious mind, he was able to dodge the police, military and other dangers for more than 36 years. He became a wanted man in 1972, at which point he destroyed all photographs of himself save for his school identity card; he did not allow anyone to take his photo until 1982. He would leave no trace of himself; if he received a letter from another member, he would read and then burn the letter. I suppose he learned the skill of survival through the experiences of others who were caught due to their lack of security.

Prabhakaran’s ideology was derived from the Bhagavad Gita, the Indian national struggle, the history of the ancient Tamil kingdoms, the situation surrounding Jewish statehood and Adolph Hitler’s authoritarianism. His motto was, ‘Do your duty, but do not expect any benefit from it.’ He also believed that the soul is immortal, whereas the physical body is temporal. Any ‘death’ on the battlefield would thus involve only detaching the body, while the soul remains eternal. He believed that in order to fight against evil and establish dharma, it is essential to eliminate one’s enemies. On one occasion, in 1976, Prabhakaran and another LTTE member assassinated a police intelligence officer who was accused of spying on Tamil youths. After the assassination, he cycled to one of the hideouts and, coincidently, a song from a Tamil film called Karna (a figure from the epic Mahabharata) was playing on the radio. This song was about the discourse between Arjuna and Krishna, which explained the notion of dharma and the right to kill the enemy. He was very excited, and felt that his actions were thus justified.

He felt very strongly that the Tamil cause needed to be united behind one single organisation. His justification was that the Tamils’ ancient kingdoms were lost because the then kings of the Chera, Chola and Pandian kingdoms were not united. He therefore believed that all the other organisations should disband and should come together as one organisation. He also used the Darwinian concept of survival of the fittest to show how we should never allow other related organisations to grow in strength.

In the late 1970s, the organisation was tiny, and consisted of just 15 to 20 young men. During this time, Prabhakaran was influential in decision-making and organising. Although a central committee was selected, he continued to be the charismatic leader, and without his approval, no decision was made. Although he was not an authoritarian figure at that time, due to his dedication and experience, others inevitably looked for his approval. I also remember that he was very caring of the organisation’s members at that time, and looked after them well. If someone was ill, he would make sure that person was looked after properly, and he would become angry if anyone neglected a sick member. However, if the same person whom he looked after crossed some line in the future, he would not hesitate to kill him.

In the early days, the organisation carried out attacks on police intelligence officers and those portrayed as traitors. We also looted banks, and used the money to buy weapons and to organise camps. Each rupee a member spent was accounted for. Prabhakaran was also required to submit his expenses, and there was thus a strict equality maintained with regard to personal expenditure. The food cooked at the camps was the same for everyone. On one item, however, this equality was not maintained: the allocation of bullets. Prabhakaran would expend several rounds during practice, but allocated the rest of us only a few. His justification was that because he was wanted by the police, he had to practice more than the rest of us. At that time, he always carried a Smith & Wesson .38 revolver; it was his pet. Other than this, we had few weapons at that time, just some shotguns and three or four revolvers. Yet he would treat these weapons as sacred items – cleaning and oiling them every day, and making sure that they stayed in working order.

On such issues, Prabhakaran was puritanical, and believed the organisation to be sacred. Whoever defied its rules was seen as impure, and therefore needed to be kicked out – or killed, if he resisted. When the LTTE chairman, Umamaheswaran, was found to have been involved in a sexual relationship with a woman cadre, Prabhakaran became furious, and accused them both of having damaged the organisation’s sacredness. They were both forced to leave.

One-man leadership
In 1980, there was a split in the organisation, as a majority of the members had begun criticising Prabhakaran for being a dictator, particularly due to his alleged involvement in the killing of two cadres. His critics said that he needed to be removed from the central committee, and that the organisation should be reformed with democratic principles. Pure militarism should not be welcomed, they continued, and his methods were wrong; instead, what needed to happen was the organisation’s leadership needed to go to the Tamil people, to hear what they had to say before taking any military action. Prabhakaran was hurt by this criticism, but refused to accept that he had made even a single mistake. As a result, the organisation split into two factions, and a majority of those who left later founded the People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE).

Prabhakaran was very angry and disappointed at this turn of events, and accused those who left of having stabbed him in the back. He claimed there was no point in having a central committee, and instead wanted to be the supreme leader of the organisation. Many of the members, including myself, refused to accept this proposal, and he instead decided to leave. We tried to persuade him to reconsider, but he was adamant, saying that he would not agree to anything but a one-man leadership. Thereafter, he went to stay at his uncle’s house, where he met with two leaders of another militant group called the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), Thangathurai and Kuttimani. (These two were later massacred in the Wellikada Prison massacre of July 1983.) Both were from Prabhakaran’s village, and they knew him well. Prabhakaran subsequently agreed to work for them under Thangathurai’s leadership, and after a while he managed to convince the other LTTE members to join him.

After Kuttimani and Thangathurai were caught by the Sri Lankan Army in 1981, Prabhakaran was able to re-emerge as the group’s supreme leader. He refused to accept pluralism and difference of opinion, and saw those as a hindrance to the cause. He mercilessly ordered that opponents be killed, and continued to have loyal followers who carried out his orders without any question or hesitation. It was after Kuttimani and Thangathurai were caught, tortured and forced to reveal information to the security forces, that Prabhakaran introduced the suicidal cyanide capsule, which became the symbol of the LTTE’s dedication.

After the July 1983 riots and the mushrooming of other Tamil militant groups, the Indian state provided training and support to the Tamil militant groups, including the LTTE. I left and re-joined the LTTE a few times during the early 1980s as a result of the LTTE’s structure and the urgencies of the situation. Eventually, however, I left the organisation in 1984, as the internal repression within the LTTE had become intolerable. The rest is history.


Surviving families remind us that that the legal framework within which these were committed has not undergone any fundamental change..!!!

It’s dangerous to be right in matters
where the authorities are wrong


by Shanie

"In all honesty, I’m not sure I would be capable of the courage he has shown. The man’s life is in ruins, and yet he has continued to do the thing he was born to do. Shunted from one safe-house to another, cut-off from his son, surrounded by security police, he has continued to go to his desk every day and write. Knowing how difficult it is to do this even under the best of circumstances, I can only stand in awe of what he has accomplished......The struggle has gone on for nearly half a decade, and we are no longer closer to a solution than when the fatwa was first announced. Like so many others, I wish there was something I could do to help. Frustration mounts, despair sets in;.....His plight has focussed my concentration, has made me re-examine my beliefs, has taught me never to take the freedoms I enjoy for granted."

Paul Auster, the novelist and poet, was writing over fifteen years ago about Salman Rushdie. Many of us may not agree with Salman Rushdie, even though his The Satanic Verses’ was written only as a novel. But as in that statement attributed to Voltaire, we may not agree with a word of what Salman Rushdie wrote, but we need to defend to the death his right to write it. It is now over twenty years since The Satanic Verses were written and the fatwa issued; His life is no longer under the same threat, even though the fatwa has not been withdrawn.

Writers, journalists, academics and activists the world-over have always been under pressure not only from authoritarian regimes but even from governments that profess to be democratic. It was Voltaire again who said that it was dangerous to be in the right in matters where the establishment authorities are in the wrong. We have seen the truth of this through the ages, even in Sri Lanka. Writers and others have learnt the hard way how dangerous it sometimes is to be in the right. But yet there have been many courageous men and women from that tribe who, despite the danger, continued to speak out and write in terms of their conscience. Of course, also from the same tribe, were those who found it expedient to be in the wrong along with the establishment authorities. The less said about such conscience-less sycophants and apologists the better.

It is the men and women of courage who have dared to stand up to the tinpots who wield political power that deserve recognition. As we have noted in this column before, some of them like Ken Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria, Richard de Zoysa, Neelan Tiruchelvam, Kethees Loganathan, Lasantha Wickrematunge and Taraki Sivaram in Sri Lanka have had to pay the supreme sacrifice for their courageous activism. Others like Vaclav Havel in the Czaech Republic, Adam Michnik in Poland, Jayathilleke de Silva and Malinda Seneviratne in Sri Lanka have survived to tell the stories of their incarceration on fictitious charges; still others like Aung San Suu Kyi in Myanmar, J S Tissainayagam and Sarath Fonseka in Sri Lanka will have to await another day to tell their stories. Yet another category are people like Professor Raveendranath, the Vice-Chancellor of the Eastern University, and Prageeth Ekneligoda, the journalist, who have just disappeared without trace. Then there are those like Salman Rushdie, the brave activists of the UTHR, several journalists and civil society activists who have been forced to go underground, with or without a formal fatwa being issued against them. To all these named persons must be added millions the world-over, including tens of thousands in Sri Lanka – the unsung and the powerless, who have been killed or disappeared or become prisoners of conscience.

The stories of the survivors

After the last southern insurgency in the late eighties, the Asian Human Rights Commission brought out a a powerful book which contained several stories from the families of those killed or disappeared. In writing an introduction to the stories, Basil Fernando, the Executive Director of AHRC, wrote: ‘As the survivors from these families look back at what happened to their loved ones, they are aware that any of these acts could have been done to them as well, such being the situation of law enforcement in the country at that time. Many today wish to forget these things. However, surviving families remind us that that the legal framework within which these were committed has not undergone any fundamental change. Particular emergency laws that authorised violence for the sake of national security have not been withdrawn, despite local and international disgust.’

One of those who interviewed mothers and other family members to get their stories notes that in analysing the main reasons for the disappearances, he was shocked to realise that in most cases it was a matter of sheer jealousy, although some cases involved links with the JVP. People were obviously driven to take advantage of the reign of terror and take the lives of their ‘enemies’.

Those events happened over twenty years ago. Predictably, another interviewer notes that many families believe that the same widespread disappearances could recur in Sri Lanka. The same politicians, army and police officers thought to be responsible still remain in positions of power, except that they now hold even more powerful positions. Impunity has not been erased from the national landscape because the necessary changes to the legal system have not been made.

Emergency Regulations and PTA

The legal system under which these are the Emergency Regulations first promulgated in 1971 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act enacted in 1979. These have continued to be used and misused for nearly forty years, when, for most of those years, they were clearly unnecessary. It is now over ten months since the LTTE was defeated and buried, yet the emergency regulations have been extended recently by a specially reconvened Parliament.

Jayathilleke de Silva, presently an Editor at the Daily News, tasted in his own words the venom of the Emergency Regulations and the PTA, when he was detained for nearly three years on charges of "unlawful activity". Writing of his period of detention and the unlimited powers enjoyed by the law enforcement authorities under the PTA and ER, de Silva states: ‘During my detention at the New Magazine Prison, I came across detainees who were there for no fault of theirs. One was the brother of a suspect. He was detained for eleven months before being released sans any charges. Similarly, an elderly person was arrested since his neighbour who was a suspect was absconding. The reason for his arrest was that he had employed the suspect some time earlier as a driver...One person was arrested by mistake because the police had misspelled his name. It took nine months for the police to rectify the mistake and release him. There was also the case of two youth who were arrested simply because they were around when the police vehicle that was pursuing a suspect approached them menacingly. While the suspect fled to safety, the two youth had no cause to flee as they had done no wrong.’

Rohan Edrisinha, the academic and expert on constitutional law, has said that the manner in which the PTA was enacted was an excellent case study to highlight the serious deficiencies in the law and policy making processes in Sri Lanka. It also highlights the steady deterioration of democratic institutions in the country which is particularly unfortunate given the healthy traditions of parliamentary democracy and independence of the judiciary that existed in the country from pre-colonial times. After analysing the respective roles of the Parliament and the Judiciary in the enactment and operation of the PTA, Edrisinha concludes: ‘In the past thirty years many commentators have highlighted the concentration of power in the executive branch of government as one of the major flaws in the second republican constitution. The dangers of such a strong executive are made even greater by the decline in the powers of the other two branches of government, the legislature and the judiciary. It seems clear however that the situation has been compounded even further by the unwillingness of these two branches of government to assert to the maximum even the limited powers that they enjoy.’

From the experience of Jayathilleke de Silva and thousands of others, it also seems clear that the provisions of the emergency regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act will continue to be misused for partisan political purposes and to suppress dissent. Public conciousness must be aroused to prevent the further erosion of our democratic institutions. The Seventeenth Amendment, for instance, is being flagrantly violated for political purposes. What is breath-taking is that there are ‘liberal’ politicians who have turned apologists for this violation because they see "flaws" in that amendment. When there are people in positions of authority who think that constitutions can be disregarded and violated because they see flaws in them, is it any wonder that there is a collapse of the rule of law in many areas of governance. This is where we need both civil society and judicial activism to preserve our democratic institutions.


No liberation struggle anywhere in the world where those struggling for justice have such a powerful expatriate community!!! All Shd Get Involved..!!!

Real war is just beginning, get involved: Brian Senewiratne
[TamilNet, Friday, 19 March 2010, 18:47 GMT]

“Despite my involvement over many years, I was taken aback by the result,” writes Brian Senewiratne on the overwhelming mandate for Tamil Eelam in the referenda of the diaspora in several countries. The time for federation has long since gone. Until the Tamil areas are separated from the control in Colombo there will be neither peace nor prosperity in the island. If there is a genuine referendum in the Tamil areas of the island the ‘yes’ vote might be 100 percent and Delhi will have to duck for cover if such a ballot is taken among the 70 million Tamils of Tamil Nadu, he writes. According to him this major crisis of global dimensions, the genesis of which lies in British colonialism, and the global fall-out in resolving it, demands global response. The real war, not in a military sense, is just beginning. Loss of hope has achieved nothing and the ray of hope is the Tamil youth, he says.

Further excerpts from the 42-page paper titled "Diaspora referenda on Tamil Eelam in Sri Lanka," by Dr. Brian Senewiratne follows. The 78-year-old Dr. Senewiratne, a renowned physician and an Australia based Sinhala expatriate is a member of the Banadaranaike family and is a long-time defender of the Eezham Tamil cause.

On Tamil referendum:

Full text of the paper by Dr. Brian Senewiratne
I have never seen such a result in any poll on any subject anywhere in the world. To say that the overwhelming number of expatriate Tamils want a separate State, Tamil Eelam, would be a gross understatement. Despite my involvement in this over many years, I was taken aback by the result.

Dr Brian SenewiratneIt is a colonial construct [the State of Sri Lanka] that has failed. All that the Tamils are asking for, and what these current Referenda have endorsed overwhelmingly, is that this failed colonial construct be dismantled.

Let us throw in the 70 million Tamils in Tamil Nadu, conduct a ballot there and let us say they all voted “Yes”. Do you think Delhi would remain impotent? I doubt it. Delhi will duck for cover, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) – the ‘Indian CIA’, notwithstanding

I would love to see a Referendum done where it matters – the Tamil areas in the North and East. Not a ‘Referendum’ with Rajapakse’s hoodlums, in uniform or not in uniform, or his Tamil ‘helpers’ standing around to note who votes ‘yes’ and who votes ‘No” to report back to their ‘Master’. I mean a genuine Referendum, with the Sri Lankan Armed Forces out of the area, and Rajapakse’s henchmen such as Karuna, Pillayan and others of their ilk, removed from the area. The ‘yes’ vote might well be 100%.

On the futility of federal solution:
I believed then (in 1945), even more so now, that until this irresponsible and disastrous British Colonial construct is dismantled, there will be neither peace nor prosperity in Sri Lanka. The product of this dissolution can be called “Eelam”, or anything else, but administrative power to run the Tamil areas, must be taken out of Sinhalese hands.

A few days after the ballot in Norway (98.95% voted for a separate Tamil State), Erik Solheim, the Norwegian Minister, who had more than a little to do with the well-functioning de-facto State of Tamil Eelam (before it was smashed by the Sri Lankan ‘government’ in 2007-09), advocated a Federal solution to the crisis. The Honourable Minister is living in the past, as are some so-called ‘moderate Tamils’ in Sri Lanka and abroad. The time for Federation has long since gone.

For a Federal set-up to work in Sri Lanka, the Tamil (Federal) State must have some confidence in Colombo. Unless the Tamils are mad, I cannot see them having any confidence in Colombo.

What the Rajapakse regime has shown, and shown very clearly, is that anything built by the Tamils, will be destroyed.

Dr Rachel Joyce, the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Harrow West was more realistic. Here is what she said:-

“It has been my long-standing view that the only true path to peace in Sri Lanka is with a political settlement with the creation of Eelam being the only solution that has a strong chance of long-term success”.

On the opposition to Tamil referendum:
My interest is to meet the 561 (0.28%) of Tamils who voted “No”, and ask them what solution they had in mind. The options are limited: 1. To continue the status quo, and go on, as they have since Independence, being second class citizens, now probably third class citizens. 2. The Tamils could, of course, throw it all in and ‘become’ Sinhalese. 3. To crawl under the table and pick up what their Sinhala masters at the table will toss at them. 4. Hope to get a Federal State from the generosity of the ruling Sinhalese. Federal solution exists only in the minds of the ignorant (such as some of those who voted “No” in the Referendum, some so-called Tamil ‘moderates’, and others such as Erik Solheim and many foreigners, who have no idea of Sri Lanka’s disastrous political record).

In Canada, I was told that leading Tamil media carried out a vicious campaign against the Referendum. Their claim was that the information (presumably of a massive ‘yes’ vote) would reach the Sri Lankan Government and jeopardise any travel prospects of the voters to Sri Lanka.

I was interested in the stance adopted by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) – a group I have worked with for years.

About the same time as the Canadian Referendum, there was a secret meeting in Vienna attended by sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil elite (many of whom I have met). They discussed “Internal Self-determination, the Thimpu Principles” etc.

I would advise those who have organized these Referenda, to retain their cool, and not be swayed, discouraged or threatened by these ‘spoilers’.

The ray of hope – Tamil youths: The British Referendum, unsupported by the Tamil visual media establishment in the UK, relied on the youth.

Indeed, the Vaddukottai Resolution, about which this Referendum is all about, specifically addressed the youth in its closing paragraph:

“And this Convention calls upon the Tamil nation in general and the Tamil youth in particular, to come forward to throw themselves fully into the sacred fight for freedom and to flinch not till the goal of a sovereign state of TAMIL EELAM is reached”.

On viewing the crisis as ‘colonial’ and as a British responsibility:
The blame has to be laid full square at the feet of the British Colonial masters, and the mediocrities they sent to sort out the mess in Ceylon, and who created a bigger mess - Colebrooke and Cameron, Donoughmore, Soulbury and a string of very mediocre people as Governors of Colonial Ceylon. They are the people who set the stage for the Sinhalese ‘leaders’ to do what they did.

Britain simply has to accept responsibility. A start will be for Britain to apologise to the Tamil people.

Colebrooke-Cameron ‘Reforms’ of 1833: these so-called ‘Reforms’, introduced by the British, for their administrative convenience, which had resulted in a serious and disastrous developmental neglect of the periphery, and which had done more damage to the country than anything else the Colonial British did.

The existence of these separate settlements [of Tamils and Sinhalese] were clearly documented as early as 1799 by Sir Hugh Cleghorn, the first Colonial Secretary of Ceylon, in his famous “Cleghorn Minute”:

“Two different nations, from very ancient period, have divided between them the possession of the island: the Sinhalese inhabiting the interior in the Southern and Western parts from the river Wallouve (now Walawe) to that of Chillow (now Chilaw), and the Malabars (another name for Tamils) who possess the North and Eastern Districts. These two nations differ entirely in their religions, language and manners.”

Despite the crucial Minute sent to the Colonial Office by Cleghorn, Colebrooke decided that the three separate “Kingdoms” [Kotte, Jaffna and Kandy] should be abolished and power centralized in Colombo.

The Donoughmore Constitution – 1931: The British had a chance to undo the damage done by the thoroughly irresponsible Colebrooke-Cameron ‘Reforms’.

The All Ceylon Tamil League rightly pointed out that abolition of communal representation coupled with universal franchise would mean “death to the minorities”.

The major mistake that the Commissioners, in their ignorance, made was to assume that Ceylon was one nation. The reality was that it was one country (or a politico-geographic entity), with two nations (Sinhalese and Tamil), and five communities (Indian Tamils, Sri Lankan Muslims, Indian Muslims, Burghers and Malays).

The most powerful case for a Federal set-up put to the Donughmore Commission, came, not from the Tamils, but from the Kandyan Sinhalese. I refer to this because it applies in no small measure to the Tamils. Here is what the Kandyan National Assembly memorandum demanded: “Ours is….a claim of a nation to live its own life and realize its own destiny….We suggest the creation of a Federal State as in the United States of America….A Federal system….will enable the respective nationals of the several states to prevent further inroads into their territory and to build up their own nationality”.

The Kandyan submission to the Donoughmore Commission is very relevant to the problem facing the Tamils today, and to the recent Referenda.

The 1840 Ordnance made it virtually impossible for a Kandyan peasant to prove that his land was his (just as it might be impossible for the Tamils who have owned land in the militarized North to prove that they owned the land).

The Soulbury Constitution [1948 ignored the crisis by saying] "the evidence submitted to us provides no substantial indication of a general policy on the part of the Government of Ceylon of discrimination against minority communities".

Have the Tamils lost their sovereignty to a Sinhalese majoritarian State post-1948?
That is an easy one, which I can answer in a word, perhaps two – “Most certainly”. The accusing finger cannot simply be pointed at Britain. Sri Lankans have now had more than 60 years to undo the damage that Britain has done. They have done the opposite, and have done far more dreadful things to the Tamils than the British would ever have done.

[The safeguards of the Soulbury constitution were illegaly removed in the 1972 Republican Constitution.]

The makers of the new ‘Constitution’ (1972) had achieved their objectives: 1. To enable the government to do whatever they wanted to the minorities (discriminating against them in education, employment or whatever). 2. To make Sri Lanka (changed from ‘Ceylon’) into a Sinhala-Buddhist nation.

[The 6th Amendment to the 1978 Presidential Constitution disenfranchised Tamils on the national question.]

The 6th Amendment (8.8.1983), made in the wake of the 1983 Tamil massacre by Jayewardene’s hooligans, murderous Cabinet Ministers, and Buddhist monks, was the Prohibition Against Violation of Territorial Integrity. It means that you cannot advocate a Separate State in Sri Lanka, by acts within or outside Sri Lanka.

There is now an attempt to even deny a historical fact –that there was ever a sovereign Tamil Nation. The logic is simple. If there was no sovereign State, then one cannot be accused of denying sovereignty! That is the new Sri Lankan logic.

War and genocide twisted as terrorist problem:
There are, in fact, three separate, but inter-connected ‘activities’:

1.A war between the Armed Forces of the Sinhalese people (the so-called ‘Sri Lankan Army’ is 99% Sinhalese) and the Armed Forces of the Tamil people (the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – LTTE).

2.A series of anti-Tamil pogroms launched by a succession of Sri Lankan governments to crush the Tamil people into submission – to accept multiethnic, multilingual, multireligious, multicultural Sri Lanka as a Sinhala-Buddhist nation.

3.International manipulation for the control of the Indian Ocean, for which there is no better place than Sri Lanka.

What could be done with the Tamils, 18% of the country?

1.They can be driven out of the country. 1.3 million already have been, and others are fleeing (if possible). There are, however, still some left.

2.They can be made ‘non-people’ ie refugees, which has been done. There are today some 500,000 ‘Internally displaced people’ ie refugees, almost all of them Tamil, in Sri Lanka, and another 70,000 in Tamil Nadu.

3.They can be made to ‘Disappear’. Sri Lanka today has the 2nd highest incidence of involuntary disappearances in the world, second only to Iraq. Most of them are Tamil men.

4.They can be killed. That is Genocide. Some 80,000 (probably many more) Tamils have been killed.

That business was genocide.

The UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines Genocide as an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. Where the Tamils In Sri Lanka are concerned, that ‘part’ is the part that lives in the North and the East.

There are also different types of genocide. ‘Educational’, ‘Cultural’, ‘Economic’, and ‘Religious genocide’, which is the intention, backed by the act, of “destroying in whole or part the education, culture, religion or economy of an ethnic group”. The GOSL is guilty of all of these.

What has been happening to the Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka, is not a ‘Tamil problem’ or a ‘Sinhalese problem’, but a major human rights problem which has global dimensions and a global fall-out. It therefore demands a global response.

Human Rights violations can no longer be claimed to be an ‘internal problem’. That is why the world acted against Apartheid, an ‘internal affair’ of South Africa. There are numerous other examples. Sri Lanka cannot claim to be the exception.

Loss of hope has achieved nothing
I am not asking you, as Churchill did, to “fight on the beaches, fight in the fields, and in the streets” etc. I am asking you not to adopt a defeatist attitude since it will get the Tamil people nowhere.

Dr Brian SenewiratneI am not asking you to start another fight in a military sense. But there are, today, more than one way to skin a cat.

The real ‘war’ is just beginning. The ‘conventional war’, if you want to put it that way, might be over, but the ‘problem’ that led to the war has not been settled.

“We are after all in exile”. So was Charles de Gaulle when the Nazis invaded France. So was Nelson Mandela. I might add that it is because you are in exile that the responsibility to do something is even greater. If more than a million people living in the most powerful countries in the world are unable to do something, then there is something radically wrong with them, or the methods they use – perhaps both.

I must draw attention to the fact that such an ‘excuse’ might be acceptable in a country such as East Timor, where the expatriate East Timorese are few and not that well educated. But the situation with the Sri Lankan Tamils is entirely different. I know of no liberation struggle anywhere in the world where those struggling for justice have such a powerful expatriate community.

Get involved was the concluding advice of Brian Senewiratne to Tamils.

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Friday, March 19, 2010

Rebuilding an area devastated by a prolonged war for nearly three decades and readjusting the minds of those who had experienced a gun culture ...!!!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Five years of development - Kilinochchi district:

Resettlement goes on apace


Rebuilding an area devastated by a prolonged war for nearly three decades and readjusting the minds of those who had experienced a gun culture for decades to take up the development challenges within relatively a short time-frame, is not an easy task.

Unlike the people in other parts of the country the people in Kilinochchi had to undergo the worst ever experience in the three-decade long conflict in the country.

There was little hope for development for the war-battered population lived in this terrain under worst living conditions. They were very much accustomed to pack up their belongings and move from one place to the other, with the shiffing of the theatre of battle at irregular internals.

During the past few years when intense battles were raging in the Wanni even the local towns in the district were shifted to different locations.

Pic : Sudam Gunasinghe

Therefore, the reality of having permanent buildings such as schools, hospitals, administrative blocks to cater to the day to day needs of the community was far from their thinking during the bitter battles fought by the Security Forces against the LTTE terrorists to liberate the Tamil population from the clutches of terrorism during the past few years.

Even today the damaged water tank in the centre of Kilinochchi town and the partly-constructed hospital buildings resemble the agony the people had to undergo during the past few years at the hands of the brutal terrorists.

To rise above all these odds seeds of prosperity have been planted in this fertile land with its liberation last year giving hope for the war-battered community returning to their homesteads.

The district comprises four Divisional Secretariat Divisions namely Karachchi, Kandawalai, Poonakary and Pachchilaipallai which include. Ninety five Grama Niladari Divisions.

According to the Kilinochchi District Secretariat the resettlement of displaced people was commenced in Karachchi, Poonakary and Pachchilaipallai Divisional Secretariat Divisions, sometime ago.After months long stay in the welfare camps the people from Kanagapuram, Jeyanthinagar, Periyaparanthan, Urithirupuram East, Thirunagar South, Thirunagar North, Uthayanagar East, Uthayanagar West, Sivanagar and Paranthan in the Karachchi DS divisions have been resettled in their old homes.

More than 5334 people belonging to 1731 families have already been resettled in these 10 villages.

The villages of the Nallur, Alankerny, Kollakurichchi, Gananimadam, Madduvilnadu East, Pallikuda, Madduvilandu East, Paramankirai, Gowtharimunai, Jeyapuram North, Jeyapuram South, Kariyalainagapaduvan, Pallavarayankaddu, Mulankavil, Kiranchi, Nachchikuda, Ponnaveli and Iranativu have also been cleared of mines for the resettlement.

According to Kilinochchi Government Agent 18,874 people belonging to 5631 families have already been resettled in the 19 villages in the Poonakary DS Division in the Kilinochchi district. Another 41, 834 people belonging to 10417 families are yet to be resettled in these villages.

“Apart from these two Divisional Secretariat Divisions we have also commenced resettlement in the Pachchilaipallai DS Division and pallai area as well”, the Northern Province Governor Major General (retd) G.A. Chandrasiri said.

Emphasizing the need to accelerate the process of uplifting the living standards of the resettled people the Government has given priority for the rapid development of the Kilinochchi district.

Therefore, the 180-day development program “ Vadakkil Vasanthan’ initiated under Presidential Special Task Force for Rehabilitation and Resettlement headed by the Senior Presidential Advisor and Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa, has brought new hopes for the people returning to their old villages.

According to the Northern Province Governor, the renovation, reconstruction and rehabilitation activities have to be commenced at grass roots level as almost all infrastructure facilities were damaged by the terrorists.

Therefore, top priority has been given to de-mining activities to facilitate and speed up the resettlement process while construction, reconstruction and improvement of schools, hospitals, roads and the transport sector is in progress.

Accordingly resettlement process is now in progress along the Mannar-Pooneryn A-32 road, Pooneryn-Paranthan road and the areas between the A-32 road and A-9 road which come under Kilinochchi district.The reopening of the two main supply routes A-9 and the A-32 has become immensely help for to the people returning to their old villages as they do not feel isolated in the terrain.

Villages like Jeyapuram, Nachchikuda, Mulankavil, Pooneryn, Periyaparanthan which created the stage for deadly battles during the humanitarian operation are now getting populated with the return of civilians to their old villages.

The Government machinery with the help of various government agencies and INGOs and NGOs is actively engaged in facilitating the resettled people and bringing their lives back to normal.According to the Northern Province Governor the Sri Lanka Army is extending their fullest cooperation to the resettled people in assisting them to erect temporary houses until their damaged houses are repaired or reconstructed.

The Sri Lanka Army has constructed 849 houses in Kiranchi , Veravil and Jeyapuram for the newly resettled people.

“We should be thankful to the Sri Lanka Army for coming forward to assist the resettled people by constructing temporary houses within a very short time frame”, Northern Governer (rtd) G.A. Chandrasiri said.

“Not only they are building temporary houses for the resettled families, they are also assisting the resettlement program by evacuating their camps from public buildings and private houses. Alternative accommodation have been provided for such camps in pre-fabricated buildings made available by the Government”, the Governor added.

According to Government officials Rs.462 million have been allocated last year to improve the infrastructure facilities such as health, education, roads, irrigation and drinking water for the resettled people.

Nine schools in the Karachchi Division and 18 schools in the Poonakary Division are now functioning to provide education for more than 5,000 students among the resettled people. Nearly 600 teachers have reported back to their respective schools after their reopening.The NECORD II project has identified 15 schools including Kilinochchi Central College and Kilinochchi Maha Vidyalaya to be renovated with immediate effect. The UN Agencies and the communities outside the North and the East have come forward to provide furniture for the re-opened schools.

Twenty six co-operative outlets, 6 in the Karachchi Division and 20 in the Poonakary Division have been opened to cater to the people already resettled in the Kilinochchi district.

Five hospitals, three in Karachchi Division including Kilinochchi General hospital and three in Poonakary Division are functioning to look after the health needs of the public.

The recruitment of more doctors, nursing officers, midwives and public health inspectors to fill the existing vacancies has to be done on priority basis, the sources said.

The Ceylon Transport Board along with private bus operators have largely improved the public transportation in the district. Buses are regularly plying to such destinations as Jaffna and Vavuniya.

A project has been launched to repair thousands of push bicycles, motorbicycles and other vehicles left behind by the displaced people when they were fleeing the conflict zone, Governor Chandrasiri added.

Following a discussion held at the Kilinochchi Security Forces Commanders Headquarters, recently arrangements have been made to transport 500 two wheel tractors, 1000 four wheel tractors, 30 harvesters, a large number of water pumps, thousands of bicycles and other agricultural equipment from Mullaitivu to be repaired and distributed among the people.

According to the Governor more than 15,000 push cycles, 2,500 motorbikes are there to be repaired and distributed among the people. The Government has also concentrated on the development of agriculture in the district to enable the people to cultivate their paddy lands and grow vegetables and other crops.

“A major project using Iranamadu tank will be implemented under JICA assistance to irrigate the land in the Kilinochchi district and to provide drinking water for the people in the Jaffna peninsula by constructing a canal across the Jaffna lagoon”, the Governor said.

Seven irrigation projects including reconstruction of irrigation quarters, repairing Iranamadu tank, sluice improvement of main canal of Iranamadu tank, urgent work in Puthumurippu tank and Akkarayan tank in Karachchi Division have already been undertaken at a cost of Rs.25 million.

Measures have also been taken to cultivate 2000 acres of abandoned paddy lands using the water of Iranamadu tank by the newly resettled people in Poonakary and Karachchi divisions.

“We are doing our best to provide all that is required by the resettled people to make their lives better”, Governor G.A. Chandrasiri assured. As de-mining activities are in progress in the East of A-9 road in the Kilinochchi district, its residents will get the opportunity to restart their lives.

New vistas of development are awaiting the people in the Kilinochchi district as Government is keen on starting new industries in the district to provide a better future for the people who had experienced gun culture for the past three decades.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Law must be implemented in good faith! Though Tamil is an official language,recognized in the constitution itself,I don't see its full implementation!

An Equal Opportunities Bill, an urgent requirement

by K. Godage

The issue of Human Rights violations in our country, this time in the form of alleged war crimes, has been brought to the attention of the international community, solely because of intemperate statements made out of sheer hate by Gen Fonseka. This man who should be basking in the glory of his undoubted contribution to the wiping out of the LTTE, is suffering ignominy because his enemies are digging out heaps of dirt on him, but that is not the issue; we the people and the government are facing yet another attempt to ruin the image of our country because of this intemperate man’s statements; we do need to get our act together so that those spiteful elements among the international community and the Tamil Diaspora would not be able to point a finger at this country. I was therefore happy that Minister Milinda Moragoda has included the re-introduction of the Equal Opportunities Bill in his party’s (the Sri Lanka National Congress) Agenda to influence the government, for, the root cause of all these allegations stem from just one issue the so called ethnic problem and alleged discrimination.

This Equal Opportunities Bill, which to my mind ensures the right to a livelihood and life itself, was first tabled in Parliament by Prof. GL Peiris in 1999, but for reasons best known to the then government it suffered the same fate as the Bandaranaike- Chelvanayakam and the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Agreements and did not see the light of day. If the government seriously wishes to settle the national problem and get on with the social and economic development of the country, then this Equal Opportunities Bill is an absolute must. We need to get our act together in a convincing manner, let us start with this piece of legislation on Equal Opportunities and also establish a credible independent Human Rights Commission of Inquiry on the lines of the Indian Human Rights Commission. Let us in addition have a Human Rights Tribunal (the Equal Opportunities Bill included both a Equal Opportunities Commission and a Tribunal, with teeth), we need to have strong credible institutions to improve the image of this country, the importance of this does not appear to have dawned on the managers of our affairs. We need to understand the importance placed on human rights and the rights of minorities in particular, after the second world war, The UN Charter and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which made Human Rights a birthright, were both born of the horrors of the second world war which witnessed a total disregard for human life. The war came about because that Nazi, Hitler, sought to exterminate minorities in Europe. Besides the Universal Declaration, we have the International Convention on the elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the ICCPR);and the Optional Protocol to which we have become a signatory and requires us to pass domestic legislation to give legal validity to the Covenant and the optional Protocol. Article 2 (!) of the ICCPR reads " Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present covenant without distinction of any kind such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status". We need to create an awareness and make our people conscious of the importance of ‘Human Rights’ (and that there is indeed a new world legal order), for its own sake also because of the importance placed by the international community on human rights. Human dignity must be made inviolable, it should be the legal duty of the state to respect and protect it. We need to see the Equal Opportunities Bill in this context.

This is but one aspect of the problem, the other is the manner in which we have reacted to our critics; no doubt they have sought to bully and intimidate us but should not our approach been more civil? I recall the manner in which John Holmes was treated and the abuse hurled at him. He may have been wrong in the statements he had made to a foreign correspondent, but abuse was not the answer. I can speak with authority on the manner Lakshman Kadirgamar ‘handled’ critics of our human rights record, for I traveled out with him many times. He engaged them in a civil manner and doused the flames. Our approach needs to change, we must engage our critics; we also need to obtain the support of India and China to counter our enemies.

In this regard I am happy that the government has, for once, acted correctly when it has had the Non Aligned take on the UNSG, who appears to have become a pawn at the hands of our detractors. Besides adopting legislation and building our institutions, we need to use the assistance of friendly countries, for diplomacy must be our first line of defence.. We need to have the countries of SAARC and ASEAN to put pressure on those who are seeking to wrong this country for the wrong reasons.

Whilst we do need to get our act together on the issue of Human Rights, we need also, without further delay to settle the so-called ethnic problem which has been the root cause of all our problems. The Equal Opportunities Bill if enacted and implemented would go a long way towards solving the problem. The Preamble of the EOB reads as follows: "An Act to make unlawful discrimination on the grounds of ethnicity, gender, or religious or political opinion, language caste, age or disability in employment, education, access to public places, and means of transportation and in the provision of accommodation, goods and services; to provide for the formulation of equal opportunity programmes by employers; to provide for the establishment of an Equal Opportunity Commission and an Equal Opportunity Tribunal; and to provide for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

It is indeed a pity that this Bill was not enacted and implemented at the time it was first introduced, for it would have helped to counter the charge of discrimination at least to an extent, I say "to an extent" because such laws must be implemented and there must be evidence on the ground of the fact that the law is being implemented in good faith. Though Tamil is an official language, recognized as such in the constitution itself, I do not see its full implementation on the ground and this is a fact. I do hope Minister Moragoda whose initiative this is, is elected and would be reappointed as Justice Minister to steer this Bill and the equally important Administration of Justice Law through Parliament to speed up the judicial process and ensure that justice becomes meaningful to the people.