"The Disappeared" - Dan McDougall, Sri Lanka's reality for Tamils
Murdered, missing, imprisoned in camps...The guns may be silent in Sri Lanka for the first time in 26 years, but the price of peace for the innocent Tamils caught up in the fighting could not be higher ...
After the demise of LTTE, who have silenced their guns before during 2002 - 2006 peace talks with the Sri Lankan government, the Sri Lankan government seems to have lost its focus on "liberating" the Tamils. While the Colombo celebrates "victory parades" over the demise of freedom fighters of Tamils, the intent to narrow the gap between the Sinhalese and Tamils could not have been more impossible.
The LTTE cadets who were tortured and shot down while white flagged and surrendering were the sons, daughters, brothers or sisters of a Tamil. The political wing leaders Nadesan and Pulithevan were tortured and shot down, which constitutes a war crime. The Sinhalese wife of Nadesan cried in vain "please don't shoot him, he is surrendering.". She also was shot after the cry. Over 2000 LTTE cadets were slaughtered in the UN brokered surrender of LTTE. The silencing of LTTE's gun should not have be so horrendous and costly of human lives by the same Sri Lankan government who sheds crocodile tears over "child soldering of LTTE" and "liberating Tamils"; especially not when the UN, the infamous Viay Nambiar informed the Sri Lankan government of the forthcoming surrender of LTTE cadets and Political wing leaders. Remember, this is same LTTE that the Sri Lankan government sat down for a peace talk for over 4 years, and consequently weakened LTTE due to lack of focus on fight and penetrating to weak links such as Karuna.
Close to 30,000 Tamils civilians killed in 3 months, according to Innercity press and Times online UK. More than 5000 LTTE cadets, who are considered to be freedom fighters of Tamils, are slaughterd while surrendering and were killed used banned chemical weapons.
Regardless of the loss of lives of Tamils civilians and LTTE cadets, the Sri Lankan government has not shown an ounce of good will towards the 300,000 Tamil IDPs or Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Dan McDougall reports in his article "The Disappeared.":
Elderly grandmothers, infants, pregnant women, wounded fathers, their faces as twisted and contorted as the razorwire that imprisons them, trapped in a state of incarceration the Colombo authorities claim is necessary for the refugees' own "safety". Further into the bush are the field hospitals, hidden from the eyes of the world yet overflowing with civilian victims of the war. Beyond the medical camps, according to eyewitnesses, are thousands of freshly dug graves. Six thousand miles away in London, a growing body of UK-based campaigners are calling it quite simply "The War Without Witness".
The war on Tamils has been the history of successive governments of Sri Lanka for over 60 years now. Currently, the war on Tamils is also a Family affair in Sri Lanka.
In the corridors of power in Colombo, the hard-won victory over the Tamil Tigers would have been savoured by one family above all: that of the Sri Lankan president, Percy Mahinda Rajapaksa, who carved out victory with the help of his brothers, Gotabaya, the defence secretary, and Basil, who largely masterminded the political and diplomatic strategies that accompanied the war effort. The brothers, members of a prominent political family of Sri Lanka's Buddhist Sinhalese majority, won through utter ruthlessness. In contrast to previous Oxbridge-educated leaders, they had no links to the English-speaking elite of Colombo and showed few qualms in severing Sri Lanka's ties with the west in favour of strengthening relations with China and Russia - countries that supplied sophisticated military hardware and diplomatic muscle.
All the reports that come from the IDP camps and the "free" North & East has to be smuglled over the guarding Sri Lankan Army of horror and impunity.
"You can't go down that road. You shouldn't have come this way," the soldier bellows, first in Sinhalese and then in English, his hand menacingly stroking the nuzzle of the rifle splayed across his chest. I look at his bony black fingers - he is pointing east towards the coastal town of Pulmoddai and the road we have just travelled down.
Masscres of Tamils in Sri Lanka since 1950:
There have been many massacres that happened in Sri Lanka since 1950, before a Tamil militant ever fired a single gun shot at a Sri Lankan Army.
Sri Lanka got "freedom" from British in 1948. Tamils separate state also vanished in the combined administration of the British. Once the British left, the Sinhalese majority started its oppression on Tamils, who were made minority in the Island by losing their sovergien state to the British ruling.
(1) Inginiyakala massacre - 05.06.1956: Tamils peacefully protested against Sinhalese settlements using state funds in Tamil regions. Sinhalese thugs attacked "150 Tamils working in a sugar cane farm and factory in Inginiyagala under the Galoya scheme were killed. The bodies of the dead and injured were thrown on a fire." - NESOHR. Nobody was arrested or charged for the killing of these 150 Tamils in Sri Lanka.
(2) 1958 pogrom - Tamils peacefully protested against the Sinhala only Act passed in the Sri Lankan government. Sinhala mobs attacked Tamils. "Women were raped and Tamil property was damaged. A priest was burnt alive inside his Kathirvelayutha temple in Pananthura. The Sri Lankan government looked on as the violence against Tamils continued. Many Tamil homes were set alight. Babies were dropped in hot tar." - NESOHR. 300 Tamils were killed in this pogrom. Nobody was arrested or charged for the killing of these 300 Tamils in Sri Lanka.
(3) Tamil research conference massacre 10.01.1974 - Tamils were preparing to hold a research conference in Jaffna, a city in North of Sri Lanka.
"Hundreds of thousands of people from different parts of Jaffna came into town to attend theconference. Conference proceeded on a grand scale. No conferences of the past were conducted in such a scale and with such enthusiasm. The entire Jaffna town was in 10 January was being celebrated as the final day of the conference.
The last item was speeches made by experts in Tamil language about the greatness of the language and the culture based on it. Prof Naina Mohammad from Tamilnadu in India was delivering the final speech. At that instant, the police lead by the Deputy Inspector of Police for Jaffna, Chandrasekara, started to attack the people at the conference. The police also opened fire. Nine civilians were killed, the stages were destroyed. The same Inspector of Police Chandrasekara was later promoted to the post of Inspector of Police by the then Prime Minister Srimavo Bandaranayaka." - NESOHR
(4) 1977 communal pogrom - Over 1500 Tamils killed by Sinhala mobs with knife, iron bars and logs in various parts of Sri Lanka, including Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Ratmalana, Badhulla and Colombo, with many injured; The Sri Lankan Security forces only aided the Sinhala mobs.
The Sansoni commission investigated the violence recommended compensation to all Tamils affected, but the Sri Lankan government never acknowledged the recommendation.
Background: "In the July 1977 parliamentary elections the United National Party received a landslide victory capturing 5/6 of the parliamentary seats amounting to 140 seats. The party that was in government, the SLFP, received only 8 seats. Tamil Allaiance group campaigning on an election platform of working towards an independent Tamil Eelam state won 18 seats by receiving the vast majority of the Tamil votes.
This was not well received by the Sinhala polity.
In was in this context that the Sri Lankan police in Jaffna was pulled up by the public for sexual harassment of school girls at a school exhibition. Armed police later arrived at the scene in large numbers and began threatening people.
Following this, the Jaffna-Colombo and the Colombo-Jaffna night mail trains were attacked when it stopped at the Anuradhapuram railway station. Follwing these attacks, violence against Tamils spread through out the island. Tamils in Trincomalee, Vavuniya, Ratmalana, Badhulla and Colombo were badly affected. Tamil Alliance members of parliament raised the violence in parliament. Yet, the then Presisndet in Colombo J R Jayawardhana did not even declare curfew or emergency. He said that he does not like to rule the country under an Emergency Regulation." - NESOHR
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