– by Shenali D Waduge –
The comparisons are hard to miss. While mother Indira Gandhi created both Bhindrawale and Prabakaran, mother was killed by her Sikh bodyguards and son was blown to bits by Prabakaran, both Sikhs and Tamils have been demanding a separate Homeland. For Sikhs it is in Khalistan and for Tamils it is realistically in Tamil Nadu but they are attempting to fool the world by claiming it is in Sri Lanka. 9million of the 30million Sikhs live in the Punjab, while 65million of the worlds 72million Tamils live in Tamil Nadu and a meager 2million Sri Lankan Tamils live in Sri Lanka erasing all doubt of where real Eelam is. If India has not implemented the Punjab Accord is there any reason why Sri Lanka needs to cradle the Indo-Lanka Accord?
25th year of this cancerous Accord – decisions need to be taken.
The Punjab-Accord was signed between Rajiv Gandhi and Sant Barchand Singh Longowal in 24 July 1985. The Accord failed by mid 1987
The former was signed between a State and its Central Government, the latter was between 2 sovereign states though signed virtually under duress.
Longowal was killed within one month of signing the Accord and it emerges from various quarters within India’s rank and file of an order being made to kill Prabakaran too.
The Indo-Lanka Accord was signed between Rajiv Gandhi and J R Jayawardena on 29 July 1987. Prabakaran saved at Vadamarachchi by India was whisked off to Delhi and kept in India until the Accord was signed. He was flown back only on 2 August 1987. The Accord craftily led to India forcing an amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution creating the Provincial Council system and a merger of 2 provinces.
Indo-Lanka Accord was drafted by India, signed following a violation of Sri Lankan’s air space with a threat that Sri Lanka would face consequences, the signing itself was under curfew, media were barred and the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka boycotted to give a clear message that the Accord had no signs of democratic norms or respect for a sovereign nation.
Moreover, it was a Treaty signed under Coercion proved by the ships sent, Sri Lanka’s territorial violation, demand to cease hostilities whereby Prabakaran escaped capture by Sri Lankan forces and India whisked him off to India and kept him there until the Accord was signed, Natwar Singh gave a clear warning of threat if Sri Lanka were to take action against the Indian Airforce who dropped a meager 25tons of parippu on Jaffna giving Sri Lanka just 30 minutes notice – these all violate Article 52 of the Vienna Convention “A treaty is void if its conclusion has been procured by the threat or use of force in violation of the principles of international law embodied in the Charter of the United Nations”.
When India specifically states in the Accord (Article 2.14) that “These proposals are also conditional to the Government of India taking the following actions if any militant groups operating in Sri Lanka do not accept this framework of proposals for a settlement, namely,
a) India will take all necessary steps to ensure that Indian territory is not used for activities prejudicial to the unity, integrity and security of Sri Lanka.
b) The Indian navy/coast guard will cooperate with the Sri Lankan Navy in preventing Tamil militant activities from affecting Sri Lanka.
c) In the event that the Government of Sri Lanka requests the Government of India to afford military assistance to implement these proposals the Government of India will cooperate by giving to the Government of Sri Lanka such military assistance as and when requested.
d) The Government of India will expedite repatriation from Sri Lanka of Indian citizens to India who are resident here, concurrently with the repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees from Tamil Nadu.
e) The Government of Sri Lanka and India will cooperate in ensuring the physical security and safety of all communities inhabiting the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
If India has been unable to deliver on the above given that this is the framework on which the Accord was to function the fact that India has failed to fulfill the Treaty obligations is sufficient for the Sri Lankan Government to have the pluck to declare the Accord VOID if necessary using Article 60 of the Vienna Accord to which both countries are signatory.
If previous Sri Lankan Governments did not have the courage to face either the LTTE or India and the present Government did whereby LTTE is now eliminated, it surely cannot maintain the same silence that the previous Governments kept by not articulating the country’s stand vis a vis the Indo-Lanka Accord. It is a document that is being kept a false life-support system without giving the euthanasia that it deserves. The 25th year of this virtually dead document now needs to be finally put to rest and buried forever.
The Punjab Accord promised to
· transfer of city of Chandrigarh to Punjab
· promotion of Punjabi language
· referral of Akali Dals’ separatist manifesto to a Commission
· assurance that all Sikh temples in India would be under administration of Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee
· Higher levels of Sikh recruitment to Indian Army
· better allocation of river waters to the Punjab
· Other clauses included protection of minorities, compensation for victims of political violence, rehabilitation of Sikh army deserters, withdrawal of special courts from Punjab, judicial inquiry into anti-Sikh riots in Delhi
The very Indian – Congress Government that now takes pains to tell Sri Lanka to implement the Indo-Lanka Accord and the 13th amendment has failed to implement its own Punjab Accord and come every election it uses it as another election promise.
The Punjab Accord promised to transfer capital from Chandigargh to Punjab but Chandigargh continues to be the common capital of both Punjab and Haryana.
The Punjab Accord promised Punjabi speaking areas in Haryana to be transferred to Punjab but that was never done.
The Punjab Accord promised to extend the Sutlej Yamuna link Cana to irrigate agriculture land in Punjab – that too was another broken promise.
The Punjab Accord is just existing by name only – however, the Indo-Lanka Accord though it does not exist is causing unnecessary interference by India upon Sri Lanka and manipulating Sri Lanka’s politicians in various ways which are detrimental to the nation and its people. As a nation, Sri Lankans are united in their common detest for all Indian Governments.
What India denied Sikhs, India will deny Tamil Nadu and Tamil Eelam
The logic is that if India could carve and create Bangladesh within no time despite even opposition of the then US Government what is stopping India from creating Khalistan demanded by the Sikhs or Eelam demanded FIRST in Tamil Nadu? People have conveniently forgotten that the quest for Eelam emerged originally from Tamil Nadu and continues under the pretext of creating it in Sri Lanka because having watched how India treated the Sikhs the Tamil Nadu separatists refined their goal by exporting it to be launched in Sri Lanka.
If the Sikh case was one between Sikhs and Hindus, the Sri Lankan scenario was also said to be “ethnic” between Sinhalese and Tamils totally ignoring the terrorist element. Both Accords were said to address the “grievances” – that this was a bogey is revealed by the manner that Sikh terror and LTTE terror both took place no sooner the Accords were signed. Much of the Diaspora funds and planning in the case of both Sikhs and LTTE took place in Canada as is happening even currently.
If the Sikhs and Tamil Nadu are disheartened by the Indian Government because Hindis are running the entire country it is time India does not act as a coward and outsource terror elsewhere but try to solve problems within its own country first.
It is bizarre to think that a country with hardly 2million Tamils can be the Homeland for all Tamils of the world. That place in reality is where there is already a Tamil State – it has a name exclusively for Tamils, its language is in Tamil, Tamil culture, Tamil religion can all be preserved in a mono-ethnic enclave that it is always chirping about and that place is nowhere else but in Tamil Nadu – the state of Tamils for Tamils and by Tamils. So lets not fool ourselves. By virtue of the proved existence of indigenous language, culture etc… the self-determination definitions suits Tamil Nadu perfectly.
Either Tamils know that India is fooling them and they are playing along for its suits a bigger agenda or India is using the excuse to advance its own interests upon Sri Lanka. Either way India and Tamils or Tamil Nadu cannot overrule the voice of the majority populace.
25th year of the Indo-Lanka Accord is a perfect time to shut down the lifesupport system of this ill-gotten diseases and put it finally to rest and bury it for good.
The Government of Sri Lanka is voted into power not by India therefore the onus is on it to make decisions that the people of the country now demand. So long as we continue to keep this cancer it is tearing up the entire country apart therefore given that there is sufficient grounds for Sri Lanka to officially declare this piece of document as breaching Sri Lanka’s sovereignty and national security and moreover given that it does not have the will of the people which the Constitution of Sri Lanka clearly states, the Government of Sri Lanka must make a very clear declaration to India.