Leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R. Sampanthan, while extending his warmest congratulations to India’s new government led by Narendra Modi, sought Indian assistance in establishing peace in Sri Lanka. In a letter sent to Modi, Sampanthan says, “We look forward to work closely with you and your government to further strengthen genuine ties between Sri Lanka and India and also to ensure that violence does not recur in Sri Lanka, and that all Sri Lankans are able to carry on with their lives in the territories they live in, based upon equality and justice.
“Following the anti-Tamil pogrom of 1983, Sri Lanka accepted India’s offer of its good offices, to bring about a final and acceptable resolution to the national conflict in Sri Lanka. This has been a continuing process though at times interrupted.
“With the end of the armed conflict in May 2009, violence came to an end and many opportunities came around, to bring a permanent end to the conflict, based upon equality, justice and genuine peace.
“Both during the armed conflict and after its conclusion, the Sri Lankan Government made commitments to both India and the international community to bring about an acceptable political solution. Unfortunately, this commitment has not been honoured.
“The Sri Lankan Government, on the contrary, is aggressively pursuing an agenda which prevents thousands of displaced Tamil families from occupying thousands of acres of fertile valuable land, in the North and East, areas that were historically occupied by these people, for residence and livelihood, in violation of commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government to both the Supreme Court and Parliament, and thus subjecting these Tamil families to extreme deprivation:
“Is vigorously settling persons from the majority community with State aid on lands in the North and the East so as to change substantially the demographic composition of these areas.
“Is desecrating and destroying ancient sites of religious and cultural importance to the Tamil Hindu people in the North and East so as to radically alter the ethnic, cultural and linguistic identity of the said territories.
“Is impeding and obstructing the overwhelmingly democratically elected Provincial Government of the Tamil National Alliance in the Northern Province from functioning.
“Is continuing to violate the fundamental and human rights of the Tamil people in the North and the East so as to deny them equality before the law and relegate them to the status of second class citizens.
The excessively disproportionate and oppressive presence of the military, particularly in the North and also in the East, the construction of substantial housing facilities for the military, the grave inconvenience and disruption caused to civilian life, the gender based violations, the involvement of the military in agriculture, farming, fishing and in commercial activities have a serious and adverse impact on civilian life.
“These actions of the Sri Lankan Government undermine all efforts towards reconciliation, permanent peace and harmony, and further create an environment that could promote hostility which the Tamil people certainly do not desire. We also submit that these actions of the Sri Lankan Government are clearly indicative of a lack of genuine commitment on the part of the Sri Lankan Government to evolve an acceptable political solution.
“We consider it our duty to bring these matters to your notice at the earliest possible opportunity. We do so in the belief that an honourable peace based upon justice and equality must prevail, and that Bharath’s – India’s role would ensure that.”
(Courtesy: Ceylon Today)