Monday, October 20, 2008

India: Don't give into terrorism!

Sri Lanka is currently under major pressure by the Indian government to stop the ongoing war against the LTTE. Why? The Indian state of Tamil Nadu is a key supporter of the coalition central government in India. Tamil Nadu's residents are Tamil, the same race the Tamil people in Sri Lanka belong to .. and with whom we have a 2000+ year old history of interaction in various forms. So there are bunch of politicians in Tamil Nadu who actively supported LTTE and still do. There are also many who are genuinely concerned about the well being of innocent Tamil people in the war torn areas in Sri Lanka's north. To cut a long story short, Tamil Nadu can bring down the Indian government .. and they're threatening to do so now unless India intervenes in Sri Lanka's war.

Why? Because they apparently believe that innocent Tamil people are being killed and that the war is an attempt to destroy the Tamil populace of the north. That is nothing short of ludicrous - after more than 25 years of fighting our military has learnt bitter lessons of how to win a war in this environment and killing normal people simply isn't part of the formula. The president of Sri Lanka has invited the Indian foreign secretary to come to Sri Lanka to find out for himself what's being done to prevent civilian casualties and to see the real situation here. But, I doubt the offer will be taken up.

The LTTE is being squashed these days. That's because of a well-thought out military strategy being executed very carefully without a rush. The LTTE is so desperate that they're preventing innocent people from leaving to government controlled areas where they can be taken care of.

Don't get me wrong- I've said before in my blog and will say it again: there is no military solution to a 2000+ year old racial conflict. We need a political solution involving true devolution of power to the different regions of Sri Lanka and all the military can do is create an environment where the government can indeed execute such a change. Does our government have the political strength to pull it off now? I honestly don't know .. but we have to give them a chance to do it by winning the military part. If they don't do it, I will be the first to vote against them at the next election.

Why is that important? Tell me, which country would tolerate an armed group having their own naval bases, their own air force, their own territory, their own police, courts, taxes and more? Would the US "sit and talk" to such a group if they were to do that within the US? Would India? Would Russia? Would UK? No of course not.

What cannot be tolerated is the existence of a separate area which is under LTTE control and where indeed many Tamil people live but they live under intense difficulties. For example, every Tamil family is forced to give one member of their family to the LTTE.

Is that what India's Tamil people want for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka? Of course not. This is a political game that is being played well by LTTE and Tamil Nadu politicians and the one that's standing to lose is Sri Lanka.

This is absolutely a war to liberate the Tamil people from the evil clutches of the LTTE - not an attempt to annihilate them!

We've had 25+ years of a terrible war. It has taken many many lives on both sides- and almost all of them young lives. Now we have an entire generation that has known nothing but war. We need to get past this in order to prevent our country from going more down the tubes.

We have real problems to solve which cannot be solved militarily. At the same time, we cannot solve them when there's one armed group that has appointed themselves the sole representatives of the Tamil people (because they kill off any other Tamil leaders who don't agree with their approach and solution). We need to solve it with a dialogue with all Tamil political parties, Muslim parties, Sinhalese parties and the MANY political parties that transcend race. LTTE will not allow that to happen - we've had enough failed attempts at talking to them. Now its time to destroy that beast once and for all and enter into a political solution to ensure that we will NEVER have another LTTE showing up again.

If you live in the US or EU or somewhere else you may think "ain't my problem". However, you'd be wrong. Read up a bit on the LTTE and you'll see that they're part of your problems too - terrorism is an international curse & disease and cannot be put down until everyone stops supporting it.

I hope the Indian central government will not budge and invade or threaten to invade Sri Lanka again like what they did in 1987 (with Operation Poomalai). Have you forgotten how those criminals whom you air dropped supplies for killed 1255 of your troops in Sri Lanka and then went on to kill your own ex-prime minister Rajiv Gandhi?

India, please, leave us alone.


Anonymous said...

I DO agree on you.I badly want this path to be successful, because it seems to be the right path. But there are two problems;

1.when will the war end?. How do you define the 'end'?.
2.Do you think that the Sinhala Buddhist community of Sri Lanka are prepared for a federal solution? If not, will anything less than that solve the crisis?

Jaliya Ekanayake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jaliya Ekanayake said...

I think that these politicians in India never want our problems to be solved, because more problems in our nation mean more intervention for them.

Next, I would like to answer "sachithvida". (I am sorry for replying to this before Dr. Sanjiva)

Just consider happened in the eastern province. Few months after the war, one of the "ex-colonel" of LTTE is now the in parliament. One other ex-militant is the minister of the eastern province. Most importantly, we all know that they killed 31 Buddhist Monks in Aranthalawa Massacre and hundreds of civilians in other events.
After all, Sinhalese have already forgiven them and now even protect these ex-militant from the LTTE.
So what more examples you need?

Sanjiva Weerawarana said...

sachithvida: I think the "end" of the war is when LTTE has been beaten into the jungles and it becomes a real guerilla movement - no more heavy artillery, no more air force, no more ground they hold, no more navy etc. etc.. At that point, the conventional military has done all it can really.

Time has proven again and again that a guerilla war cannot be won by conventional military means - it must be won by winning the hearts and minds of the combatants and their supporters. Oh yes, creating economic opportunity and winning their wallets will be a HUGE part of that too.

I think as Jaliya said, the population has shown that it can in fact forgive and forget. Remember that most Sinhala Buddhist families (esp. in rural areas) have lost a member of their family in this war too (or at least has an injured person or has a close relative/friend in that category). So its not a disjoint concept for them.

Is the government capable of doing the right thing? Right now - no. Coalition governments are the pits IMO. However, I'm hopeful that an "end" to the war will give the government the chance to win an election with a clear mandate to make some dramatic changes. Maybe that's naiive but I'm willing to give this government a chance to do it - they've already made great strides by having two ex-LTTE leaders becoming civilian leaders and members of parliament already.

Malinda Kaushalye Kapuruge said...

Sri Lanka should not pay the price for the Tamil nationalism or the tomfoolery of TN politicians. SL politicians should play their cards carefully on this moment(I've already blogged about thisLINK). If GoSL could do that properly, the problem created by TN politicians would be a boomerang for them due to their greediness to the power.
And Sachithvida,
Federal or whatever, the political solution should not be on the table to satisfy few greedy politicians or international community. And it should not be just a copy and paste from another country or the region. It should sketched to solve the problem of the people.

Ashok said...

Hi Sanjiva ,

Its a good post.. I am not into battle whether LTTE is good or bad its none of my business. And also i dont think its like a black or white problem.

Also being in India and in particular in Tamil Nadu i can't comment on whether innocent tamils are being killed or not in srilanka with out watching whats really happening there.

We do know how it feel when you had a bomb blast in your country.

Also I hope you wont mind in giving a well talented tamilian a job in WSO2. ;) Again its not a black or white problem.

However the problem now is not about the army killing LTTE , perhaps but about our innocent *tamil fisher man* being Killed so cruely by the sri lankan navy , It should be condemned.A Google search can reveal you all the details.

Dont you feel sad about the people who are un assure whether they will return with fish or dead bodies?

Firing on Indian Fisherman are happening frequently by the navy. We want to make sure our fisherman return home safe and alive with fish and not with *dead bodies*

The opposition is for that. LTTE is still banned group here and no one can support them *directly*. come on how can we support a group which killed our prime minister?

we want our fishering peoples to safe alive !!!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, but still the LTTE gets the support and funding from the diaspora, especially from the people who don't know the real face of LTTE. So I don't think we can be very optimistic about 'ending' the war when our diplomatic missions do not work on ending the funding. For example, as you might know, the UK does not actively stop the LTTE funding even though the rules are in place.

I doubt whether the Tamil community is confident in the government in representing them.We need to find a strong representation from the Tamil Community (which have been effectively murdered by the LTTE whenever it came up)

Also, if we are to not attend to Tamil nationalism, we need to put away the Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism as well and think on a 'Sri Lankan Nationalism'. This will mean a higher recognition of Tamil as a national language. Are we ready for that?.. I simply don't know.

So yes we need to be very careful in finding a political solution which needs to follow the battles. Otherwise we'll just take a break from the LTTE and face another terrorist organisation in a few years time.

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