Feature Article

New Delhi should stop looking at Eezham Tamils through Colombo

[TamilNet, Friday, 13 March 2015, 23:54 GMT]
The very fact that no Indian Prime Minister before Mr Modi hitherto cared to visit Jaffna shows the long-offensive foreign policy attitude of New Delhi towards the nation of Eezham Tamils, located at the closest proximity to India. This should be read along with another foreign policy fact that it was in the case of Eezham Tamils India for the first time in its history was involved in the crime of genocide outside of its country. Both stemmed from an adamantly practised policy of New Delhi viewing Eezham Tamils through the prism of ‘Sri Lanka’ and the establishment in Colombo. Whether China or the USA, or both – whatever may be the ultimate foreign policy concern of India, the times are such that New Delhi should learn to approach Eezham Tamils as a nation of its own right.

Mr Narendra Modi’s current visit to Jaffna and Trincomalee through Colombo is part of a larger Indian Ocean agenda of countering Chinese influence rather than showing justice to Eezham Tamils affected by the long injustices of New Delhi.

It is obvious what would be the priority in the bargain and shopping list. It won’t be the removal of the occupying genocidal military or allowing international justice to reach Tamils, or it won’t even be Tamils getting their international airport back at Palaali for their worldwide diaspora to directly interact, but Trincomalee to become a ‘petroleum hub’. Tamils have no say, even on what ‘hub’ Trincomalee should be.

Colombo’s cabinet minister Champika Ranawaka has already spoken to The Hindu on Tuesday, that “Don’t look at Sri Lanka through Tamil prism,” and that “we have created a unique, organic culture here.” Probably he was referring to the genocidal culture and its preservation for the usual, blackmailing bargain of the Sinhala State’s China policy.

It is time for New Delhi to think of an alternative foreign policy that recognises the nation of natural ally in the island and patch up with it, before deeply offended sentiments of this nation in the internationalised atmosphere of today count India out for generations.

So far New Delhi’s foreign policy attitude towards Eezham Tamils was either that of a dog that missed the squirrel (A'nil ea'ravidda naay) or that of a dog in the manger (Vaikkal paddadai naay).

New Delhi should no more block or hijack any international justice coming to Eezham Tamils for the international crimes committed on them.

There should be an end to the policy that committed war crimes in the country of Eezham Tamils and built memorial for the IPKF in Colombo.

The current Foreign Secretary of New Delhi was in Colombo as political work diplomat of the IPKF in the late 1980s, and he should know.

Tamil polity should never abandon internationalising the process of justice, until the justice is delivered to its righteous satisfaction and to the benefit of entire humanity.

On the meeting of New Delhi and Colombo rulers, a 1984 editorial appeared in the then Jaffna Tamil daily Eezhanaadu, written by its chief editor and former Jaffna Hindu College principal Mr N. Sabaratnam, is reproduced herewith. Readers may find that nothing much has changed in the outlook of the two establishments and Indian media in the last 31 years. Perhaps the only noticeable change that would shame the late Mr Sabaratnam is Jaffna Hindu Old Boys in London giving a ‘golden shawl welcome’ to Colombo President Maithiripala Sirisena.

* * *

April 1984 editorial by Mr N Sabaratnam appeared in the Jaffna Tamil daily Eezhanaadu

Eezha Naadu Editorial 17 April 1984

(Courtesy: Ooradangku Vaazhvu, collection of editorials by Mr N Sabaratnam, published as a book in June 1985)

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