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Do the Tamils need a Political "Package" or Political Process?

In an important statement, published in the Island today (18/05/09) "[a] collective of Tamil opinion leaders called The Group of Concerned Tamil Citizens of Sri Lanka (GCTCSL)" make several points about the what was, when the statement was written, the on going war, and its already apparent aftermath.

One central concern about civilians trapped by the LTTE is, I would think, no longer an issue, since thousands were assisted out, over the last few days, and hostilities have ended. Freedom of movement, in relation to the IDP camps, and conditions within them, continue to be real issues, and the statements comments on the matter are worthy of note:

The state has legitimate security concerns and it may wish to register and screen IDPs released from LTTE control with the view to identifying and pursuing action against any LTTE cadres among the civilians under due process of law.... The process should take a few days or weeks at most, not several months. As soon as the screening is over those against whom no evidence is available, presumably the over whelming majority of the IDPs, should be promptly released from detention. We are happy to note the assurance given by the state that over 80% of those released from LTTE custody will be able to go back to where they were displaced from by the end of year 2009.

Indeed. On this note, its also worth recording the that Chief Justice Sarath Silva, in what was, I think a private visit to one of the camps, was reported to have said that, "elderly women, pregnant women and children should be sent back as soon as possible from the camps," and said also that "there is no truth in the allegations that displaced people in welfare centres in Vavuniya, were being abused by the armed forces and that women were being raped."

While it is correct that the questions of the IDP camps draw immediate concern, of much more lasting import, is the political future of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. On this matter GCTCSL's statement is that, "A just and credible offer of a political package acceptable to the population of the North and East is urgently needed and central to the task of nation building." I am quite certain that this reflects much of Tamil opinion in the country, and I have little doubt that some thing of this nature will happen soon.

But I have a few questions to ask, and amendments to offer. Why should this 'package' be only acceptable to population of the North and East? There are Tamils and Muslims who live in other parts of the country, who might also want to included in these matters. But more, and making the first point, draws me to the second, I think what is needed is not a 'package' but space for a political process, where the people of North and East, and people elsewhere was well, can participate in, and work out, for themselves what their political futures should be. It is a mistake to assume that 'politics' comes ready made. Politics is a process, and that should be respected. And finally, it must be said, since the statement is silent on this, that such a political process is only possible, given the demise of the LTTE, since for decades Tamils, in particular, have not been able to be part of such a political process, because of its authoritarian brutality.


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    Increase unemployment in a country cause to produce crime mind in the country which may also called criminal germ in the society. When government do not secure its national’s rights than the people have to involve in crime scene as coercion.
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Reader Comments (6)

I have heard that the Sri Lankan government plans to fully implement the 13th amendment. I think this will help rectify some of the inequities going on in Sri Lanka, especially the problem of centralization of government:

May 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNuwan
is it true the LTTE Chief has been killd by the Srilankan Army?
May 20, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteranbu
creepy pradeepy.
May 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBingSing
I think it's misleading to place the blame of Sri Lanka's dysfunctional democracy solely on the Tamil Tigers. The Tamil's of the island had a vibrant and vocal democratic polity pre-LTTE, to no avail, leading thus to the birth of militant groups.

And let's not forget the Sri Lankan state's own authoritarian brutality, which has already claimed countless Tamil lives and Sinhalese one's such as Lasantha Wickrematunge, and is well on it's way to shutting down any democratic discussion that might be created.
July 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPragashPio
Good and ideal thought process. May be because of this thought process, Tamil Leaders in early 50s accepted the present form of Sri Lanka model expecting this ideal political process. The next 60 years showed otherwise. This ideal situation may be possible, if every Tamil accept Sinhala domination and Budihist supremacy and learn to live as second class citizen like Up Country Tamils.
September 2, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMike
The Tamil Tigers are to blame for a lot of things that went wrong in Sri Lanka, but the makings of the problem was not theirs. It is the sole accomplishment of the Tamil and Sinhala political leaders, prior and immediately after.

While everybody seems to concerntrate on Tamil vs Sinhala issue, nobody seems to really get to the bottom of the real issues which affected the country as a whole and each of the communities individually. The caste oppression is still an issue in the Tamil community. The Jaffna Boys, who organised themselves to fight the Vellala dominance, were the precurssors to the LTTE. Most of the Sinhalese do not even know about the Temple Entry issue, and that the Vellalas beat the lower caste people who tried to enter temples. This issue is not resolved yet, though it is not very harsh as earlier.

As the author points out, the issues facing the Tamils in different areas are not the same for everyone. We have to get together as a nation, and talk the issues. And Tamils should for God sake stop pressing for socalled Tamil rights and packages and processes. Think as a nation. The Sinhalese and the Muslims are the same as the Tamils. Why is this never ending talk of Tamil issues and Tamil rights? What do they want? And SL-Tamils are not even 10% in Sri Lanka today. What about the Upcountry Tamils? Shouldn't we start looking for ways to better their lives? After all they have been slaving from the day they came to Sri Lanka, and have contributed enormously to the Sri Lankan economy. Shouldn't they be prioritized for once in the sorry post-independence history of our country. They are not Indian Tamils anymore, as both Tamils and Sinhalese call them, they are Sri Lankan as much as anyone of us.

Tamil intellectuals and other people like Pradeep, should start talking more. We have to stand together for our country and our people. The diaspora is doing their best to distort Sri Lankan issues and get their seperate Tamil nation, which they ofcourse do not intend to even live in. Tamils in Sri Lanka, who know the true story, should stand up and neutralize them.
November 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSureney

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