Features
Debate continues over Justice Wigneswaran’s controversial remarks
S. L. Gunasekara takes on A. Vinayagamoorthy M.P.

S. L. Gunasekara
President
Sinhala Jathika Sangamaya
What is most significant about the article "Tamils Want To Live With Self Respect published in the Sunday Island of the 15th April, 2001 as a reply by A. Vinayagamoorthy M.P. to my article in respect of the speech made by Mr. Justice Wigneswaran is that it contains no reply whatsoever to any of the factual matters raised by me in my article, but consists entirely of a diatribe of accusations against the Sinhalese and the successive Governments of this country about alleged ill treatment of and discrimination against the Tamils.

Vinayagamoorthy, at the very commencement of his article drew a parallel between me on the one hand and Satan on the other, and between Dr. Karthigesu Indrapala’s Paper entitled "Early Tamil Settlements in Ceylon" which I quoted in my article and the Scriptures on the other by saying that my quoting Indrapala’s article is "like Satan quoting scriptures"!! It matters not one whit what Vinayagamoorthy thinks of me However I am gratified to note that he attaches to that Paper of Dr. Kathigesu Indrapala, the sanctity of the Scriptures - for in that paper Dr. Indrapala states, among other things that the first permanent Tamil settlements In Sri Lanka which were sparse came into existence only in about the 10th century; that even in the 11th and 12th centuries such Tamil settlements as existed in what are now termed "Tamil areas" were only in the upper half of the Eastern Province and a part of the West Coast; and that the Sinhalese were forcibly evicted from the North, their lands confiscated and Tamils imported from India deliberately planted there consequent to the invasion by Magha of Kalinga with the help of Tamil and Kerala mercenaries in the 13th Century. It would thus appear that Vinayagamoorthy accepts these facts without question. As to his allusion to Satan quoting Scriptures, I trust that even he appreciates the fact that the question of the truth or otherwise of the scriptures [or for that matter any other document] is entirely independent of the identity of the person who quotes them and dependent only on the inherent accuracy or otherwise of the content of such scriptures.

Vinayagamoorthy then proceeds to refer to the communal riots of 1956, 1958, 1977 and 1983 and poses the question whether I had forgotten them. The short answer to his question is "No, I have not forgotten them, and will always remember them in the same way that I will always remember the several anti-Sinhalese and anti Moor pogroms engaged in by Tamil thugs and hooligans led by those such as Prabhakaran from time to time until today. The difference between the anti Tamil pogroms on the one hand and the anti Moor and anti Sinhalese pogroms on the other lies in the fact that while the Sinhalese people as a whole despise and condemn unreservedly, the conduct of the Sinhalese thugs and hooligans who made the outrageously divisive racist statements, utterances and conduct of Tamil politicians such as Ponnambalam, Chelvanayagam etc. and their followers an excuse to indulge their despicable sadistic tastes, and never ever refer to them fondly or admiringly as "the boys" or "liberation fighters" or pander to them in servility, many Tamils refer fondly to the perpetrators of anti Sinhalese and anti-Moor pogroms among the Tamils as "the boys. or "liberation fighters" or "militants" and buckle to them in abject servility either in admiration or in order to buy "insurance" from them. Further, while many defenceless, unarmed Sinhalese families gave refuge to Tamils during anti Tamil pograms, hardly any Tamil families gave refuge to any Sinhalese who were the victims of anti-Sinhalese pogroms.

Significance

Another matter of significance in respect of these communal riots is the question why is it that those riots were directed against the Tamils and none were directed against the Moors? The answer lies in the fact that while Tamil political leaders like Ponnambalam and Chelvanayagam preached racism and division rather than unity, the Moor leaders were both mature and patriotic and made common cause with the Sinhalese to go forward as one nation while preserving their own distinct ethnic and cultural identity. That, of course, was until the advent of Ashraff.

Vinayagamoorthy also poses the question of "what were the provocations given by the Tamils in 1958". This question is laughable because what led to the riots of 1958 was the utterly puerile, callous and provocative anti Sri campaign which gave rise to the unbelievable sight of a senior Queens Counsel S. J. V. Chelvanayagam with a bucket of tar and a brush disfiguring the Sinhalese letter ..............." on an omnibus!! The anti Sri campaign led to an anti-anti Sri campaign and sporadic outbreaks of violence which culminated in those riots. It is also pertinent to draw attention to some of the matters which immediately preceded those riots. On the 2nd April, 1958 two Sinhaese were stabbed and killed by Tamils at Kahawatta; a Sinhalese was thereafter killed in the Hatton area; on the 14th April another Sinhalese was murdered in Trincomalee; on the 15th May one Sinhalese was shot dead and another seriously injured by stabbing at Chenkaladi; on the 23rd May a train leaving Batticaloa was derailed two miles out of Batticaloa and a Police Sergeant Appuhamy and Constable Pararajasingham were killed; on the 25th May a lorry and a car was dynamited at Eravur and two Sinhalese Police Constables of the Depot Police with two or three others who were travelling with them were all killed. When the news of this reached Colombo the riots flared up on the following day.

Vinayagamoorthy next states that the "ethnic question" in Sri Lanka had its origin in two Sinhalese leaders going back on an undertaking given to Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam that they would work towards securing a seat in the Legislative Council for a Tamil in the Western Province. This could not be so because the demand for the communal seat for Tamils in the Western Province was itself a racist demand. The refusal to give in to a racist demand or to honour a promise to give in respect of such a demand can hardly be termed an act which gave rise to an "ethnic problem". The Sinhalese it must be remembered had, only 7 years previously, voted for a Tamil, namely Sir Ponnambalam Ramanathan in preference to his rival Dr. H. Marcus Fernando, a Sinhalese, to elect Ramanathan to the Ceylonese seat in the Legislative Council. Even thereafter the Sinhalese have proved themselves to be non communal voters because in 1931 they elected the European H. R. Freeman as the member for the State Council for Anuradhapura in preference to a Sinhalese,: S. R. Krishnaratne, with a majority of 7,423 when the total number of votes cast was 9,199. In the same year the Sinhalese voters of Colombo North elected R. Saravanamurthu and thereafter Mrs. N. Saravanamurthu over their Sinhalese rivals as the Member of the State Council for that electorate with majorities of 5795, 8681, 7730 and 4943 respectively at 4 successive elections. The numerous instances where Sinhalese have elected Moors as their representatives in Parliament in preference to Sinhalese in electorates such as Borella, Galagedera, Kadugannawa, Harispattuwa, Balangoda and Beruwela [which had overwhelming Sinhalese majorities] are too well known to need repetition. The call for a communal electorate for Tamils in the Western Province was therefore nothing short of a patently racist, provocative and unnecessary demand and could not be a cause of any ethnic conflict but was caused by the racism of the Tamil leaders who made that demand.

Vinayagamoorthy also refers to Tamils having been sent to the Northern and the Eastern Provinces during the riots of 1958 and 1983 thereby suggesting that this proves that the Northern and the Eastern Provinces are the allegedly traditional homelands of the Tamils. It is factually incorrect to say that the Tamils were sent to the Northern and Eastern Provinces. They were sent in 1958 and 1983 to towns in the Northern and Eastern Provinces such as Jaffna and Batticaloa where there was a preponderance of Tamils. This was a logical step because there would be no danger of such Tamils being attacked by Sinhalese thugs and hooligans while they were in such towns. This however cannot lead to any conclusion that the Northern and Eastern Provinces are the "traditional homelands of the Tamils". It is also pertinent to observe in this regard that no Tamils were then transported to so many parts of those Provinces such as for example Bintenna Pattu, Wewgam Pattu, Panama Pattu, Gomarankadawala, Padavisripura, Seruvila, Kokalai, Madhukanda, Pirappanmaduwa, etc.

Vinayagamoorthy next raises the plaintive cry - "All what the Tamils are trying to do now is to keep North and East at least safe for Tamils. What is wrong in trying to keep North and East safe for Tamils?" Two things are revealing about this statement. Firstly, that according to Vinayagamoorthy’s perception, the Tamils want the North and the East to be safe only for the Tamils and not for the Sinhalese and the Moors, because the Sinhalese and the Moors who have been the subject of ethnic cleansing from the North and the East have not even been mentioned in Vinayagamoorthy’s plea. It is worthy of note in this connection that while Tamils who were, regrettably compelled to leave places such as Colombo because of communal riots perpetrated by Sinhalese have been able to return and live in peace and amity among the Sinhalese in such places, no Sinhalese or Moor driven out of the North has yet been able to go and settle down in their former habitats.

The other matter of significance which has apparently not even occurred to Vinayagamoorthy is that while both the North and the East were perfectly safe places for the Tamils, for the Moors and for the Sinhalese (except when there were communal riots) till 1972, they ceased to be safe for Tamils, for Sinhalese and for Moors because of separatist terrorism after the 23rd of May 1972 when separatist terrorism commenced in the Jaffna Peninsula on a small scale. Jaffna then became unsafe for any Tamil Police Officer or any Tamil who, in the exercise of his democratic rights chose to support the Government in power because many a Tamil Police officer was murdered by Tamil terrorists for the ‘crime’ of being Police officers and many a supporter of the then Government were either murdered or attacked for the ‘crime’ of exercising their democratic rights. While many of these crimes were committed in broad daylight and even in public places, no witnesses were ever forthcoming. Jaffna was, from the 23rd May 1972 onwards, safe only for those Tamils who paid obeisance or homage to the Tamil terrorists. It was only after the Tamil terrorists had terrorized the citizens of Jaffna and cowed them into submission that they turned their attentions to the Sinhalese and thereafter to the Moors. The manner in which the Tamil terrorists terrorized and subdued the Tamils and rendered the North unsafe for Tamils is amply documented in the Report of the Sansoni Commission. Those who rendered the North and the East unsafe for Tamils, for Moors and for Sinhalese were, therefore, the very terrorists who, according to Vinayagamoorthy only want to make those areas safe for the Tamils!!

Vinayagamoorthy next sets out what he claims to be nine "planned actions" of the Governments in power between 1948 and 1983 which precipitated what he describes as a ethnic conflict".

The first of them is the alleged "defranchising the Up-Country Tamil speaking population since Independence in 1948". The "Up-Country Tamil speaking population" referred to by Vinayagamoorthy is clearly the Indian Tamil population. This allegation is a manifest falsehood. At the time of Independence the Indian Tamils were, unlike the Sinhalese and the Moors who were permanently domiciled in Sri Lanka, a "floating population". As Dr. Jane Russell said in her doctoral thesis "Communal Politics under the Donoughmore Constitution 1931-1947":

"The Indian Tamils who comprised the remaining 13% [of the population] were a floating population. They had been brought into the Island by the British in the later 19th and the early 20th centuries to work on the tea estates in the Kandyan Provinces and for the Colonial Government as daily paid workers in the Harbour and Public Works Department. Although the percentage of Indian Tamils remained fairly constant, individual personnel fluctuated, there being a constant flow of migrants."

Clearly, any and every migrant who happened to work in this country at any time could not be given the right to vote. Thus, even in Colonial times while every person permanently domiciled in Sri Lanka was given the right to vote, those whose domicile of origin was outside Sri Lanka and were not permanently domiciled like the Sinhalese, the Moors and the indigenous Tamils, did not have a right to vote unless they had 5 continuous years of residence in the country; and even if such persons were registered as voters for any particular election by reason of such residence, they were liable to have their registration cancelled if they happened to be absent from the island for a period of 12 months thereafter. Thus, by 1943 there were only 168,000 registered Indian Tamil voters.

Status of a citizen

The status of a citizen of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was then called) came into existence with the Citizenship Act of 1948 which received assent and came into force on the 15th November, 1948. Clearly the criteria that had to be satisfied for the grant of citizenship of a sovereign state had necessarily to be stricter than those that had to be satisfied to obtain the franchise under a Colonial regime. It was clearly necessary that every citizen and hence every voter had a permanent stake in the country. Thus, the Act provided that a person would have a status of citizen by descent if both he and his father or in the alternative both he and his paternal grandfather and great-grandfather were born in Sri Lanka. Similarly, it provided that even if a person was born outside Sri Lanka he would still be entitled to the status of a citizen by descent if his father and paternal grandfather or paternal great-grandfather were born in Sri Lanka. Thus, any person whom-so-ever be he Sinhalese, Tamil (whether indigenous or Indian) or Moor or any other would qualify for the status of a citizen by descent if he fulfils those conditions and not otherwise. If as the Tamil chauvinists claim, the Indian Tamils have toiled in this country for generations there could have been no difficulty for every one of them to have obtained citizenship by descent and hence the franchise as of right because estates kept the most meticulous of records and there could have been no difficulty for any of them to prove, for instance, that both he and his father were born within Sri Lanka if indeed they had been so born. The very agitation against the Citizenship Act proves beyond doubt the fact that by and large the Indian Tamils were, as Dr. Jane Russell saw, a floating population, and hence were not a set of people with a permanent stake in the country who could have been given the status of citizen across the board.

Despite these facts the Government sought to provide an opportunity for Indian Tamils with long residence in Sri Lanka who did not qualify for citizenship by descent to gain citizenship by registration by enacting the Indian and Pakistani Residents (Citizenship) Act of 1949. This Act entitled, inter alia, any Indian Tamil to gain citizenship by registration by proof of the fact that he had been continuously resident in Sri Lanka from 1936 if he was unmarried, or from 1939 if he was married, regardless of whether they, their parents, their grandparents or great-grandparents were born in Sri Lanka or not. Thus, in terms of the provisions of these two Acts the only Indian Tamils who were excluded from citizenship were those who were late arrivals in the island. It is therefore nonsensical to state that Indian Tamils were disenfranchised.

It is also of the utmost significance to note in this connection, that the founder of Mr. Vinayagamoorthy’s Party, the late G. G. Ponnambalam, K. C. had become a member of the Cabinet of the D. S. Senanayake Government on the 3rd September, 1948 two months and twelve days before the Citizenship Act about which Vinayagamoorthy complains so much became law. Ponnambalam was, therefore, collectively responsible for that Act. Does Vinayagamoorthy choose to disown his late leader?

The second matter adverted to by Vinayagamoorthy is what he terms ‘colonization’ of the ‘traditional homeland of the Tamil speaking people’ which he says started in 1946. By "traditional homeland" Vinayagamoorthy clearly means the Northern and the Eastern Provinces because that is how that term has been used by other Tamil chaunivists. While it is not proposed to take up space to debunk the preposterous theory of a "traditional homeland" of the Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces since it has been done over and over again, it is only necessary to set out such facts about land settlement schemes in and around irrigation schemes which is what Vinayagamoorthy inaccurately refers to as "colonization" . The process of so called "colonization" did not begin in 1946. It began, on the contrary, in 1925 with the Naachaduwa scheme in the Anuradhapura District. Since then, there were several other schemes in several Districts such as the Tabbowa (1929) in Puttalam; Minneriya [1933], Parakrama Samudra [1942] and Giritale [1949] in the Polonnaruwa District, Ridibendiela (1947) in the Kurunegala District, Ganeshapuram [Iranamu Tank - 1939] in the present Killinochchi District (where only Tamils were settled) and Minipe [1937] in the Kandy District before any Sinhalese were settled in or around any irrigation scheme in the Northern or the Eastern Provinces. Indeed the first time any Sinhalese were settled in such schemes in the Northern or Eastern Provinces was in around 1952 in the Allai and Kantalai schemes in the Trincomalee District. This was followed by Gal Oya Scheme under which Tamils were settled in the present Batticaloa District in about 1953 and Sinhalese in the present Ampara District in about 1956. As the chronological sequence of land settlement schemes shows, these were not schemes designed to render Tamils a minority in areas where they were in a majority, but necessary Poverty Alleviation Schemes under which land in areas with a low density of population was given to the indigent citizens of densely populated regions. Indeed out of 13,370 allotments of land alienated in what are now the Districts of Jaffna, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Batticaloa only 102 were allotted to the Sinhalese (and that too only in the district of Vauvniya).

Every citizen of this country has an equal right to her natural resources and there is no principle on the basis of which any race can claim a part of the territory of this country as belonging to it exclusively or to exclude others from it or from receiving the benefits from it. What the likes of Vinayagamoorthy seek to do is to claim that about 1/3rd of the land surface of this country and about 2/3rd of its sea coast should be reserved exclusively for the indigenous Tamils who constitute only about 12.6% of the entire population of the country and to cry "foul" when that outrageous demand is not acceded to.

Finally, it is of vital significance to observe that since Vinayagamoorthy’s former leader G. G. Ponnambalam, K.C. was a member of the Cabinet from 3rd September, 1948 until the 21st October, 1953, he was collectively responsible for the so-called colonization about which Vinayagamoorthy complains so much.

Vinayagamoorthy’s next complaint is about the implementation of Sinhala as the only official language in 1956. It is not open for Vinayagamoorthy to complain about Sinhala having been made the only official language of the country because the TULF of which the ACTC was a constituent party in 1977 put out a manifesto for the proposed State of Tamil Eelam in which it was stated that Tamil shall be the official language of Tamil Eelam. Even assuming the unthinkable, namely, that a State of Tamil Eelam will one day be created, it will necessarily be a multi-ethnic State because the overwhelming majority of the population in over 70% of the Ampara District and over 60% of the Trincomalee District are Sinhalese. Thus, the TULF of which the ACTC was a constituent party has by such manifesto, admitted that it is right and proper to make the language spoken by the majority of citizens in a multi ethnic State its only official language. How then can Vinayagamoorthy complain about Sinhalese having being made the only official language of Sri Lanka in 1956 ? It would appear to be his position that it would perfectly be in order to make the language of the majority the only official language of a multi ethnic state provided that the majority was Tamil; but that it would be evil to do so when the majority is Sinhalese!! So much for the sense of justice of Vinayagamoorthy.

Fourthly, Vinayagamoorthy speaks of the neglect of economic development in the North and the East since 1960 without specifying any facts in respect of such alleged neglect and/or any comparison of the economic development of the North and East with that of other parts of the country during that period. A mere glance at the facts in my possession make evident the fact that this complaint is a falsehood. Between 1960 and 1981 there were the following major land settlements/irrigation schemes in the Northern and Eastern Provinces :

Jaffna District -

Akkarayanan Stages I and II (1962 and 1963): Kariyalaianagapaduwam: (1963) Vannerikulam: (1964): Kanagambikailam: Stages I - III (1969):

Mannar District -

Mullikulam (1971)

Batticaloa District:

Vadumunai (1963): Waligahakandiya (1965): Kirimichchai (1966): Madurankerni (1966): Kitulwewa (1966): Kattumurivikulam (1966):

Mullaitivu District —

Udayarkaddu (1962): Thenniyakulam (1965): Maruthakulam Stage I (1967): Murukandikulak: Stage II: (1967): Kaddaikaddinakulam (1967): Vavunikulam (1968): ambalaparumalkulam (1968): Muthuyakaddu (1968): Iddaikaddu (1970): Kollavankulam (1971).

Not one Sinhalese was given any land in any of these schemes.

Trincomalee District —

Galmetiyawa (1960): Morawewa (1966) Wan Ela (1966) and Mahadivulwewa (1980)

This allegation of Vinayagamoorthy is therefore a manifest falsehood.

On the question of the alleged neglect of economic development of the Northern and Eastern Provinces it is pertinent to pose to Vinayagamoorthy the question of how many Tamil entrepreneurs, capitalists, professionals, etc. have invested either their skills or their wealth in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. Countless Tamils have invested monies in land, buildings, businesses, industries, hotels etc. in and around Colombo and in parts of the 7 Provinces outside of the Northern and Eastern Provinces - but how many of them have invested in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and in particular in the Northern Province? How much and in what, for example, have the extremely wealthy deceased leaders of the Tamil Congress the late G. G. Ponnambalam Q.C. and his son the late Kumar Ponnambalam invested in the Northern Province? Were the Ponnanmalam estates in the North or East or elsewhere? If elsewhere why? How many Tamil ‘captains of Industry’ have set up factories in the North or East and how many of them have set up factories outside those Provinces? How many of the highest ranking Tamil professionals have given of their skills and their knowledge to the people of the Northern and Eastern Provinces and how many have preferred to give of their skills to the people of the other Provinces and particularly the Western Province? Why is it that Vinayagamoorthy complains about the alleged neglect of these Provinces by successive Governments when the Tamils themselves have neglected the North and the East?

Vinayagamoorthy next complains of "standardization in respect of University admissions" which he says commenced in 1970. In fact standardization, both area- wise and media-wise was commenced in 1974. Media-wise standardization was scrapped in 1977. These schemes were introduced by the then Minister of Education, Badiudin Mahamud. The reason for media-wise standardization (which was scrapped in about 3 years) was the unfair marking of scripts with preference had been given to Tamil students as was shown by the late Cyril Mathew. Area-wise standardization was necessary because of the wide disparity between the educational opportunities that were available in the different Districts which resulted in those possessing ‘merit’ being unable to display their ‘merit’ because of the lack of opportunity. Thus, students from areas such as Jaffna, Colombo and Kandy which had educational facilities of a relatively high order had to score more marks to enter University than students from areas with a lack of educational opportunities such as Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Monaragala, Hambantota, etc. It is because of this system that many a Tamil and many a Moor from areas such as Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu, Batticaloa, Kalmunai, Samanthurai, Pottuvil etc. have been able to enter University. Does Vinayagamoorthy say that a student from Mannar or Mullaitivu should compete on an equal footing with a student from Jaffna?

Vinayagamoorthy’s next complaint is about the removal of Section 29 (2) from the Constitution by the Constitution 1972 - i.e. the Constitution fathered by the late Colvin R. de Silva of the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. Although Section 29 (2) of the Soulbury Constitution was not included in the Constitution of 1972 a Chapter on Fundamental Rights which was not there in the earlier Constitution was introduced and provision was made to enforce those fundamental rights in the Second Republican Constitution of 1978. While Vinayagamoorthy hastens to complain about the removal of Article 29 (2) of the Constitution he is silent on the question of what injustice was caused to the Tamils by reason of the removal of that Section. What is the Legislation which was passed after 1972 that could not have been passed had Section 29 (2) existed? Vinayagamoorthy does not even attempt to provide an answer to that question.

Vinayagamoorthy’s next complaint is about alleged restrictions in respect of setting up industries in the North and the East from 1977. No particulars whatever are given of what these alleged restrictions are and in respect of what industries these restrictions were placed. It is relevant to note in this connection that by 1977 the reign of terror imposed on the denizens of the Jaffna Peninsula by separatist Tamil terrorists had not only enveloped the Peninsula but spread outside its confines to other parts of the North and the East as well. In this background it is unlikely that any entrepreneur would have wanted to set up any industry in the North or the East. Who is the entrepreneur who wanted to but was prevented from setting up an industry in the North or the East and what was that industry he was prevented from setting up ? I trust Vinayagamoorthy would be able to answer these questions.

The eighth and the ninth points made by Vinayagamoorthy are about flagrant violations of human and fundamental rights by Security Forces since 1982 and communal riots in 1956, 1958, 1977 and 1983. The question of the communal riots has already been dealt with and needs no further reply. As regards the question of the violation of fundamental rights there have, undoubtedly been sporadic incidents of the violation of the fundamental rights of citizens of the Sinhalese, Tamil, Moor, Burgher and other races by, inter alia, members of the Security Forces. This is an unpleasant and unpalatable fact. However, a remedy for such violations exists in the Constitution and has been made use of by citizens of all races. It is certainly no cause to go round murdering and maiming people and asking for a separate State.

Further, where instances of members of the Security Forces committing atrocities have been found and proved they have been dealt with disciplinarily as well as by the Courts depending on the evidence. None of the violations of fundamental rights complained of have been committed as a matter of State policy. On the other hand has Prabhakaran whom Vinayagamoorthy apparently admires taken a single Tiger to task for any of the violations of the human right to life of the many thousands of Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors etc. whom his thugs and hooligans called Tigers have murdered? Was it not Vinayagamoorthy’s own leader the late G. G. Ponnambalam Jr. who gloated openly over the foul murder of Neelan Thiruchelvam by the LTTE? Thiruchelvam apart, has Prabhakaran taken action against any of his terrorists for any of the atrocities committed by any of them such as the murder of infants in so many villages, the murder of Moors worshipping in their mosques, the bomb attack on the Dalada Maligawa and so on and on and on. Vinayagamoorthy however is completely silent about all such matters. To Vinayagamoorthy Prabhakaran can do no wrong.

Proceeding further in his diatribe Vinayagamoorthy speaks of the problems faced by Tamils because of military operations, searches etc. All these problems came into being because the LTTE began a campaign of murder and destruction in order to deprive this country of a part of its sovereign territory. Until such time as the LTTE began its campaign of murder and mayhem no such problems existed. Does Vinayagamoorthy seriously expect the Government to sit back and let the LTTE do what it wishes without taking such steps as are necessary to curb their treasonous activities?

As usual with Tamil chauvinists Vinayagamoorthy waxes eloquent about "indiscriminate" bombing and shelling of the North. The absurdity of this allegation becomes evident when one considers the fact that our troops are at the receiving end of attacks by the LTTE and not attacks by the civilians. Accordingly shelling civilian areas will not help to ward off the dangers posed to them by the LTTE. It is only bombing and artillery attacks on the LTTE that would in any way benefit them. Troops are not supplied with an unlimited quantity of bombs and shells. Is it even scarcely likely then that they would indulge in indiscriminate bombing and shelling but rather confine their bombing and shelling to discriminate bombing and shelling of identified LTTE targets to destroy the enemy and make life safe for themselves and other citizens of the country ?

Finally Vinayagamoorthy speaks of Tamils and not Sinhalese having to register themselves in Police Stations and about the difficulties of travelling to Jaffna. Since the Tigers are a Tamil force any search for Tigers and any requirement for registration in order to detect Tigers coming into Colombo must be in respect of Tamil households and not in respect of Sinhalese households in much the same way as a search for suspected rapists would be confined to a search for males to the exclusion of females. Thus just as much as confining those taken in as suspects in a case of rape to males cannot be deemed to be an act to harass or discriminate against males the requirement for registration of Tamils and the search of Tamil Lodges and households in search for Tamil terrorists cannot in any way be considered to be acts designed to harass or discriminate against Tamils. Whilst it is undoubtedly true that Tamils have to undergo much inconvenience because of such searches it must also be remembered that many a bomb explosion and act of sabotage and lives and limbs of countless people of all races have been saved because of such searches. The Tamils have only Prabhakaran to blame for the inconvenience they have to undergo because of such operations, but sadly the likes of Vinayagamoorthy prefer to buy insurance from Prabhakaran and lay the blame for the inconveniences they suffer on the Government and the Armed Forces.

Vinayagamoorthy ends his diatribe with the hoary falsehood of Tamils being forced to live as second class citizens. However, he has been unable in the entirety of his article to point to a single right to which the Sinhalese is entitled to which a Tamil is not by reason of being a Tamil.

In the course of his diatribe Vinayagamoorthy makes a most revealing statement by extolling G. G. Ponnambalam’s outrageous demand for institutionalized racial discrimination against the Sinhalese by the implementation of what he dishonestly dubbed "balanced representation" which the Soulbury Commissioners rightly described as "an attempt by artificial means to convert the majority to a minority". By this statement Vinayagamoorthy shows that as far as he is concerned discrimination is wrong when it is against the Tamils but it is right and proper when it is against the Sinhalese. In short the ‘thinking’ of Vinayagamoorthy that can be gleaned from his lengthy diatribe is simply that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have a monopoly of rights and privileges while the Sinhalese have a corresponding monopoly of duties and obligations. It is this type of pernicious thinking that is endemic among Tamil chauvinists that has brought this country into the parlous condition in which it is today.


NEWS | POLITICS | DEFENCE | OPINION | BUSINESS | LEISURE | EDITORIAL | CARTOON | SPORTS