India Should Demand a Restoration of Tamil Sovereignty in Sri Lanka instead of Reinstalling the LTTE” – US Tamils

Tamils for Biden made the following press statement in response to recent rumors that a prominent Tamil Tiger leader, believed dead since 2009, was alive:

On February 13, 2023, former Congressman and Tamil nationalist movement leader Pazha Nedumaran claimed that Velupillai Prabakaran, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader, was still alive and would appear in public soon.

Most political commentators believe that this news, whether true or not, was leaked to create pressure on Sri Lanka to turn to India for political guidance rather than China, which has been gaining increasing economic influence on the island. This influence has only increased with the financial crisis and extreme political instability of the past year.

Sri Lanka opposed Indian policy during the Cold War. To create leverage against the Sri Lankan government, India supported the Tamil independence movement by helping to bring the LTTE into existence and providing arms to Tamil insurgents.

However, in 2002 when the LTTE was on the verge of winning the war, India undermined those efforts and even labeled the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization, withdrawing its military support.

The years since the end of the war in 2009 have been marked by U.N.-documented human rights abuses and genocidal policies by the Sinhalese government in Sri Lanka that have devastated the Tamil people.

India insists that the solution for this is the 13th Amendment, a result of the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987, which established official recognition of Tamil provincial authority under Sinhalese unitary rule. In practice, though, this has been a sham federalism with no real power for Tamils.

This 13th Amendment was the result of diplomatic dealings between India and Sri Lanka and was enacted without the consultation, participation or approval of the Tamils.

It represents a promise that was not kept. In August of 1987, armed Tamil groups (the TELO, PLOTE, EPRLF and LTTE) were asked to surrender their arms, which they did.

In 1987, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) tried to demobilize the LTTE by force and ended up in a full-scale conflict with them. This led directly to Indian forces leaving Sri Lanka in 1990. The civil war on the island recommenced after Sri Lanka President Premada abandoned peace talks and sought to root out the LTTE.

It has now been 35 long years since the 13th Amendment, but its provisions have yet to be implemented.
Now India seems to think that a return of the LTTE and presumably war in Sri Lanka will help chase away the Chinese. When the LTTE controlled north-east Sri Lanka from 1983 to 2009, China did not have a presence on the island.

The best way to remove the Chinese is simply to restore full Tamil sovereignty. The Sinhalese should accept the reality of an independent Tamil state. Doing so would mean they would no longer need to fear a possible Indian invasion done in the name of “saving Tamils.” Free from both China and India’s political maneuverings, the Sinhalese, Tamils, and Indians can be friendly neighbors. Peace on the island will contribute geopolitical stability in the region as a whole.

 

 

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