The dilemma of declaration of independent Tamil state and the Muslims


"Pride of man and earthly glory
Sword and crown betray his trust:
What with care and toil he buildeth
Tower and temple, fall to dust"
                            - Joachim Neander.

Day Dream-Vs-Reality

In the backdrop of the series of Tamil resurgence events taking place in the North and East of Sri Lanka the LTTE and their Diaspora communities appear to have geared up for their unilateral declaration of Tamil State. Unlike the hasty and destitute unilateral declaration of Independent Tamil State by the then chief minister of North East Provinces, Mr. Varatharajaperumal (EPRLF), the LTTE and their supporters have meticulously weighed up and created this momentum in Sri Lanka and abroad.
The LTTE and their propagandists in the west believe that they have extensively exposed the Sinhala government's intrinsic reluctance and inability of finding a solution to the Tamil (LTTE) question by peaceful means, to the international community. The current political settings underpin the campaign for international understanding of the independent declaration. Tamil Diaspora, who is in the LTTE's folds, is vigorously engaged in materializing this agenda.

It is also expected that Prabaharan's Heroes day's speech in November may touch on the self-rule of the Tamils and the International approval thereto. In the interim, September 30th is also expected to be an important day for the Tamils in Jaffna as they converge to recite the declaration of Tigers after the Vaddukottai resolution.
It cannot be ruled out that the LTTE have convinced the Tamils that "Tamil Eelam is the only solution" to Tamil problems. The LTTE have never abandoned their thirst for "Tamil Eeelam" despite the fact that the LTTE agreed for a federal solution in the Oslo Declaration.
Declaration of Independent State will be a farce and will again inevitably trigger war between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE. It looks that the LTTE are keen on testing the International reaction to their preparation for a declaration.

Their blueprint for the Independent State is more or less endorsed by UNP Presidential Candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe. He has recently made his stand clear that "The LTTE will urge the international community to agree to a separate state if the government fails to enter into a dialogue with it, based on the Tokyo declaration for finding a solution to the North-East problem within a united Sri Lanka".
Nonetheless, the Diaspora Tamil community believes that this is a propitious time, to seriously mobilise the notion of Declaration of Independent State and geared up their lobbying activities.
Why do the LTTE consider this period of time to be an appropriate time to make declaration for Independent Tamil State?

In a scenario where Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse becomes the President of Sri Lanka, the LTTE's demand for ISGA and P-TOMS will face a devastating setback. This scenario may well give legitimacy to the LTTE to declare Tamil Eelam. Given the fast changing national and international perception of the LTTE as a liberation movement, the LTTE may have realized that things are not going to be in their favor in the near future if they delay the process of independent declaration.
It is envisaged that the LTTE' inherent intolerance of alternative political forces will make LTTE much weaker nationally and internationally. In the end the international community will degrade them to be "the untouchables" because of their irreversible and consistent child conscription and political killings.
The perception of liberation and terrorism are scrutinized and are reinterpreted by the very countries that promoted and or condoned terror activities in the name of liberation. The British Government is heading for stringent changes in their Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005, which is indeed harsher than the Sri Lankan Prevention of Terrorism Act. The interpretations of human rights are now redefined in the UK and the Judiciary is inclined to uphold the views of the UK government.

The place of Muslims in the so called Independent State

There are four customary criteria for sovereign statehood:
* A defined territory over which sovereignty is not seriously contested by any other state:
* A permanent population;
* The ability and willingness of the state to discharge international and treaty obligations;
* Effective control over the state's territory and population.
Ultimately the diplomatic recognition by the foreign states is also essential to activate the statehood.
Will the LTTE orchestrated declaration for Independent state is pragmatic and out of proportion to the rest of Sri Lanka.

In view of the fact that the ground realities in the East are not conducive to official declaration of independent State, the LTTE and their political wing representatives, with the back up of their media, endeavor to build a bridge between the communities by implementing a series of programmes of integration.
In the meantime the LTTE military wing is hunting for Karuna cadres and members of other Tamil groups and political parties who the LTTE perceive to be stumbling bloc on their way to self-rule.

In a context where the Muslims unequivocally declare themselves as Muslims, irrespective of their linguistic affiliation with the Tamils, and advocate for self-determination in line with Tamils of the North and East, the LTTE cannot still rely on their fire power to intimidate Muslims. Rather than calling a spade a spade the LTTE generalize the Muslims under the tag of "Tamil speaking people" for their convenience.
In their recent statement for seeking International endorsement for self-rule, the LTTE, as usual, without consulting the Muslims, ignored the distinctive political aspirations of the Muslims. " In this context, we, the Tamil-speaking people inhabiting the traditional Tamil homeland, place our desperate and perilous plight before the international community and seek justice and endorsement.

As far as the LTTE is concerned they view Hakeem as a compromising Muslim leader, with whom they can carry forward their self-rule campaign smoothly. Mr. Hakeem said in a recent radio interview that Prabakaran had recognized the internal self-determination of the Muslims in the Agreement that he signed with him in April 2002.

As far as the Muslims are aware there is no such declaration, was ever made by the LTTE anywhere in any circumstances. SLMC leader considers himself as the only national leader for the entire Muslims of Sri Lanka; the SLMC is the sole representatives of the Muslims and those who have left him are “Traitors". He even compared those who crossed over to other parties, to Karuna, the renegade LTTE "eastern" leader. He always strikes a chord with the LTTE or Tamil nationalists.

As far as the Sinhalese in the East are concerned, they will probably fall in the folds of either JVP or JHU and strongly defy the LTTE independence claim. The so-called Tamil territory is not entirely under the control of the LTTE as the Sri Lankan Government forces are stationed and in control of certain areas of the north and East.

During the last commemoration of 15th anniversary of the killings of the Muslims at Kattankudy mosques by the LTTE, the Karuna faction issued a statement in August 2005. In their statement they admitted their shameful participation in the Killings of the worshipping Muslims at two mosques in Kattankudy in August 1990. They also admitted that they had to carry  out this shameful act under the leadership of Pottu Amman and apologized for their heinous crime and invited Muslims to stand with them in their war against the Wanni tigers. Around this time Mr. Anandasangaree coincidentally commented in an interview he gave it to a Tamil TV in Europe that the LTTE's Tamil Eelam is a daydream.

Nevertheless, the LTTE appears to be unshaken by the distinctive ethno political identity of the Muslims of the East as they are divided and lost political strength to stand as a challenge to the LTTE. However they strive to demonstrate that the Muslims are inhabitants of Tamil nation and they approve of their stand by their participation in their resurgence events.

The resurgence events were well orchestrated by the LTTE by inviting a few Thopis (Caps) clad Muslims like Moulavi Suhaib, who praised The Tigers and their freedom struggle, simply forgetting that his community was ethnically cleansed from the entire North and massacred in the East by the LTTE. He even mentioned that there were Muslim martyrs, whose bodies were buried in the LTTE’s Martyrs grave. His phrasing of “martyr” is against the fundamental faith of Islam. Those who die for the sake of God in a holy war are called Martyrs in Islam. The Muslims who had died for the Tamil nation or for Prabakaran are not Martyrs. They may be "freedom fighters" against the state oppression. The LTTE's systematic killings and expulsions of the northeast Muslims in 1990's cannot be ignored as they still stand a crime against humanity.
It is a shame how LTTE cadre who carried out massacre in the mosque. Mr. Phil Rees writes about his experiences with LTTE in his recent book (2005) "Dining with terrorists". This is an open confession of a member of the LTTE who involved in the killing in a mosque. This is how Phil Rees describes the LTTE "They are willing to terrorize and murder in the pursuit of their goal more uncompromisingly than any militant organization that I have known. I recall shaking hands with Seta, a twenty-year-old with a wispy moustache and beard who had recently entered a mosque in eastern Sri Lanka and gunned down thirty-one worshippers. He looked brainwashed and detached from a moral-world, staring at me blankly. "I am fighting a war," he said. In a similar fashion to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Tigers believed in taking young children and educating in them the values of revolution and sacrifice. The Tigers killed the Tamil rivals and the Sinhalese opponents with a moral insouciance."

The writer also recalls of what his two Tamil friends, one from Batticaloa and other from Notchimunai, told him about the LTTE involvement in the Kattankudy massacre. One of them had even seen the armed LTTE cadres return from Kattankudy passing through Notchimunai (adjacent Tamil village) immediately after the massacre. It was the late Mr. Sivaram who only wrote about the Muslim's plight in the North and East to some extent. However, as an institution, UTHR(J) has consistently documented and highlighted the atrocities perpetrated by the LTTE on the Muslims. Mr. Sivaram (Taraki) who was posthumously honored by Prabakaran as the " Mamanithar" (Great Man).
He wrote series of articles in the Island newspapers in 1990's on the Northeast security situations. He valiantly exposed the LTTE's position on the Muslims. The writer had the chance of attending a meeting in Colombo in or about 1991, where Mr.Sivaram delivered a speech on democracy and the writer bluntly made his comments in the meeting that Sivaram could nor speak about democracy in the North and East and accused all the participants of not uttering a word about the ethnic cleansing of the LTTE in the North. A year or two later Sivaram wrote seriously about the Muslims of the North and East. The writer does not suggest that he prompted Sivaram to write about the Muslims although he had associated with him in respect of some literary events in Batticaloa. He lived among the Muslims in Kottamunai , Batticaloa; spent his childhood with the Muslims children around his home and his household was close to a lady known as Asiamuthu ( A Muslim Servant from Eravur).

The LTTE's position on the Muslims has been made very clear through their actions, but their statements have as a rule tended to be vague. They usually blame on one group or the other working with the army although it is said that the Tigers promised the Muslims who were chased from their homes in the north that they would be allowed to resettle in their home areas once the war was over. It is now apparent that "cleansing" the north and the East of the Muslims is part of the Elam project. They (LTTE) also developed a working relationship with the MULF (Muslim United Liberation Front). It appeared that the tigers build their own organization for the Muslims whom they referred "Islamic Tamils" in the north and east while allowing the MULF to replace the Muslim Congress. Their problems then was with the Muslim Congress"
My brief acquaintance with Sivaram in the late 1980's and 1990's I would like to end my article in the same way he concluded his piece of writing entitled "LTTE Genocide of Muslims". He wrote thus “The project of the tiger to forge mono ethnic Eelam national identity is bloody. Hence the safety and security of the Muslims is now essential to any serious considerations of the national question". After about 15 years of genocide and ethnic cleansing of Muslims it appears that the Tigers will never change their stratagem (stripes).


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