Essentials of Post-Conflict Resolution & India’s Concerns

13 August 2012 06:30 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Following are a few excerpts  from the speech made by Dr. Swamy at the Defence Seminar 2012

Former Cabinet Minister & Member of NDA Coalition, India Dr. Subramanian Swamy

Today, Tamil families no more fear the so-called Tigers’ forced recruitment of their children, disruption of their education, and various forms of brutalization and abuses. The extortion of funds from civilians to finance the terrorist operations of the LTTE has also ended. Normalcy in daily life has returned after three decades.

The credit for this victory over terrorism naturally must belong to the political leadership. The people of India recognize this as a contribution to our national security and fit for being honoured by India’s highest award in the future.

The Sri Lankan people gave the President a huge mandate in the subsequently held General Elections. With this help and public mandate, it is clear that President Rajapaksa is now crucially positioned to effectively take necessary steps to solve another pending and pressing issue: the need for a healthy Sinhala –Tamil reconciliation, by finding a mutually acceptable way to heal the festering Sinhala-Tamil divide, and to bring about a meeting of minds of the two communities.

Decades of brutal insurgency have unfortunately polarized communities and undermined institutions that guarantee civilian rights.
While the immediate problem to be tackled after May 2009 was the rehabilitation of the victims of the insurgency, of providing solace to the bereaved families of those killed in the cross fire, the displaced and the injured, nevertheless the more fundamental long-term problem before Sri Lanka today is the essential reconciliation of those across Sri Lanka who are scarred mentally and emotionally by the past brutalities that they had faced, and the uncertainty today in their minds about their place in Sri Lanka’s future.

The situation facing the Tamils is particularly delicate. The war conducted by the Sri Lankan armed forces against a sinister terrorist organization, had also by the sensationalized propaganda of international interlopers and busy bodies, more or less become polarized into a conflict between the Sinhala and the Tamil communities which unfortunately was abetted by the political miscalculations of some short sighted leaders of the two communities over the last three decades.

The LTTE in fact had wanted that polarization, and Tamil leadership fell into the quicksand created by it. They were egged on across the Palk Strait by selfish leaders in Tamil Nadu, many of whom were being financed by the LTTE.

As an Indian and a Tamil, let me say at this point that the overwhelming proportion of the people of Tamil Nadu had rejected the LTTE whenever they were made to make a call.

When the dismissal by the Union Government of India of the DMK led state government in January 1991 took place-- for colluding with the LTTE-- and which dismissal I had supervised as the senior most Union Cabinet Minister holding the Law & Justice portfolio, there was overwhelming support from the people of Tamil Nadu.

In June 1991 General Elections, the DMK was reduced to a tally of 2 in a House of 234 MLAs, and to zero MPs elected from the state to Parliament.
Not a single incident of violence took place when the dismissal was carried out. It became apparent then that the Tamils of the state think of themselves as Indians first and Tamils afterwards.

Therefore, let me assure you that for us patriotic Indians, national interests come first, and if state, sectarian or regional interests clash with it, then it is the latter provincial interests that will be sacrificed.

Hence, I can tell you with full conviction today that the Indian people wish Sri Lanka well. We in India in fact feel kinship with you Sri Lankans, emotionally, historically, religiously, linguistically and also for the benefit of our mutual national security. As recent genetic research reveals, Indians and Sri Lankans have the same DNA.

Thus, we Indian people do not necessarily agree with our government on every decision it takes against the interests of Sri Lanka on political compulsions, which is not unusual in a democracy.

For example, an overwhelming majority of the Indian people disapproved of the Indian Government's decision to support the US sponsored Resolution in the UN Commission on Human Rights on the alleged extrajudicial killings carried out in the final stages of the insurgency of the LTTE.

But I make it clear at the same time, even the most ardent well-wisher of Sri Lanka in India wants to see that the present feeling of marginalization that seems to have gripped the Tamil community for real or imagined reasons, including sections which were never with the LTTE such as the Plantation Tamils, is ended by a reconciliation process wherein the Tamils feel empowered to participate in nation building as if the LTTE era had never happened.
This empowerment would require devolution within the basic structure of the unitary Constitution of Sri Lanka, for which the exact proposals must come from within the Parliament of Sri Lanka, and can never be successfully imposed from abroad. This devolution is moreover not an Indian demand, but certainly it is our concern and expectation as well-wishers of Sri Lanka who stood by you in your grueling fight against terrorism.

The devolution must, we in India recognize, be within the comfort zone of Sinhala majority feelings and at the same time be considered adequate by the Tamil minority.

Does such a possibility exist given the polarizations of the past? I think so, and that is what I propose to expound here today.

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