Summary of the Political and Military Situation in Sri Lanka

The article below was sent to me by a friend who said that “as a capsule summary of where Sri Lanka is politically and militarily, and the reasons why we are were we are, this is hard to beat.”

I tend to agree.

Military Gains In Sri Lanka No Cause For Euphoria

2007-02-12 13:45:57 – Donor countries have pledged another $4.5 billion by way of aid to Sri Lanka, but have frowned upon the Mahindra Rajapaksa Government’s pursuit of only military strategy against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and inadequate focus on a negotiated political settlement

Donor countries have pledged another $4.5 billion by way of aid to Sri Lanka, but have frowned upon the Mahindra Rajapaksa Government’s pursuit of only military strategy against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and inadequate focus on a negotiated political settlement. The Norwegian-brokered cease-fire is as good as dead, though neither side has formally abrogated it. The international community

has made it clear that conversion of $ 9 billion worth of aid pledges into hard cash will be dependent on the progress of the peace process. Power sharing and devolution would expand the development horizons for the country, with higher aid and private capital inflows, and accelerate development of conflict affected and other lagging regions.

The Sri Lankan Army has made substantial gains with the use of its Air Force, with the capture of the LTTE stronghold of Vaharai and 17 smaller posts, cut off the road to Trincomalee and made it difficult for the Tigers to supply their bases and cadre in Batticoloa and Amparai – the next Government targets. In the process over 200,000 people have been displaced in the northeast during the past six months. Simultaneously, President Rajapaksa also launched an assault on the main opposition, the United National Party, took away several of its MPs and immediately included them in his Cabinet, thus taking the strength of his Council of Ministers to an unprecedented and mammoth 108 in the 225 member Parliament. By making almost every member on the Government’s side a minister, he had cobbled together a simple majority and does not require the support of the 27 members Jathika Vimukthi Peramuna, which was his electoral ally and helped his party form the Government.

Sri Lanks’s new Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogoliagama explained to Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh in New Delhi recently that all the parties now participating in the Government would become “stake-holders” in the peace process. The MoU signed by Rajapaksa with UNP leader and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to support the Government on arriving at a negotiated political settlement based on power sharing and devolution is now as good as dead, though not formally abrogated. But the defection-based arrangement to strengthen the government is unlikely to last long or contribute to political stability. Defections by self-serving MPs do not reflect ground realities, or the opinion of the electorate. The outward stability has created more instability and conditions are being created for early elections this year. The ethnic conflict has left 65,000 dead and 500,000 displaced so far.

President Rajapaksa has again made a conditional offer of talks to the LTTE, asked it to renounce violence, lay down arms and negotiate to evolve a political solution. Failing which his Government would have “to tame them.” He had made a similar offer last October also, but the LTTE dismissed it as a “joke”. The Government blames the LTTE for preventing aid from reaching the conflict areas and admits that economic development was the surest way to revitalize the affected areas. The people or the international community does not share the Sri Lankan Government’s optimism and euphoria over recent military victories. For instance, the Centre for Policy Alternatives has, in its just released report, forecast that the situation in Sri Lanka in 2007 is very likely to be one of “protracted conflict, oscillating levels of political stability and growing authoritarianism.” The Government will persist with regime consolidation, with initiatives to revitalize the peace process being a secondary importance. Riding high on recent military successes in the Eastern Province, and with the opposition now in disarray after defections, there was the possibility that the President would opt for a general election in the first half of 2007.

It is generally felt that Mr. Rajapaksa never accepted the MoU wholeheartedly and his managers were busy behind the scene stirring trouble in the opposition ranks and engineering a split. The judgment of the Supreme Court that annulled the merger of North and East had provided an opportunity to the Government to take corrective legislative steps, but it refused to do so. LTTE supreme V. Prabakaran has repeatedly demonstrated that he has no interest in a just federal setup for Sri Lankan Tamils in a united Sri Lanka. But the international donors have repeatedly urged a negotiated settlement, instead of a military one, because Sri Lanka cannot afford a military spending of the order of $ 1.5 billion a year. The fact that neither side has officially revoked the 2003 cease-fire holds out some hope that full-scale war can even now be averted.

At the same time, the Sinhalese majority needs to realize that devolution of power to Tamil areas can provide a lasting solution of the conflict, and the sooner a decision on it is taken, the better it is for everyone. The failure to reach a compromise is due to the enduring incompatibility of the Sinhalese and Tamil nationalist positions. As Jayadeva Dyanguda of Colombo University points out, the dominant Sinhalese nationalist argument refuses to acknowledge the existence of an ethnic conflict, which it views as a terrorist problem only, or even a minority conspiracy that requires a military solution. In their view a limited measure of power sharing may be possible after a military – administrative unification of the nation.

It also needs to be borne in mind that the limited vision of Sinhalese nationalism is matched by the secessional objectives of Tamil nationalism as spearheaded by the LTTE. The Tigers’ compromise framework is one that approximates confederalism, a fairly advanced stage of regional autonomy. The conceptual foundation of the proposal for an interim self-governing authority, which the LTTE had presented to the Government in October 2003, was confederation, which laid greater emphasis on self-rule and a little on shared rule. Earlier, when the talks entered a critical phase, the differences between the two sides were re-sharpened. But, now there appears little possibility of finding a meeting point in the foreseeable future. The unstated assumption, currently shared in both camps, seems to be a troubling one: a drastic alteration in the military balance of forces might create new conditions for a fresh phase of political engagement. The Rajapaksa Government’s preferred objective for the moment appears to be intensification of the low intensity war to weaken the LTTE’s offensive capability permanently.

After the defection of “Col” Karuna, the LTTE’s military commander in the Eastern province, to the Government’s side and his joining the anti-Prabakaran offensive, the LTTE’s military strength and control of the province have been considerably weakened. The LTTE has been forced to abandon several positions including the Vaharai base. But, as happened in the past also, the LTTE may be withdrawing to minimize its loses of men and equipment and set up fresh defenses from where they could prepare to launch a counter offensive. The Government had captured the Jaffna peninsula in 1995, but only seven month later the Sri Lankan Army suffered one of its worst defeats when the LTTE attacked the Mullaithivu military base. Though the Government has captured some territory, it may not be that easy to hold on to it in the face of the Tigers’ counter attacks in the classical guerilla – style that would cause considerable harassment and casualties. It cannot be said at this stage that the LTTE’s capability to carry on the fight has been crippled.

Efforts by the Sri Lankan ministers and politicians to get India involved in some way have not succeeded, nor are they likely to. New Delhi keeps emphasizing the need for an expeditious solution of the legitimate aspirations of all sections of the Sri Lankan society. It has conveyed its commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka even while the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils were being addressed. India wants the cease-fire to be strengthened and the two sides work towards a devolution package that would be approved by the major political parties in order to restore ethnic harmony. India is faced with the problem of looking after the Sri Lankan refugees who land on the Tamil Nadu coast from time to time, but have not been able to return home in view of the disturbed conditions.

The report of the Expert Committee set up to find a solution to the ethnic problem has also come as an embarrassment to Mr. Rajapaksa, because it suggests an asymmetrical federation, moving away from the unitary state, substantial powers being devolved to regional unity, as well as, autonomy and re-merger of the Northern and Eastern provinces, annulled by the Supreme Court. He has shown no inclination to accept them, probably because federalism is unacceptable to two of his allies, the JVP and JHP, even though he now does not need their support to survive in Government. The MoU with UNP also stands repudiated. The President may have adopted a desperate strategy for short-term gains, but such tactics do not contribute to stability, or evolving a negotiated solution. Owing to the LTTE’s stubbornness and the Government’s shortsighted moves, the situation remains quite desperate and a military solution will not emerge.

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http://www.pr-inside.com/sri-lanka-politics-military-r50903.htm

52 thoughts on “Summary of the Political and Military Situation in Sri Lanka

  1. “At the same time, the Sinhalese majority needs to realize that devolution of power to Tamil areas can provide a lasting solution of the conflict, and the sooner a decision on it is taken, the better it is for everyone.”

    How is it possible for anyone to know what devolution will bring? I find the federalist’s position – that federalism is some sort of silver bullet for separatism – to be untenable. There is no guarantee in anything, really, although proponents of devolution seem to argue that it is the panacea for our social ills.

  2. Of course federalism is not a magic potion that will take away all bad things. To think that is just silly, and you portray your opposition’s point of view far too simplistically by putting it the way you do. Of course, the details of the extent of federalism have to be worked out, but there is little question in my mind that the most permanent, plausible and justifiable solution is a federal one. Tamil Sri Lankans have been discriminated against in the past, and the only way to ensure to some comfortable degree of certainty that their rights won’t be grossly violated again in the future is for them to be able to govern their own policing, education, and regional administration.

  3. Federalists are not my “oppostion” at all. I just find their posturing to be based on an assumption that federalism will, without a shadow of doubt, grant peace to Sri Lanka and her people. They argue that those who oppose federalism are “extremists” or at the very least ignorant, but the federalists are so wedded to the idea that federalism is a panacea for all our ills that they refuse to entertain any other point of view. I’m afraid their label of “extremists” applies equally to them, although federalists often like to pretend as if they are more progressive and intelligent than others.

    One may well argue that the “only to ensure to some comfortable degree of certainty that their [Tamil’s] rights won’t be grossly violated again in the future” is to agree to the creation of a separate state of Tamil Eelam. Surely that is the quickest to solve the current impasse? It too is a “permanent, plausible and justifiable solution.”

  4. Leave aside the ethnic problem, a federal solution is the only way the rest of the country can develop. Right now, SL is facing a problem similar to that of many developing nations where all the investment goes to and through the main city. A federal solution will allow regional capitals to grow and would foster healthy competition among the region for investment. Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle, Matara, and Jaffna would have to provide a climate condusive to investments to attract money away from Colombo. This would mean they would have to develop their infrastructure, provide an educated workforce etc. Of course, some may ask where the money for this would come and that would be a good question. However, at least the political will would be there…something that is sorely lacking right now.

  5. ” federal solution is the only way the rest of the country can develop.”

    The creation of two separate nation states – Tamil Eelam with a Tamil majority and Sri Lanka with a Sinhalese majority might do the trick as well.

  6. Videshi – No. Two separate states would be permanent, but it would definitely not be plausible. India and Sri Lanka will never agree to that. Any Sri Lankan government that attempts to do that will be voted out of power, and the Tigers are not capable of wresting control away on their own. Whether it would be a justifiable solution or not is arguable. Economically, it makes more sense to stay as one country.

    I disagree with the Benevolent Dictator that multiple regions should be created under a federal solution. I think the country is too small for that and the bureaucracy would be too slow and too expensive. Proponents point out the example of Switzerland where the canton-system works well in a small country, but personally, I think there a a million ways in which Switzerland is different from Sri Lanka, not the least of which is nearly three hundred years of peace, Nazi gold, and a haven for rich Europeans to retire with no taxes.

    So, Videshi, why do you think that federalism is bad? Apart from the fact that you think proponents are idealistic (which is all you’ve really said so far) there must be some concrete reasons for your objection, no?

  7. I’m sorry, I disagree Ravana. Tamil Eelam is plausible. All it requires is a UN sponsored plebiscite for the Tamil people to decide whether they want to secede from Sri Lanka. The only reason India is currently not agreeable to it is simply because Sri Lanka is not and she has seperatist problems of her own. If the government of Sri Lanka decides that it will let the Tamil people decide their own future then India will not stand in the way, and neither will any other country. Like in East Timor there will be no opposition from other states. There is no economic argument against Tamil Eelam because there are many smaller states that are very successful – Singapore, Monco, Belgium, Luzemburg to name a few.

    The point blank opposition to secession can very well be labelled “extremism” as well.

    If the Tamil people are to “govern their own policing, education, and regional administration” why not go the step further and let them decide, democratically, whether or not they wish to remain part of Sri Lanka?

    I am not opposed to federalism per se, but I am opposed to the formation of ethnic enclaves and the recognition that particular parts of Sri Lanka belong especially to one ethnic group or another. I also find it tedious how federalists seem to believe that the solution to everything under the sun affecting Sri Lanka is for the state to become a federal one.

  8. Videshi – when I said Tamil Eelam is not plausible, I meant that it is unlikely to become true or real. Given your conditions – Indian and Sri Lankan approval – yes, it is possible. However, those conditions themselves are highly unlikely to become true. The government of Sri Lanka will not let the Tamil people decide their own future while there is a fascist military dictatorship in the North East which will prevent the will of the people being correctly reflected. A functioning democracy will need to be established before that type of referendum can be allowed, if at all. And that situation is unlikely to arise outside a federal solution. So, perhaps Tamil Eelam is plausible in the very long run, but it is highly unlikely without the initial mechanism of a federal democracy.

    As far as your last paragraph goes, I sympathise. But, isn’t it the only way? What other way would you advocate? Involuntary military disarmament? Unlikely, at best. Wait it out? Likely, tedious though, and opportunity costs are huge.

    Also, I agree that blanket solutions to any problem are naive. Whatever solution is reached must have its details examined, debated and re-examined. The solution must not only be politically viable, but socially and economically viable as well. My opposition to Tamil Eelam on economic grounds does not rest with its small size. I just think we would function much better as an island economy, with larger economies of scale to take advantage of. Having an artificial border will create so many barriers and red tape and bureacracy, that we will be compromising our many advantages as an island, especially for the transport and tourism sectors.

  9. Ideally, the intransigence on the part of the Government or Sri Lanka should not stand in the way of the Tamil people’s wish to either secede or not secede from Sri Lanka. Initially, Indonesia too was opposed to the idea of a referendum but even this regional power finally decided to let the people of East Timor decide for themselves whether they wished to remain part of Indonesia or secede. The referendum was held despite milita activities and the murder and assasinations of scores of people. So I would argue a functioning democracy is not really a pre-requisite for a referendum to take place. Besides, I am sure that the LTTE would be amenable to having a referendum in the areas it controls. The federalists say that the way forward is to bring the LTTE into the mainstream, and that is what would also happen if the LTTE becomes the force of power in an independent Tamil Eelam. Why keep the Tamil people forcibly wedded to Sri Lanka through a federal state if they want to secede?

    As for the economic argument, it doesn’t really hold water seeing as there is already great discrepancy between development in the western province and all the other provinces. The “island economy” hasn’t really succeeded as it should have. And if oil is indeed discovered off the shores of the North and the East, it would provide enough revenue for any Tamil Eelam to begin functioning. And with regards to borders, Europe is composed of many states but people can move freely in and out without ‘many barriers, red tape and bureacracy.’

  10. As long as the majority of Sri Lankans do not want secession, there will be no secession. That is the fact of the matter. History hasn’t allowed ethnic groups to secede except under extreme conditions, in other words as a last resort.

    So what remains? Military action. As long as the LTTE is unable to wrest the NE from the GoSL, or bring the rest of the country to its knees, that will remain a futile path.

    So what is the next choice? A solution that allows the Tamils self governance within a unitary state — if you want to call that federalism, go ahead. I’d call it common sense.

  11. Clearly in your use of language, “majority of Sri Lankans” means “Sinhalese.” That is not really democracy, just the will of the dominant ethnic group which many would argue led to hostilities in the first place. The Tamils predominantly live in certain areas of the country, and if a federal solution is going to recognize this and give wide ranging powers to this unit, why shouldn’t the people living there have the right to decide whether or not they wish to secede from Sri Lanka? Why the need to impose the idea that the Tamil people must be a part of the Sri Lankan State; shouldn’t they be allowed to decide their own future through a democratic plebiscite? As I mentioned before, point blank opposition to secession can very well be termed “extremism” as well.

  12. “Why keep the Tamil people forcibly wedded to Sri Lanka through a federal state if they want to secede?”

    Sorry Videshi but Tamils aren’t the only ones who live in the North and East… There’s a sizeable muslim population that wouldn’t want a seperation, so what about their rights… do you include them in a referendum or disenfranchise them?

    Suppose you decide to include them, then surely it wouldn’t be fair as the majority in those areas are Tamil (although this is debatable) and in your own words “That is not really democracy, just the will of the dominant ethnic group”…

    “shouldn’t they be allowed to decide their own future through a democratic plebiscite”

    Erm wouldn’t a ‘democratic plebiscite’ where only Tamils are allowed to participate in fact NOT be democratic

    The fact is that Eelam, as a seperate state, will not exist… No Sri Lankan government would allow it and even if it did India wouldn’t. India would never risk SL setting a precedent which would provide leverage for Tamil Nadu to push their case for a seperate state of their own.

  13. Tamil Eelam need not contain the Muslim majority areas of the east or be a contiguous territory spanning the entirety of the North and the East. The proper demarcations can be discussed once the verdict is out. But should not the Tamil people living in the North and the East have the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to be a part of the Sri Lankan state? As for which way the Muslim vote would go, I would argue that there would be a sizeable Tamil-speaking Muslim population that would vote for separation. The point is, it is the Tamils who have a problem with the Sri Lankan state, and since they have occupied certain areas of the country for centuries, and since they are the ones demanding secession, they should have the opportunity to decide whether to secede or not from Sri Lanka. India will allow a separate Tamil Eelam, because Tamil Nadu is a secure and integral part of India despite what Sri Lankans would like to believe. What is holding India back is Sri Lanka’s opposition to the creation of a separate country. India herself has separatist activities in her North East and Kashmir but if Sri Lanka were to grant the Tamils a referendum, and the Tamils do decide to secede, I highly doubt India, or other nations will stand in the way.

  14. “I am not opposed to federalism per se, but I am opposed to the formation of ethnic enclaves and the recognition that particular parts of Sri Lanka belong especially to one ethnic group or another”

    “The creation of two separate nation states – Tamil Eelam with a Tamil majority and Sri Lanka with a Sinhalese majority might do the trick as well”

    Above two statements by Videshi contradict it self.
    Whether you like it or not, north is mono-ethnic & what you are opposed to,as mentioned in the last part of the first quote is, what LTTE claim as their right.

  15. I do not think the two statements contradict themselves? Why? Because I am Sri Lankan and am opposed to the formation of ethnic enclaves and the recognition that particular parts of Sri Lanka belong especially to one ethnic group or another. But when it comes to economic arguments, two nation states may actually fare better. Also, I see no reason why the Tamil people should not be allowed to exercise their free will. Separation may well be the quickest and most judicious method of ending the conflict.

  16. “Tamil Eelam need not contain the Muslim majority areas of the east or be a contiguous territory spanning the entirety of the North and the East. The proper demarcations can be discussed once the verdict is out. But should not the Tamil people living in the North and the East have the opportunity to decide whether or not they wish to be a part of the Sri Lankan state?”

    Ok then what about the Trinco District? According to the 2001 census it’s only 11% Tamil (Indian+Sri Lankan). Ok fine we’ll leave that out… What about Ampara then? It’s about 19% Tamil.. oh that’s right we are leaving that out too. Batticaloa – about 70% Tamil, not far off from the majority that the Singhalese have for Sri Lanka as a whole (but then you wouldn’t want ‘just the will of the dominant ethnic group’ having a say in it so let’s leave them out too)

    (http://www.statistics.gov.lk/census2001/population/ds_div/trincomalee_c.htm)

    So basically you are asking for a referendum but you pick and choose who can participate – and by that do you mean only Tamils living in Tamil majority areas or just Tamils in general.. nice definition of democracy you got their mate.

    “As for which way the Muslim vote would go, I would argue that there would be a sizeable Tamil-speaking Muslim population that would vote for separation”

    See that’s where you’re wrong, if at all they would vote for a seperate state of their own (which is a moot point really) and not one governed by Tamils.

    “India will allow a separate Tamil Eelam, because Tamil Nadu is a secure and integral part of India despite what Sri Lankans would like to believe.”

    Again I strongly disagree, there is a call for seperation in Tamil Nadu and things are not as rosy as you’d like to believe (next time you’re in Bangalore walk down MG road and have a look at the posters and graffiti calling for recognition of Tamil Nadu as a seperate state), the GoI is definitely not willing to risk Tamil Nadu gaining any sort of leverage on that – you just have to speak to any Indian official to get clarity on that.

  17. Tariq, let’s not kid ourselves. The North and the East were inhabited by Tamil speaking people for a very long time. The current statistics speak of the “colonisation” of these areas by the Sinhalese, which was a policy followed by past governments, and which itself contributed to the demand for separation among the Tamil people. Why should the Tamil people take second place to people who were bussed into these areas and settled in these areas by government might to dilute the presence of Tamils? Why do you not agree that the Tamil people living in these areas ought to have a say in whether they want to be a part of Sri Lanka or not? Afterall, it is not the Sinhalese or the Muslims who have been carrying out a campaign to secede from Sri Lanka for well over 20 years. Is it not more democratic to allow a free vote, rather than forcing a group of people to be a part of Sri Lanka when they may not actually wish to? I’m afraid neither you nor I can speak for the Muslims or the Tamils or the Sinhalese as a people – that voice comes out through polls.

    Tamil Nadu is a secure and integral part of India. Even the president of India is a Tamil. Further, I am sure the Indian government is aware that Sri Lankan Tamils are generally more pro-India than the Sinhalese are. India has more leverage with the Sri Lankan Tamils than it does with the Sinhalese. India is only opposed to a separate state of Tamil Eelam because Sri Lanka is, and because India has separatist problems of her own. As I have mentioned before I highly doubt India will stand in the way of a democratic plebiscite. Neither will the USA or the EU. Being an internationally recognized sovereign state gives Sri Lanka the power to decide whether it will or will not allow it.

  18. Just a side note but let’s say that the North and North East have now combined to form a seperate state. Any map would show you that the three main fresh water sources (Aravi Aru, Yan Oya and the Mahaweli) to the North all stem from the Central highlands, so my question is what’s going to stop the GoSL from constructing dams to supply water to only their areas? What would be the response from this new State be? How would you run an economy then?

  19. “Water law involves controversy in some parts of the world where a growing population faces increasing competition over a limited natural supply. Disputes over rivers, lakes and underground aquifers cross national borders. Although water law is still regulated mainly by individual countries, there are international sets of proposed rules such as the Helsinki Rules on the Uses of the Waters of International Rivers and the Hague Declaration on Water Security in the 21st Century.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_law

    A dispute over water between “Sri Lanka” and “Tamil Eelam” could be taken to the United Nations.

  20. “The North and the East were inhabited by Tamil speaking people for a very long time.”

    So what? The veddhas were there longer… the length of time the Tamils have stayed there is irrelavent. I fail to see how that gives them more right than people who moved there (either voluntarily or otherwise) 50/40/30/20 years ago and now call it their home.

    “Why do you not agree that the Tamil people living in these areas ought to have a say in whether they want to be a part of Sri Lanka or not?”

    Because they aren’t the only ones who do live there

    “The current statistics speak of the “colonisation” of these areas by the Sinhalese, which was a policy followed by past governments, and which itself contributed to the demand for separation among the Tamil people”

    So what are you suggesting… moving them out? There’s a term for that you know and it ain’t nice.

    “Why should the Tamil people take second place to people who were bussed into these areas and settled in these areas by government might to dilute the presence of Tamils?”

    Why should the muslims in those areas take second place to Tamils – they weren’t moved there, THEY moved there and have been there for some time too.

    “Is it not more democratic to allow a free vote, rather than forcing a group of people to be a part of Sri Lanka when they may not actually wish to?”

    You could say that about the Muslims too, supposing the North Eastern Muslims didn’t want to seccede (and given that they haven’t called for a seperation it’s likely that they don’t want to) would the Tamils then grant them a referendum in areas where they are the majority?

  21. The length of time the Tamils have ‘stayed there’ is relevant. Here’s why: During a period spanning many centuries, the Tamil people developed their own ethos and their own culture on the island in discrete areas of the island. A cursory look at historical records left by the colonials will show that the North and East were populated by Tamils who were separated from the inland-living Sinhalese by nature (such as rivers/jungles) and also by the fact that the two groups were different entities. I do not know whether you are Sinhalese or Muslim, but I wonder how you would feel if busloads of, say, Tamils, were brought into your village by the government and settled there with the might of the government making you and your ethnic group a minority in an area where your ancestors had lived for centuries. I would say you wouldn’t be very happy. The Tamils have their own language, their own ‘religion’ (Hinduism) and their own culture in discrete parts of the island – the North and the East. I have no objection if Muslims take part in a plebiscite, and have no idea why you seem to think I would oppose such a move. The modalities need to be worked out. You must understand that it is the Tamils who have launched a campaign for separation from the Sri Lankan state, and this campaign has lasted for over 20 years and looks like it is set to continue. A plebiscite where the Tamil people get to vote on secession might be fruitful solution to the conflict.

  22. “The length of time the Tamils have ’stayed there’ is relevant. Here’s why: During a period spanning many centuries, the Tamil people developed their own ethos and their own culture on the island in discrete areas of the island”

    I fail to see how that gives them more right to that land than anyone else… plus what is being asked for is diproportionate to their population

    “I do not know whether you are Sinhalese or Muslim, but I wonder how you would feel if busloads of, say, Tamils, were brought into your village by the government and settled there with the might of the government making you and your ethnic group a minority in an area where your ancestors had lived for centuries.”

    What guarantees would there be that cities/town villages in the North East with muslim majorities won’t undergo the same fate.
    By the way ‘Muslim’ is not a race, it’s someone who practices Islam.

    “I have no objection if Muslims take part in a plebiscite, and have no idea why you seem to think I would oppose such a move”

    Well your insistence that “the Tamils be given the freedom to choose” and not the population of the North & East as a whole made me think that you were… Apologies if this was not the case (which clearly it is.. so sorry :)) On whether they would want a referendum in the first place, the only thing I can vouch for is that my relatives (of which there are a fuckload – and no they don’t know what birth control is) and their neighbours in the North East are opposed to seperation and don’t want to be represented by the LTTE or any goverment they form.

    “A plebiscite where the Tamil people get to vote on secession might be fruitful solution to the conflict”

    So would a game of tic tac to but neither look likely do they

  23. Being an ethnic group that has lived in area for centuries and which has been ethnically Tamil even before the arrival of the colonials, and where the people have a language, culture and religion that differs from the majority Sinhalese, and where the people have undergone various acts of discrimination and hostility from the majority Sinhalese and the government, and where consequently they have been asking to be removed from the Sri Lankan State for over 20 years, which has led to violent conflict that seems never ending — doesn’t it sound like the Tamil people ought to be given the opportunity to decide whether they want to continue as part of the Sri Lankan state, instead of being forced to accept the supremacy of the Sri Lankan state? Neither the Muslims nor the Sinhalese have had to undergo the discrimination, hardships and terror that has been wrought upon the Tamil people by the state. In any case, to any casual observer, the Tamil people are undoubtedly disenchanted with the Sri Lankan state. The Muslims of the East are Tamil speaking (as are most Sri Lankan Muslims), and as I have mentioned before I suspect that in any plebiscite over secession, quite a few would vote for independence.

    If only a game of tic tac toe would be a fruitful solution to the conflict.

  24. It “might be a fruitful solution to the conflict”, certainly, if we are talking about theoretical frameworks. Then again, it might not. That’s debatable. What IS true however is that no government in the foreseeable future will ever allow a referendum on succession to take place under the present conditions of a fascist military dictatorship in the North East. The LTTE has influenced the democratic process innumerable times. The last example was the the election of Mahinda Rajapaksa, and thus there is an issue of credibility in any poll taken in the North East while the LTTE operates in the manner it does now. Perhaps sucession is an option. But it will not happen unless there is a federal system establsihed first. Federalism appears to be the best solution as the first step.

    On the colonisation issue : If you look at the population densities even before they were skewed by war, the East was heavily underpopulated compared with other parts of the island. Plus, the main development program was based around the Mahaweli river which exits at Trincomalee. Why should the government not want to populate these areas? They were also populated on the basis of thirds: Sinhalese, Muslim and Tamil. The Tamil residents may have not liked the change, but the GoSL’s action appears to me to be justifiable, from what I know about it.

    “But when it comes to economic arguments, two nation states may actually fare better.”

    Please explain.

  25. Videshi –

    “…and where consequently they have been asking to be removed from the Sri Lankan State for over 20 years”

    I disagree. The Tamil people have not been asking for this. The LTTE have been asking for this. There is a difference because the LTTE’s representation of the Tamil people is only by default, enforced by killing any Tamil politician, Tamil journalist, Tamil priest or any other Tamil leader who does not conform to their demand for separation.

    Nobody can believe that the Tamil people want separation until there is a poll.

    A poll cannot be credible until there is a credible democracy.

    A credible democracy cannot exist unless there is an end to violence and a multi-party system in the North East.

    An end to violence and a multi-party system in the North East cannot exist unless there is a political solution.

    The only political solution that we can envision being accepted by both the Sri Lankan people through their representatives the GoSL, and the LTTE is a federal solution.

    Thus, the first step to solving the present conflict must be a federal system.

  26. What is “true” is that the majority Sinhalese will never accept a democratic plebiscite where the Tamil people will get to decide whether they wish to be a part of a majoritarian state. To be frank, there is no real concern over ‘democracy’ or a ‘facist military dicatorship’, only the desire to see the consolidation of majoritarian rule and the island as one nation state – even if this leads to war and bloodshed. Like the United Nations was involved in the polls in East Timor, it too can be involved in Sri Lanka so as to ensure that the plebiscite is free and fair. A federal system is not a pre requisite at all.

    What the government would like people to believe is that they were free and fair with regards to ‘colonisation.’ In reality, it was a calculated attempt, started by D.S Senanayake, to reduce the influence of the Tamils in areas where they were the overwhelming majority. Surely landless people in the area should be considered first over Sinhalese from deep down south, or petty criminals who were given a “second chance”? The North Central Province was also heavily underpopulated, as was UVA, so why weren’t people from Jaffna (which was one of the most densely population regions of Sri Lanka) settled there, or in a Sinhala-majority area?

    One of the main reasons for the Tamil peoples’ call for separation is a feeling that they are being opressed by the Sri Lankan state which has been trying to stifle them culturally, linguistically and economically. The creation of Tamil Eelam will give the Tamil people (both living in Sri Lanka and the powerful diaspora) confidence to invest in and develop the North and the East without the Sri Lankan government trying to stifle every move. Sri Lanka, on the other hand will no longer have a long, drawn out seperatist conflict that is draining the economy and would thus be able to concentrate on her development.

  27. “What is “true” is that the majority Sinhalese will never accept a democratic plebiscite where the Tamil people will get to decide whether they wish to be a part of a majoritarian state.”

    Debatable whether it would be true in the long run, but certainly true today. So you admit a separate state is not plausible? That’s what I said in the first place.

  28. “Neither the Muslims nor the Sinhalese have had to undergo the discrimination, hardships and terror that has been wrought upon the Tamil people by the state.”

    Very strong words.
    Please explain with data.
    -Explain with Tamil population ratio together with stats of educated Tamils/Tamils in high places before the conflict.
    -Any other credible facts to back your claims
    Everyone talks of discrimination as if life was hell before VP thought he‘d make it his hobby to butcher Sinhalese, Muslims & cleanse the north & east.
    Therefore, I am asking you, instead of the same rhetoric going around of ‘Sinhala only’ policy; provide more of your struggle with terror with detailed description.
    Please don’t mention riots & get away with it.
    We all know the hatred Tamils had towards the Sinhalese. Let us not pretend about that.
    However, if you do plan to talk about riots, please mention how it all started.
    ie: Killing the Sinhalese in Jaffna by putting them into hot barrels of tar, which precipitated the ’57 riots.

  29. Ravana, if Sri Lanka claims to be a state for all her peoples, then it should not matter what the Sinhalese people in one part of the island want for the Tamil people living in the North and the East of the island – that is, to be wedded to the Sri Lankan state.

    Justme, please visit http://www.tamilnation.org

  30. Videshi first off a plebiscite or referendum can never happen unless all the people are involved, you cannot pick and choose who you include in it… what you are suggesting is a poll plain and simple, so don’t kid yourself with grand rhetoric about democratic process when what you are suggesting is anything but ‘democratic’…

    You disagree with everyone being involved because it would be the will of the dominant ethnic group… but what you’re are saying is the same thing really – “let’s have a referendum but make sure that Tamils make up the majority”. The outcome of a true referendum may not suit you but hey that’s democracy… majority rules, simple really.

    The muslims admittedly haven’t suffered as much as the Tamils have at the hands of the GoSL BUT they have suffered enormously at the hands of the LTTE, whole families have been butchered thanks to uncle P and harrassed off their land… so don’t for a second think that they would want him running the show…

    And I agree with Ravana, no government of Sri Lanka is going to allow for poll, such as what you are suggesting, to take place. Even if it did what guarantee would there be that the LTTE wouldn’t influence the outcome as they did in the last democratic process. They (LTTE) have systematically gunned down Tamil intellectuals who have opposed them and suggested a negotiated settlement within a unitary state so your claim for Tamils calling for a seperate state for the last 20+ years is debatable. Frankly if you offer any distinct group (ethnic or religious) a seperate nation with majority rule they would take it without thinking twice – it’s just human nature to want more.

  31. Videshi, is this your economic argument for two separate states. You said:

    “The creation of Tamil Eelam will give the Tamil people (both living in Sri Lanka and the powerful diaspora) confidence to invest in and develop the North and the East without the Sri Lankan government trying to stifle every move. Sri Lanka, on the other hand will no longer have a long, drawn out seperatist conflict that is draining the economy and would thus be able to concentrate on her development.”

    This is not an argument for two separate states at all. It is an argument for peace. You are merely comparing a peace-time economy with a war-time one. Of course, the economy would develop rapidly if there was a permanent peace, but I, along with many people on both sides of the conflict believe that peace will mostly likely be achieved with a federal solution.

    If this is all you have to say about an economic argument for two separate states, then I’ll assume you have no argument at all.

  32. BTW I visited the site videshi, & have a few Q’s

    Hypothetically speaking what is your demarcation line, should there be a breakaway state?
    Just trying to understand your magnanimity when it comes to the practical details of dividing a nation for 14% of the populace ——that is assuming the whole 14% is going to live in Eelam— & for the rest of the masses.
    With mention of Eelam courts, police stations, banks, Eelam number plates on vehicles etc, some questions spring to mind.
    May I ask who run the public offices? Are they SL state qualified personnel or Eelam qualified? ie: primary school qualified.
    If so how does the jurisdiction work?
    Since it’s claimed it’s a de-facto state, where does the money come from to run it? Is it from drug -trafficking, people smuggling, money laundering or are they just scandalous gossip by GoSL to undermine the good name of the LTTE?

  33. Here’s the thing, Videshi. The NE doesn’t belong to the Tamils anymore than the south belongs to the Sinhalese. Every single inch of SL belongs to every single citizen. So to say that the Tamils (or even the NE population) have the right to vote on secession is as faulty as my demanding that my house (which belongs to me) has the right to secede from SL because I haven’t been treated well by my neighbours. The NE population can’t decide on the NE because it isn’t theirs. If you say that the NE belongs to the Tamils, then it is logical that the Sinhalese have the right to evict Tamils from the rest of SL.

    So you have to share it all. And the best way to do that is to say that the majority ethnic/language group in an area will govern it (but not own it).

  34. There’s a clear distinction between what it generally called federalism and the supposedly “federal” solution envisaged by the peaceniks. It goes without saying that distribution of wealth in Sri Lanka is hardly equitable, when close the half the country’s GDP is generated in the Western province. But the Tamil vs Kannada water war in India shows that the sort of devolution that fosters ethno-centric regionalism is hardly a desirable solution.

    There is no clear and uncontested Tamil nation-state in Sri Lanka to justify self determination or autonomy for that ethnic group, even within a united country. Federal systems in many countries had been adopted as a transitional state, when several independent states were merged together under a central government that would gradually take control. Substantial devolution in a hitherto centrally administrated country is almost always a stepping stone for further division, culminating in complete cessation. We’re inclined to agree with some of the reasonable arguments put forward by the feddies, particularly that devolution will usher in a more just and fair distribution of resources and development. But there are other ways to achieve that without carving out a mono-ethnic Tamil state and letting the LTTE to govern it through an interim authority, which unfortunately is the only solution these peaceniks are willing to entertain. Anyone who deviates from this dogma is an extremist, a chauvinist or a war monger.

    Cessation or substantial devolution in Sri Lanka would never be sustainable, even if it’s not based on ethnic-regionalism. Much of the rationale for a federal state of things is becoming increasingly irrelevent with the technological and communicational advances and globalisation. Sri Lanka is too small and poor a country to afford the sort of bureacratic and administrative inefficiency that would entail. The world is moving towards further integration and amalgamation, not the other way. The EU is likely to become a united super-state and even Sri Lanka will probably end up as a part of an India-led South-Asian union in the distant future. It simply does not make sense to hinder Sri Lanka’s progress and the eventual integration of minorities by institutionalising ethnic differences and demarcating seperate enclaves along those lines.

    I don’t see why a military end to the conflict is considered so implausible and unjust by these peaceniks. Sri Lanka’s long term policy of colonising the North and (more importantly) East with people of different ethnic groups to bring about a more multi-ethnic region is completely justifiable and similar examples could be seen in many countries in the world. No group should have a special right to a district or province in Sri Lanka. Both Malaysia and Singapore, which have an ethnic makeup somewhat similar to Sri Lanka, have long practiced a similar policy by mixing up Chinese, Malays and Tamils, thereby creating a more pluralistic society. It is not healthy for any country to have a region exclusively populated by a minority ethnic group that has a history of seperatism and is more loyal to a neighbouring rival country which happens to have strong cultural and linguistic ties with them. Some of Videshi’s arguments are eerily resonant of the justifications for similar discredited systems such as Apartheid, White Only Australia and Mugabe’s vision for Zimbabwe.

  35. Just Me, with regards to the demarcation line;

    “I was once asked by an Englishman connected with the British Refugee Council: ‘You say Tamil Eelam, but where are the boundaries of this Tamil Eelam that you talk about? Show me.’

    I was taken aback by the directness of the question. I thought for a while, searching for an appropriate response. Then I replied: ‘Take a map of the island. Take a paint brush and paint all the areas where Sri Lanka has bombed and launched artillery attacks during these past several years. When you have finished, the painted area that you see – that is Tamil Eelam.”

    — Sathasivam Krishnakumar

    http://www.tamilnation.org/tamileelam/boundaries/index.htm

    Once Tamil Eelam is independent, it will be sans dependence on the Sri Lankan state.

  36. Unfortunately David Blacker, a solitary you and your house cannot compare to the the entire Tamil people and the land in which they have been living in for centuries. Land does not really belong to anyone in the ultimate sense, since we all die and the next generation takes over — until they die as well.

    “….If democracy means the rule of the people, by the people, for the people, then the principle of self determination secures that no one people may rule another…The struggle for Tamil Eelam is about giving effect to the will of the Tamil people expressed by their leader S.J.V.Chelvanayagam in 1975 and reinforced by the mandate that they gave the Tamil United Liberation Front in 1977, and reiterated in the Manifesto of the Tamil National Alliance in 2001. It is also about reversion of sovereignty – a sovereignty that the Tamil people enjoyed before the British unified the administration of the island of Sri Lanka in 1833. However, the struggle for Tamil Eelam is not about a search for historical first causes – a search that will end in the stone age and in a discussion about original sin. Neither is the struggle for Tamil Eelam an invitation to engage in the politics of the last atrocity – a pursuit which leads to brave speeches, retaliation and more atrocities. The struggle for Tamil Eelam is about the democratic right of the people of Tamil Eelam to govern themselves in their homeland – nothing less and nothing more. It is about freedom from alien Sinhala rule. It is not about securing benevolent Sinhala rule. It is about securing a legal framework where two free peoples may associate with one another in equality, in freedom and in peace. The demand for Tamil Eelam is not negotiable. But an independent Tamil Eelam will and indeed, must, negotiate. And here, there will be everything to negotiate about. There is a need to telescope two processes – the emergence of an independent Tamil Eelam and the emergence of a free, inter dependent association of Tamil Eelam and Sri Lanka. The European Union, structured albeit after two world wars, stands as an example of what the Tamil people and Sinhala people in the island of Sri Lanka may be able to achieve – but we will need to dig deep to find common ground.”

  37. “Take a map of the island. Take a paint brush and paint all the areas where Sri Lanka has bombed and launched artillery attacks during these past several years. When you have finished, the painted area that you see – that is Tamil Eelam.”

    In other words, Sathasivam Krishnakumar had no idea.

  38. In other words, Eelam would be in pockets. Taking an aerial view of the area the demarcation line, rather lines, would look like puddles.

    In (yet) other words, followers of a pact accept what ever the leaders say.

  39. Videshi is a refreshing change from the other advocates of Eelam we generally encounter in this and other fora. Nevertheless, his/her articulation and ability to spell plebiscite does not make the arguments put forward any less faulty.

    When the Tamil people settled in the NE. The concept of the Nation State was not heard of. Borders between the seperate kingdoms did not exist in a formal sense. Times have changed though from several thousand years ago – and it would be helpful if people changed too.

    The Tamils have tradiotinally lived in the NE. Sinhalese have traditionally lived everywhere else. By the same token that Videshi puts forward a plebiscite in the South should also see the eviction of Tamils from Colombo and the suburbs. That is if the plebiscite is geographically driven.

    If the plebiscite is afforded to the populace on a racial method so every Tamil can vote for self determination, then they can all go bloody well self determine themselves in Eelam.

    Despite the fact that a referendum will not politically be accepted, it will also be legally invalid if not participated in by the entire population. Referendum is a form of direct democracy and if you pick and choose who can participate it’s not really democratic.

    Videshi sounds like he wants to be a seperatist for the sake of being a seperatist. Even if there is peace, he seems to think that Eelam is the only goal. If you want that and you get it, the best of luck with trying to sustain an economy in your arid, dry, oilless 14%.

  40. Modern nation states are generally based on borders that have been formulated quite recently along linguistic lines (parts of Europe), and artificially (Pakistan/Bangladesh). Whether the concept of nation state was unheard of among the Tamil people is at best unknown. The same argument can be put forward about the Sinhalese people seeing as the word “Sinhala” didn’t emerge until after the 6th century (If I have my facts right). Yes, times have changed from thousands of years ago, which is why the area of Tamil Eelam is today claimed as the Northern Province, the Eastern Province with or without Puttalam District. Sophist seems to believe that Tamil Eelam will be a monoethnic state composed only of Tamils, but that needn’t be the case at all; that is just a Sinhala nationalist’s argument against it. It can be an open, multiethnic, secular nation – however, where the Tamil people will be the majority. Carrying out a plebiscite to ascertain the views of the people of the North and the East is not undemocratic at all, but it would be great to have all those Tamils who have left (due to state terror, colonisation and other reasons) come back to their areas of original habitation and have them participate in the plebiscite.

    I’m afraid I find your last paragraph rather puerile. Having lots of rain and not having oil either, hasn’t made Sri Lanka a success story. Besides, most of the supposed oil is claimed to be around Mannar.

  41. BTW I am not a separatist. I am all for Sri Lanka, but I do not see why a section of the people who seem to want out should be forced to be wedded to the Sri Lankan state against their wishes.

  42. I have started to enjoy Videshi’s boogie with words to make his posts the envy of the articulation master while evading the vital question/s asked.
    His last post in answer to Sophist is the latest.

    yet i take my hat off for keeping your cool & never losing it.

    Cheers!

  43. Just me, thanks for your compliments, but if people were truly interested in the welfare of the Tamil people, would they not agree to let the Tamil people decide their own future? Is it logical to force a people to subjugation under the Sri Lankan state when they have been wanting out since independence? Why settle for a piecemeal “federal” solution instead of independence? If the idea is to give the Tamil people a greater say in the running of affairs, well then why not let them decide it through a plebiscite?

  44. Hypothesis. Assuming that all is well and Eelam is granted according the expectations of Videshi…will the Sinhalese and Muslim minorities in areas such as Padaviya, Dehiaththakandiya and Amparai, be justified in seceding from Eelam, because they don’t want to be ruled by a majority that doesn’t speak their language or practice the same cultural routines? If you allow a plebiscite in Padaviya, and allow them to secede, then by all means, make your case for a referendum to someone who will listen.

    Despite his obvious linguistic proficiency, it saddens me that Videshi is blind to the fallacy of his own arguments.

  45. Videshi, you may think a “solitary” me is insignificant, but if you take me and my extended family, we make up a sizeable percentage of our street, and therefore I feel are large enough too demand self-rule. Your reference to the “entire Tamil people” is also incorrect, since the bulk of Tamils do not live in SL. Local Tamils make up a tiny fraction of all the Tamils. But my point is, that if you feel that it is only right that Tamils secede simply because they want to, then that right should apply to any and every minority that feels similarly (Moors, Malays, Burghers, Veddhas, etc).

    And why do you attempt to discard federalism by slipping in words like “piecemeal”? What is peacemeal about federalism? There are so many different federal models to choose from (US, German, Canadian, and many more). If you feel that accepting only a central GoSL is extremist, then so is asking for a separate state. Federalism is the middle ground, the compromise that can possibly cater to all needs.

    In the end, Videshi, this isn’t about what is right and/or wrong. But about what is possible. The majority of SL will not vote for a separate Eelam. That is the reality of the matter. For only the Tamils to vote on separatism is unjust because SL is a single nation aand all must vote on its future, not just some.

    And saying that the NE belongs to the Tamils because they occupied it for centuries isn’t an argument, anymore than saying the eastern foothills of the Central Highlands belong to the Veddhas.

    What makes you so convinced that federalism can’t work, anyway?

  46. In an ideal world Videshi, Yes. Alas, we do not live in one.
    It is not cut & dry as you make out to be.
    You really must believe the majority of Tamils are for autonomy, to constantly push the notion of a plebiscite,
    .

    You mentioned in an earlier post:-
    “Carrying out a plebiscite to ascertain the views of the people of the North and the East is not undemocratic at all, but it would be great to have all those Tamils who have left (due to state terror, colonisation and other reasons) come back to their areas of original habitation and have them participate in the plebiscite “

    Do you really believe in fairies?
    It is undemocratic even to suggest, (let alone presume expats are willing to come) the people who have already left the country regardless of the circumstances that led them to, come back & vote, to get a higher mandate. Most of them will have nicely settled into their new lives in stable economies & might only ever want to VISIT SL.
    Ever thought of that?

    I, like many people, am against separating the country for the obvious reason- the size.
    Besides, I don’t see dfference in people, only compared with animals.
    Sure, sometimes I do tit for tat games with people just out of frustration.

    I am all for a federal solution & have healthy competition among states to vie for advancement. That is unless the few in power does not eat into the economy & get their hip pockets fatter.
    Sorry, I am a cynic.

  47. Videshi using a word like plebiscite without actually understanding what it entails is a bit foolish no? So here’s the definition from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendum):

    “A referendum (plural: ‘referenda’) or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, originally a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. This may be the adoption of a new constitution, a constitutional amendment, a law, the recall of an elected official or simply a specific government policy. The referendum or plebiscite is a form of direct democracy”

    You see that bit that says “entire electorate”… yeah that one… well it means everybody gets a say not just the Tamils… The moment you start to pick and choose who can participate in it you’re no longer being democratic are you? Why is it so hard for you to understand?

    “It can be an open, multiethnic, secular nation – however, where the Tamil people will be the majority”

    Most of the Eastern Province and even Trinco have a Tamil minority… are you suggesting that these place be excluded from your hypothetical Eelam or perhaps colonized to ensure a Tamil majority?

    “Unfortunately David Blacker, a solitary you and your house cannot compare to the the entire Tamil people and the land in which they have been living in for centuries.”

    Erm… so what… still doesn’t mean the Tamils have more right to the land than anyone else… Look Videshi the concept is really very easy it’s not rocket science – every inch of Sri Lanka belongs to every Sri Lankan, NOT any one ethnic group no matter how long they’ve been there…

  48. Damn wikipedia!
    Still Tariq, Videshi could be right. He is talking of the mono-ethnic north & he is trying to get the expats to the east. So, in the end, use of the word plebiscite is correct in this instant.😛

  49. Btw, most Eastern Tamils could trace their ancestry back to the tobacco estate workers brought in by the British. It’s also likely that tens of thousands of Tamils had migrated to the Northern parts of SL from Tamil Nadu during colonial rule. So even if some Tamils may have been living in the North and East for centuries, it certainly does not mean most of the Tamils there today are descendents of these people. It’s like saying Indians should have a seperate state in Romania because Indian-origin gypsies have been living there for centuries.

    Tamils certainly don’t have any special rights to the North/East of Sri Lanka and it is preposterous to even suggest a referendum for all Tamils, including the ones living in Colombo and overseas who have no intention of relocating to the provinces in question. The Tamil language, culture or ethnicity did not originate in Sri Lanka. Of course they may want a seperate state or special rights or majoritarian rule in North/East. Why wouldn’t they? Any minority group would.

    Could Videshi justify her arguments with any examples from the real world (except apartheid of course).

  50. “So even if some Tamils may have been living in the North and East for centuries”
    “The Tamil language, culture or ethnicity did not originate in Sri Lanka.”

    Justmal, seems like you must have been hallucinating when you made those comments. If you had Any idea about geography and the migrations of people around the world in prehistoric times; you would not have made such a comment.

    First of all do you even know that there was NO island south of India as late as 6000BC?
    Oceanographic data conclusively shows that till 8000 years ago the northern part of this island was connected to the mainland. And 9000 years ago it was practically part of south India, hardly recognizable as a separate island.

    Recent genetic mapping shows that the first migrants into India moved into the subcontinent about 60000 years ago. So Unless you were to assume that they did somehow “stop” at south Indian “border” (there wasn’t any border cos the land was one,)and stayed there till past the 6th century when some group of folks kicked out of their country for being lawless ruffians beached ran aground on this island; you should acknowledge the fact that Tamils have been living in this island for Millennia before the arrival of the Sinhalese.

    Heck..search as you might you will not find “any” reference to “Sinhala” people till after the 6th century ad.

    whereas the Oldest of the Tamil texts the “Tolkapipiyam”(3rd century bc) speaks of “Eelathup Poothanthevanar” (Poothanthevanar from eelam) as one of the main poets present in the academy of tamil poets in south india. thats almost a 1000 years before there is any recorded evidence of the name “sinhala”(or of anything similar)

    The earliest known Dravidian writing (the Sanskrit word “Dravida” derives from “Tamil”>Dramil>Dramila>Dravida)is dated to 3600 Bc in the Indus Valley civilization.
    Look at what the scholars say about this
    http://www.harappa.com/script/parpola0.html

    To top it all even the “maha-vamsa” says that when Vijaya and his gang sets foot on this island, there is a reference to his friend; a Brahmin who visited the five Shiva temples on the island. So pray do tell me where did this 5 temples spring up from?. Or is it “just a coincidence” that the Tamils have 5 ancient “ishwarams” in the country On every corner of it?

    What about the burial urns found in this island that are identical to the ones found in southern India? Both of which are dated to about 3000Bc-1000Bc”?

    Its obvious that the terms naga and yaksha meant two of the races in this island Before
    Vijaya came along?…and don’t insult our intelligence by saying that its all just “mythology”.

    So pls do not try to somehow insinuate that the Sinhala were here before the Thamils
    Its kinda hilarious that you would even suggest it; regardless of the holes in ur argument; so much so that its akin to swiss cheese.

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