Eliminate divide & rule policy – Part 1
Posted on March 30th, 2010

Wijayasiri Kulatunga  B.Sc. M. Phil.

On 26th January 2010, Sri Lanka population have used the opportunity to select an efficient and reliable leader as the president of the country to improve the coexistence of Sinhala, Dravida, Malay Burger people and Buddhist, Christian, Catholic and Muslim religious people who live in this country. Now the Sri Lanka communities have another challenge to select reliable political leaders to use their abilities to improve the living standards of the people live in this country. Prior to the voting it is important to help different communities in the country to understand how some leaders used the differences of languages and the religions to divide the population for their political benefit for past 60 years dragging down their living standard killing tens of thousand people of the country.

 According to our political history, Lanka Samasamaja Party that struggled to get basics rights of the workers with out considering the nationality since 1935 had good influence on the Tamil estate workers via established trade unions. Unless UNP leaders took actions to remove voting right of Tamil plantation workers of Indian origin with the agreement of Tamil leaders in the parliament, Marxist Samasamaja party would have more political influence in the governing system established in the country after getting the independence in 1948. This rule was the 1st action took by first democratic government established by UNP in this country as a part of divide and rule policy used by British rulers prior to 1948s showing Tamil plantation workers are a separate community who doesn’t have any right to involve in selecting parliament members with other communities in the country.

 Divide and rule policy used by British colonial rulers in pre-independence period of Sri Lanka have provided disproportionate number of English-language schools to the Tamil speaking population lived in the north of Sri Lanka and less number of colleges were given to small Sinhala elite groups but ordinary people lived in other parts of the country have not received such facility. Thus higher percentages of Tamil people fluent in English language were used in civil service work by the British rulers. Unless Bandaranayake govt. took action to implement Sinhala only act in 1956 that was considered by Tamil political leaders as another action taken to suppress the Tamil nation in this country, the elite group of people in independent Sri Lanka would control majority of Sinhala people with the assistance of educated Tamil minorities. The Prim Minister Bandaranayke may have understood the impact of Sinhala only act to the relationship of Sinhala / Tamil population in the country and implemented special provisions for Tamil language in 1958 to control the ethnic division in the country. These acts have provided an opportunity to the majority of Sinhala speaking people to recover from the losses caused by British rulers in pre-independence period also to join government civil services by 1970s. Special attention given to Sinhala and Tamil languages in free education system provided freedom to the children of poor majority in the country to continue studies up to universities under their mother languages in post independence period irrespective of cast or religion. 

 However 1958 ethnic riots was a watershed event in the race relationship of the various ethnic communities of Sri Lanka killing hundreds of people in the country. Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam and Senanayake-Chelvanayakam pacts to resolve communal division started was never implemented due to campaigns carried out by opposition party leaders led to Vaddukoddai Resolution 1976. Rising ethnic and political tensions and riots in, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983 supported the formation and strength of militant groups to fragment Sri Lanka. Anti-Tamil riots conducted by UNP goons, targeting the minority Tamil people started on the August 12, 1977, soon after the United National Party came to power in 1977 July election, created more reasonable ground to build up separatist Tamils organizations. An organized mob by UNP industrial minister went on a rampage on the nights of May 31 to June 2, 1981, burning the Jaffna public library created irreparable damage to the coexistence of Sinhala and Tamil speaking people destroying over 100,000 books and palm writings of many irreplaceable historical documents and artifacts led Tamil separatist movements to continue their terror activities in the country. 

J.R. Jayawardana (JRJ) Government maintained that the ethnic riots known as Black July was a spontaneous backlash of killing 13 soldiers in Jaffna by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). No one believed this propaganda, as it was clear that there was a plan behind the counter-violence as the leading rioters carried voters’ lists and addresses of Tamil houses and small shops collected from government departments. The rioters ran amok in Colombo city and suburban yet some ordinary Sinhala people protected Tamil people during that clash. However this act was used by JRJ government to announce banning Samasamaja / communist / JVP activities in the country also created opportunity for Tamil people to migrate to western countries. Within few weeks, freedom for Samasamaja and communist parties to continue their political activity were given but used that riot to suppress JVP continually leading that party to start underground political activity which led to 1987-1989 massive destruction killing over 60,000 people not only JVP but also large number of innocent Sinhala youths in the country. Present UNP leader Ranil W is accused of direct involvement of killing innocent people imprisoned in army camp of Batalanda but the president Chandrika Kumaranatunga could not take any legal action to punish him.    

Leaders in India may have evaluated the political and economic relationship between USA and JRJ government and may have decided that relationship would be a threat to India government. Under Indira Gandhi’s specific instructions, transit camps were set up in a number of locations in Tamil Nadu for the Tamil people rushed to India after Black July riot. LTTE and other militant groups were also helped through the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) by providing financial support, arms and weapon training to divert the threat to India. The assistance provided to these terrorists movements created massive destruction to all the communities in Sri Lanka for last 30 years. A lot of information of massive destruction done by LTTE terrorist are available in the website http://www.spur.asn.au/wsdindex.html.  Even after ceasefire agreement illegally signed by Ranil W without disclosing any details to his parliamentary group did not take any action or help from Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to control thousands of CFA violations conducted by LTTE killing innocent civilians, Tamil political leaders and Muslim religious people.

 Some international human right organizations and there stooges in UN and other western countries who supported the LTTE alleged Sri Lanka government for human right violation but no such organizations did raise any issue against the devastation made by terror groups in this country in last 30 years. The attack carried out at Sri Maha Bodhiya at Anuradhapura (14 May 1985) by LTTE’s which was alleged by the support of RAW or any other terror attack could not start massive communal clashes expected by foreign political leaders to intervene in Sri Lanka but civil society allowed legally responsible military forces and the police to disrupt terror activities in the country. Ensuing Sri Lankan war carried out by forces and terror groups has resulted in the deaths of more than 70,000 people in police, military forces, terrorist organizations and civilians. Usage of Divide and Rule policy by the British colonial rulers and some political leaders in India and Sri Lanka is the major reason to devastate the country for last 30 years.

Divide and Rule policy is also used against independence struggle carried out by the people in Indian subcontinent based on 2 major religions Hinduism, and Islam. Even though the prominent leaders Mahathma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mohammad Ali Jinnah worked for Hindu-Muslim unity at the early stage of independence struggle, they could not controlled the group of people started divisions among the people lived in the subcontinent.

 Allama Iqbal was the first person that demand a separate state for Muslims people lived in the Indian subcontinent in 1930, stating unless they get separate state, Muslim people may have to live in Hindu-dominated subcontinent. After 1935 Jinnah also started argument with mainstream parties to grant incentives to Muslim interests. While the Indian National Congress was calling for Britain to quit India, the Muslim League, in 1943, passed a resolution for them to Divide and Quit. The Congress banned any support for the British during the Second World War but Muslim League pledged its full support expecting favor for them from British. Thus the idea of the separateness of Muslims in India was built into the electoral process of India and divided the British India on the basis of religious demographics. New Islamic Republic of Pakistan is created in 14 August 1947, and in the following day India obtained the independence.

 According to the records in wikipedia.org website, partition of India resulted in the communal riots in the region and perhaps one of the worst in modern history. An estimated 1 to 5 million Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and others lost their lives as a direct consequence of the division. Many were raped and “ghost trains” full of severed breasts of women arrived in each of the newly-born countries across the borders. It is estimated about 14.5 million people, 7,226,000 Muslims went to Pakistan from India while 7,249,000 Hindus and Sikhs moved to India from Pakistan immediately after partition. 

British rulers are not the first that implemented Divide and Rule policy in India. This tactic helped the emergence of India’s first empire, ruled by the Chandragupta of Maurya dynasty by 303 B.C, ranging from Bengal in the east to Afghanistan in the west and as far south to Narmada River. Much of Chandragupta’s success is attributed to his advisor, Kautilya also known as Chanakya a teacher at Takshila. He, the author of the Arthashastra, a cold-blooded treatise on the acquisition and maintenance of power, guided the army instead of attacking the center of Nanda Empire territory but slowly chipped away its edges. 

The Indian govt. used that technique during 1980-1990 supporting the terrorist organizations in Sri Lanka to create crisis in order to bring JRJ government under control. But that government didn’t allow LTTE to create separate state for Tamil community in Sri Lanka because that would help to split India to create Dravidistan demanded by previous political leaders in Tamil Nadu during 1940-1960s, which include Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Karnataka and extend up to some part of Sri Lanka, Orissa and Maharashtra that had the possibility of killing several millions of people lived in the region. All the communities live in India and Sri Lanka should appreciate this decision taken by Indian leaders but no community have the right to appreciate the used by western countries in the Asia region. 

Evidence of USA involvement in western Asia and Middle East to create splits and coordinate those splits for their political and economical needs can be found in resent history of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Kuwait. In 1980s, the United States supported Gen. Zia ul-Haq’s iron rule against the Pakistani people while using Pakistan in the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. That decade turned Afghans into a nation defined by guns and drugs by supporting Muslim extremists Mujahideen by USA that was against communist leaders of the country. USA and European countries use their modern weapons against their early partners Mujahideen now known as Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan killing large number of innocent civilian in these two countries. 

Results of Divide and Rule policy applied in Middle East shows massive destruction done to the population lived in that area. At the beginning of that application, Saddam Hussein was supported by CIA to become Iraqi leader and then used by USA as a strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union by giving weapons to hunt down Iraqi communists splitting Iraqi people politically. Later USA coordinated the split between Iran and Iraq providing battlefield intelligence to Saddam Hussein while supplying arms to Iran. Part of the money collected from clandestine sale of weapons to Iran, was diverted to fund anti-communist Contras rebels in Nicaragua through Lieutenant Colonel North who was the United States government’s counter-terrorism coordinator of the Reagan administration. 

By 1988 Iranian troops were more success in the war and threatened to capture the oil-rich Iraqi city of Kirkuk and other northern oilfields. On 20 July 1988, the Security Council of the United Nations passed the US-sponsored Resolution 598, which called for end of fighting and return to pre-war boundaries after Iraq was virtually bankrupt. Casualties estimated in this war were about half a million Iraqi and over 1 million Iranian soldiers as well as civilians. The financial loss was also enormous exceeding US$600 billion for each country (US$1.2 trillion in both countries). 

By August 1988, most Iraq debt owed to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Iraq pressured both nations to forgive the debts, but they refused. Kuwait was also accused by Iraq of exceeding its OPEC quotas and driving down the price of oil, which had a catastrophic impact on the Iraqi economy, which was aggravated by Kuwait slant-drilling across the border into Iraq’s Rumaila oil field. In support of action planed by Saddam Hussein, US ambassador April Glaspie on August 2, 1990 stated that “We have no opinion on your Arab “”‚ Arab conflicts” and that “the Kuwait issue is not associated with America”. On July 31, 1990, two days before the Iraqi invasion, John Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, testified to Congress “United States has no commitment to defend Kuwait and the US has no intention of defending Kuwait if it is attacked by Iraq.” 

This green light allowed Saddam Hussein to send his troops to Kuwait which has been used by America and British rulers to start attack on Iraq army destroying their remaining weapons and battalions fulfilling the purpose of the war with Iran to weaken Iraq militarily further. They later accused Iraq is developing or having weapons of mass destruction (nuclear weapons) and invaded the country in 2003 killing nearly a million population. However there were records that USA government used depleted uranium (DU) in cannon ordnance in the Gulf War. According to Lancet survey, violent death tolls reached to 601,027 by June 2006. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair recently said that he found a justification for invading Iraq even without the now-discredited evidence that Saddam Hussein was trying to produce weapons of mass destruction. However no American / British rulers or Human Right organizations of UN and others and NGO groups pay any attention to ordinary people’s suffering caused by invasion of Iraq which was the final results of the application of Divide and Rule policy killing over two million Iraq and Iran people. More evidence of massive destruction conducted by applying Divide and Rule policy could be found in splitting former Yugoslavia and USSR. These evidences prove that we should not support any political leaders who work for applying this destructive policy. 

Mahinda Rajapaksa used his brilliant political experience getting skills and support of leaders in different countries, local political parties and military to eliminate terrorist activities in the country. No sooner the different communities in the country specially in north and east minority people receive the benefit of preventing the split of population, JVP/UNP leaders started chipping away the links Mahinda Rajapaksa built up to achieve his target. Link with CDS Sarath Fonseka was broken by these party leaders and pushed him to contest as a candidate for the president of Sri Lanka. Dollar notes in serial numbers found in bank safe linked to Sarath Fonseka shows western group (either Ambassador / NGO group or secret services of western countries) were behind this split. If Sarath Fonseka was successful of his contest, he would be led by these groups same as Saddam Hussein splitting reliable links created by MR with India, Pakistan, China and other countries creating another ground work to generate terror movement in the country to kill millions of local population. His link with local political leaders and international media/organization that supported LTTE and accusations, statements made by him providing opportunity again to international organizations to interfere Sri Lanka working for reconciliation of different communities, show the high risk of his incompetent political leadership. It is important selecting most reliable leaders for the parliament that can work against Divide and Rule policy by local communities for the safety of their living, unifying all the communities live in the country as Sri Lankan. 

Information available for the origin of languages and alphabets, religions, pre-historic records and scientific data shows enough evidence that we Sri Lankan whether we are Singhalese, Tamils Malay, Burger or Buddhist, Hindu, Christian, Catholics or Muslims are descendents of a women lived about 150,000 years ago and also descendents of a man who lived about 60000 years earlier.   All the people live in Sri Lanka are close relatives of other communities live in Bangladesh India Pakistan and Afghanistan. These reasons supported to the unification of different communities lived in SAARC countries would be discussed in the next part of the article.   


One Response to “Eliminate divide & rule policy – Part 1”

  1. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Thanks for the facts provided in the article.

    S W R D Bandaranayake was 100 years ahead and his thinking of a reasonable, free and equal society ideas were not reached the populations even today. His anti-colonial thinking and implementations of related policies were not respected by the opposition and many became tail wagging dogs for the smae colonial oppressors.

    The official language act was portrayed as an oppression over Tamils. But the core of the official language act elevated both languages to be used in the public service instead of ENGLISH.

    Tamil politicians and Catholic/Christian churches cried against Banda’s ideolgy. Many ELITES among Tamil/Sinhala community worried about ENGLISH and not about the Tamil/Sinhala.

    If the Official Language Act of 1956 was implemented letter to letter, today SL would have inherited a new PEACEFUL society. But the British interests triggered many problems through UNP/Tamil parties and Christian/Catholic churches.

    Killing of a National Hero by the criminal monks was a GAME of Brits and their local allies! Now we suffer and not prosper. Only western GUN merchants got the profit at the expnse of the Sri Lankans!

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