Dr. Manmohan Singh, Your Statement in Lok Sabha-Inclination to Vote for the US Motion at the UNHRC
Posted on March 22nd, 2012

Mahinda Gunasekera Canada

 Dr. Manmohan Singh
Prime Minister of India
New Delhi, India

Dear Prime Minister,

 Your Statement in Lok Sabha-Inclination to Vote for the US Motion at the UNHRC

 I refer to your statement made in the Lok Sabha on March 20, 2012, about the Indian Government’s inclination to vote in favour of the US Motion at the UNHRC which aims to allow the international community to intervene in Sri Lanka’s domestic process of healing the conflict and reconciling the constituent communities within the island.  You had also intimated that you hoped that such a move would help to advance your objective of achieving a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.

 Perhaps, you are not aware that Sri Lanka’s National Constitution guarantees equal rights to all her citizens notwithstanding ethnicity, gender, caste, religion, or other background characteristic whatsoever, and furthermore, has taken steps to progressively enhance the language rights of the Tamil minority, today numbering less than 8.5 percent following the emigration of nearly 1.2 million in search of greener pastures to western lands, and making Tamil Language an official language on par with Sinhala spoken by 78 percent of the population.  You may be aware that Sri Lanka’s National Flag designed at the time of gaining independence from the British colonial power in 1948 carries an yellow coloured stripe to recognize the Tamil minority who are mainly Hindus , and a green coloured stripe to give recognition to the Muslim minority.  Tamil script appears on all official documents including currency, and postage stamps.  The Tamil community is today the majority group in the capital city of Colombo comprising 41 percent, and they continue to thrive economically in the new era of peace following the elimination of Tamil Tiger terrorism as of May 2009 accounting for 40 percent of Sri Lanka’s list of published billionaires.

 The Tamil community in Sri Lanka identifies themselves strictly by caste, and by groups such as Jaffna, Batticaloa and Plantation sector Tamils, the latter being those indentured South Indian labourers brought in by the British colonial power for work on the new coffee and tea plantations, with very little interaction amongst themselves.  Even today, the lower caste Tamils are discriminated by the higher castes, and the former were only able to gain access to the Hindu Kovils for religious observances only as a result of state intervention via legislation.  Although Sri Lanka’s National Constitution guarantees equal rights under the Fundamental Rights Chapter, the treatment of Tamils by Tamils leaves a gap in respect of equality, dignity, justice and self-respect. 

 Need we remind you that Sri Lanka’s ethnic divide was exacerbated as a result of India’s action to arm, train, and fund the Tamil militant groups including the Tamil Tigers in order to destabilize the island nation and seek to annex the territory at future date, for which no Sri Lankan would be willing to forgive our giant neighbour whom we always considered as our friend and mentor with ties dating to over 2500 years.  Your statement which seeks only the welfare of the Tamils leaves room to suspect your motives in joining with the US, the world’s worst HR violator of all time to once again intervene in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.  This not only goes against the existing norms of international understanding but is also a cardinal principle of the “ƒ”¹…”Pancha Seela Pact’ of Bandung to which Sri Lanka and India are signatories.

 If you think that India has a special responsibility to safeguard only the rights of the Tamils, you should then invite them to come and settle in India under your protection, and see how many Tamils would accept your offer.  Also, if you expect Sri Lanka to implement her part of the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 when India failed to honour her part of disarming the militant Tamils within a space of 72 hours, you have another think coming, as Sri Lanka is not obliged to honour an agreement imposed under coercion of military threat against Sri Lanka.  As the people of Sri Lanka have not been consulted on the matter, it is obligatory on Sri Lanka’s part to firstly seek the wishes of the people at a National Referendum as to the withdrawal of the 13th Amendment from the Statute Book or obtain their consent for its implementation.

 My advice to you on your “ƒ”¹…”Inclination’ is not to act on it, as Sri Lanka “”…” India relations may spiral downwards on this incline making it extremely difficult to re-establish the

friendly ties that existed between our two countries.

 Yours sincerely,

 Mahinda Gunasekera

Tambrook Drive
Agincourt, Ontario
Canada M1W 3L9

March 22, 2012

 

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