Posted on July 29th, 2021


Revised 1.8.21

When the Tamil civilians found that they were getting caught in the gunfire between the army and the LTTE, in the last phase of Eelam War IV, they decided to get out of the war zone, into which they had run so eagerly. They ran to the government sector, across the lagoon. Television news showed these hostages streaming in to the government sector between April and May 2009.

The Sri Lankan armed forces rescued nearly 290,000 Tamil civilians in this manner. This is considered the largest humanitarian operation in the world. The army had made special arrangements to receive them .Troops kept the civilians informed about the safe routes to the cleared areas as they opened up more escape routes. Public address systems were positioned at several locations to convey this information to the civilians.. Television news showed the soldiers helping the aged and sick very tenderly, as these persons came into government territory.

The government of Sri Lanka need not have rescued civilians who had joined the LTTE in its last stronghold. These Tamil civilians were complicit. Complicit means involved with others in an activity that is unlawful or wrong.”  In this case, they were engaging in treason. They had    willingly acted as a human shield at Nanthikadal. But the nervous government of Sri Lanka separated the civilians from the LTTE, rescued them, stabilized them and returned them to their homes in the north.

The Tamil civilians showed no gratitude towards the government. They never acknowledged the efforts and sacrifices made by the army to bring them to safety, noted analysts .They were simply making   use of the government for their own ends, which in this case was survival.    They had shown similar ingratitude earlier too. In the 1990s   the Tamil civilians   in Jaffna, had readily accepted the welfare services provided by the army but turned virulently against the army once the Ceasefire Agreement was signed.

Once the war was over the Tamil civilians resumed their opposition to the government. It is no secret that the majority of the Tamil community in the north and east sympathized with the LTTE, said analysts.   They now felt conquered. The cause for which the Tamils fought still remains, said Jehan Perera. They distrust the government which has prevented them from obtaining their Eelam.

Once these Tamil civilians returned home, they were given a   new status, that of ‘innocent victims.’  Tamil Separatist Movement concocted the story that the Tamil civilians had got caught up in the war, by accident. They knew nothing about the war, they were utterly innocent and they deserve sympathy and support.

Sri Lanka Tamil community has suffered disproportionately from a civil war which lasted nearly three decades, the Tamil Separatist Movement said. They have suffered unjustly during the war,”   They are the worst-affected by the war and many still remember the suffering they underwent due to decades of conflict.

Forty one (41) Sri Lanka academics issued a statement in 2016, where they drew attention to the ‘tremendous losses, suffering and trauma to which the citizen of the north and east were subject.’ We must remember that this war was fought against its own citizens and was the result of historical failures in state building, the statement said. It is necessary to acknowledge the loss, suffering and trauma of this war, they emphasized.  These educated persons seem to have forgotten that in a civil war fighting ‘against its own citizens’ was inevitable.  Also, it was the LTTE who initiated the war.

From victimhood, the Tamil civilians were then elevated to hero status. Some analysts chose to emphasize the victimhood of Tamils and from this to heroism and valor, observed Maunaguru. Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research has concocted a series of stories titled  ‘stories of resilience’. US Deputy Chief of Mission Martin Kelly visited a demining site in Vavuniya and spoke to several women de- miners. Clearing the deadly devices takes skill, patience, and bravery,” Kelly said. The women de-miners are performing a courageous service in rebuilding their communities.

The Tamil civilians were never ‘innocent victims’. That is nonsense. They supported the LTTE and they knew what they were doing. They spied for the LTTE .They watched the movements of the STF teams, and informed the LTTE. Tamil villages were hostile to   soldiers who entered them having lost their way. Soldiers avoided these villages.

The Tamil civilians were anti government from the beginning. In 1983 the Gajaba battalion was deployed to Jaffna for counter-terrorist operations.  We took in large number of youth for questioning, recalled Kamal Gunaratne.  Their parents and relatives used to come in large groups and start shouting and weeping outside the camps. They used to curse us   and ask us to release their children. I tried to console them only to have them come up to me and pull my uniform and hands whilst cursing and crying. I was continuously subject to curses. The other officers avoided them.

In 2009, in the last phase of the war, the Tamil civilians went to the war zone, to support the LTTE .Tamil civilians had readily travelled   towards the war zone, taking with them land deeds and personal belongings, including photo albums. Clearly, they were hoping to safely return home after this trip.

In 2010, photographer Cassie Machado photographed 14 burnt photo albums found at Mullaitivu at the battle site. These photographs were shown in a single frame at the exhibition titled ‘One hundred thousand small tales’ held in 2020 in the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Colombo

Cassie Machado 2010 burnt photograph albums,

The Tamil civilians voted against the sitting government at all three elections after the end of the War. The north voted for Sarath Fonseka against Rajapakse, In the Presidential election of 2010.    It voted for Maitripala Sirisena at 2015 presidential polls. They knew what they were doing. A Tamil woman was filmed speaking to President Sirisena.  She said in Sinhala it is we who voted you into power.”  (Derana news, 15.10.2017). Thereafter, the north voted against Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2019.

More than half the population  of Jaffna listed in the 1981 Census were low caste farmers. They have been an oppressed group for a long time, said R. Cheran. Their participation in mainstream political matters has always been marginal. The Tamil leadership did nothing to uplift them.  Tamil Separatist Movement and LTTE would have found it easy to brainwash them.

The Tamil civilians never handed the LTTE over to the army and never supported the government . They  ran to them for shelter in 2009 and then voted against them at the next three elections.  (Continued)

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