All we Tamils want is to live as equal citizens in peace

An open letter to TNA Leader

R. Sampanthan

Mr. Sambanthan’s recent statements disturbed me hence this letter; he is once again stirring up trouble for us who have chosen to live here and in Colombo. Sambanthan has pitched the very same positions as before the war; my understanding is that the war was fought to win for the Tamil people a separate State as the Sinhala people had never conceded anything to us after they grabbed it all with the Sinhala Only Act of 1956. The 13th Amendment to the Constitution was of course a part of the Indo-Lanka Agreement to settle the conflict, Unfortunately it was not implemented because of the war and also because the Sinhala majority government claimed that it was imposed by the Indians on what was a unitary state and that it was a stepping stone to Federalism and then to a Confederacy and finally to a separate state. The whole situation itself came about as a result of the Sinhala people refusing to concede to us equal rights as citizens of our country which is as much ours as it is theirs. It took a war to decide one part of the issue namely that we cannot win our demands through war we the Tamil people have suffered enough we wish to win our just rights by peaceful means and to be left alone to live our lives as equal citizens in peace and security.

But the TNA is demanding that the 13th Amendment which all politicians in the South have virtually rejected in its present form, be implemented fully. My inquiries reveal that the objection to Police powers being devolved is because the interference the police faces already with the politicians. My own people dread the day that a certain Tamil politician becomes Chief Minister in a Provincial Council with Police powers. I too agree that the Police must be under a national Commission headed by three retired Supreme Court Judges; we must have an absolutely independent Police Commission and there must be the other five Commissions as was envisaged in the now defunct 17th Amendment. To have such Commissions may be considered a nuisance by the President but it is most definitely in his own long term interest. Every Commission would also surely have at least two of his nominees who would also safeguard his interests which as a matter of fact should coincide with the national interest.

As for those who never condemned the LTTE for their terrorist attacks or when they killed our own people (including relatives of mine, all Vellalas killed by the Karavas). Do they condemn the killing of Amirthalingam, Yogeswaran, or Neelan Tiruchelvam, they also killed members of other Tamil groups. Did Mr. Sambanthan ever condemn a single terrorist act of the LTTE? NO. Did he ask the LTTE to release our brethren they were holding as a human shield towards the end of the war? And the last straw is him endorsing the Report of Ban ki- moon’s panel.

Quite natural it is for people in the West and their governments to have sympathy for the underdog whom they perceive as having been discriminated against. If the government truly wishes to put this horrific chapter in our history behind us, the government should reach out to us the Tamil people in a meaningful way and empower the people to enable us to have a say in our destiny both at the level of the village, the Division, District and Province and most of all at the Center where at least ten Ministries in a Cabinet of Thirty should be reserved for the minorities. All the communities of this country would then be able to say with one voice that we are all Sri Lankans and that we are one Nation.

We Tamils have suffered enough during the past decades, because of this problem — all we want is to live as equal citizens in peace with equal opportunities in this our country. T. KANDIAHs

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