Leader – LTTE,
My Dear Thamby
THE ONLY WAY OPEN
It is very unfortunate that you had not replied any of my letters sent to you during the past three to four years. I do not expect a reply for this letter either but I will be satisfied if you would kindly take the trouble to read it carefully, although it may appear to be bitter. Please understand my concerns, for the Tamil Speaking people in particular and of all Sri Lankans in general. Since things seem to be going out of control, please take suitable remedial measures to bring back peace and tranquility to a suffering nation, with-out any further delay.
Some of the matters I am referring to here were not brought to your attention in any of my previous letters. The time has now come for you to take full responsibility for the present precarious condition in which our people live. Although unpalatable, please act with responsibility and caution, forgetting all what had happened in the past and work for a prosperous future of all the people of Sri Lanka. Like some others who project the LTTE as the sole representatives of the Tamil people, I will not do so because you are not considered by the Tamil people as such, mainly due to your ruthlessness. You know very well that you have earned the name as the most ruthless person in the world. Are you not aware that you are fast losing your credibility day by day, by causing terror and tension to the people. By your reign of terror you have silenced every Tamil voice except a few of which I am one. If you are not going to help to find a solution for the ethnic problem during my life time, you will never find one. Please give up your demand for separation and accept a federal solution within a United Sri Lanka, which will receive very wide support, surprisingly even from un-expected quarters.
Please permit me to bring back to your memory some incidents of the bitter past, not with a view to insult or embarrass you but to help to open the eyes of some who still think that the Tamils can be treated as second class citizens. This is contrary to the thinking of a large majority of the Sinhalese who are very fair and reasonable and want to live as equals with all the others.
People are changing day by day. Some come out with fantastic ideas and new theories. History is getting distorted. Some say that Portuguese brought Tamils to Jaffna to plant tobacco. Some even say that this land of ours belong only to the Sinhalese and only Sinhalese can live here. I am not going to stoop low to meet these arguments. It is enough for one to know that only 20 miles of Palk Strait separate Sri Lanka from Tamil Naadu in India where 60 million Tamils live. There are many who had swam across from Tamil Naadu to Jaffna and from Jaffna to Tamil Naadu and some of my classmates used to tell me that their brothers and close relatives got across to India after an early dinner in a country boat and returned before dawn after seeing an M.G.R. film. Further more the five Easwaran Temples Vishnu Devala in Devinuware and Lord Murugan at Kataragama are a few ancient temples existing from pre-historic times. I always look at our problem as a patriotic citizen of Sri Lanka and never as one who belongs to a particular community or group. That is patriotism!. By making any irresponsible statement I don’t want to provoke or insult any moderate Sinhalese and thereby aggravate the situation at a time when calm and patience is needed most to solve our problem.
Taking the passage of the Sinhala Only Act as the Starting Point, the ethnic problem is now 50 years old. There was absolutely no need for that new Law because all schools in Jaffna that had classes up to Senior, present day G.C.E(O/L) had graduates in their academic staff to teach Sinhala for Tamil students. You were either not born then or must have been a toddler. At that time the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and many other small groups lived in absolute peace and harmony with mutual love and respect for each other. Except over one minor incident relating to a temple festival in the South, that too long ago, communal riots was unheard of in our peaceful country. I don’t want even to mention as to who and who clashed at the time.
It is only the passage of the Sinhala Only Act that brought ruin to our country, where all communities lived peacefully. That too could have been saved if the remedial measures taken were not disrupted by some chauvinist forces which you find atleast in small numbers in almost every group all over the world. Left alone, under the renowned non-violent leader-ship of the Late Hon.S.J.V.Chelvanayagam Q.C. the newly formed alliance the T.U.L.F. would have sorted out the Tamil problem peacefully but it is you who aggravated the situation by taking drastic steps, never heard of in the history of Jaffna till that time. Things took a violent turn with your introduction of gun culture by gunning down the Late Hon. Mr. Alfred Duraiappah Ex-Mayor of Jaffna who became the M.P. for Jaffna by defeating the nominees of the two major political parties the All Ceylon Tamil Congress and the Federal Party led by two prominent Queen’s Councils the Late Hon. G.G.Ponnambalam and the Late Hon. S.J.V.Chelvanayagam. The only known crime Mr.Duraiappah committed was defeating the nominees of both the Leading Tamil parties in Jaffna. I wonder whether even you knew as to why you gunned down Mr. Alfred Duraiappah a popular political figure, while he was praying before Lord Vishnu at the Ponnalai Varadarajah Perumal Temple, another name for Lord Vishnu. People believe that the high toll of death and loss of properties among the Tamils were inflicted as retribution for assassinating Mr. Alfred Duraiappah right in front of the deity Lord Vishnu and for driving away the Muslims from the North, depriving them of all their possession and preventing them from taking even the ear-studs of Muslim kids. You should be held responsible for the deaths of over 70 thousand people of all faiths, of all age groups, of both sexes of all communities in Sri Lanka not only at the battle front but also in land and claymore mine attacks, hand grenade and bomb attacks and also massacres of innocent ones in buses, trains, etc. The Kepitigolawa and Aranthalawa massacres, attempt to sink the ship carrying 700 service personnel in mid-sea, the killing of the hundred odd Navy personnel going on leave and returning for duty and many other massacres in the Mosques etc. cannot be justified. What harm did the 31 innocent Buddhist Priests you slaughtered at Aranthalawa did to you? Can you cite one single incident of this nature in which a Sinhalese civilian got involved. Further more please take it for granted that up to now not one Tamil life was taken by any one of those so called Buddhist Sinhala Chauvinist although some talk irresponsibly. I am not unaware of the “Kumuduni” Ferry massacre, the Velanai, Suruvil and Mankumban incidents, and the mass burial of Tamils at Navatkuli by the forces. The Sinhalese civilians had never been implicated in any one incident of this nature but as far as the civilian killings are concerned your hands are bloody. The curse of the victims will not spare anyone responsible for these heinous crimes. That is why I say, “Let us now forget everything and turn over to a new leaf and earn the admiration of all Sri Lankans and the International Community, all of whom are yearning for peace”.
One of your most cruel actions was the assassination of the Ex-Prime Minister of India the Late Hon. Rajiv Gandhi with which you lost the support of all Indians. Those who still support you in India are only pretenders. The next thoughtless step was your decision to eradicate all the other Tamil groups without realizing that rightly or wrongly they came forward to fight for a cause like you and your cadre. You by being so selfish and greedy brought only ruin for yourself by hunting for them and thereby lost the public support that you had, if any. By your latest action you have made things worse. Please do not expect any government to help you or to supply you with equipment for aerial attacks. As far as I am concerned your attack can only be taken as an air-display and not as a serious aerial attack. You are only tightening your noose by engaging in such activities and also earning the wrath of the International Community, which will never give any support to strengthen you.
I now wish you to cry halt to everything and look-back at your achievements. Please assess for yourself the damage you and your cadre had caused to your own people and to the country as a whole in various ways. I will deal only with a few matters, may be just a fraction and leave the rest for your guess. The following list, with my comments, should open not only your eyes but also the eyes of those who want to keep the issue dragging without finding a reasonable and immediate solution, whether they are from the Government or the opposition side. As for the ordinary people they all want peace at any price.
I have a special purpose in writing this lengthy letter to you. I do not imagine that the average Sinhalese, having come to know the shabby and the degrading manner in which your cadre had been treating the Tamils and the Muslims for almost quarter of a century, will expect them to be satisfied with a half baked solution which will never bring permanent peace for them and instead leave it open for further agitation in the future too. I am sure the Sinhalese will struggle hard to solve the problem once and for all, to the satisfaction of the minorities, under a Federal System within a United Sri Lanka, since no relief had been found for over fifty years in a Unitary Constitution.
I was present in Parliament in 1970 when the tragic decision to standardize marks for the admission of students to the Universities was taken, which prevented a large number of qualified Tamil students from getting admitted to the prestigious courses like Medicine and Engineering. The charge was that entry of large number of Tamil students would be out of proportion to their ethnic composition. This being an unjustifiable move, it precipitated a lot of heartburn among the Tamil students that ultimately turned out to be the immediate cause for all the evils of today. However the next Government in 1977 successfully introduced a new scheme to the satisfaction of students of all ethnic groups but it was too late. This was between 1970 and 1972. What is happening today?. Are Tamil children allowed to attend school regularly by your cadre. Last year during the 1st term the children lost about 27 school days why?. They are being used off and on for demonstrations, hartals, and to antagonize the forces by defying them, casting insulting remarks, throwing stones at them etc. We should realize that we do not have Gandhis in our forces to observe non-violence. Much more can be said but I leave it at that and conclude by saying that admission of Jaffna students to Universities on merit basis have reduced considerably and it is a shame that some batches of students take ten years to complete their course due to the compulsions they had to cut classes and attend demonstrations and hartals. Where do the Tamils stand in Education after 35 years of constant struggle. Are you not aware that over 200 school going children had been handed over to the H.R.C. for safe keeping in Jaffna today to save them from being recruited as child-soldiers.
2. INTELLECTUALS, ACADEMICS GOVERNMENT AGENTS AND GOVERNMENT SERVANTS OF ALL RANKS, ENGINEERS, DOCTORS HEADS OF SCHOOLS, TEACHERS ETC.
In the history of the ethnic issue of fifty years can you give one instance in which any one person of the above category was ever killed by the Government forces or by any Sinhalese or Muslims. Contrary to that such killings were by your own cadre. To mention a few, a Medical College Lecturer Mrs.Rajani Theranagama, Principal Jaffna St.John’s College Mr.Anandarajah, Principal Central College Mr.Rajadurai, Government Agents Mr.Mcbool, Mr.Panchalingam and Mr.Gnanachandran and hundreds of others. Why did you allow them to be killed?.
3. BUILDING MATERIALS - K.K.S. CEMENT FACTORY
All the building materials required were available at our door-step in Jaffna. Cement Factory at K.K.S. produced cement much more than required to meet the local requirements and a large quantity was sent regularly to the south and to other parts of the country. How many thousands of lives depended on it for their survival?. What happened to the Factory?. The employees have become paupers and their families suffered a lot. When hundreds of thousands of Tamils were working in the south amongst the Sinhalese you go and gun down the Sinhalese Production Manager Mr.Bogolagama which resulted in the closing down of the factory. A bag of cement that cost less than 100 rupees then now cost about Rs.1000.00. How many crores of rupees will be needed now to rebuild a factory like that?.
4. ASBESTOS CEMENT INDUSTRIES OF PUNNALAIKADDUVAN
This factory had been producing asbestos roofing sheets and could have met the local requirements. Where is it now?. What is the difference in price between now and then. How much will be needed to re-establish a factory like that?. What did you gain by destroying that factory?.
An important requirement for building construction is sand, available in large quantities sufficient to last for several generations at Kudathanai, Amban, Manalkadu, Nagar Kovil etc. It is entirely in the Government’s cleared areas. Are you not aware that one University student who loaded his Tractor trailer with sand for his personal use was burnt alive with his trailer by your cadre which incident his university colleagues pretended to be not knowing anything about it. Why?. Because they don’t dare to demonstrate against you. If you allow normalcy to return to the North the cost of building a house will be much less than 20% of what it now costs.
6. INDUSTRIAL ESTATE.
There were 36 units at the Atchuvely Industrial Estate, producing varieties of items including materials required for buildings, etc. You removed the Lathe Machines, Motors and also cut and removed all parts of the 36 Units. Not one was spared. How much will be needed to re-establish another Industrial Estate?. How many people were employed in these factories then?.
7. PARANTHAN CHEMICALS CORPORATION.
This Factory in Paranthan gave employment to over 1000 people and several thousand mouths were fed. Today it is difficult to trace even the site in which it was located. More than 100 officer’s quarters are in ruins. How many crores of rupees are needed to put up a factory like that now?. Why din’t you prevent its destruction?.
8. TILE FACTORY AT ODDISUDAN AND ILMENITE FACTORY AT PULMODDAI.
What happen to these factories and their employees?.
9. SALTERN AT ELEPHANT PASS.
This Saltern could produce the entire requirements of the country. With the extension work that was in progress we would have been exporting salt. Now every-thing had been abandoned with all the infra-structure washed off. How much money will be required to re-start the three salterns at Elephant Pass, Navatkuli and Kallunda. How many employees were thrown out of employment, you may not know.
10. THE ECONOMY OF JAFFNA WAS COMPLETELY DESTABILIZED BY YOU AND YOUR CADRE.
From my house at Kilinochchi on the A.9 road I used to count 60 to 70 lorries speeding to Colombo with their loads of fish, vegetables, grapes, plantains etc every night and a similar number to Jaffna with varieties of goods from Colombo. Your keeping the A.9 closed to traffic completely destabilized the economy of Jaffna. Sea foods and vegetables did not fetch good price. The people of Jaffna were virtually starving. The C.F.A. brought some relief for them which too has now stopped. Your illegal taxes increased the cost of production and imported goods were much cheaper in the Market than those produced in Jaffna. They hardly get any income these days, because they were compelled to stop production.
11. TRAIN SERVICE.
Everyday we had five trains to Colombo and five from Colombo of which three were express trains and one was the mail train. On Saturdays we had an extra air conditioned coach. Sleeperettes and berths were available in every train and journey to Jaffna took only seven to eight hours. Today there are no trains to Jaffna and journey to Jaffna takes more than one full day by ship. Your cadre had completely removed the rails, sleepers and metal on the main line to a distance of 160 Km and about fifty km on the Thalaimanar track. The Indian Government was generous enough to re-lay these lines by air-lifting the materials required but today once again nothing is left on the tracks. Letters that reached their destination within 24 hours are today rotting in the mail room in Vavuniya for months. This is what you have done to the people. Every-thing was removed from the rail tracks for the construction of bunkers for your cadre.
12. SUSPENSION OF FERRY SERVICE TO INDIA.
You must take full responsibility for the suspension of the ferry service to India which I am sure will never be re-installed again. A trip to Chennai which cost less than 300 rupees then, now cost you 20,000 rupees. Thanks to your cadre.
13. PLANE SERVICE TO TRICHIRAPALLY IN INDIA.
We had regular flights from Colombo to Palay and from Palaly to Trichirapally in India. By this time Palaly would have become an International Airport. Thanks to your cadre for disrupting this service which I am sure we will never enjoy again.
Almost 80% of Jaffna including Kilinochchi, Mullaitheevu and Mankulam had electricity. You did not spare a single electricity post all of which were removed broken and the reinforcements used for the construction of bunkers. Telegraph posts also met with the same fate. For several years you deprived the people and the farmers of their electricity and allowed them to suffer. Please tell me whether you ever lived without electricity even in your bunkers and how much inconvenience you caused to the people.
Atleast now realize the amount of harassments, embarrassments, mental-tortures and humiliations you caused to the people whom you say that you represent. Apart from the loss of lives and damage to property you had caused to the people for over quarter of a centaury, what good have you done to your people. They faced only misery.
I as Member of Parliament for the Kilinochchi Electorate got the entire electorate carved out from the Jaffna District to form the District of Kilinochchi. I lived and grew with the people of Kilinochchi. I developed their education. It is due to my untiring efforts you find Doctors, Engineers and Graduates in large numbers in Kilinochchi from where not one student entered the University till it was made a separate District. I had my own plans for its development. I was their Village Council Chairman and later become Chairman of the Kilinochchi Town Council and finally as their Member of Parliament. I taught at Poonakari Maha Vidyalayam. I knew most of the people by their names. I knew each and every nook and corner of the Kilinochchi Electorate and knew the location of each school. What have you done for the people of Kilinochchi?. You deprived them of their voting rights, deprived them of a good Member of Parliament and a social worker for whom Kilinochchi was his life. You have sown landmines all over Kilinochchi and made thousands lose their lives and limbs. You gave me only 187 votes in the electorate which I won with a majority of over 11,000 votes defeating a Minister.
We had in Kilinocchchi bi- weekly fair where products from all parts of Jaffna were brought for sale. Sinhala Traders from all parts of Sri Lanka came in their thousands with their products to sell. The people of Kilinochchi were flourishing. What is now left there are ruins and land mines planted all over. You have given them a rule behind the iron curtain. They had been deprived of their fundamental rights and democratic rights. Their human rights had been very seriously eroded. You are treating them as slaves. You have detention camps, and darkroom chambers where people are tortured for even trivial offences. What right you or your cadre have to torture them?. Who gave you permission to do so?. It is with the power of guns you are ruling them. Many people had been killed during your torture. You have sent your children abroad for higher education, while children of poor parents are compelled to send their children to join your fighting cadre. The people will never pardon the countries that had given facilities for the children of the LTTE leaders to study abroad. The whole world talks about human rights violations in Sri Lanka. If there are such allegations against the Government or against any group, it is their business to clear their name. But I would like to know why the International Community is not taking any notice of the conscriptions, abductions, killings and such other human rights violations that are taking place in abundance, under your subjugation, about which I had been repeatedly complaining during the last few years
You have some paid agents or agents who enjoy many benefits through you for lobbying among the British Parliamentarian and of the European Union. Why did it not strike them that they should visit not only Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu but also many other areas under the control of the LTTE in the North and the East to see for themselves as to what is happening there and how people are being treated. There had been a number of instances in which parents who had taken serious objection to their children getting recruited by the LTTE, assaulted and killed. Some had even committed suicide protesting against conscription. Most children are living in hiding and such children had been hunted for by your cadre and taken away by force during nights. If the International Community cannot have access to your areas can’t they at least bring pressure on you to open your gates to let the people, dissatisfied with you, to escape. Ask your foreign agents in Europe, Nordic countries and from Canada and America to return to your Head Quarters without misleading the International Community. The people whom you have under your subjugation want to be free. They want their children to see the outside world. Their children had not even seen or travelled by train. They had not seen a Sinhalese or a Muslim person. They do not have any entertainment. Why should you keep them under your subjugation denying them all their rights?. You are imposing restrictions on their travels, on their marriages, on their education, and on their way of living.
You have a set of proxy Members of Parliament whose only duty is to glorify you and to speak only on your behalf. Most of the Tamil Media both print and electronic, not only in Sri Lanka and in India but all over the world also, glorify you and your cadre. No one dares to write or say one word against you. They hardly write the truth and mostly engage in demeaning writings against those who do not support you or your cadre.
It is not my intention to ridicule you or to expose you. I want you to improve and mend your ways. You know fully well that Tamil Eelam is not achievable or feasible. Neither the International Community nor India will ever allow it. It is not possible without their concurrence. Hence forget about it. You can’t make the people believe that Tamil Eelam is achievable. Those who are acting as your agents and claiming to be promoting your cause are not genuine persons. They do it as a business for personal gains. They give the best of education for their children and are leading lavish lives abroad. It is the same with the Tamil Naadu politicians who support you. The few British Parliamentarian who support you don’t do so out of conviction but only with selfish intentions of getting Tamil votes. They must learn from their colleagues who have a better knowledge of the happenings in Sri Lanka.
Scope for employment in both the Public and the Private Sectors is becoming more and more limited for the Minorities. After 50 years of non-violent agitation and about 25 years of armed struggle we are now back to square one. The economy of the Tamils and the Muslims is in shambles. Lack of transport facilities and excessive taxation on the A.9 road by you brought agriculture and fisheries to a grinding halt. Disruption of electricity supply and destruction of factories and the Industrial Estate also brought industry to an end, leaving the people at the mercy of the Government’s Social assistance. Without much recruitment of Minorities to the Public Service, it is being run mostly with retired officers on extension. You have also successfully prevented recruitment of Tamil Officers for the Army, Navy, Air Force and the Police by your threats. In a situation like this what do you expect the Tamil speaking people to do?.
Knowing fully well that Tamil Eelam is only a day-dream why are you unnecessarily causing the death of more and more people and creating more and more widows, and orphans whether they are Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims or people of other ethnic groups and causing destruction to private and public property. Considering all what I had said why don’t you agree to accept a Federal Solution within a United Sri Lanka by declaring to give up the demand for separation. If you do so I am sure that a large majority of the Sinhalese and many others will fully support you. The Indians too will back you and the International Community will pressurize the Government to agree for a Federal Solution. I know the thinking of the Sinhalese people. If you agree for such a solution even those who now oppose a Federal Solution will certainly reconsider their position.
Please sit down peacefully for a short while and total up the financial losses you have caused to both the people and the Government by your destructive activities. You will be shocked to know that the value of the destruction you caused is sufficient enough to re-construct the infra-structure the country needs, the high-ways and motor-ways, schools, factories and many other activities and also to provide employment for all the unemployed in the country. Aids from various countries will flow in. We will have a fully contended society with every-one loving and respecting each other in a newly found paradise. Further-more you will certainly be given a proper share in the Administration so that you can fulfill your dreams the way you want by peaceful means within a United Sri Lanka. Above all our people scattered all over the world will come back with the wealth they have acquired to help to build a new nation.
The intention of writing this letter to you is also to open the eyes of the Sinhalese brothers who do not understand the real hardships the Tamils underwent these many years apart from the immense loss of life and property they sustained.
President – TULF.