Muslim political parties striking deals with TNA – how many remember Palliyagodella, Kattankudy and other LTTE massacre’s?
The ties between SLMC-LTTE-TNA are longstanding and raises how far ordinary Tamils and Muslims are aligned to the deals arrived at by these groups for personal gain which have nothing to do with any national or ethnic interests. The 2002 Prabakaran-Hakeem pow-pow is considered no different to the current discussions afoot to form a Tamil National Council. All these seals of joint cooperation comes with the knowledge that the SLMC and the ACMC are working with the very entities that annihilated entire Muslim villages changing the demography by bloodshed. The Muslims of all areas are in fact asked to take cognisance of the challenges that face the Muslims globally most of which are of their own making and to ask how much of which can be applied to Sri Lanka.
In April 2002 Prabakaran and Hakeem reached an amicable agreement after flying to LTTE Political Secretariat at Skanthapuram in Kilinochchi with a SLMC delegation. They were met by Prabakaran himself. The LTTE team comprised of Political Strategist Anton Balasingham, Political Wing Chief SP Thamilchelvan, Trincomalee special commander Col. Padhuman and Batticaloa - Amparai special commander Col. K Amman and Adele. SLMC comprised of Hakeem, SLMC Ministers Athaullah, Mohideen Abdul Cader, Basheer Segu Dawood, Noordeen Mashoor, senior SLMC Vice President Uduma Lebbe and additional propaganda secretary Mashoor Moulana. The LTTE had even arranged a halal meal prepared by a Muslim!
The Prabakaran Hakeem agreement included
· LTTE would not harass Muslim civilians in the North and East
· LTTE would not demand donations and taxes or abduct Muslims for ransom.
· Joint agreement that North-East was the traditional homeland of the Tamil speaking people and the Tamil linguistic homeland belonging to the Tamils as well as Muslims (though cultural differences were recognized) A shift from the original stance of ‘Tamils practising Islam’
· LTTE leader told Hakeem that displaced Muslims could return home (25,000 Muslims lingering in Puttalam refugee camps most of whom were farmers and fishermen living in hamlets)
· LTTE-Hakeem created a joint committee to coordinate and plan the return
· LTTE in fact went out of its way to restore the Jaffna mosque and arranged places to rest for visiting Muslims.
· LTTE also agreed to allow Muslim landowners in the east to visit paddy lands and livestock
The prima facie case for LTTE and Prabakaran to engage Hakeem was because he was the perfect man to ‘do business’ with and Hakeem’s actions and inactions were motivated by the ‘profit’ that would ensue personally to himself – just what the LTTE wanted.
If LTTE agreed in 2002 to allow Muslims to resettle in areas that they were chased out from why has the Muslim political parties and leaders not demanded the action of this agreement. Its 2014 – how many of the Muslims chased out by LTTE have been allowed to return to their ‘homes’ and how far have the Muslim leaders demanded the TNA to honor the agreement instead of striking other agreements that benefit the two politically?
It is also noteworthy to wonder how much of the 2002 Hakeem-Prabakaran tete-a-tete had anything to do with the 2003 Oluvil Declaration wherein the Muslims are seeking a separate Muslim state in the East. These demands call to mind the golden words of Anagarika Dharmapala in 1927 wherein he predicted just what the Tamils and Muslims are now demanding and also predicted that the Sinhalese if not awoken will end up in the sea!
Thus we have the Tamils seeking separation through the Vaddukoddai Resolution and the Muslims attempting to do the same via the Oluvil Declaration. Both seeking ‘traditional homelands’ ‘separate self-autonomy’ claiming ‘own identity, religion and culture’. With both seeking the same in the North and East it has been a shrewd endeavour for political parties of both ethnicities to carry out a dual campaign in a joint effort though we know the ultimate penultimate may end up a totally different plan altogether.
While all these conniving cunning plans are set into operation with assistance and support of notorious external factors, what needs to be said is that representatives of both minorities have managed to fool the Sinhala Buddhist politicians over the years into carrying a multicultural beacon. A country with a majority Buddhist population has not a single leader to declare he/she stands for the rights of Sinhala Buddhists while Muslim politicians and Muslims will rally behind Muslim demands, Tamil politicians and Tamils will rally behind Tamil demands! In fact Sinhala Buddhist politicians cringe when asked to even declare Sri Lanka is a predominantly Buddhist nation!
All these leaders are vying for political solutions using Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Buddhist, Hindu, Islam, Christian/Catholic tags to tap into the emotions of the masses but end up drawing up plans and plots only to fool the masses.
While the general public is aware of the ways of politicians, the voting public need to be far more intelligent than they are in considering who to vote for.
With the likelihood of more agreements between the minorities taking place it is good to revisit some of the massacres that the LTTE have committed to simply ask how short people’s memories are.
§ How many remember that 20,514 Sinhalese lived in the Jaffna peninsula as per 1971 census?
§ How many even want to find out what happened to these 20,514 Sinhalese by October 1987?
§ How many are aware that since 1984 over 400,000 Tamils have relocated to Colombo amongst Sinhalese when pro-LTTE propaganda claims Sinhalese are discriminating Tamils.
§ How many knows that the present Northern Provincial Chief Minister lived over 72 of the 75 year life in Colombo and now he complains he hears only Sinhalese language?
§ How many know that 54% of Tamils live outside of the Northern and Eastern regions while they claim to be seeking ‘traditional homelands’.
§ How many Muslims know that according to the 1981 Census the Muslim population was 50,831 while at the end of 2007 the Muslims in the North was 20,583.
§ How many Muslims know that 13,757 Muslims were living in Jaffna in 1981 and that number dwindled to 299 by end of 2007?
§ How many Muslims are aware that their own people were evicted from Jaffna in October 1990?
§ How many have been told that LTTE and selfish Tamil politicians created the ‘Tamil homeland’ theory ONLY AFTER ethnic cleansing of Sinhalese and Muslims from the North?
§ How many Muslims remember that their own people were given 48 hours warning to leave the North or face death?
§ How many Muslims have grieved the deaths of Muslims massacred from Trincomalee to Batticoloa?
The 1995 US State Department report declared that LTTE had expelled 46,000 Muslims from their homes in 1990. The same report declared that in October 1995 over 120 Sinhalese civilians were massacred by LTTE with swords and axes to provoke communal violence.
How many Muslims remember and wish to demand justice for the massacre of their own people:
1. 21 June 1990, Nintavur, Ampara District – 62 Muslims hacked to death
2. 05 Aug 1990, Kattankudy, Batticoloa District – 140 Muslims murdered while praying in the mosque and over 66 injured 25 small children butchered too.
3. 06 Aug 1990, Akkaraipattu, Batticoloa District – 40 Muslims murdered
4. 10 Aug 1990, Poovaikadu, Kalavaichanai, Batticoloa District – 127 Muslims murdered at the Saddam Hussein village and near Eravur
5. 15 Oct 1991 Palliyagodella and Alinchinnapotai in North Central Province (Polonnaruwa) where entire village of 172 Muslims was hacked to death when asleep
6. 1992 – Muslims given 24 hours to leave all parts of Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu districts or face death
LTTE did the same to the Sinhalese.
Nov 1984 – Kent Farm, Vavuniya – LTTE’s first attack on Sinhala villages
Nov 1984 – Dollar Farm, Vavuniya – LTTE’s first attack on Sinhala villages (over 70 Sinhalese killed in both farms)
May 1985 – 146 Sinhalese men, women and children massacred when they hijacked a bus and drove it to the sacred Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura firing at people in prayers.
Nov 1985 – Namalwatta, Morawewa, Trincomalee – 10 Sinhalese villagers shot dead
May 1986 – Mahadivulwewa, Trincomalee – 20 Sinhalese villagers shot dead and houses destroyed
June 1986 – Andankulam, Trincomalee – LTTE shoots 17 Sinhalese including Van, Bakamune Subaddalankara thero
Apr 1987 – Jayanthipura, Trincomalee – LTTE shoots 15 Sinhalese villagers
June 1987 – 35 Buddhist bhikkus travelling in a bus waylaid and butchered in Arantalawa
May 1995 – 42 Sinhalese men, women and children massacred in a fishing village, Kallarawa, Trincomalee
Sep 1999 – over 50 men, women and children hacked to death in Gonagala in Ampara district
While the list is longer the last attacks were in May 2006 first in Omadiyamadu, Welikanda and thereafter on 15 June 2006 in Kebithigollewa where 64 people including 15 school children and several pregnant women and a Bhikku were killed by the LTTE. Then on 3 August 2006, 3 schools in Muttur were bombed, on 5th and 12th April 2007 in Vavuniya LTTE killed 7 storming the village of Aralaganwila and Paleuruwa. On 5 Dec 2007, Kebithigollewa was again attacked when a massive bomb targeted a civilian bus killing 16. Thereafter on 16 Jan 2008 over 28 school children were massacred in Okkampitiya, Moneragala. The last was on 21 February 2009 in Kirimetiya, Ratmalgaha Ella in Inginiyagala Ampara when LTTE stormed a Sinhalese village and indiscriminately fired at a farming community killing 21. These LTTE massacres all fall within the period the UN is mandated to investigate.
While the Sinhalese race has been the majority indigenous race for centuries and can with evidence show that the Sinhalese language is rooted in Sri Lanka alone, Tamils have made their home from immigration from India while Muslims first came as traders and out of the generosity of the Sinhalese kings were given the right of stay – thus both minorities have no right to claim ‘traditional’ homeland.
Maybe it is a good time for the Sinhalese to establish entire Sri Lanka as their traditional homeland too!
Shenali D Waduge