Ummid Assistant

Applications open for Manmohan scholarship at Cambridge

Opportunities for Indian students in US

Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Views & Analysis

Myopic view of Sri Lanka won't help anyone

Friday March 22, 2013 11:48:25 AM, M.R. Narayan Swamy, IANS

Related Article

Tamil Jhatka

UNHRC adopts resolution against Sri Lanka, India votes in favour

India voted for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which was adopted  »

India will send 'resolute message' on Sri Lanka

Indian shadow on US resolution forced DMK's hand


After being silent on an issue of global importance for years, Congress president Sonia Gandhi spoke the bitter truth on Sri Lanka the other day. But she spoke, sadly, only half the truth.

Addressing her party MPs in New Delhi March 19, Gandhi accused Colombo of denying "legitimate political rights" to its Tamil minority. And then she used language not heard from an Indian leader in a long time: "We are anguished by reports of unspeakable atrocities on innocent civilians and children, especially during the last days of the conflict in 2009."

It may be that she was forced to say what she did due to domestic political compulsions; but her comments betrayed a truth that the Sri Lankan state, having crushed the LTTE, is increasingly uncomfortable with. Even those who initially thought that the charges against the Sri Lankan military were exaggerated have come to terms with the reality of what happened when the Tamil Tigers went down in a region crawling with helpless Tamil civilians.

Yet, knowingly or unknowingly, Gandhi spoke only a part of what happened in the first half of 2009 in Sri Lanka's north. The military blitzkrieg would never have been able to target so many civilians if the LTTE had not forced a mass of helpless Tamil civilians to stay put in the conflict zone in the hope that their presence as a human shield would slow down the escalating war.

Indeed, the Lok Sabha election of April-May 2009 played an unwitting role in the slaughter that took place in Sri Lanka. Wary that a possible Congress rout would lead to a new regime in New Delhi that would pressure Colombo to go slow, the Sri Lankan military was determined to vanquish the LTTE at the earliest - come what may.

At the same time, thanks to foolish advice from at least one Tamil Nadu politician that the Congress was on its way out, LTTE chief V. Prabhakaran dragged on a futile war, eventually losing everything he had and leaving the Tamil community in the lurch. It is significant that his death took place around the very days a new Congress-led government took office in New Delhi. The DMK was then - we know from the Niira Radia tapes -- angling for plum cabinet posts instead of shedding tears for Prabhakaran.

Equally important, the Sri Lankan war did not ignite passions in Tamil Nadu during the 2009 parliamentary elections. Neither the DMK nor the AIADMK made an issue of the brutal war. The one politician who did, and vocally, Vaiko, lost badly. So much for "Tamil sentiments"!

Why is Tamil Nadu angry now?

This is where Sri Lanka got it all wrong. When the war was raging, President Mahinda Rajapaksa pledged more than once to Indian leaders that he would embark on a path of genuine political reconciliation after the LTTE became history. Not only did he renege on the promise but his words and deeds since then have given a clear impression that for all practical purposes and intent he saw the LTTE defeat as a victory for the Sinhalese - his constituency -- over the Tamils.

With foresight, Rajapaksa could have publicly lamented the deaths of Tamil civilians in the war and announced financial compensation so that families in the war zone could start new lives. He was politically so powerful then that no one in Sri Lanka could have dared him if he had unveiled a new political path that would be genuinely pluralistic.

Instead, he chose to deny what everyone alleged - and which his own gloating soldiers recorded for posterity on their mobile phones. These were pictures of brutalities that would one day leak -- and become a huge liability. Even India's reluctant vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in 2012 (New Delhi repeated the vote Thursday) failed to wake up a glum Colombo, resulting in the street protests in Tamil Nadu. That this turbulence in Tamil Nadu can be counter- productive for Sri Lanka's beleaguered Tamil community is another story.


M.R. Narayan Swamy is a Sri Lanka watcher. The views expressed are personal and not of the organisation. He can be reached at





Home | Top of the Page


Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of

Comments powered by DISQUS


More Headlines

US lawmakers want hate crimes against Sikhs, Hindus tracked

Italian marines on way to India, face trial

10 million Indians want to move to US: poll

India's amendments not included due to lack of consensus: Khurshid

UPSC aspirants allowed to write exam in regional languages

Custom officials' role in 1993 blasts devastating, says SC

Women cabbies: We know how to handle mean men

Muslim Personal Law Board to meet in Ujjain on March 22

Farooq Abdullah to attend Bangladesh president's funeral

UNHRC's resolution watered down and useless: Karunanidhi

Rukshaks turn goons: Two Maharashtra legislators sent to police custody


Top Stories

Tamil Jhatka

UNHRC adopts resolution against Sri Lanka, India votes in favour

India voted for the US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), which was adopted  »

India will send 'resolute message' on Sri Lanka

Indian shadow on US resolution forced DMK's hand


  Most Read

SC upholds death for Yakub Memon, Sanjay Dutt's conviction

The Supreme Court Thursday upheld the death sentence of Yakub Abdul Razak Memon in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case and commuted the death sentence of 10 others. The apex   »

Dutt only foolish, not a terrorist: Counsel

Andhra Politics

Owaisi's Hindu candidate defeats a Muslim in Hyderabad by election

Struggling for an image makeover following Akbaruddin Owaisi's arrest in a hate speech case, All India Majlise Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) on Wednesday received a timely shot in arm when its women candidate from the Hindu  »


  News Pick

Interfaith Dialogue

Pope Francis I reaches out to Muslims, Jews

Pope Francis has promised to continue the Catholic Church’s “fraternal” dialogue with Jews and work with Muslims for the common good.  »

12 Model Degree Colleges, 57 Polytechnics approved in Muslim areas

"Under the scheme of establishment of 374 Model Degree Colleges in districts having a Gross Enrolment Ratio of Higher Education below the national average, 12 proposals were received and approved  »

New Delhi Budget

Sheila presents populist budget, no new taxes

With an eye to the Delhi assembly elections scheduled later this year, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Wednesday presented a Rs.37,450 crore budget for 2013-14 with a spate of schemes  »

Tamil Nadu Budget

No new taxes in revenue surplus budget

Presenting the budget for next fiscal, Panneerselvam said: "During 2013-14, we are projecting a revenue surplus of Rs.664.06 crore and a fiscal deficit of Rs.22,938.57 crore. This fiscal deficit  »


Picture of the Day

Chairperson National Advisory Council Mrs. Sonia Gandhi calling on the President of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Dr. Mohamed Morsy, in New Delhi on March 19, 2013.


Recommend the story to your friends



RSS  |  Contact us


| Quick links



Subscribe to

Ummid Assistant



Science & Technology



About us




Government Schemes










Contact us


The Funny Side

Education & Career Disclaimer | Terms of Use | Advertise with us | Link Exchange is part of the Awaz Multimedia & Publications providing World News, News Analysis and Feature Articles on Education, Health. Politics, Technology, Sports, Entertainment, Industry etc. The articles or the views displayed on this website are for public information and in no way describe the editorial views. The users are entitled to use this site subject to the terms and conditions mentioned.

© 2012 Awaz Multimedia & Publications. All rights reserved.