"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
 
- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Selected Writings by Nadesan Satyendra
- நடேசன் சத்தியேந்திரா

The Chunnakam Massacre

15 April 1984

"The murder of Tamil civilians in March 1984, in the busy market town of Chunnakam, in the Jaffna peninsula, by personnel of the Sri Lanka airforce was an open and blatant violation of the humanitarian law of armed conflict. The attempted coverup by the newly appointed Sinhala Sri Lanka National Security Minister and ex Oxford Union President, Lalith Athulathmudali showed the complicity of a government which had blood on its hands."

This article first appeared as a Special Focus published by the Tamil Information Centre, London in April 1984. It was later published in the first issue of 'Tamil International' in July 1984. The facts relating to the massacre were obtained from affidavits furnished to the Tamil Information Centre by the relatives of those killed in Chunnakam.


President Jayawardene, in his now famous interview with Ian Ward of the Daily Telegraph, in July 1983, had many things to say. Apart from his oft quoted statement that he could not think of the lives of the Jaffna people or their opinions, he also declared:

"The more you put pressure in the north, the happier the Sinhala people will be here.. Really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy."

President Jayawardene also wondered aloud whether the Government should not do that which the British had done in Malaysia. President Jayawardene was speaking to a British journalist, and as always he suited his words to his audience. After all a British journalist would be more receptive to a British way of doing things. But President Jayawardene's Minister of Industries, Cyril Mathew was somewhat more explicit:

"Terrorism cannot be stopped and has never been stopped by means of the law. Terrorism has been stopped by terrorism. In no other way is it possible.."

The intent of the declaration made by President Jayawardene and his Government was clear. The Government of Sri Lanka was set on the path of terrorism. The legitimating propaganda was that 'terrorism must be stopped by terrorism'. But what was the nature of the so called 'terrorism' which the Government of Sri Lanka sought to eradicate? The factual position appears from a report published by the International Commission of Jurists in March 1984. It said:

"..the scale and size of terrorism in Sri Lanka is not such as to constitute a public emergency threatening the life of the nation.. and so does not justify measures permanently derogating from the rights guarantied by the Covenant.. In particular, the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1979 infringes many of Sri Lanka's obligations under the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights...and some of its provisions would be an ugly blot on the statute book of any civilised country...if terrorism is to be contained or eliminated the legitimate expectations of the Tamil community must be met.."

But clearly, the Government of Sri Lanka was no longer concerned with the lives or the opinion of the Tamil people, leave alone their 'legitimate expectations'. It seemed to believe that state terrorism was the answer to the Tamil national question. In March 1984 and in the succeeding weeks, the Sinhala army moved into Tamil areas in the North and East of Sri Lanka in increased strength.

A new army commander was appointed. The Government insisted that all Tamils should carry identity cards. Tamils were taken into custody as hostages. The army shot at random in Chunnakkam, a busy market town in the North of Sri Lanka and in urban Jaffna as well. More than 200 Tamils young middle aged and old, were killed.

The Guardian in England reported on 17 April:

"Most of the dead are admitted to have been passers by, shot at random by vengeful infantrymen. They reportedly included men and women in their sixties...when the security services cannot find known suspects, they detain their fathers or brothers.."

The Government sought to legitimise its actions by claiming that it was attacking 'terrorists'. Ex Oxford Union President, Lalith Athulathmudali, was appointed National Security Minister and his pronouncements were in the style of Hitler's propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels who said in the 1930s:

"Propaganda does not have anything to do with truth. We serve truth by serving a German victory"

It would seem that Minister Athulathmudali seeks to serve truth by serving the cause of Sinhala state terrorism. In an interview reported in the Sri Lanka Island, appropriately enough, on the 1st of April, Minister Athulathmudali said, with reference to the killings in Chunnakkam on the 28th of March:

"According to the information I have received, the Air Force men were fired on by terrorists who were on the roofs of some buildings. The servicemen fired back. Unfortunately, while terrorists were killed, there was also the death of a lady who had been marketing. She had been accidentally hit by a stray bullet. The first reports to the media were that the Air Force had shot at the crowd. The events in Jaffna last week were blown out of all proportions."

Ex Oxford Union President, Lalith Athulathmudali was not without the skills of an undergraduate debater. To ex Oxford Union President Athulathmudali it was all a question of the events in Jaffna being 'blown out of all proportions.' It would appear that certain appropriate proportions should be maintained when air force personnel are accused of killing civilians. But, perhaps more appropriately, what are the facts ?

According to Minister Athulathmudali, bullets directed at roof tops, somehow started 'straying' downwards. The air force men fired at terrorists on roof tops and they fired with such accuracy, that the bullets 'strayed' and hit a lady who was marketing at ground level. Though Minister Athulathmudali's statement was reported in the Sri Lanka Island newspaper on the 1st of April, he was not relating an April Fool joke. But this was not all. Minister Athulathmudali who is a lawyer by profession, stated rather disingenuously:

"Unfortunately, while terrorists were killed, there was also the death of a lady who had been marketing"

Lawyer Athulathmudali deliberately led his listeners to infer that apart from the lady 'who had been marketing', the others who were killed were terrorists. But who were these so called terrorists who were killed on that fateful day at Chunnakkam?

One of those who were killed on the 28th of March at Chunnakkam was 22 year old Krishnandan who was employed as an operator at Nathan Brothers at Chunnakkam and he was shot whilst at his work place at ground level. Was he a terrorist, Mr. National Security Minister? And was Krishnandan also killed by a bullet which was directed at the roof tops and which 'strayed' downwards?

Krishnandan was the sole bread winner of his family. He supported his elderly father, who is a T.B. patient, and his mother. He supported two unmarried sisters and a brother who was 13 years old. Does that concern you, Mr. Minister?

Another who was killed at Chunnakkam was 53 year old Kandiah Balasubramaniam who worked as a watcher at the Jaffna Railway Station. He was shot at Chunnakkam on the morning of the 28th of March, whilst on his way to work. was he also a terrorist, Mr. National Security Minister? And was Kandiah Balasubramaniam also killed by a bullet which 'strayed'?

Does it concern you, Mr. Minister, that Kandiah Balasubramaniam was the sole bread winner of a family of five daughters, aged 21, 19, 17, 13, and 8 years and one disabled son who was ten years old?

Another of the dead was 27 year old Nadarajah Yogarajah who helped his brother in the family store at Chunnakkam and who was shot whilst standing in front of the shop. Was he also a terrorist, Mr. National Security Minister? And was Nadarajah Yogarajah also killed by yet another bullet which was directed at the roof tops but somehow 'strayed'? Not only the Tamils of Sri Lanka, but the Tamils the world over would like to know your views Mr. Minister.

And does it concern you, Mr. Minister that Nadarajah Yogarajah leaves behind him a 60 year old mother and an unmarried sister?

Another of the dead was 42 year old Vairavi Thiagarajah, who had left his home at Market Lane, Chunnakkam, that morning to buy some firewood and milk powder for his infant twins. He did not return home. He was shot dead in the shop whilst he was purchasing milk powder. Was this man also a terrorist, Mr. National Security Minister? And was Vairavi Thiagarajah killed by a bullet which 'strayed' into a shop selling milk powder?

And does it matter to you, Mr. Minister, that Vairavi Thiagarajah leaves behind a widow aged 36 years, a son aged 12 years, a daughter aged 6 years and twins aged 4 months? Or is it that you and your Government feel that this is the price that the Tamil people should pay for their struggle to be free from a continuing oppression?

Another of those killed was 68 year old Vallipuram Sinnathurai who was a vendor of vegetables at the Chunnakkam public market. He was shot dead whilst selling vegetables and his body was eventually brought back home in a bullock cart. Was Vallipuram Sinnathurai also a terrorist, Mr. National Security Minister?

And was Vallipuram Sinnathurai also killed by a 'straying' bullet - a bullet directed at the roof tops but which somehow found its way into the Chunnakkam public market, and 'accidentally' killed a vegetable seller at ground level. Does it concern you, Mr. Minister, that Vallipuram Sinnathurai leaves behind his widow Ponnama who has no one to support her?

Yet another who was killed was 37 year old Thambimuttu Suntharalingam. He was a street hawker who used to supply vegetables and on the morning of the 28th of March he left home by cycle to go to the Chunnakkam market. He did not return. He was shot at Chunnakkam. Was Thambimuttu Suntharalingam also a terrorist, Mr. National Security Minister? And was he also killed by yet another 'stray' bullet? And does it concern you, Mr. Minister that Thambimuttu Suntharalingam's widow must now look after her aged parents, who live with her, and her 4 year old son and twins aged one year and eight months. Does it concern you that this widow is herself a T.B. patient?

Another who was killed at Chunnakkam was Kathiravelu Kanesh who had accompanied his uncle, Suppiah Balasubramaniam, to Chunnakkam. his uncle went as usual, on that day, to read palms at the Chunnakkam market. Kathiravelu Kanesh was shot whilst at the Chunnakkam market. Was Kathiravelu Kanesh, who accompanied his uncle, who was a palm reader, was Kathiravelu Kanesh a terrorist on a roof top, Mr. National Security Minister? And was he also killed by a 'stray' bullet? And does it matter to you, Mr. Minister, that Kathiravelu Kanesh left behind a widow who is six months pregnant and who must now fend for herself?

And so, Mr. Minister, this was not a day when merely one bullet, which was directed at the roof tops somehow 'strayed' downward and killed a lady at ground level. That would have been curious enough. But as Alice remarked in Wonderland, the story becomes curiouser and curiouser. It was not even a day of two straying bullets. It was not even a day of three or four or five or six or seven straying bullets. It would seem that all the bullets fired on that day at terrorists on roof tops, somehow 'strayed' downwards and killed people at ground level.

In fact, Mr. National Security Minister, we all know, do we not, that it was not a day of straying bullets at all. We all know do we not, that the persons who were killed at Chunnakkam on that day, were not terrorists but were persons who were there on legitimate business of their own.

The bullets fired by the air force at Chunnakkam did not stray. Like all good bullets, they went in the direction they were fired. On 28 March 1984 the Sri Lankan Air Force exhibited their prowess and their bravery and fired at random in the busy market town of Chunnakkam with intent to kill and terrorise civilian Tamils.

And if these eight persons who were killed at Chunnakkam as a result of the shooting on the 28th of March were not terrorists, who were the so called 'terrorists' who were killed on that day? Because, the official communiqué of the Sri Lankan Government stated that only seven persons were killed by the shooting.

The truth is self evident. The air force did not kill any terrorist at Chunnakkam on that day because in fact, there were no terrorists in Chunnakkam on that day. The air force did not fire at the roof tops because there were no terrorists on the roof tops in Chunnakkam on that day. The Sri Lankan air force committed murder and National Security Minister Lalith Athulathmudali sought to insult the intelligence of the world by seeking to narrate the story of the mysterious case of 'The Straying Bullets'.

Francis Whelan commented in the London Times on 7 May 1984:

"..In the past two months at least 100 Tamils in the northern province of Jaffna have been killed by security forces. The official explanation is that these people were all 'terrorists', but this is contradicted by the accounts of every independent observer who has visited Jaffna. One typically disturbing incident occurred on the 28th of March, when air force personnel opened fire in the market place at Chunnakkam, a town about 8 miles outside Jaffna. Eight Tamils were shot dead and 22 others were wounded...

If the victims were really terrorists, one might expect that fact to come out at the inquest into the deaths. However no inquest will be held into the killings in Chunnakkam market place, nor into any of the other recent deaths of Tamil civilians. This is because of a rule called Emergency Regulation 15A which was introduced last June and which allows the security to dispose of any dead body as they see fit, without post mortem or inquest.

The International Commission of Jurists (in their report of March 1984) is particularly scathing about Regulation 15A arguing that it is bound to be regarded as a 'deliberate device for covering up murder'. But President Jayawardene will not repeal it; rather, he and his new Minister of National Security, Lalith Athulathmudali, actually intend to strengthen the emergency rules. One of the new rules would effectively do way with the right of habeas corpus, which according to an official spokesman ' the Government considers as an unnecessary exercise.'"

The massacre at Chunnakkam marked the beginning of the Malaysian style operation which President Jayawardene had wondered about in July 1983 and it is therefore something more than a stray interest that leads us to inquire as to what President Jayawardene had in mind when he referred to a 'Malaysian' type solution. What was it that was done in Malaysia?

In 1948, the British launched a campaign to counter a communist insurgency in Malaysia. It was an insurgency which was confined to sections of the Chinese in Malaysia. The British campaign lasted several years. The back of the insurgency was broken by 1957. The communist insurgency failed but the Malaysian national liberation struggle succeeded and the British handed over power to an independent Malaysia in July 1957.

Robert Thompson, who served as adviser to the campaign, has written of his experiences in a publication on Studies in International Security. That which he has written is relevant and revealing. He says:

"...the first requirement is an identity card system throughout the country.. this makes it easy to check absentees and visitors...Dusk to dawn curfews outside hamlets should be imposed and strictly enforced. Bulk supplies of food and other articles of value should be convoyed between towns and villages and no individual should be allowed to take such articles outside the hamlet...Check points should be established to enforce all these regulations, and snap checks should be carried out on all roads, rivers and tracks ..

There are many who will criticise the harshness of the measures which may have to be used. This is a mistaken attitude. What the peasant wants to know is: Does the government mean to win the war? Because if not, he will have to support the insurgent. The government must show it is determined to win. Only in that way will it instil the confidence that it is going to win...The blame for the harshness of the measures can be placed squarely on the insurgent...There should be in the whole of the government's approach an adroit and judicious mixture of ruthlessness and sympathy.."

Robert Thompson was frank and clinical. He continued:

"As an example of a ruthless measure it is worth quoting the case of a village in Malaya of about 3000 inhabitants. This was a very bad area...Having given the inhabitants a choice between the government and the communists, and having failed to make any headway by appealing to or persuading them to cooperate, the government surrounded it with several battalions at dawn one morning and moved the whole village out.

Everyone in it, men, women and children, went into detention. All the houses were razed to the ground and crops destroyed. This did not cause a public outcry because the effectiveness of the result...silenced all criticism."

And, so we begin to have some understanding of President Jayawardene's "Malaysian" type answer to the Tamil national question. It would seem that ex Oxford Union President and new Minister for National Security, Lalith Athulathmudali, is co-ordinating a Malaysian style operation in Jaffna with 'an adroit mixture of ruthlessness and sympathy' - ruthlessness in deed and sympathy in word. In the interview reported in the Island, Minister Athulathmudali said:

"Q. Can you tell me one country where tough measures have arrested terrorist activities?

A. One of the best examples is Malaysia where there was a fight against Communist infiltrators and commandos. The Malaysians won.

Q. But that was against Communists?

A. Yes, but the majority of these terrorists are trained in Marxist ideology. So it is the same format."

However, events and time will prove that President Jayawardene's 'Malaysian' type solution will turn out to be counter productive - because despite Minister Athulathmudali's assertion, the 'format' is not the same.

The insurgency in Malaysia was communist in origin and it was confined to a section of the Chinese people. The British successfully prevented the insurgency from developing into a national liberation struggle by promising and then granting independence to Malaysia in 1957, with the Malays and Chinese sharing power.

This was the major political plank of the campaign and it was this which was crucial to its success. The British left Malaysia. If they had sought to continue to rule in Malaysia, the insurgency would have developed into a full fledged national liberation struggle to oust the foreigner from the soil of the people. This was the political lesson of the Malaysian campaign.

It was a lesson which British Adviser, Robert Thompson, presumably, did learn when he went to South Vietnam in 1961, after his successful completion of his tour of duty in Malaysia. In Vietnam, the tough approach resulted in the strengthening of the liberation movement - it led to a marriage of Marxism and nationalism and this has often proved to be a potent mix in the developing Third World.

In Sri Lanka, the struggle of the Tamil people is a struggle to be free from a continuing Sinhala oppression. It is a national liberation struggle and so long as the Sinhala Government has no intention of relinquishing its rule, the struggle will continue. Every act of Sinhala "ruthlessness" will have the result of increasing the togetherness of the Tamil people and will confirm them in their belief that they are being oppressed by a foreign army and a foreign government.

President Jayawardene and his Government are bent on teaching the Tamil people, in the crucible of immediate experience, something which John Stuart Mill said many years ago in 1872, 'soldiers to whose feelings the people are foreigners, will have no more scruple in mowing them down, and no more reason to ask the reason why, than they would have in doing the same thing against declared enemies'.

President Jayawardene and his Government are engaged in a 'Malaysian style' military operation, without the Malaysian style political solution. Unlike the British, the Sri Lankan Government has no intention of recognising the existence of the Tamil nation, leave alone granting freedom to the Tamil people.

The Sri Lankan Government has failed to offer any meaningful political solution to the Tamil national question. Minister Lalith Authulathmudali paid lip service to the question of a political answer. He said on the 1st of April:

"I believe in a political solution. I believe that every man, woman and child must believe and work for a political solution through non-violent means."

The rhetoric of ex Oxford Union President Lalith Athulathmudali was suspect for more than one reason. He and his Government were engaged in a planned attack on the Tamils which found its most open expression in July and August 1983, when thousands of Tamils were killed by persons identified as henchmen of leading Ministers and when the Government of Sri Lanka secured that the army and the police would look the other way whilst the grim deed was done.

It was a holocaust which has led to a demand by the Tamil people, in many lands for an independent international inquiry into the allegations of murder and arson against the Government of Sri Lanka. Minister Athulathmudali speaks on behalf of a Government which has blood on its hands. But, be that as it may, what was the nature of the political solution which the Government of Sri Lanka had in mind and which Minister Athulathmudali did not spell out in his interview on the 1st of April?

President Jayawardene declared in a magazine interview on the 7th of April 1984:

" How can I say I want Regional Councils when everybody else is against them?...I am a prisoner, not of any particular group but a prisoner of circumstances, law, the constitution and the political parties. I cannot throw my weight about and say: do this, do that. I am not a dictator"

These were the words of President Jayawardene, who had, deprived his chief Sinhala political rival, Mrs.Bandaranaike, of her civic rights, soon after he assumed power in 1977, and who had in 1982, secured the extension of the life of the Sri Lankan Parliament from six years to twelve years.

These were the words of a President who has had with him for an year and more, the undated signed letters of resignations of all the members of Parliament of the ruling party, including Ministers and who cheerfully admitted in an interview reported in the Island on the 5th of February: ' Yes, I have heard that some people call it my atomic bomb'.

These were the words of a President who on more than one occasion promoted police officers within hours of their being found guilty of violating human rights by the Supreme Court. These were the words of a President, whose Government had enacted the infamous Prevention of Terrorism Act which was described by the International Commission of Justice in a report published in March 1984 as containing provisions which would be 'a blot on the statute book of any civilised country'.

These were the words of a President who had secured the amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution on six different occasions in six years so that a recent Sri Lankan joke was that the constitution had become a 'periodical'. And President Jayawardene would have the world believe that he was a prisoner of the law and of the constitution. President Jayawardene is no prisoner either of the law or of the constitution. And, it is not without relevance, that as long ago as in June 1957, at a time when he was in the opposition he said:

"The time has come for the whole Sinhala race which has existed for 2500 years, jealously safeguarding their language and religion, to fight without giving any quarter to save their birthright...I will lead the campaign.

It was President Jayawardene who also declared, twenty years later, in 1977, soon after he had assumed control of the Government of Sri Lanka that 'the Sinhala people are saying , I am not saying, that if it be war let it be war, if it be peace, let it be peace.'

As always, the style was familiar. 'The Sinhala people are saying - I am not saying' - it was always somebody else who was responsible. But behind the 'style' lay the reality. The Government of Sri Lanka was engaged in an undeclared war against the Tamils of Sri Lanka - it was engaged in a fight 'without giving any quarter'.

The Sri Lankan Government's views on the Tamil national question, should not, therefore, come as a surprise. The Sri Lankan Government refuses to recognise that the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka are a people with an ancient history, a common language a common culture and a traditional homeland.

The Sri Lankan Government refuses to recognise the existence of the Tamil nation. The Sri Lankan Government refuses to recognise the need to sit and talk with the Tamil nation, as a nation, and with its leaders, as leaders of a nation.

The Sri Lankan Government refuses to recognise that which is guaranteed by the first article of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, namely, the right of a people to freely determine their political status. The Sri Lankan Government goes even further. It seems to have some doubts as to whether the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka have any problems at all.

In a magazine interview on the 7th of April President Jayawardene said:

"Q. Do you accept that the Tamils have grievances in the first place?

A. They may have in Jaffna. But what are their grievances in the rest of the island?"

These were the words of the President of a country which had witnessed the planned murder of thousands of Tamils outside Jaffna during July and August 1983. A few thousands were killed but then the dead do not have grievances and perhaps that is what President Jayawardene had in mind.

Thousands of Tamil wives and children have lost the bread winners of their families but in President Jayawardene's perception they have no grievances.

Thousands of Tamil homes were destroyed and Tamils in Colombo and elsewhere were pauperised, but in President Jayawardene's perception, they too have no grievances.

The Tamils in Colombo, in Kandy, in Amparai were assaulted and killed in 1958, but in President Jayawardene's perception, the Tamils outside Jaffna have no grievances.

More than a million Tamils who were born in Sri Lanka and lived on the tea estates in the central parts of Sri Lanka, were rendered stateless in 1948, but in President Jayawardene's perception, Tamils outside Jaffna, have no grievances.

The Tamils of Trincomalee and Batticaloa have protested time and again against the systematised colonisation of their traditional homeland, but in President Jayawardene's perception, Tamils outside Jaffna, have no grievances.

The Tamils in Colombo and elsewhere were deprived of employment in the public service by the enactment of the Sinhala only law in 1956, but in President Jayawardene's perception, the Tamils outside Jaffna have no grievances.

Thousands of qualified Tamil youths were refused admission to Universities because they were Tamils, but in President Jayawardene's perception the Tamils outside Jaffna have no grievances.

'The Tamils may have grievances in Jaffna - but what are their grievances in the rest of the Island?' What, indeed?

It would seem that in President Jayawardene's perception there were really no grievances so far as the Tamils were concerned - presumably the real grievances were the grievances of the Sinhala majority. And so perhaps not unnaturally, President Jayawardene's so called political solution seeks to resolve the grievances of his Sinhala electorate by setting up District Development Councils in Tamil areas, so that the Sinhala majority may more effectively manage the Tamil people and continue the oppression behind a legitimating facade.

The District Councils will be without executive powers and with very limited rule making powers. They will be financially dependent on the centre. A minister nominated by a Sinhala President would form a joint executive committee together with the elected chairmen and similarly nominated ministers of one or two other district councils. The joint executive committee would meet under the Chairmanship of the President. The intention of the frame is clear.

The control of the activities of the District Council will be in the hands of an executive dominated by the President and his nominees. The Sinhala majority will manage and control the Tamils even in the relatively insignificant functional areas where the District Councils have some jurisdiction.

President Jayawardene's proposal has no claim to originality. It is a gambit often adopted by a colonial power in the face of a rising national consciousness - a gambit which seeks to perpetuate colonial rule with the assistance of collaborators from those who are ruled. It is a legal frame which, President Jayawardene hopes, will help to create an appropriately servile Tamil quisling 'leadership' which will depend on the patronage of their Sinhala masters for their survival.

This is President Jayawardene's political solution to the problem created for the Sinhala people by the national consciousness of the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka - a national consciousness which has been fertilised by the martyrdom of thousands of Tamils, brave and honest, brilliant and dedicated. President Jayawardene's political solution seeks to perpetuate Sinhala rule and Sinhala discrimination. President Jayawardene offered no solution to the grievances of the Tamils - after all, he was not quite sure whether they had any grievances at all.

He declared in an interview with the London Times, reported on the 7th of May 1984, that if the Tamil United Liberation Front did not agree, they can stay out. 'We do not need agreement with them to go ahead with our proposals'. He added that the TULF was 'dead as dodo'. This was two days before the scheduled resumption of the Round Table Conference with the TULF, on the 9th of May.

These were not the words of a leader who was concerned about amity and reconciliation. These were the words of a leader who believed that Biafra style terrorism was the answer to the Tamil national question. These were words which were intended to render the Round Table Conference 'dead as dodo'.

And on the 9th of May, not surprisingly, the so called amity talks broke down and the TULF walked out. But, then President Jayawardene was being consistent. He was not concerned with the opinions or the lives of the Tamil people and he spoke with the belligerence of a conqueror about the leaders of a conquered people. History will show that he spoke too soon and that he spoke unwisely.

The Sri Lankan government is engaged in a Malaysian style military operation without a Malaysian style political solution. This is nothing but a Biafra type terrorism which is intended to intimidate and frighten the Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka into accepting the servile role of quisling collaborators in the proposed District Councils. And it is this state terrorism that has now unfolded in the traditional homelands of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

The random shootings in Chunnakkam and in Jaffna Town during the recent past will not, however, silence : they will create a quiet determination and a growing resolve amongst the Tamil people.

The Tamil people know that these are the terrorist actions of a Government which seeks to subjugate the Tamils of Eelam and bend them to its will. The Sinhala Army may even temporarily conquer and subjugate the Tamils of Eelam. Such conquests are not unknown in history. But there will be no peace or rest for the land or its rulers until the army departs - and depart, they will.

In the interregnum, the Tamils of Eelam will be called upon to pay a heavy price in suffering and pain. But pain is a great teacher. It is teaching us that we suffer because we are Tamils. It is teaching us that we are not alone in our suffering. It is teaching us that our pain is shared by millions of Tamils everywhere. It is a pain that is teaching us that we are one. And in that increasing togetherness we are finding a new and surging strength.

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