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“July 83 ” Racial Pogrom Was Not an Isolated Incident. It Was a Defining Feature of the Continuous Process Since the Independence of Sri Lanka in 1948.
— Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE)
NEW YORK, UNITED STATES, July 23, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ —
Today is the 39th anniversary of the evil “July 83” racial pogrom against Eelam Tamils. As the international Commission of Jurists observed at the time, starting from 24th July 1983,”day after day Tamils of both the ‘Sri Lankan ‘and ‘Indian’ varieties were burned to death in the streets, on buses and on trains, not only in Colombo but in many other parts of the island-sometimes in the sight of horrified foreign tourists. Their houses and shops were burned and looted. Yet the security forces seemed either unwilling or unable to stop it. In Jaffna and Trincomalee, some members of the armed
forces themselves joined in the fray, claiming an admitted 51 lives”.
On July 25, 1983, the three well known Tamil freedom fighters, Kuttimani, Jegan and Thangathurai, were brutally and barbarically killed by Sinhala prisoners held in the same jail. According to eyewitness accounts, Kuttimani who had proclaimed in the court that he would donate his eyes upon his death so that those eyes would one day see the birth of a free Tamil Eelam, had his eyes gouged and his blood drunk by his Sinhala attackers.
The eminent Harvard Tamil scholar, the late Professor Stanley Tambiah, wrote at the time on how Mr Lalith Athulathumudali, who was later to be the Minister of Security, nearly wept with ponderous histrionics over a sight that he never dreamed he would see – lines of Sinhalese people waiting to
buy food as a result of the violence. “He had not a word to say in sympathy for the frightened Tamils crowded in indescribable conditions in refugee camps”.
The “July 83 ” racial pogrom was not an isolated incident. It was a defining feature of the continuous process since the Independence of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1948 of the wanton destruction of the Tamil Nation and Tamil National identity which culminated in the 2009 Mullivaaikkaal Genocide.
Thus far, there has not been an official apology for the systematic massacre of Tamils in their thousands in July 1983, either from successive Sri Lankan governments, Sri Lanka’s political parties or its Buddhist religious institutions including the Mahasangha, let alone an attempt to bring to justice a perpetrator of the violence. It is irresistible at this hour to compare the scale of the above mass killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka with the killing of one Sinhala protester during the present ‘aragalaya’ and the degree of unanimous condemnation it elicited from all Sinhala political parties and religious institutions.
Such is the plight of the struggle of Eelam Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka. When 450,000 Tamils were suffering in the North without food and medicines while being subjected to indiscriminate bombing and shelling by Sri Lankan forces in the early months of 2009, the international community and the international media paid hardly any attention. Today, when 100,000 people gathered in the South in protest at the old Parliament, the international media has zoomed in from everywhere to cover the spectacle. Such are the ways of the global media and their priorities.
The silence around accountability for the Tamil genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes committed by the Sri Lankan State, coupled with the absence of a resolution to the Tamil National question demonstrates to us that the plight of the Tamils is not an important issue for international
powers. We cannot depend on others to struggle for us, to realize justice and achieve the freedom we yearn for our people. We keep hearing a few murmurs here and there about an All-party government, the “protesters”, the post-Mullivaaikkaal generation or the international powers would
deliver justice and freedom for the Tamils.
The history of the past 13 years has only proved to us that those expectations are nothing but waves of illusions in the distance, moving just like the wind
that blows over the Galle Face Green. The injustice to us Tamils was seen, heard, and recorded well also in the Galle Face Green and steps of the old Parliament already in the 1950s and 60s.
So, on this 39th anniversary of the pogrom of July 1983, let us be realistic and acknowledge that we ourselves must continue the fight for our freedom and justice. There is a growing space for it in the evolving international law and international relations. However, to maximise our presence as a Nation in that political space, as the Tamil National Leader said, for any political move our power is important. Not necessarily military power, but the power of a unified force of people comprising of Tamils from the Tamil Eelam homeland, the Diaspora and Tamil Nadu Tamils, along with global Tamils coming together as a power centre. Unified action can be built on the basis of a common working program. Realising that power, and the will to muster it as a dedicated and determined force is the need of the Tamil nation on this day.
ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT INFORMATION:
Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka faced repeated mass killings in 1958, 1977, and 1983 and the mass killings in 2009 prompted UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to appoint a Panel of Experts to report on the scale of the killings.
According to UN internal review report on Sri Lanka, over 70 thousand Tamils were killed in six months in early 2009 and Tamil women were sexually assaulted and raped by the Sri Lankan Security forces.
International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) in February 2017 handed over details to UN of Sri Lankan Military run “Rape Camps”, where Tamil women are being held as “sex slaves”. Also, according to UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office report on April 2013, there are over 90 thousand Tamil war widows in Sri Lanka.
Thousands of Tamils disappeared, including babies and children. UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances stated in 2020 that the second highest number of enforced disappearance cases in the world is from Sri Lanka.
According to this UN report, the killings and other abuses that took place amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. Independent experts believe that there are elements of these abuses that constitute an act of genocide.
Members of the Sri Lankan security forces are almost exclusively from the Sinhalese community and the victims are all from the Tamil community.
Tamils overwhelmingly voted in a Parliamentary election in 1977 to establish an independent and sovereign country called Tamil Eelam. This Parliamentary election was conducted by the Sri Lankan Government.
*ABOUT THE TRANSNATIONAL GOVERNMENT OF TAMIL EELAM (TGTE):
The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) is a democratically elected Government of over a million strong Tamils (from the island of Sri Lanka) living in several countries around the world.
TGTE was formed after the mass killing of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Government in 2009.
TGTE thrice held internationally supervised elections among Tamils around the world to elect 135 Members of Parliament. It has two chambers of Parliament: The House of Representatives and the Senate and also a Cabinet.
TGTE is leading a campaign to realize the political aspirations of Tamils through peaceful, democratic, and diplomatic means and its Constitution mandates that it should realize its political objectives only through peaceful means. It’s based on the principles of nationhood, homeland and self-determination.
TGTE seeks that the international community hold the perpetrators of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide against the Tamil people to account. TGTE calls for a referendum to decide the political future of Tamils.
The Prime Minister of TGTE is Mr. Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, a New York based lawyer.
Follow on Twitter: @TGTE_PMO
1983 Anti-Tamil Pogram (Sri Lanka)