The Tamil people’s Eelam liberation struggle, which initially commenced as a non-violent struggle, later became a violent struggle and has today evolved as a political and diplomatic struggle amidst several challenges. It has been internationalized.
In this context, as the founder of the member of The Tamil Manavar Peravai, that later paved the way for an armed struggle, it is my duty to recall the freedom struggle as far as I could and record it in the right perspective honestly and truthfully.
It is my hope that such exercise could help the youth to study it in the proper light and to take forward the freedom struggle along the political and diplomatic avenues and triumph.
It is this belief that has prompted me to pen this article on a weekly basis under the title ‘ Eelam Liberation Struggle in Sathiyaseelan’s Memories’.
I venture to pen my thoughts stretching from our attempts to harness youths endowed with intelligence, capability and courage and form the Tamil Manavar Peravai to the struggle led by Thambi Prabhaharan. I crave indulgence to pardon me, if there are omissions consequent to failure of memory. I invite you to point them out.
The Formation of Tamil Students’ Peravai
It was the moderate politics of Tamil political parties during the period between 1960 and the early part of 1970 that necessitated the birth of Tamil Students’ Peravai.
The indecisive stand taken by Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi and Tamil Congress during the two general elections in 1960, the failure of the sathyaghraha struggle in 1961 January due to lack of proper planning and the decision taken by Thamil Arasu Katchi to establish District Councils through Dudley – Chelva Pact in 1965 are some of the reasons that led to the birth of Tamil Students’ Peravai. It was this pact that caused a split in the Tamil Arasu Katchi and led to the formation of a third Tamil party – Suya Aatchi Kalakam- under the leadership of Kayts Parliamentarian V.Navaratnam.
Furthermore, the infirmity of the leaders of political parties caused frustration among the youths and created a void in politics. It was at this stage that Pon. Sivakumaran’s extreme political outbursts turned out to be an armed struggle against the Sinhala government. Although at the outset it was an individual’s expression, it later, flowered as a concerted struggle of thousands of youths.
Tamil Student’s Peravai commenced its political journey in Jaffna on November 23, 1970. There was a procession from Jaffna with the participation of more than ten thousand students as a prelude to the meeting held at Maidan with me in the Chair. At that meeting, only students were permitted to address. No politicians were allowed to address. I deliberately decided this course of action for I wanted the rise of students to be a lesson to politicians and it to be a formation of an alternate concept.
A.Rasaratnam, who was honoured ‘ Mamanithar’ by Thambi Prabaharan, TELO leaders Sivakumaran, Muthukumarasamy, Kuttimany, Thangathurai, Nadesuthasan, Kannady Pathmanathan ( Sunkan), and several school student leaders were members of the Tamil Students’ Peravai. It was the Tamil Students’ Peravai that identified Tamil activists who functioned individually and in groups in different villages of the North and East and brought them under the umbrella of Tamil Students’ Peravai and took forward the struggle for rights. For about eighteen months, Tamil Students’ Peravai operated both in public and secretly for pursuing Tamil struggle. Following this, several organizations were formed seeking to establish Eelam or Tamil Eelam. Tamil Students’ Peravai was the earliest organization or the parent body that advocated separate state.
During the 1965 March general elections, United National Party secured 66 seats, while Sri Lanka Freedom Party won 44 seats in Parliament. Yet, neither of these parties had the needed majority to form a government. So, both parties sought the support of Tamil Arasu Katchi.
Tamil Arasu Katchi extended support to the United National Party to form a government and in return obtained a cabinet portfolio for M.Tiruchelvam, who became Minister of Local Government.
Not only that the Tamil Arasu Katchi Parliamentarians, who ought to have sat on the ranks of the Opposiition, became part of the Government and moved with pomp and power. While, they were allies of the government a lot of atrocities were committed against the Tamils. Let’s view them next week.