The Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council, Justice C.V. Wigneswaran has put out a call to all Global Tamil people to get together with providing the humanitarian assistance as the short term objective, getting justice for the genocide perpetrated as the middle term objective and finding a permanent political solution on the basis of Thimbu principles as the long term objective.
He was delivering his address at the “ Special Address and Cultural Evening” conducted by the International Association of Tamil Journalists in London on Friday when he put out this call. He was participating as the Chief Guest at the event.
Wigneswaran said that, he was openly expressing in the past, that, neither the 13th amendment nor the Provincial Council system could be starting point or an interim solution or a final solution of the ethnic problem and that he will continue to insist this.
He also said that, the news item saying that, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, U.S. Department of State Nisha Biswal, had disgraced him and asked him play down the Genocide, when he met her in the US recently, is completely false.
The full text of his speech is as follows:
Although praising and abusing had continued, as always the practice, our loving Tamil hearts had specialized in arguments and uniqueness among them and had expressing overtly their criticisms, but the thought that, I am duty bound to perform all possible duties to my dear Tamil People in the meager period left in my life, is propelling me forward. Thousands of people have elected me to serve them. I am duty bound to serve them, subject to the legacy they had granted me. May God Almighty give me all the strength, robustness and energy to traverse that path of duty with necessary concern.
There is a reason for me to take part in this meeting that is being held under the aegis of the International Association of Tamil Journalists (IATAJ). Several people had invited me to deliver speeches.I am not ready to hurt any body’s feelings. I was not able to accept all invitations. I am new to politics. Several parties toiled for me to become the Chief Minister of the Northern Province. At several times, some parties compelled me not to show any favoritism to any party. Hence, I also felt that, taking a unique stand is a best option. We created parties to do good to the people. But, we see now that parties are becoming more important than people. As far as I am concerned,the interests of the people should take precedence.I wish serve from a position beyond party politics.
I was informed that your federation is operating without any prejudices now. Hence, I came forward to accept your invitation.I consented to meet the brothers and sisters who are working politically serried with us, alone.I longed that all those who are concomitant with us should attend this meeting. My heart is warmed by your grand welcome.
Exactly 30 years have passed after the declaration of Thimpu Principles.In another week’s time, the Black July of 1983 will commemorate its 32nd anniversary.In one month’s time, General Elections to our Parliament are to be held.It is in such a context I am meeting you here.
Although you all had been subjected to the attribute of Diaspora, most of you had not come here excluding your motherland. You came here wounded physically and mentally. But, you are still maintaining a bond between you and your homeland. Some you still have lands and properties there. Several of you have good relations, and kith and kin. I have shared feelings with many who, even after many years, still possess the heartfelt desire to their ancestral residences. They have a liking to renew their relationships, make contact with their kith and kin, and reform those relationships. I don’t know anything about the disposition of your descendants. There are a number of youths in England who are born and bred here. They are several places in this world. I came to understand that, several of them are present in this auditorium today. I had been made to be aware that they are living with the identity of their ancestral land bonded to them.
My wish is that, this concern should be strengthened more and more among the Tamil youth. The contacts between the present day generation living in our country and the present day generation living outside the Island of Sri Lanka, should bloom well. It is my strong desire that it should be rooted deeply. I wish to express my idea very firmly here that, the contacts between the next generation living in our country and abroad, should be built up very closely.
We had to prepare our young society for this. Where ever they were born or they are living, the motherland of their parents is one of the basic identities. There is a uniqueness to this identity. This strength should be recommended to our next generations.
We should understand that intrigues had been undertaken prevent us from coming home from our countries of refuge picturing us as Tigers. A period should dawn on us where we can proudly say that we were born in the traditions of Sri Lankan Tamils. Not only that, but we must also tend to think in our thoughts, that we are a strong unit of the globally honourable Tamil descendants.
It is my wish that, the races living in the beautiful Island of Sri Lanka, live with peace, love, happiness, and mutual understanding. I am dedicatedly working towards this. I have made up my mind that, I shall work in the future also, as much as possible, towards this end. At the same time, I am also determined that, the Tamil people should live in their country with peace, independence and honour.
We are struggling for a very long time, in various forms for the refused rights of our nation and against the injustices perpetrated against them. The governments, which came to power one behind the other in the south had made it clear that, the rights or justice will not be achieved locally.
That is why we had toil with speed to lay a strong foundation in our times and handover the task to our future generation. The support of the International community is essential for our people to get their rights and justice. The youths of the Tamil society, which is living all around the world had to dedicate themselves to acquire this support and increase it. The parents should devote themselves to lay the ground work for this. I believe that the young generation can struggle for rights and justice of their kins living in the country of Sri Lanka, subject to the laws of the countries where they are living.
On one side our rights are being refused in our own country. On the other side, I see that the genocide against the Tamil nation had not ceased. Even after coming here, I came to know that, the ‘white van’ arrogance had not stopped even after January 8th. I am being strongly criticized by some that, I have taken a hard line for adopting the genocide resolution bringing out the genocide perpetrated against our nation. My hope is that making the world aware of the genocide will pave the way on a long term basis, to create a honest goodwill between the nations. I had made this clear in my address tabling the genocide resolution. We are not acting with a revenging attitude. But, we have acted with an intention of getting justice for the thousands of our massacred kins. We believe that those who think about our people and those who love humanism will assist our activities not hinder them. Our people should raise questions against the political ethics of Tamils, who hesitate to bring out the genocide perpetrated against the Tamil nation and who try to block them. The term ‘genocide’ was not my own creation. Thanthai Selva used it for the first time.
During the Non-Aligned Summit held in Sri Lanka in September, 1974, Thanthai Selva submitted memorandum to the delegates of the summit. He had clearly stated in the memorandum, the genocide perpetrated by the Sinhala nation against the Tamil people. Sinhala leaders have an objective. This objective is changing Sri lanka with two nations – Two languages – and several religions into a single Nation with One Nation, Sinhala Nation – one language, Sinhala language, and only Buddhism. He had highlighted even then that, they are engaging in genocide for this. Tamil leaders of yesteryears had started to talk about genocide long before the starting of the activities of placing the stamps of extremism and terrorism. We cannot go back from our stance that, what perpetrated against the our Nation is genocide, fearing the stampings and criticisms. I have lived for 76 years in this world. I have been living in my since the days when it was a British Colony. During my young days Tamils lived spread all over Sri Lanka. During that time, half the paddy fields in Thissamaharama were cultivated by Tamils with relevant deeds, and reaped the harvest. They were all had been driven away. That village people are claiming ownership for these paddy fields without relevant deeds. Tamils were driven away from Southern Provinces. They were driven away from North West and North Central areas. Evidences of Tamils living there were now destroyed without a trace. I have seen these with my own eyes. I know all about Tamil people being oppressed and driven away by a language, through standardization in education, colonization.
The idea that Genocide could be accepted only if the laws tolerate it, is little difficult to accept. But we brought the Genocide resolution with a hope that the law will ratify it. The Sri Lanka which we lived in our young days was different and the present Sri Lanka is different. It is a truth that the governments in power from time to time and their cohorts unleashed by them formed the foundations which caused, through several activities, the migration of Tamils from Sri Lanka or their journey out of this earth. Our genocide resolution brought this out. We cannot allow any more genocide.
In order to protect us from Genocide, our principle identities of our Language, our culture and the stance that ‘we are a nation’ should be preserved and protected. It is on this basis that I had expressed my strong stance of two nations existing in Sri Lanka. I stated this clearly on a stage where the President Maithripala Sirisena was seated while on his tour of Jaffna. Likewise I stated the same while delivering the Bernard De Soysa Memorial Oration last year. I want to say one thing to people who say that, we are a minority. The origin of Tamil people is rooted in Sri Lanka long before Buddhism came to Sri Lanka. It is also true that Tamils who came from out side from time to time had assimilated with this root. As it is customary, giving the name of the big river to the system including the main river and the several tributary rivers discharging into the main river, it is also true that, the Tamil people had carried forward a continuous tradition from olden days to date.
In the year 1921, Sinhala leaders, Peris and Samarawickrama had accepted that the Tamil people are the majority people in Northern and Eastern Provinces and that,only in the other Provinces Sinhalese are the Majority. I mention this here because I want to say that we are not a minority who had come from somewhere. That is, we are not a minority who had come from somewhere being driven out of there. We are the ancient citizens of Sri Lanka. We cannot be compared with the minorities of the other countries. We, the majorities of two provinces-set up became the minorities of the Nine Provinces -set up, just because, our two provinces were amalgamated with the Seven Provinces. But, their characteristic and uniqueness are not understood by many.
Our people whomever they may be, should avoid using the term ‘minority race’ to refer to the Tamil people, who had declared doctrines of our own unique national Status and the right of self determination. They should come forward to act with dedication, to make the Tamil People available with their rights and justice.
In the country of Sri Lanka, Tamils had traditionally lived in particular locations for long times. Some people had said that those who lived in the East were subjected to the Kandyan Kingdom. But, They never lived contrary to the statement that they lived traditionally as Tamil speaking people. East is also a traditional area of our people.
For 67 years our struggle had continued through non-violent way and in armed way to win the ratification of our Traditional home lands, the refused rights of our people and justice for the genocide against Tamil race. But no majority leader, who came to power, had shown a responsible response to the struggle of the Tamil People. On the contrary, they keep on disrespecting them. When they faced some crisis, they looked upon Tamil Leaders to help them. At the end, we were always remained cheated. The relationship between Tamil and Sinhala leaders was always like the Tamil proverb “ We are brothers until we cross the river; after that we are strangers” This holds good also for the regime change on January 8th. We have to put a full stop to these cheating tricks. We cannot stay as a swindled race. They tell us one and something else to the Sinhala people and finally cheat both people groups. The politicians of both side should avoid such cheating words.
My expectation is that our people living at home should elect persons who will serve with dedication to the people. As far as the Tamil representatives are concerned, we need politicians with honest politics, committed to cause, with a mentality to serve the people with dedication, long vision, will to desist from being a turncoat for any reason and at any stage in conformation to what “Thiruvaluvar” had said. What our soil and the people need in this conjuncture is people who can establish the uniqueness of the Tamils, who can establish their right of self determination, and who can win their rights and justice. I will stand by the people for them to realize their historical responsibility and to perform their righteous duty. Meanwhile the youth and the women should increase their participation in politics. The political leaders should cooperate in this and be the guides to them.
After I took over as the Northern Province Chief Minister, I was able to meet on a daily basis, people who have lost their lives and carrying their sorrows because of the militarization of traditional home lands of Tamil people and the expansion on Sinhala Colonization. I feel a buried history in every one of their painful incidents. The recent regime change also had demonstrated that whether Rama rules or Ravana rules, there is no relief to Tamil people. The new rulers also had not overtly acted regarding the removal of Army Camps which are ruining the routine lives of our people. The new government was bent on postponing the UNHRC report, which was to be a channel to deliver justice through an international investigation. They were successful in their attempt. They also celebrated this as their victory. Now there deliberations are going on as to what level should be the international intervention in the internal mechanism after the report is published. But any mechanism should consists of interests of the affected and reconciliation.
A permanent solution cannot be found under the current unitary government system, for the gangrenous ethnic problem. This is a truth we have learned through events that are continuing for a very long time. However, the Sinhala Political leaders are not ready to change the unitary government system, knowing very well that as far as this system exists, it is not possible to achieve permanent peace or reconciliation. Information had been received that two Sinhala leaders had signed an agreement that the unitary government system will not be changed. Unless this mentality of theirs is changed, one cannot expect any good changes in Constitution or in the solution for the ethnic problem.
Keeping everything that had happened so far in mind, The Northern Provincial Council under my leadership, adopted the “Genocide against Tamils” resolution. This is considered a historical event in the path to attaining the justice for the Tamil people. If the Sinhala progressive forces will join the struggle for finding the justice for Tamil people, it will pave the way for a political solution for establishing a permanent peace in the Island of Sri Lanka. You can pave the way for a true reconciliation only if you know the truth. You may remember that the South African Commission was named as The Commission for True Reconciliation. The South African people was in realization that Reconciliation could be created only if the truth in accepted.
In such a conjuncture, we should remember the importance of Thimpu Doctrines. Thimpu negations were first to be held under the aegis of International community. In this negotiations, our leaders who struggled in non-violent ways and our militants who trekked the path of armed struggle represented the interest of the Tamil people, in the same table.. The Tamil speaking National Race and the Sinhala speaking National race engaged in peace talks with the mediation of India. Thimpu Doctrine was born out of the initiatives of this negotiations.
It is not necessary for me to tell you that, this declaration with such importance had to be taken into consideration in any attempt at a solution to the ethnic problem. The people who are preparing solution schemes should keep Thimpu Principles in mind in their actions. The activities for the political solution should be undertaken on the basis of entitled to self determination in conformation to International Laws.
The first international agreement signed with the ethnic problem in mind was the Indo – Sri Lanka agreement. In conformation to this agreement, Northern and Eastern Provinces were merged on the basis that they the traditional home lands of Tamil speaking people.India which gave refuge to our people who fled to escape the genocide, later acted as the facilitator at Thimpu. Later Indo Sri Lanka agreement was signed.This indicated not only the important role India had to play but also the historical responsibility that India should come forward to serve with an open heart. I outlined this responsibility to the Indian Prime Minister when he came to Northern Province recently.
On 1987 October 28th a letter was sent to the then Indian Prime Minister, Rajive Ghandi, jointly signed by the then the Leader of the Tamil United Liberation Front, Mr.M.Sivasithamparam, The Secretary General, Mr. A.Amirthalingam and the then Vice- president and now the Leader of TNA, Mr.Sampanthan. In this letter they had expressed their dis-satisfaction regarding the 13th Amendment submitted in parliament with the ethnic problem in view and the bills pertaining to Provincial Council and also explained in detail that, these project proposals did not satisfy the aspirations of the Tamil people. Today I am the Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council. I am able to realize the truthfulness of their statements practically. I was openly expressing in the past, that, neither the 13th amendment nor the the Provincial Council system could be starting point or an interim solution or a final solution of the ethnic problem. I will continue to insist this.
A bitter history lays spread in front of our eyes, where several agreements which were signed by Leaders of the Sinhala people and the Leaders of the Tamil people, being torn and thrown away , unable to sustain the racism. We, the Tamils are basically like peace, brotherhood and living together. Our social structure was built up with such ideas. On the basis these, our struggles were started in the non-violent way. Our Satyagraga struggle in Ghandian line was answered with violence. Laws were formulated with oppressing us as the objective. Especially the standardization bill compelled the youth including those who were continuing their studies to pick up arms. Our youth were compelled to bear arms because the rights were refused and injustice was continuing. We should not waste the sacrifices of such people, nor desecrate them. I see their relative shedding tears even today.
Hence we should avoid using them to sweep the votes and then causing dishonour or disgrace their dedication.
Our nation is struggling to rise from the genocide at Mullivaikkal. Our Social structures were ruined, our livelihoods were destroyed and our people are concerned about what will happen tomorrow. They are spending their time among 150,000 army soldiers.
You should come forward to stretch a helping hand to them, build up the destroyed economy, and for our country to rise from the ashes. Currently the Provincial Council is busy drafting and finalising the modes through which you could help. Your grate help is needed to undertake this successfully. Building up our society and the homeland with the help our own people is the honour and dedication to the people who had laid down their lives for us. And this will be an answer the persons destroying our nation. It is true that they putting up several barriers. Recently I came to understand that,the Governor had said that we will have to wait till the end of the election to create the Chief Minister’s fund. It is clear that , although the president had approved it, the Governor oi dragging it.
Hence we all should get together with providing the humanitarian assistance as the short term objective, getting justice for the genocide perpetrated as the middle term objective and finding a permanent political solution on the basis of Thimpu doctrine as the long term objective. I conclude my address in the hope that you will provide a meaningful cooperation and contribution toward this.