"Aiyo", cried a mother whose child was wounded in the
air-raid. "Please take my child to the hospital" she begged a
cyclist, who looked around first, and then decided to help. "She
was alive just a few minutes ago," cried a man cradling the dead
body of his pretty young wife. "She just came to help the refugees,
and now she is dead," cried a brother. Wails and cries such as
these were heard (and recorded on video) on July 9th, soon after the
Sinhala Airforce decided to drop, not one but nine bombs, on the Navaly
St. Peter's Church, housing refugees in Thamileelam.
Only a few hours earlier, the Sinhala Airforce had dropped leaflets
asking civilians to take shelter in churches and temples. The poor,
unsuspecting Tamil civilians had complied. This was preceded by a
massive propaganda effort initiated in Colombo, to justify the newest
Sinhala army offensive on Thamileelam, code-named "Operation Leap
Forward." Proclamations were made that this was a sacrificial
effort made by the Sinhala people, to "liberate the Tamils from the
clutches of the LTTE."
The fact that most Tamils fled, in the hundreds of thousands (300,000
people, to be precise), from the so called Liberating Sinhala Forces
didn't matter. The fact that not one able bodied Tamil, remained in
his/her home to be rescued by Chandrika's army didn't matter either. The
Sinhala army was leaping forward anyway, to "save the Tamils."
The biggest culprit in this macabre
episode was a Tamil - who declared himself to be one (i.e. A Tamil) at the UN - Mr.
Lakshman Kadirgamar, the Foreign Minister of the Sinhala State of Sri
When the Church in Navaly was bombed, this 'Tamil' Minister of the
Sinhala Sri Lanka became agitated. He became upset and irate - but
ironically, not because of the tragedy experienced by the innocent
refugees, but because the International Red Cross had leaked the news of
the church bombing. The innocent children who were killed or maimed by
his Sinhala masters didn't matter to him. The families that were torn
asunder, so tragically by his masters' forces, were of no concern at all.
All that mattered to him was that his masters' image was tarnished; And,
he had worked so hard to build it up!
He ranted and raved at the Red Cross. He was joined by the racist
monk Rahula Walpola and his ilk, who demanded that the ICRC be expelled.
The Red Cross, which happens to be the only international relief
organization in Thamileelam got worried, and its chief in Colombo, Marco
Altherr, actually apologized to the minister - A Galilean apology, no
doubt! Mr. Altherr must have muttered something under his breath, like
the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, who in AD 1633
apologized for having said that the earth is round!
The 'frogs in the Sri Lankan well' celebrated. The Sinhala media,
unashamedly published the ravings of this minister. The Island
headlines read - Foreign Minister Raps ICRC. There was no
condemnation of the airforce for this dastardly deed. There was no rush
to aid the poor victims - more of whom died due to lack of medical
attention, created by the newly imposed embargo.
President Chandrika, however, got busy phoning the Archbishop in
Colombo, first to disclaim that the attack ever took place, and then to
promise a leisurely investigation, which is yet to be conducted. She
then patted her Tamil Foreign Minister on his back for a job well done,
and sent him abroad for further damage control and news management.
The message to the airforce pilots was very clear - "do what you
want to do, we will defend you." Guess what? Another of those
pilots decided that some school children in a remote village were an
easy target. No Tigers around, to shoot his plane down; bomb them! On
Sep. 22, he bombed Nagar Koil Maha Vidyalayam killing 23 children on the
spot, during their lunch break. In repeated sorties, neighbors who
rushed to help the injured children were also killed.
Regardless, the Tamil Minister of the Sinhala Sri Lanka made his
rounds in Australia, U.K., Canada and the US, advising Sinhala
Ambassadors and Sinhala organizations on how to conduct propaganda. His
mission was also to counter Tamil groups in these countries. The sangam
office bearers were contacted individually to meet with the Minister.
The Ilankai Tamil Sangam, USA, responded, politely of course, as to why
a meeting wasn't possible with a minister whose hands are tainted with
THE TAMIL RESOLVE - A NEW ZENITH
The brutality of the Sinhala army and their blatant disregard for
Tamil lives and limbs has reached a new level. The deliberate
recklessness with which refugees in churches, patients in hospitals and
children in school-yards are savagely attacked and killed under
Chandrika's presidency is a new peak. The defiance of the people of
Thamileelam, in the face of such cruelty, is also a new zenith. Well
over six hundred thousand people fleeing an army, that they were told
was coming to rescue them from these awful Tigers, is unprecedented;
something that did not happen even during the brutal occupation of
Jaffna by the Indian army!
The solidarity and cohesion that these events has created among the
Tamil Diaspora is also unprecedented. Thousands upon thousands of Tamils
marching in Toronto, New York, Geneva, London, Ottawa, Canberra, and now
in Thamil Nadu, is conclusive attestation to the new level of
consolidation of the Tamil mindset. The Ilankai Tamil sangam has also
experienced this phenomenon, in our own small way, with enraged callers
wanting to help.
But, despite such clear and unambiguous expression of this heightened
Tamil will, a few Tamil errand boys, living in Colombo at the mercy of
the Sinhala government, are visiting the Tamils all over the world,
trying to reverse the trend. They want the Tamils to embrace the
colonially imposed Sri Lankan state, where the Tamils will always be a minority;
A system, where the Sinhala majority will give to the Tamils -
what they think is right, when they think it is right, and how much they
think is right. In 1949 they said it was right to disenfranchise a
million Tamils; In 1956 they decreed that the Tamil's language doesn't
deserve equality with theirs; In 1961 they decided that Tamil children
didn't deserve equal access to education; the list is endless
Now in 1995, a smooth talking but vicious matron, literally of the
same genetic make up as the previous persecutors, has ordained what is
good for the Tamils. She plans to ask the Sinhala parliamentarians and
the Sinhala population to determine if the Tamil people deserve what she
plans to dish out to them. When Tamils failed to readily accept her
design and her charity, she decided to brutalize the
entire Tamil population.
In 1977 the Tamil people voted to secede and form a separate state.
If this was Quebec or Scotland, Thamileelam would have easily become a
separate nation state! In 1995, the Tamils have shown once again that
they do not want anything from the Sinhala people or their army. What
more proof does one need, than the spectacle of well over half a million
people fleeing on foot to escape a force, that has not behaved any
different from a foreign invading army - which in reality they are.
The Sinhala government ruling from Colombo has lost its moral
authority to govern the Tamil people. A government that needs to use its
army, airforce and navy, and for so long, to enforce compliance of a
people cannot be called its government.
Once again the Tamil people have spoken.
WORLD TAMIL ORGANIZATION RESOLVES
The following resolutions were passed unanimously at the annual
convention of the World Tamil Organization, held during Sep. 2, 3 &
4, 1995, at the
Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.
WORLD TAMIL ORGANIZATION RESOLVES
Based on its assessment and analysis of all available information,
World Tamil Organization strongly believes that,
A. The Sri Lankan government showed bad faith during the peace talks
and it did not fulfill its obligation in supplying the basic
necessities, such as food and medicine, to the Northern Province,
thereby destroying any chance of the peace process succeeding.
B. During the talks, the Sri Lankan government continued to build up
its security forces in the East and imported additional sophisticated
C. Due to the frustration, and only after repeated notices totaling
five weeks (although the agreement for cessation of hostilities provided
for only a 72 hour notice), did the Tamil freedom fighters abandon the
so called peace process in order to protect their homeland and people.
D. The Sri Lankan governments propaganda that the Tamil freedom
fighters (LTTE) unilaterally broke the peace process is totally and
E. Of the government's admitted figure of 50,000 deaths, nearly
30,000 are that of civilians, of which approximately 95% have been
killed by the security and the paramilitary forces, by bombing,
shelling, strafing and murdering of arrested Tamils.
Therefore, World Tamil Organization strongly condemns the systematic
genocide of Tamils currently being carried out in Sri Lanka, and appeals
to the world governments to discontinue the supply of arms to Sri Lankan
government and exert maximum pressure on it to enter into a true,
meaningful and genuine peace process.
The world Tamil Organization also resolved to request the Sri Lankan
a. Send food and medicines to the Northern Province to meet the needs
of the starving and sick
b. Desist from the proposed expulsion of the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC)
c. Pursue the peace process under acceptable international mediation.
d. Recognize Tamils as a nation.
e. Recognize the right to self-determination of the Tamils
f. Recognize the rights of Tamils to their traditional homelands of
the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
The Bombing of St. Peter's Church
Testimonies Collected By The ICRC
Pragasam Rajendran (M) 73 Yrs: ... Had seen the plane. His
wife Nageswary stayed next to him and saw "the bombs rolling in the
air like pamphlets."...
Anthony Manuelpillai (M) 73 Yrs: ... had seen the plane at a
very low altitude and saw the bombs falling "like rolling
Jeganathan Jeyakumar (M) 17 Yrs:. ... As the plane passes over
him blaring, he said, he lied down and heard a series of explosions
around the church area.
Anthonythas Arulammah (F) 40 Yrs: ... had seen the plane
dropping something ...
Velupillai Arulammah (M) 59 Yrs: ..saw the plane dropping
bombs while cooking meals for the displaced people...
George Theva (F) 45 Yrs: ... had seen the plane dropping some
objects like "big watermelon."
Sebamali Jeyawathani (F) 45 Yrs., Arulappu Antony Croos (M) 51
Yrs., Chelliah Arulnathan (M) 45 Yrs., Antony Croos Mary Regina (F) 43
Yrs., and Manuelpillai Mariammah (F) 62 Yrs: ...saw the bombs
falling from the plane. They said they initially suspected the falling
bombs as the leaflets usually dropped by security forces ... They said
they could feel 9 explosions.
V.T.R. Mohan (ICRC Jaffna TA): ...Soon afterwards he heard
Father James ... saw a plane and bombs falling one after the
... At about 4.30 pm on 09.07.95 St.Peters Church, Navaly, where
hundreds of families have taken refuge under the existing calamity an
aircraft has bombed this facility...
(Government Agent's Report)
Pope John Paul said on Wednesday he was suffering along with the
families of people killed when air force bombs hit a church in Sri
[Reuters (July 12)]
All targets hit by aerial bombing have been civilian population,
civilian dwellings and sacred places.
- [Univerity of Jaffna Teachers' Association]
This offensive has been characterised by blind, indiscriminate and
excessive aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of densely populated
residential areas and particularly the Churches and Temples.
- [Jaffna Citizens Committee]
Chandrika - A Month Later
The bombing of the church last month was probably the work of the
Tamil Tigers. They were firing mortar shells in that direction.... The
ICRC says all kinds of things...
- President Kumaratunga (August 4, 1995)
The FeTNA Resolution
Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA), the umbrella
organization of 30 Tamil associations in North America, with a combined
membership exceeding 100,000, passed the following resolution, at its
Annual Convention held on Jul. 2nd 1995.
The FeTNA, after taking into consideration the news reports in the
Sri Lankan press, that the Deputy Defense Minister Anuradha Ratwatte is
visiting the United States of America to ask the American Government for
arms, ammunition and other military assistance is of the view that any
such supply of arms, ammunition and other assistance will only escalate
and prolong the current civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese.
The National conflict in Sri Lanka between the Tamil Nation and the
Sinhalese Nation is basically a political problem and needs a political
resolution and not a military resolution. Hence the FeTNA asks the
United States Government to refrain from supplying arms, ammunition and
other forms of military assistance.
The FeTNA has further resolved to ask the United States of America to
pressure the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil
Eelam to resume a meaningful peace process, and find a political
resolution to the national conflict and thus end the bloody civil war
which has dragged on for more than a decade.
If it is the position of the government that it must have "a
position of strength" and "supremacy over land, sea and
air," what the government wants is to finish the LTTE or make it
If the Tamils do not resist this, we will go down as a nation
personifying ingratitude. The LTTE is the only sanction against the
destruction of Tamil aspirations.
Therefore the Tamils must now close ranks and stand firmly with the
The Tamil mercenaries must not forget that if the LTTE is finished,
so are they because they will go completely out of business.
The Sunday Leader, June 18, 1995
The Devolution Package
Did the LTTE Reject Them?
The response of the Liberation Tigers to the so called `devolution
package' was a measured one, but never a rejection. The Sinhala owned
media and the newswire services (fed by Sinhala groups) have tried to
make out that the LTTE rejected them.
Mr. Anton Balasingham's statement at the Press Conference in Jaffna
of August 11, 1995 is as follows:
"The so called political package is a mask to conceal the
government's military intentions.
President Chandrika Kumaratunga has already promised the Buddhist
Maha Nayakas that she would not finalise the proposals until the
Liberation Tigers are militarily defeated and the war brought to a
finish. Under these conditions, how can she resolve the conflict through
political means or bring durable peace to the country?
It is being said that under this package, areas that were forcibly
colonised by Sinhalese will be excised from the North-East region. It is
also being said that this is not a package to devolve power to the Tamil
people but to all the regions in the island.
The package has to be placed before the Parliamentary Select
Committee. After the Committee sits on it, it has to go before
Parliament which must pass the bill with a two-thirds majority. The
Peoples Alliance government has only a wafer thin majority in Parliament
and within the Alliance itself there is opposition to the proposals.
Having passed all these hurdles, the Sinhala people have to approve the
proposals at a referendum.
We say that the Tamil people have the right to determine their own
future. If any attempt is made to impose an arbitrary political
settlement on the Tamil people through military means, the LTTE will
Even today when the Chandrika government has closed its doors on
peace, we have not given up hopes of exploring a peaceful settlement.
Whether it is peace or war, we are ready for both. If the government
halts its military operations and creates the necessary atmosphere for
peace by showing concern for the day to day living needs of the Tamil
people, we are still prepared for political negotiations.
If on the other hand, the government tries to shut the doors against
peace for all time, and intensifies its war efforts we will have no
option but to close our own doors for peace and set about carving our
own state in which our people can live in peace and dignity."
Justice Krishna Aiyer's Response
The ex Chief Justice of India, V.R.Krishna Aiyer's comments published
in the Hindu (6 September 1995)
" It is beyond argument that the North-East is the homeland
of the Tamils and an unconditional acceptance of their integrated
existence as a provincial unit is basic. To treat the Tamil region just
like any other region is to miss the categorical imperative that the
North and East is an entity with a higher autonomy and foundational
features, as distinguished from the other provinces. To carve out other
areas and glorify them as regions may be a stroke of federal realism but
the North-East is a "quasi-Eelam" with more sub-sovereign
powers and less Central presence than the other regions. Otherwise, the
whole course of the decade-long bloody history will come to nought...
The Chandrika vision of Sri Lanka with all communities living in safety
and security, human dignity and equality, together with a string of
platitudes regarding human rights and fundamental freedoms does not take
note of the core of the controversy, except to the extent of declaring
an equal status for Sinhala and Tamil with English as the link language.
The sharing of power of all regions cannot be alike since that
obliterates the relevance of the Tamil struggle which entitles them to a
far larger protection regarding human rights, coexisting, as they are,
with a snarling Sinhala majority.. The contiguous Tamil territory, with
its integrity restored as before the disintegrative process during the
last decade began, is important. Even the powers, administrative,
legislative, and judicative have to be wider, deep-rooted and beyond
manipulation by a majority in Parliament. The grievous error in the
"Chandrika package" is its failure to install the North-East
as a special category."
The Fate of the Container from California.
Comments of the Jaffna Diocese.
The Tamil Voice (Summer '95) reported on how the government of Sri
Lanka refused a
container of Medicine and clothes sent to the Jaffna Diocese of the
Church of South India by the Sommer Haven International Church of
southern California. Not satisfied with merely blocking the items from
reaching the needy in Thamileelam, the Sinhala owned media, including
the state owned Rupavahini, started accusing the Church of importing
items for the LTTE. The following is the press release by the Church of
South India, in response to these allegations.
The Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India is deeply distressed
by news reports published recently which have denigrated the image of
our Diocese and our Bishop, Rt. Reverend S.Jebanesan.
We are particularly distressed that all the news bulletins of `Rupavahini'
on August 23 presented a most unfavourable image of our Diocese and our
Bishop. The facts are as follows:
A pastoral team from the United States of America representing `Sommer
Haven Ranch International' visited the Northern Province in the latter
part of February 1995. At that time we had the cessation of hostilities
and there was no embargo on the transport of food, medicine and
agricultural requirements. The pastoral Team felt that if the Mission
Hospital in the Northern Peninsula run by our diocese were better
equipped, they would be able to alleviate the sufferings of the poor
people who come to them for treatment. Our Diocese runs Mission
Hospitals at Manipay, Inuvil and Paranthan, and our medical services are
much appreciated by the people in those areas. These hospitals are run
by our Diocese without any assistance whatsoever from the State.
After returning to the USA, the Pastoral Team sent a container of
medical supplies, clothing, food items and Christian literature. The
container left the United States on April 13, 1995 on the ship `Ever
Gallant' and it arrived here on May, 27, 1995. By the time the container
arrived here, unfortunately hostilities had resumed and the embargo had
When we made an attempt to clear the consignment on behalf of the
Diocese we were unable to do so since we were asked to Register our
Diocese as an NGO with the Department of Social Services and to obtain
an important licence for the medical supplies, for which we would have
to pay over Rs. 150, 000.
Furthermore, since May 27 it has been virtually impossible to
transport these items to the North in consequence of the embargo. All
goods in the container have been itemised and a copy of this list was
available to the authorities. There were no goods whatsoever in this
container that could be used by any group for military purposes. These
goods were sent to Sri Lanka to provide relief to poor people in Jaffna
who endure much suffering.
We are greatly saddened by the fact that a Tamil telecast on August
23 actually announced that Bishop S. Jebanesan had run away and was
hiding in the Navali Church. Our Bishop resides in the Peninsula in the
Bishop's House, Vaddukoddai since he is the Bishop in Jaffna of the
Church of South India. On his last visit to Colombo he met Her
Excellency the President at Temple Trees and discussed the prevailing
situation in Jaffna. Her Excellency had given him a most sympathetic
On August 23, the Sinhala and English telecast gave a different,
though still distorted version from the Tamil telecast implicating
Reverend S. Jebanesan, one of our clergy.
This information unfortunately makes the peace process in our country
all the more difficult and should be condemned by all citizens in our
country who value justice and truth.
Sri Lankn Government Imposes A Press Censorship
The Sri Lankan government imposed a censorship on all reports
pertaining to the war. The measure imposed on Sep. 21, was accompanied
by the following communiqué:
"The government perceived that the irresponsible reporting of
news related to the armed forces by
certain newspapers and electronic media has harmed the interests of the
country and the public (!) distortion of facts on military operation
impedes attempts to solve the national crisis and affects the morale of
the forces (!!)"
Foreign TV news broadcasts were also affected. Every time there was
any bit on Sri Lanka the image and the sound were jammed.
At a time when the Sri Lanka government has resorted to wholesale
lies about Tamil civilian casualties, this is a dangerous development.
The government at first denied the bombing of the St. Peters church and
the Nagar Koil school, and the news came out only because the ICRC and
Medicine Sans Frontieres were there to witness these events.
But the Sinhala intelligentsia and the public becomes uninterested
when it comes to violation of Tamil rights. The PBI bulletin had the
following comment on the lukewarm opposition to this censorship. It
said, "although the measure was not welcome by many groups the
opposition has not been as strong as one would expect."
The Fall And Rise Of The Tamil Nation
By V. Navaratnam Former MP (Kayts)
"It is often repeated, particularly in the information media,
that the Tamils are fighting for a separate state because they are
discriminated against in education and employment opportunity by the
majority Sinhalese. It is not true. No people ever have recourse to such
a serious remedy, as armed warfare against the state, to correct
discrimination in education and employment. While it is true that such
discrimination in education and employment provoked discontent and
unrest among the Tamil youth, the real causes which led to their taking
up arms and fighting a war for their separate state lie far deeper in
the political and social history of the island..."
Having said this in the preface of his book, he goes on to chronicle
the events in the post independence era, that eventually led to the
present war. As a founder member of the Federal party he lived and
experienced events of this entire period, and the information he
provides in his book is first hand.
The pinnacle of this book is his brilliant exposition of the
illegality of the Sri Lankan state. He takes on the illegitimacy of the
1972 Constitution. He says, "... the day she (Sirimavo
Bandaranayake) on her own volition abdicated her rights and office as
the lawfully elected Prime Minister of the whole of Ceylon, and opted to
put the illegitimate mantle of an illegal first minister the State of a
united Ceylon ceased to exist... The overthrow of the constitution
established by consensus, however, had a boomerang effect in law. It
released the Tamils from whatever constitutional bonds which had them
bound to the Sinhalese part of the island. It restored to them all the
rights, powers and attributes of independent statehood they had
possessed before they went under the European colonial powers."
He concludes his book by stating,
"In the broader spectrum of South Asian geopolitics, Velupillai
Prabhakaran, as the undisputed national leader of the Tamils, represents
the hopes and aspirations of a people who are assailed from every side.
He stands as a bulwark against the forces whose aim is to destroy (the
Tamils). It is incumbent on everybody to stand behind him unitedly and
render him all possible help so that future generations will not be left
to blame the present for being disunited, selfish and supine at the very
time when the race was in peril. The present generation should make it
possible for posterity to feel proud of its ancestors..."
The Peace Brigades International Bulletin
The Armed Forces Creates Dissension between Tamils & Muslims
In their October '95 Bulletin the Peace Brigades International
stationed in Batticaloa talks about the friction between the Tamil and
Muslim communities in the region.
The following is the relevant portion of their report.
An issue of big concern for peace workers in the East has been
alleged attempts to deteriorate relations between the Tamil and Muslim
communities. All of this began with the abduction of three Muslim
homeguards (de facto an armed forces body) by the LTTE, an incident that
raised anger within the Muslim community. Even a Muslim politician,
trying to ease tensions, made it clear that it was a struggle between
two armed groups. and nothing to do with civilians. A number of rumors
made it more difficult; several stories of hijacked buses and even
killings by one or the other party were circulating throughout the
Batticaloa district; suspicion and mistrust were easily pumped up.
Fortunately, the three homeguards were finally released and tensions
seemed to be relieved. However, it seemed clear that despite good
overall relations between the two communities, old wounds have not
healed completely and the situation is much more fragile than it
appeared to be. Some sources assert that the hand of the government's
armed forces is behind these incidents and rumors propagation. They
say that one of the ways for the army and/or police to avoid being
transferred to the North, where major fighting is on course, is by
creating tension in the East so that the government will reconsider the
need of troops in the region.
Douglas Devananda Condemns Sri Lanka Government.
Douglas Devananda MP, who is currently visiting the US as part of a
Sri Lankan parliamentary delegation, has called several Tamil
expatriates all over the US.
Those who received these calls told the Tamil Voice that, he
asked for their help for him to join with the LTTE, to fight for a just
resolution to the Tamil national question. He had told them that he
condemned Chandrika's devolution package, and had even boycotted the
parliament for 10 days. Just a short while ago, he said, he did not vote
with the government on the emergency regulations. His family had told
him that the recent attempt on his life was a retaliation by the Sri
Lankan army for this opposing vote.
Most of those who received these calls, however, were highly
skeptical and refused to meet with him.
Some, including the President of the Sangam, had pointed out his past
deeds against the Tamil people. He had worked with enemies of the Tamils
and his cadres had committed all sorts of crimes against the Tamil
people. He has worked closely with the Sri Lankan army, both during the
Premadasa regime as well as the current Chandrika regime, with his
cadres fighting the Tamils alongside the Sri Lankan forces. His cadres
have acted as informers. His organization has produced detailed maps of
the peninsula for the army. As interrogators they have engaged in
abduction, ransom, torture and murder of ordinary Tamil civilians.
One of the Tamil expatriates visited him at the hotel he was staying
in New York city and he described it as a bizarre experience. At first,
he said, he was accosted in the hotel lobby by armed Sri Lankan body
guards (Some of them Sinhalese, who looked like thugs dressed in suits)
who insisted on doing a body search, which he flatly refused. Douglas
himself had then come down and accompanied him to his posh hotel room,
where they had had a long conversation. He was shown a memorandum, where
condemned the Sinhala government actions. He had said he was opposed to
Chandrika's devolution package as it was inadequate, and asked for help
to contact the LTTE.
Finally, someone in Massachusetts and another in California contacted
Mr. Lawrence Thilakar in Paris asking for a meeting with Douglas
Devandanda. Their solicitations were however, politely, refused by Mr.
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