The Indian role

Reference Col. Hariharan’s response to ‘Who is running Sri Lanka’, his explanation is that his original publication of June 8 was written primarily for Indian readers. Was he reinforcing the perception of ordinary Indians that they have the right to interfere in the internal matters of Sri Lanka, India’s other neighbours, as well as countries where Indians are resident? Statements from various leaders of the Indian government through the years clearly indicate that this is India’s mindset, however illogical and illegal it is. Indian "viceroy" mentality is alive and well into 60 years after the end of the "British Raj".  

It is ironic that he is surprised that Mr. Gunawardena "has chosen to blame India for the growth of Tamil militancy". If he was in the Indian intelligence service, surely he would have known that under Indira Gandhi’s government there was a conscious decision made to foster, train and promote Tamil "militancy" in Sri Lanka with retired Indian generals training the LTTE, the government of India providing funding and bases in India and the politicians providing political support. That he wants to absolve India of blame indicates his Indian bias and colonial mentality. It is he who is "over simplifying a complex problem" by not admitting to and ignoring what was broadcast even in the Indian media. He claims that the Indians sacrificed the lives of 1255 of their own soldiers but ignores mentioning that they killed 8000, raped, looted, plundered and robbed Sri Lanka in the process. That is a travesty of history particularly if he is writing for the benefit of his fellow Indians who have a "hazy view of developments in Sri Lanka".  

Further he should inform his fellow Indians that the Tamil Tigers continued to flourish for another 20 years not because India kept its hands off Sri Lanka but because India intervened to save Prabhakaran by threatening to invade Sri Lanka and evacuated Prabhakaran to India where he was given refuge and assistance by India so that he could return to Sri Lanka and terrorise the country for the next 20 years. Sri Lanka’s problem was that it had leaders who succumbed to Indian pressure at that time and believed that India would help Sri Lanka. When Sri Lanka’s approach changed, namely, stopped attempting to negotiate with a terrorist who would not negotiate, refused to be pressured by foreign countries, including India, to give in to Tamil terrorist demands to divide the country and took on the Tamil terrorists militarily, they succeeded in crushing the leadership of the Tamil Tigers. That is the "home truth" that President Rajapaksa realised. Had Sri Lanka once again made the same mistake of letting Prabhakaran leave Sri Lanka to live elsewhere and continue to terrorise Sri Lanka, ably assisted by the Indians, the LTTE would still be "flourishing". 

As for the 13th amendment that was forced on Sri Lanka, again because they had a weakling as President who forced all his gutless, unprincipled, unpatriotic parliamentarians to vote for it, it became a part of the constitution.  Col. Hariharan is correct that ultimately it is the people of Sri Lanka, who should decide whether to continue with the farce imposed on the country by India or change the constitution and get rid of its ill effects. The point is that though he states this fact, he argues otherwise and makes it India’s decision which it is not. Let us hope that President Rajapaksa has the foresight and strength keep his promise to the people of Sri Lanka that he will develop a home grown solution and get rid of bad legislation that has done nothing to improve the country. 

He states that he has not understood why Sri Lanka should feel humiliated when India "requests" Sri Lanka to carry on with the 13th Amendment - naturally he does not because he fails to realise that India is part of the problem. I would refer him to the news reports of the daily antics of the politicians in Tamil Nadu who feel that they represent the Tamils in Sri Lanka rather than the politicians that have been elected by the Sri Lankan voters.  All that he as an Indian can understand of what he terms the "Tamil issue" is that it has political fallout in India. Therefore, India is once again crucifying Sri Lanka  for its political benefit. If that is what he claims friendly nations do all the time, he should understand the feelings of Sri Lankans because as the saying goes "with friends like these who needs enemies". 

Ira de Silva
London, Canada

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