Sri Lankan ethnic conflict

Indian Rulers and the Sri Lankan Ethnic Conflict

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2004 (ID. 2004-02-01)
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Hindian: People whose mother tongue is Hindi (similar to Tamil speakers are sometimes referred as Tamilans or Tamilians).

This writer has always held the view that the Indian Government would be against the Tamil minority of Sri Lanka obtaining their full legitimate rights within a truly federal Sri Lanka or in an independent country. Indian Government has done everything diplomatically, financially and militarily to thwart the Tamil minority win a military victory and establish an independent country or the Tamil minority get meaningful devolution through peace talks with the Sri Lankan Government. Some of Indian Government's anti-Tamil activities are discussed in References 1-4.

Reasons for Indian Government's active opposition to the Tamil minority of Sri Lanka obtaining their full legitimate rights has nothing to do with India's security or national integrity. Reference 5-7 systematically demolished these arguments. These articles clearly showed that even the formation of an independent country in northeastern Sri Lanka is in no way a threat to India's security or integrity. So the question of a truly federal Sri Lanka (with the northeastern Tamil region getting maximum possible devolution) being a threat to India's security or integrity does not arise at all. However India seems to be out to covertly sabotage such a peaceful settlement through talks.

What is the real reason for Indian Government's hostility to a peaceful or military solution that would allow the Tamil minority to live as first class citizens in a federal Sri Lanka or an independent country? To understand the real reason, one should understand who the real rulers of India are. Real power in India is in the hands of Aryan-Hindian politicians from the "Hindi belt" of northern India. Prime Ministers come and go, political parties win and lose, but the real power always rests with the Aryan-Hindian politicians who directly or indirectly hold the reigns of the major all-India parties such as the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Reference 8 provides some insight into how Hindian politicians control the Indian Government.

True or not, much of the Hindian population consider themselves to be the descendents of Aryans who migrated in small numbers into northern India a few millennia ago. The Aryan-Hindian rulers of India identify themselves with the Sinhala majority of Sri Lanka, and not with the Tamil minority although more than 50 million Tamils live in southern India (in the state of Tamil Nadu). While Tamils are racially Dravidians, the Sinhalse consider themselves to be descendents of Aryans. An Aryan prince is said to have come to Sri Lanka from northern India millennia ago and Sinhalese are the descendents of the then local population and the Aryan prince. The "brotherhood" of Hindians and Sinhalese because of their Aryan origin is the real reason for Indian rulers' anti-Tamil (anti-Dravidian) and pro-Sinhala (pro-Aryan) policies towards ethnic conflict between the majority Sinhalese and the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Indian rulers are not only opposed to the creation of an independent country "Tamil Eelam" in the northeastern regions of the island, they are opposed to any meaningful devolution of power to the minority community in the northeast. While the India-Sri Lanka Peace Accord, that India pushed through in 1987, mentioned devolution,   it pointedly left out what powers should devolved. Thus the accord is an empty document as for as devolution is concerned. It was to be negotiated between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil minority after the Tamil militant groups totally disarm. While the Indian Government did not say what would be the minimum amount of power to be devolved, it issued statements through surrogates that Indian would not accept anything more than what is devolved to states in India. Such a devolution would never be acceptable to the Tamil minority. What right has the Indian rulers have to set a maximum limit of devolution on the Indian model? Why not Switzerland or other countries that have successful federal structures?

India is interfering even in the current peace process. Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is so afraid that the the Indian Government would interfere if a peace settlement not to India's liking is reached, that after each session of peace talk he or one of his ministers rush to India to brief Indian rulers and get their view. No wonder Sinhala hardliners including the militant Buddhist monks want to remove Norway and place India as the facilitator of the peace talks. Given Indian rulers' anti-Tamil bias, Indian facilitation could never achieve what Norway could.

In order for the peace process to succeed, India should have no say on any agreement reached between the Sri Lankan Government and the Tamil minority. Lasting peace can be achieved only if the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are willing to accept something less than an independent country and the Sri Lankan Government is willing to accept maximum possible devolution to the Northeastern Province. Any Indian dictate as to the maximum powers that could be devolved would sabotage the peace process. Norway, America, Canada, Japan, European Union and other countries that want to see a just and long lasting peace in Sri Lanka should influence Indian rulers not to interfere in the peace process. India has no right to dictate the terms of any peaceful settlement.

Give peace a chance!


 1. Indian Government Double-Dealings in the Sri Lankan Ethnic Conflict: 1983-1987 (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, September 2003

 2. Did India Help Sri Lankan Tamils until 1987? (by Yashoda Reddy, Siva Reddy and Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 2001

 3. India's Promise of "Humanitarian Aid" to Sri Lankan Military has already Helped the Sri Lankan Military and Harmed Tamil Civilians (Year 2000) (by Yashoda Reddy & Siva Reddy), TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2000

 4. India is not an Acceptable Mediator for the Sri Lankan Conflict (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2000

5. An Independent Tamil Eelam is in the National Interest of India (by Yashoda Reddy, Siva Reddy and Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2000

6. Debunking anti-Tamil-Eelam Propaganda in India (by Yashoda Reddy, Siva Reddy and Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, June 2000

7. The Myth of Greater Tamil Eelam (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, May 1999

8. Who Rules India? (Part I) (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, November 2000


How the Indian Government Stabbed Burmese Tamils in the Back (by Thanjai Nalankilli), TAMIL TRIBUNE, July 2002

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