Colombo, June 6 (ANI): Tamil intellectuals say the dream of an independent Tamil state in Sri Lanka is still strong, but decades of war and upheaval have soured many ordinary Tamils on the idea.
The realization of this dream, they say is dependent on a properly managed devolution of power and a retreat by Sinhalese extremists, who insist that Sri Lanka should be a Sinhalese Buddhist island.
According to the Christian Science Monitor, both communities urgently need to build bridges.
Kumar Nadesan, the managing director of Express Newspapers, publisher of Sri Lanka’s oldest Tamil-language newspaper, is quoted as saying: “The polarization is not just on one side. It’s both sides.”
The Tamils are a minority with deep roots in the north of the island nation of Sri Lanka and kinship ties to Tamil Nadu, which lies across a narrow sea channel.
Therefore, the prospects for autonomy after the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam are fairly good, but on terms dictated by a Sinhalese-dominated government that has amassed enormous wartime powers and isn’t keen to share them.
The Mahinda Rajapaksa government says it’s committed to devolution.
In theory, provincial councils control land rights and police powers, but this hasn’t happened in the east, where the LTTE was defeated in 2007.
Another sticking point is the separating of the north and east, which were combined into one province in the 1990s.
Tamil nationalists insist that the two areas should be ruled jointly.
According to CSM, without adequate power sharing and a full reckoning of Tamil grievances, a military victory won’t bring lasting peace.
Even without the LTTE, resistance could reemerge, warns Rohan Gunaratna, the head of the International Center for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.
The Tamil Diaspora, which played a major role in the fundraising and lobbying of the Tamil Tigers, will have to change track.
This Diaspora has mostly thrived in exile, and some Tamils may decide to return home if there is a lasting peace. There is also a risk that alienated Tamil exiles will fund Sri Lanka’s next generation of rebels. (ANI)