The British Tamils Forum (BTF) strongly condemns the utterly irresponsible and threatening statement by Sri Lankan cabinet minister Champika Ranawaka inciting massacre of Tamils.
Addressing the media in Colombo, Power and Energy minister Champika Ranawaka, leader of Sinhala right wing Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) said, "One Mullivaikkal is enough. Don't try to get 100 more". Referring to a recent speech of the leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R.Sampanthan during the national convention of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the minister said “if Sambanthan is calling us to a fight, our nation [our race] will proudly accept the challenge".
Mulliviakkal is the place in which more than 40,000 of innocent Tamil men women and children were massacred by the Sri Lankan State in 2009 and must be noted that over 146,000 people are still unaccounted for.. This genocidal massacre is remembered by the Tamil people world over as the Mullivaikal Remembrance in May.
JHU is lead by Buddhist monks and they are known for promoting Sinhala-Buddhist extremist ideology in the Island and key partners of the ruling Peoples alliance party led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
It is difficult to grasp how Jathika Hela Urumaya, a political entity comprised of Buddhist Monks, who presumably abide by a non-violent philosophy, can encourage and partake in the political violence against the Tamil people of Sri Lanka. Mr. Ranawaka’s threat of a “100 more Mullivaikkals” is acceptance of the fact that the GOSL carried out the massacre with the intent of killing the Tamils as part or whole. His nonchalant statement can perhaps be explained by examining the ideology of Anagaraka Dharmapala, a leading figure of Buddhism in the 20th century who held the view that Tamils and other non-Sinhalese people do not belong on the island.
It is undeniable that it is this ideology that dominates the policies and actions of the current government and which inevitably led to the massacre of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The BTF sees this statement of the cabinet minister as a prelude to state sponsored massacres against the Tamil people. A speech by the leader of the TNA setting out the Tamil people’s right to self-determination in a democratic non-violent manner has been responded to by the cabinet minister inciting violence against the Tamil people.
A non-violent cry for equality and freedom from persecution is being met with incitement of violence by the Sri Lankan state. This statement is not dissimilar to the statement by the then president J R Jayawardene which resulted in the anti-Tamils pogrom nearly 30 years ago; The Black July 1983, in which more than 3000 innocent Tamil men, women and children were massacred in their homes and on the streets in the south of the Island.
Just two weeks before the July 83 pogrom, President Jayawardene in an interview with a correspondent of a London Daily stated, “I am not worried about the opinion of the Jaffna people now… Now we cannot think of them. Not about their lives or of their opinion about us… The more you put pressure in the North, the happier the Sinhala people will be here…really, if I starve the Tamils out, the Sinhala people will be happy”.
“In 14 minutes the blood of every Tamil in the country can be sacrificed to the land by us” said the then cabinet minister Gamini Dissanayake, soon after the 1983 riots.
With the war now ended when people are hoping to return to a period without bloodshed the Cabinet minister is vying for the Tamil people’s blood by his racist and provocative speech. These statements from prominent Sinhala leaders clearly exhibit the systematic Structural Genocide agenda of the Sinhala extremist backed Sri Lankan state.
It was only two months ago, on 14th April 2012 many houses belonging to Tamil people were set ablaze and Tamil youth in the area beaten up by the Sri Lankan military, in Galle in the south of the island. Refusal by a Tamil youth to address a Sinhala soldier in civvies as “Sir” was the trigger for this attack on the Tamil people. On 20th April 2012 a Sinhala mob led by Buddhist monks firebombed a Mosque in Dambulla and threatened Muslim and Tamil people who had lived in the area for centuries to vacate the place claiming that it was a Buddhist sacred zone.
The Tamil and Muslim people are living on a knife edge, extremely fearful of the island returning to the repeated pogroms against them as in 1958, 1961, 1963, 1977, 1981 and 1983. These state sponsored pogroms against the Tamil people resulted in an armed resistance movement, which had been a major factor in the lull of such attacks in the past 30 years.
With no more forces to protect them the Tamil speaking people of the island are fearful of another massacre in the near future. We therefore call upon the international community to be on the alert to protect the Tamil people against the Sri Lankan Sinhala state which is hell bent on ridding the island of all people of different cultural and religious believes to fulfill its dream of changing it into a mono-ethnic Sinhala/Buddhist country.