Tamil Nationalist Movement leader P Nedumaran demonstrated outside the Sri Lankan Deputy High Commission in Chennai to protest the alleged killing of Tamil fishermen. He explains his motive to Shahina KK
What is the condition of Lankan Tamils after the fall of the LTTE?
The situation is extremely bad. A very systematic ethnic cleansing is being carried out by the government in Tamil areas like Jaffna. The government has enhanced deployment of the army. Tamils are forced to flee to refugee camps where their human rights are grossly violated. In the northern and eastern provinces, the agricultural lands owned by Tamils are being taken over by Sinhalese.
What is the situation at the refugee camps in Jaffna?
It is horrible. They don’t keep any records of the inmates in the camps. Nobody knows who are there in the camps, and who are missing. We keep getting information that inmates are often taken away by the army on the pretext of interrogation, and do not return. What is happening to these people? No inquiry whatsoever is taking place. It is time for active intervention by international agencies like the UN and Amnesty International.
What is the role of the Indian government in this scenario?
It is quite unfortunate that the Indian State shows little interest in the welfare of Tamil people. Around 600 Indian Tamil fishermen have been killed by the Sri Lankan Navy in the past 30 years. See, they are not Sri Lankan citizens, but very much belong to this country. Even then, the Indian Navy does nothing to guard their lives. There is clear discrimination from the Indian government towards Tamil people. When two fishermen from Gujarat were detained by the Pakistani forces, we all witnessed the proactive measures taken by our government to release them. We also witnessed the steps taken by the government when Biharis were attacked in Mumbai.
Is there any reason for the Union government to discriminate against Tamils? The Indian Government is not supporting the Sri Lankan Tamils because both the governments want to eliminate the Tamil Eelam. As a result of this policy, the Indian Navy maintains silence towards the atrocious acts of the Sri Lanka Navy against our men. In the Bay of Bengal, fishermen from West Bengal often cross the Bangladesh border. The Bangladeshi Navy never shoots them, and neither do the Indian Navy shoot Bangladeshi fishermen who cross over. What does it mean? This is a deliberate action by the Sri Lankan Navy, which is silently supported by the Indian government.
The Indian Navy does nothing to guard the lives of Tamil fishermen. There is a clear discrimination towards them
But thousands of Lankan Tamils are living in Tamil Nadu without any documents…
Around 100 Lankan Tamils were arrested and detained in a special camp in Chengalpattu for allegedly having LTTE connections. They were kept in illegal custody for two months, and produced in court only after they started a hunger strike. They were beaten up by the police and were shifted to Vellore prison.
Do you have any idea about a possible regrouping of the LTTE?
No movement can be completely crushed forever; it will arise in different forms until the cause is addressed.
DMK has never been against the cause of Tamil Eelam. Why would it invite the wrath of the people by being hostile to Lankan Tamils?
They have to satisfy the Congress. It is nothing but bitter politics.