Feature Article

North-East under Sinhala colonial rule: NPC Minister Sarweswaran

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 17:35 GMT]
Instead of respecting the feelings of Tamils and looking at ways to resolve the national conflict, which also includes the introduction of a new flag that doesn't offend the feelings of the Tamil people, the Sinhala establishment of southern politicians and their ethno-religious leaders remain trapped in a colonial mind-set, says K. Sarsweswaran, the minister of Education, Youth affairs and Sport at the Northern Provincial Council. In a recent video interview to TamilNet on the reactions coming from the Sinhala politicians from South and the Sinhala colonial Governor to North regarding the NPC Minister’s avoidance of hoisting the offending Lion flag at a school event in Vavuniyaa, Sarawesaran said he was baffled at the reactions coming from the Sinhala politicians in South as if the denouncement of Lion flag was a latest discovery of Tamils.



Saraweswaran reminded the Sinhala establishment in the South that the Tamil leaders have been opposed to the colonial attitude of Sinhala supremacy for more than six decades and the practice by all Tamil leaders of the past for 6 centuries has been the democratic rejection and their avoidance to hoist the so-called ‘national’ flag of Sinhala-Buddhist ‘Sri Lanka’.

The episode in Vavuniyaa was not felt as a controversy while it happened, neither by himself, or by those accompanied him including the Sinhala officials and teachers, he said. They all understood the practice and didn’t interpret it as an offence or controversy at all. But, the next day morning, the news media in South had blown up the issue as a new controversy, he said.

The main challenge to find a negotiated settlement has been the colonial attitude of the Sinhala establishment, which denies the merger of North and East and refuses to recognise the North-East as the homeland of Tamils, he said. It is the attitude to denounce the Tamil identity in the North-East and impose the Sinhala identity as superior to everything else, which is the main hurdle to find a reasonable solution, he said.

Even the Indo-Lanka Accord, in its preamble states the Northern and Eastern provinces as areas of historical habitation, which is a recognition of the concept of North-East as a homeland of Tamils, he said.

Tamils lost their sovereignty to European colonists in the 16th century. The European colonists, from Portuguese, the Dutch and the British, ruled the Tamil kingdom separately until the advent of Colebrook-Cameron Commission by the British colonialists in 1833 without the mandate of Tamils, he said.

Tamils were made a minority under a unitary system of governance by the British rulers who transferred the power of governance of the entire island to the Sinhalese. As the British wanted the presence of their air force in the island after the so-called independence, they promoted the Sinhala rulers through appeasement ignoring the Tamil demands.

Therefore, the North-East still remains as a colony under the Sinhala rule, Saraweswaran said.

Even the position expressed by many Sinhala parties and the ethno religious leaders of the Sinhala establishment with regards to the new constitution making process also expresses the tendency towards strengthening the unitary State system, subordinating the provincial system to Colombo's unitary system and a further stringent tendency of the 6th Amendment, he said.


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