Members of Parliament from Tamil Nadu will have to resign if the Centre does not come forward to ensure a ceasefire in Sri Lanka within two weeks, according to a resolution adopted at an all-party meet chaired by Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Tuesday.
Asked if this meant Ministers in the Union Cabinet and MPs in the Rajya Sabha would resign in the event of the ceasefire not happening in two weeks, Mr. Karunanidhi told The Hindu that he meant that all MPs would tender their resignation. “Ministers are MPs first, are they not?” he asked.
As Malini Parthasarathy points out in her editorial, this sudden increase in rhetoric coming from the DMK and other Tamil parties seems to coincide with an apparent impending military breakthrough by the Sri Lankan army. Why apparent? Because the only sources of news are the SL army and the LTTE, and neither, are, shall we say, neutral! Overt support for the LTTE has been absent since the late ’80s and especially since Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, so the timing most definitely reeks of LTTE’s covert influence on the Tamil parties in Tamil Nadu. This would be a good time for the LTTE to get some breathing room and regroup.
The Central government would become a minority if this threat was carried out. Which is why the Sri Lankan envoy was summoned and India’s “concerns” were addressed, whatever that means.
I think that the LTTE is a band of ruthless terrorists who should disappear from the face of this Earth. They have systematically eradicated moderate Tamils in their bid to be the only Tamil voice. Additionally, they have killed many civilians, Tamil, Sinhalese and Indian over the course of their bloody insurgency. The Sri Lankan army and polity, of course, are guilty of mass genocide and human rights themselves. But, they have the power of the nation state behind them and smell a final victory. I don’t seem them stopping now.
How is this going to end? Not very well for the central government, who will lose quite a bit of support after only recently surviving a confidence vote. Not too well for the millions of civilians caught in the conflict, who will bear the brunt of increasing desperation on both sides of the war. Will the LTTE ask for a negotiated ceasefire if things get too hot for them? Probably. Will the Tamils of Northern Sri Lanka ever get the autonomy they so deserve? Not if the Sri Lankan government sees itself as being in a position of strength. So, why was this war fought? I don’t know. But, I don’t believe in war, so there…
As a great believer in the educational power of fiction, I heartily recommend Love Marriage, a story set in the Sri Lankan tamil community, tells the history from the tamil side. You can read a Q&A with the author at the always excellent Sepia Mutiny.