Statement of Condemnation on the Threats to Sri Lankan Pilgrims

Communalism offers no way forward-Class unity is the dire need of the hour

The spark of communal tensions surfacing in relation to the visit of the Sri Lankan pilgrims in Tamil Nadu is highly condemnable. The lumpen act of a handful of goons proclaiming themselves to be workers of Tamil political parties and groups, who attacked the vehicles transporting the Sri Lankan pilgrims, comes in the wake of the postures that have been enacted by both main parties of the state. Historically, DMK and AIADMK have both abused the issue of Tamils in Sri Lanka for their narrow political gains and have milked the issue to its maximum advantage.

It was the recent TESO event, which was organised by the DMK to boost its discredited and sagging electoral morale, that has set the stage for the events that have followed. The froth that was played to the gallery cut no ice with the people sympathetic to the Eelam cause and did not come anywhere near the genuine national aspirations of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. The whole jamboree of this conference was an attempt of personal aggrandisement of the wily Karunanidhi who stands totally exposed on this issue.

Swept away from power and mired in horrendous corruption scandals involving many of his kin directly, Karunanidhi wanted to play his trump of whipping up controversy over the usage of the word Eelam and the venue for the conference. While he succeeded in gaining some brownie points on these “controversies” through his belligerent rhetoric, the whole affair fell flat on his face with a watered down resolution on Eelam getting passed at the TESO conference.

While none of the serious and real representatives of the Tamil people from the island cared to participate, it was pathetic to see Wikremabahu Karunaratne of the NSSP who went on an opportunistic binge, disregarding all the history of connivance of the DMK and Karunanidhi with the ruling elite of India and Sri Lanka which brutally defeated the rebellion, culminating in the genocidal war against the Tamils.

Jayalalithaa and her sycophant party AIADMK are known for their right-wing policies and pathological hatred towards the national aspirations of the Tamils. While Jayalalithaa has repeatedly demonstrated the one-upmanship against the DMK through her sickening electoral populist strategies, there is a visible game change in her attitude since the military defeat of the rebellion in Sri Lanka.

Given the utter incapacity of the bourgeois in India to solve any of the fundamental problems faced by the majority of the country’s billion plus population, they have turned reactionary to the hilt. Both the major regional parties of the state have used regionalism and chauvinism time and again to suit their ends. The outcry against the military training accorded to Sri Lankan defence forces at various Indian facilities is an issue that will get popular support from all radical and progressive sections. These military trainings, which are primarily anti-people, must be condemned and stopped forthwith.

But, Jayalalithaa’s antics against the sporting events involving Sri Lankan school kids is a deliberate act of chauvinist politics, which was seen as a green signal to the lumpen elements who resorted to vandalism against the pilgrims from Sri Lanka. We unequivocally condemn these violent acts of communal nature perpetrated against ordinary people who were visiting for religious purposes.

The horrific pogroms carried out on the Tamils in Sri Lanka in the early 80s, running up to the “Black July” of 1983 still haunt many Socialists and Human Rights defenders. Then, even the Tamils of Indian origin in the south were subjected to systematic state-sponsored loot, rape and murder. Given the isolation of the Buddhist Chauvinist regime in Sri Lanka on the conspicuous issue of war crimes, it will be no surprise if Mahinda Rajapakse Inc. resorts to whipping up Sinhala communal retaliation.

Communalism of the Sri Lankan state cannot be countered by whipping up communalism in Tamil Nadu. The machinations of the DMK, AIADMK and other reactionary forces must be fought with by building solidarity and organic links between both the Tamil and Sinhala communities, especially the youth, which will be the only guarantee that can pave the way to achieve nationality rights to the oppressed Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

We condemn all forms of sectarianism, which is fundamentally against the unity of the oppressed masses. The genuine Socialists and working class fighters in both countries have a duty to reach out to create maximum class unity among the people of all communities. There is undoubtedly a new search for alternative solutions among the people in both countries for an honest end to the imbroglio perpetuated by the ruling classes for their narrow reactionary interests. The geo-political vested interests see the tenacity of the Tamil national aspirations as a tinder box that can blow up the fragile concept of nation state in the region. While the division of the people on communal lines is what the ruling elite want to deny the genuine nationality rights.

It is imperative for all of us; the organisations and movements defending the nationality rights of the Tamils in Sri Lanka to unequivocally oppose the communal regime there, which has blood smeared all over its body politic. We call upon all serious minded organisations to organise strongest possible protests against the proposed visit of Mahinda Rajapakse, the marauder of Tamils.

A campaign must be built against all business investments in Sri Lanka from the Indian corporates, such as Tatas, Ambanis, Bajaj, Airtel, etc., who are involved in setting up free trade zones to rake in cash and profits on the dead bodies of our Tamil brethren there.

We call upon the radical youth, working class organisations and other progressive sections to intervene to demand class unity and justice to the Tamil brethren and other oppressed people in both countries.

New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India)