Newly elected TMTK (Thamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani) MP C.V. Wigneswaran, on Thursday (13), vowed before the LTTE memorial at Mullivaikkal where more than 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by Sri Lankan forces, that he would fulfil the aspirations of the Tamil people.
He was a Tamil professional man living a luxury live with his Sinhale friends in Colombo before he was asked by TNA to be the Chief Minister candidate of Northern province. But he was accused of being a Sinhale’s friend who did not understand the difficulties faced by the Tamils living in North and East who have been discriminated by the Colombo based Sinhale governments since independence from British on the 4th of February 1948.
The Tamils have been cheated of a political package since independence by consecutive Sinhale run governments who used ”discrimination of the minority to gain the Majority votes” for the last 72 years.
Since Sri Lanka gained independence from Britain in 1948, relations between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil communities have been strained. Rising ethnic and political tensions, along with ethnic pogroms carried out by Sinhalese mobs in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983, led to the formation and strengthening of militant groups advocating independence for Tamils. The ensuing civil war resulted in the deaths of more than 100,000 people and the forced disappearance of thousands of others. The civil war ended in 2009 but there are continuing allegations of atrocities being committed by the Sri Lankan Military. A United Nations panel found that as many as 40,000 Tamil civilians may have been killed in the final months of the civil war. In January 2020, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the estimated 20,000+ abducted Sri Lankan Tamil civilians were dead. The end of the civil war has not improved conditions in Sri Lanka, with press freedom not being restored and the judiciary coming under political control.
One-third of Sri Lankan Tamils now live outside Sri Lanka. While there was significant migration during the British colonial period, the civil war led to more than 800,000 Tamils leaving Sri Lanka, and many have left the country for destinations such as India, Australia, Europe and Canada as refugees. The tensions and discrimination that Sri Lankan Tamils faced has resulted in many Sri Lankan Tamils today not identifying themselves as Sri Lankans but instead identifying themselves as Eelam Tamils or simply Tamils. Many also support Tamil Eelam, a proposed independent state that Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Inspired by the Tamil Eelam flag, the tiger has become a symbol of Tamil nationalism for Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.
In August 2009, the civil war ended with total victory for the government forces. During the last phase of the war, many Tamil civilians and combatants were killed. The government estimated that over 22,000 LTTE cadres had died. The civilian death toll is estimated to vary from 6,500 to as high as 40,000. This is in addition to the 70,000 Sri Lankans killed up to the beginning of the last phase of the civil war. Over 300,000 internally displaced Tamil civilians were interred in special camps and eventually released. As of 2011, there were still few thousand alleged combatants in state prisons awaiting trials. The Sri Lankan government has released over 11,000 rehabilitated former LTTE cadres.
Tamil presence in Sri Lankan politics and society is facing a revival. In 2015 elections the Tamil national alliance got the third largest amound of seats in the Parliament and as the largest parties UNP and SLFP created a unity government TNA leader R.Sampanthan was appointed as the opposition leader K. Sripavan beame the 44th Chief justice and the second Tamil to hold the position.
Mr Wigneswaren is of the view that even he was not aware of the diskriminations faced by the Tamils until he became to Jaffna to live and work as the Chief Minister of the Northern Promise. The retired Supreme Court justice and former Northern Province Chief Minister said that he wanted to make a commitment at Mulliwaikkal before taking oaths as a member of parliament on August 20.