நாட்டுப்பற்றாளர் வி.நவரத்தினம்


வி.நவரத்தினம் அவர்களுக்கு “நாட்டுப்பற்றாளர்” விருது தமிழ் மக்களின் விடிவிற்காக, தமிழ் தேசமொன்றின் மீள்வருகைக்குமாக உழைத்த ஒரு உன்னத மனிதரை தமிழினம் 22.11.2006அன்று இழந்துவிட்டது. அமரர் வி. நவரத்தினம் அவர்கள் அற்புதமான இலட்சியவாதியாகத் திகழ்ந்தார். தான் அணைத்துக்கொண்ட இலட்சியத்திற்காக நூற்றாண்டொன்று முழுவதும் தனது வாழ்வை அர்ப்பணித்தார்.

சுயநல வாழ்வு எனும் குறுகிய வட்டத்திற்குள் தனது நீண்ட வாழ்வை சிறைப்படுத்திக் கொள்ளாமல் உயர்ந்த வாழ்வு வாழ்ந்தார். தனது இனப்பற்றாலும் தேசப்பற்றாலும் தமிழ்ச் சமூக மேன்மைக்காக இறுதிவரை சேவையாற்றினார். தனது மக்கள் விடுதலை அடையவேண்டுமென்ற உயரிய எண்ணத்திற்கு தனது அறிவாற்றல், படைப்பாற்றல், செயலாற்றல் அனைத்தையுமே ஒருங்கிணைத்து தேசப் பணிபுரிந்தார்.

ஒடுக்குமுறைக்குள்ளாக்கப்பட்ட தனது இனத்தின் விடியலிற்காக தனது பால்ய வயதிலேயே வெகுண்டு எழுந்தவர் இவர். தமிழர் தேசிய எழுச்சியின் ஆரம்ப வடிவமான தமிழரசுக் கட்சி அமைப்பின் மூத்த, ஆரம்ப கர்த்தாவாகவும் பின்னர் அதன் மேன்மைக்காக கடினமாக உழைத்தவருமாவார். மிருகத்தனமாக அடக்குமுறைக்குள்ளாகும் இனமொன்று தனியே அரசியல் வழியில் ஒப்பந்தங்கள், உடன்பாடுகளினூடாக விடுதலையை வென்றெடுக்க முயல்வதின் அபத்தத்தினை அதன் ஆரம்பத்திலேயே தமிழர்களுக்கு எடுத்துச் சொன்னார்.

இலங்கைத் தீவிலிருந்து பிரித்தானியரின் வெளியேற்றத்தின் பின்னர் சிங்களத் தலைமைகளுடனான தமிழரசுக் கட்சியின் அனைத்துப் பேச்சுக்களிலும் இவர் பங்குபற்றினார். அரசியல் ஆதாயத்திற்காகப் புனிதமான தனது இலட்சியத்தையும் தமிழ் மக்களின் உரிமைகளையும் விட்டுக்கொடுக்காத தேசாபிமானியாகத் திகழ்ந்தார். இத்தகைய தனது குறுகிய கால சிங்களத் தலைமைகளுடனான சந்திப்பனுபவங்களினூடாக அரசியல் வழித்தீர்வின் நிச்சயமின்மையை இவர் உணர்ந்து புதிய பாதையினை தனக்கென வகுத்துக்கொண்டார்.

1969 இலேயே ‘தனித் தமிழ் நாட்டின்;’ அவசியம் பற்றி எடுத்தியம்பினார். அதற்காகப் போராட வருமாறும், எந்த வழியிலேனும் போராடுமாறும் தமிழ் இளைஞர்களுக்கு அறைகூவல் விடுத்தார். தீர்க்கதரிசனமான பார்வையும், சிந்தனையும் மிக்கவரான இவர் தனது நடைமுறை வாழ்க்கை வரலாற்றை, தான் நேரில் கண்டவற்றை, கேட்டவற்றை தமிழ் இளைய தலைமுறைக்கு மட்டுமல்லாது சர்வதேச சமூகத்திற்கும் புரியத்தக்க வழியில் நூலாக்கம் செய்யும் அருந்தொண்டாற்றினார்.

காலத்தால் அழிந்து போகாத, இன விடுதலையை மேன்மைப்படுத்துகின்ற, சமூக அக்கறை மிகுந்த அரிய நூல்கள் பல இவரால் படைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கின்றன. கால வயோதிபத்தினால் இவரது உடல் தளர்ந்து போயிருந்தாலும் உள்ளத்தில் சுதந்திர உணர்வு நிரம்ப இளமை மிடுக்குடன் மிளிர்ந்த இவர் இறுதிவரை தமிழ் மண்ணிலும், மக்களிலும் பற்று மிகுதியுடன் வாழ்ந்தார். நேற்று வரை தமிழ் தேசியத் தலைமைத்துவத்தை முழுமையாக ஏற்றுக்கொண்டு எழுதினார்; பேசினார்; வாழ்ந்தார்.

“தமிழருக்கு நிரந்தர தமிழீழ தாயகம் விரைவிலே மலரும்” எனவும் “மறுபிறப்பொன்றென்று இருக்குமானால் மீண்டுமொரு தமிழனாக தமிழீழத்தில் பிறக்க ஆசைப்படுகிறேன்” எனவும் மேல் நாடொன்றிலிருந்து கடைசி வரை உரைத்த அவரது தேசபக்திக்கு சிரம் தாழ்த்துகின்றோம்.

இப்படியாக எமது தேசத்தின் விடுதலை மீதும், எமது இனத்தின் சுதந்திரப் பயணத்தை வெற்றிகரமாக வழிநடத்தி வரும் எமது தேசியத் தலைவர் மீதும் பற்றோடும் உறுதியோடும் இறுதி மூச்சு வரை செயற்பட்டு வந்த வி. நவரத்தினம் அவர்களுக்கு எமது விடுதலை அமைப்பு நாட்டுப்பற்றாளர் எனும் கௌரவத்தை வழங்கி மதிப்பளிக்கின்றது.

“புலிகளின் தாகம் தமிழீழ தாயகம்”


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காவலூர் முன்னாள் நாடாளுமன்ற உறுப்பினர் திரு.வி.நவரத்தினத்தின் நினைவாக, கனடாவில் அவரது படத்துடன்கூடிய முத்திரையொன்று வெளியிடப்பட்டது.

Navaratnam memorial stamp issued in Canada on 27 January 2007

சிறீலங்கா அரசின் வெளிவிவகார அமைச்சின் சர்வதேச பிரச்சாரக்குழு, கனடிய தூதரக தொடர்புகளுடாக, இதை கடுமையாக எதிர்த்ததுடன், இந்த முத்திரை வெளியீட்டை நிராகரித்து, மீளப்பெறுமாறு கோரிக்கை விடுத்தது.

இளைஞர்கள் ஆயுதமேந்திப் போராடுவதன் மூலமே சிறீலங்கா இனப் பிரச்சனைக்கு தீர்வொன்று கிடைக்குமென்று கூறியதன் மூலம், இவர் பயங்கரவாதத்திற்கும் ஆயுதப் போராட்டத்திற்கும் ஆதரவு வழங்கியதாகக் கூறிய இந்த பரப்புரையாளர்கள், இந்த முத்திரை வெளியாகியதன் மூலம், தமிழர் அரசியல் அபிலாசைகளுக்கு கனடிய தபால் இலாகா உதவியிருப்பதாக குற்றம் சுமத்தியிருந்தது.

இருப்பினும், இந்தக் குற்றச்சாட்டை நிராகரித்த கனடிய தபால் திணைக்களம், இந்த முத்திரையை கனடிய அரசு வெளியிடவில்லை என்றும், கனடாவில் வழமையாக நடைமுறையிலுள்ள சட்டதிட்டங்களுக்கு அமைவாகவே இந்த முத்திரையும் வெளிவந்துள்ளது என்றும் சுட்டிக் காட்டியுள்ளது.

இது குறித்துக் கருத்து வெளியிட்ட கனடிய முத்திரை வெளியீட்டுத் திட்ட அதிகாரி ஜிம் பிஃலிப்ஸ், திரு.நவரத்தினத்தின் அரசியல் வாழ்வுக்கும் முத்திரை வெளியீட்டிற்கும் சம்பந்தமில்லை என்று கூறினார்.

விரும்பிய குடும்ப உறவினர்கள் இந்த கனடிய முத்திரைகளைப் பெறுவதற்கு வாய்ப்பிருக்கிறது. நவரத்தினத்தின் மகன், தனது விருப்பத்தின் பேரில் இந்த முத்திரைகளை வெளியிட கோரிக்கை விடுத்து, உரிய தொகையைக் கட்டினார். அதன் அடிப்படையில் 150 முத்திரைகள் வெளியிடப்பட்டன என்று அவர் விளக்கமளித்தார்.

கடந்த நொவம்பர் 22ம் திகதி கனடாவின் கியூபெக் மாகாணத்தில் உள்ள மொன்றியல் நகரில், தமது 97வது வயதில் காலமான திரு.வி.நவரத்தினம் அவர்கள், இலங்கை தமிழரசுக் கட்சியின் மூத்த தலைவராவார்.

யாழ். காவலூர், கரம்பனில் கடந்த 1910 ஒக்ரோபர் 18 ஆம் நாள் பிறந்த நவரத்தினம், இலங்கை சட்டக் கல்லு}ரியில் பயின்று, பின்னர் 58 ஆண்டுகாலம் சட்டத்தரணியாக பணியாற்றினார். சமூக சிந்தனையாளரும், எழுத்தாளரும், வரலாற்று ஆய்வாளரும், அரசியல்வாதியுமான திரு.நவரத்தினம் அவர்கள், தமிழ், ஆங்கிலம், சமஸ்கிருதம், பாளி, லத்தீன், சிங்களம் ஆகிய மொழிகளில் புலமை பெற்ற ஒரு மொழியியலாளர்.

இலங்கை பிரச்சனைகளுக்கு முகம் கொடுக்கிறது என்ற நு}லை 1956 ஆம் ஆண்டு எழுதினார். தமிழ்த் தேசியத்தின் எழுச்சி தொடர்பாக 1995 ஆம் ஆண்டு மற்றொரு நு}லை எழுதினார். இவை தவிர, 2004ல் திருவெம்பாவை என்ற நூலை எழுதினார்.

2006ம் ஆண்டு ல் 732 பக்கங்கள் கொண்ட தமிழர் பூர்வீக சரித்திரம் என்ற தமிழ் வரலாற்று நூலை யாழ் பல்கலைக்கழக வெளியீடாக இவர் ஆங்கிலத்தில் எழுதி வெளியிட்டதுடன், தமிழ் மொழிபெயர்ப்புக்கும், யாழ் பல்கலைக்கழகத்திற்கு அனுமதி வழங்கினார்.

அமரர் வி.நவரத்தினத்துக்கு தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள் “நாட்டுப்பற்றாளர்” விருது வழங்கி கௌரவித்தனர்.

1969 இலேயே ‘தனித் தமிழ் நாட்டின்’ அவசியம் பற்றி நவரத்தினம் அவர்கள் எடுத்தியம்பியதாகக் கூறும் விடுதலைப் புலிகளின் கௌரவ உரையில், தீர்க்கதரிசனமான பார்வையும், சிந்தனையும் மிக்கவரான இவர் தனது நடைமுறை வாழ்க்கை வரலாற்றை, தான் நேரில் கண்டவற்றை, கேட்டவற்றை தமிழ் இளைய தலைமுறைக்கு மட்டுமல்லாது சர்வதேச சமூகத்திற்கும் புரியத்தக்க வழியில் நு}லாக்கம் செய்யும் அருந்தொண்டாற்றியதாக குறிப்பிடப்பட்டுள்ளது.

“தமிழருக்கு நிரந்தர தமிழீழ தாயகம் விரைவிலே மலரும்” எனவும் “மறுபிறப்பொன்றென்று இருக்குமானால் மீண்டுமொரு தமிழனாக தமிழீழத்தில் பிறக்க ஆசைப்படுகிறேன்” எனவும் மேல் நாடொன்றிலிருந்து கடைசி வரை உரைத்த அவரது தேசபக்திக்கு சிரம் தாழ்த்துகின்றோம் என்று தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகளின் ஆசியுரையில் விதந்துரைக்கப்பட்டுள்ளமை குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.

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Tigers confer ‘Patriot’ title on Navaratnam

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 December 2006, 22:29 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Sunday posthumously conferred “Naattu Patralar” (Patriot) title on V. Navaratnam, who passed away in Montreal, Canada, Friday at the age of 97.

Mr. Navaratnam warned Tamils, at an early stage, of disastarous consequences of the strategy of winning freedom solely through political means of agreements and pacts, with a brutal oppressor.

The co-founder of the Federal Party, with his vast experience from early negotiations and a perception of foresight, made a clarion call to the young generation of Tamils, as early as in 1969, to struggle for the Tamil homeland, the statement issued in Tamil said.

Mr. Navaratnam has also done invaluable service by writing an autobiography about his contemporary political life, in book form, to be understood not only by the younger generation but also by the international community, the statement said.

Full text of the Tamil statement follows:

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Navaratnam’s funeral in Montreal, Tuesday

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 December 2006, 20:11 GMT]
Federal Party co-founder V. Navaratnam’s remains are kept for public to pay their last respects at Darche Funeral Parlour, 7679 Taschereau boulevard, in Montreal, and the funeral would be held Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. His nine grandchildren will carry the casket from the funeral parlour to the site of the burial service, family members said.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Sunday posthumously conferred “Naattu Patralar” (Patriot) title on V. Navaratnam, who passed away, Friday at the age of 97.

Mr. Navaratnam leaves behind his 80 year old wife Parameswary, and six children, N. Chandramohan, a chemical engineer (UK), N. Jegan, who owns four manufacturing companies in Canada, N. Jeganmohan, a barrister and lawyer who has a private law firm, N. Rajmohan, a stationary engineer in Canada, N. Shyamala, who works for the civil service in UK and N. Balamohan, a civil engineer who owns a technical firm in Toronto.

Navaratnam, the doyen of Federal Party, passes away

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 December 2006, 21:42 GMT]
V. Navaratnam, the only surviving founder member of the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the Federal Party, and who turned 97 last October, has passed away in Montreal, Canada at 4:10 p.m. Friday. The doyen of Tamil politics who inked the Bandaranaiyake Chelvanayagam pact and negotiated with the Sri Lanka leaders for sharing state power within a federal framework for almost three decades, came to a conclusion that the Sinhala polity would never compromise or agree on any decision to share state power with Tamils, and left the Federal Party, calling upon the Tamil youth to fight for the establishment of a separate self-governing Tamil State, as early as in 1969.

Mr. V. Navaratnam

Born in Karampon on 18th October 1910 in Jaffna and educated in Ceylon Law College, he was an Attorney-at-Law for nearly 58 years.

In 1956 he authored the book “Ceylon Faces Crisis,” and in 1995 “The Fall And Rise Of The Tamil Nation,” a book that provides a historic and detailed understanding of early negotiations between the Sinhala and Tamil leaders from a Tamil perspective.

In an exclusive Interview to TamilNet, last year, Mr. Navaratnam said that the failure of every one of the long line of “Pacts” between the Tamil and Sinhala leaders was always attributed to the many divisions among the Sinhalese.

“When one party agrees to condescend towards some solution on the Tamil problem, the others will rise in unison to object and obstruct. They will never compromise or agree on any decision when it comes to solving the Tamil problem by consensus.”

“It is not in the ethos or in the political character of the Sinhala leaders and governments to honour and abide by agreeements and pacts conceding rights to the Tamils as a people.”

Mr. Navaratnam was Member of Parliament for Kayts in Jaffna.

Family members said Mr. Navaratnam was keeping current himself with the news till the funeral of Anton Balasingham, advisor and theoretician for the Liberation Tigers, Wednesday.

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Canadian Memorial Stamp issued for late Navaratnam

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 16:17 GMT]
A set of Canadian Memorial Stamps and First Day Cover were issued at a memorial function in Toronto Saturday, honoring the contribution by late V. Navaratnam, a doyen of Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), the Federal Party, and who called upon the Tamil youth to fight for the establishment of a separate self-governing Tamils State in 1969. Mr Navaratnam urged the youth to fight, when he left the Federal Party and founded Thamil Suyadchi Kalaham, the Organisation for Tamil Self-Governance, after witnessing failed negotiations for power-sharing with Sri Lankan leaders for almost three decades.

Navaratnam memorial stamp issued in Canada on 27 January 2007

Mr. Navaratnam’s son, Jegan Mohan, recalling past conversations with his father, toldthe audiance a conversation, which took place between Felix R. Dias Bandaranaike and Navaratnam, 39 years ago in the Ceylon Parliament Cafeteria, after his father called for a Separate State for the Tamils.

Felix R. Dias Bandaranayake had approached Mr. Navaratnam and commented that the Tamils were always demanding for something, which they cannot obtain, and cited G. G. Ponnambalam’s cry for fifty-fifty and Chelvanayakam’s demand for Federal State. All of them were rejected by the Sinhalese.

“Now Navam, you are asking for a separate state. Do you really believe that you can attain it?,” asked Mr. Bandaranaike. Navaratnam had responded: “Felix, I don’t know whether you and I may be alive, but a day will come, when Sinhalese would come forward to offer the Tamils a Federal State, and the Tamil leadership will consider the offer too little too late.”

Thamil Arasu stamp issued in 1961

Navaratnam had issued the first postage “Thamil arasu” (Tamil State) in 1961 as part of the disobedience campaign, with an aim to challenge the state of the Government of Ceylon, contravening a Post Office Ordinance and its monopoly to raise tax, similar to Gandhi’s Salt March Campaign.

Navaratnam was quoted as having had the idea of breaking the Post Office Law and running a parallel postal service as a part of a mass civil disobedience campaign, following the Trincomalee Resolution in 1956, long before the Satyagraha in 1961, and had drawn the sketch of the stamp, reflecting the concept of a Tamil State. He designed it to incorporate the symbolic features of the Tamil State’s economy, agriculture, industry, shipping and trawling.

It was finally released in 1961 after the B. C. Pact was nullified by the Sinhala leaders.

The image of the Thamil Arasu stamp is also printed on the First Day Cover. Mr Navaratnam’s last advice to the Tamil diaspora, was to mobilize with a unified message to the International Community, and that the gross human rights violations of the Sri Lankan government, be documented and exposed. He also urged the Tamil Canadians to persuade the Canadian government to initiate a demand that Sri Lanka must be expelled from the Commonwealth of Nations for the human rights violations, an act Canada initiated in the Commonwealth against South Africa for its racist policies, Jegan Mohan said.

The meeting was organized by Soma Satchithananthan and Praba Ponnambalam and was attended by family members, relatives, friends and Tamil Canadian diaspora members of Kayts constituency in Jaffna attended the event.

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Navaratnam’s last Interview to TamilNet

1972 Sri Lanka Constitution illegal – Navaratnam

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 December 2006, 22:45 GMT]
“The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher’s recent reference to the responsibilities of the [Sri Lankan] Government was precisely the same as the substance of a speech I made in the Ceylon Parliament on 11th June 1968,” noted the doyen of Tamil politics, V. Navaratnam, when he spoke to TamilNet on 02 November. “I am 97 years old and have lived through the makings of history – not global history with British troops marching into Belgium to start World War I, but more particularly the political, constitutional, judicial, cultural and social history of Ceylon, the country of my origin.”

Mr. Navaratnam passed away in Canada Friday.

V. Navaratnam
[18.10.1910 – 22.12.2006]

“It was a lengthy speech [on 11th June 1968], frequently interrupted by the Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, his deputy J.R.Jayawardene, and others including the president of the Federal party, in which I traced the 50 year history of a series of negotiated pacts for the solution of the Singhalese-Tamil conflict beginning from 1919, through the Mahendra Pact of 1925, the Bandaranaike – Chelvanayakam Pact of 1956 and the Dudley Senanayake – Chelvanayakam Pact of 1965,” Mr. Navaratnam said.

“I am glad to find that the most powerful Donor among the Co-Chairs is well apprised of the dire situation that confronts the Tamils in Ceylon. A high ranking diplomat from the US State Department, Mr. Richard A. Boucher, Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, who was in Ceylon recently, addressed an audience in what appears to be a US arranged press conference In Colombo,” the doyen of Tamil politics, said.

Mr. Richard A. Boucher was reported to have said: “We need to start with the basic fact that there is a democratically elected government here in Sri Lanka. A democratic government, as a member of comity of nations, is obliged politically and constitutionally, to respect and defend the human rights of its citizens. Therefore, the primary responsibility to respect and defend human rights is with the government.”

To a question by another correspondent he said: “I think there is more than that, though, that should lead the LTTE to negotiations. The fact is that the LTTE fights for the legitimate grievances of the Tamil community. The LTTE’s goals are also to see Tamil community is respected, and is able to control its own affairs within a unified island. The only way they are going to achieve those aspirations is through negotiations.”

“These are views which are not usually associated with the United States before. Allowing for the propensity of governments to use worn out clichés such as ‘democratically elected governments’, ‘territorial integrity’, ‘unified country’, ‘unitary state’, ‘eschew violence’, ‘talks’, ‘negotiations’, ‘negotiated settlements’, etc, Boucher’s statements reflect U.S. adopting a sympathetic position towards the plight of the Tamils.

“In my speech at Ceylon Parliament, I charged that the governments in Colombo failed to implement even one negotiated pact during the 50 years. They always found some excuse to abdicate each of the pacts.

“It was in that speech I called upon the Tamils never again to get drawn into talks with Sinhalese governments in Colombo or enter into negotiated settlements but to rise up and fight for the establishment of a separate, independent, self-governing Tamil state.

“In a way that speech of mine turned to be one of the contributory factors for making the present day Supreme Court of Ceylon an illegitimate institution, and its Bench of Five Judges lack legitimacy, judicial power and jurisdiction to deliver judgment on North East merger.

“I am 97 years in age and have lived through the makings of history – not global history with British troops marching into Belgium to start World War I, but more particularly the political, constitutional, judicial, cultural and social history of Ceylon, the country of my origin.

“Some time after Ceylon received Independence the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in England delivered judgments in two cases for Ceylon pronouncing that Article 29(2) in the Soulbury Constitution contained entrenched provisions of the law for the protection of the Tamils and other minorities and therefore can never be amended or repealed under any procedure.

“It upset the Singhalese leadership which had been nursing a secret intention to amend the Soulbury Constitution to vest the Singhalese community with absolute dominant power, take away the political power of the Tamils. When I concluded my speech in Parliament, Dr. Colvin R de Silva, a Marxist MP from the opposition, followed up.

“His speech was essentially a reply to mine, gave advance public warning of things to come. His mumbled words were understood to say that they would deal with the Soulbury Constitution when they get a chance.

“He did get that chance much sooner than expected.

“In 1970, the country went to the polls in a general election to Parliament. Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike, president of the SLFP, who contested the elections in coalition with the Marxists, won with a clear two-thirds majority and became Prime Minister.

Dr. Colvin R. de Silva

“She took in Colvin R de Silva into her Cabinet as minister for legal affairs. The Law Minister lost no time in getting the Parliament enact legislation abolishing the Senate, the upper house of parliament, and taking away the right of appeal to the Privy Council, the ultimate and final Court of Appeal for Ceylon, both of which formed the bulwarks for the safeguard of the Tamils in the Constitution.

“The Minister next turned to the Soulbury Constitution – It had been made known from the beginning that the Parliament elected in 1970 would simultaneously function as a parallel constituent assembly to draft and adopt a new constitution for a unitary state to be called Sri Lanka and all members elected to that Parliament would hold duel parallel status as Member of Parliament and Member of Constituent Assembly.

“Accordingly the ‘constituent assembly’ deliberated for two years, and in May 1972 proclaimed a new unitary state named ‘the Republic of Sri Lanka’ in the place of the legal name of Ceylon, and a new constitution for the unitary state making the legitimate and lawfully permanent Soulbury Constitution obsolete.

“Sirimavo Bandaranaike who held the post as Prime Minister of Ceylon under that Constitution resigned and was appointed by an illegitimate president as ‘Prime Minister of Sri Lanka’. She took an oath swearing to uphold and protect the new spurious constitution. So did all the ministers of her cabinet, and all the MPs, Judges of Courts, and all authorities in control of governance.

“In one clean sweep Colvin R. de Silva was able to destroy without the loss of a drop of blood what the British had taken two centuries to achieve and leave behind. It was a daring, willful and virulent exercise of lawbreaking in violation of the fundamental law of the land from which all activities of government derived their legality. From that day in May 1972 to the present, the Rule Law became a myth, the democratic legal principle for orderly life in Ceylon society was made extinct.

“Who cares, so long as you have the numbers? Dr.Colvin R. de Silva, the Marxist, knew that you only need to show that 51% voted for the winning side for the world to be convinced, in the words of Mr. Boucher, that you have a democratically elected government.

“The world has no time to look into the legality of the election.

“The Five Judge Bench likewise knew that they were the ultimate and final Court of Appeal for Ceylon and that there can never be a challenge to the judgment they proposed to deliver declaring the merger of the Northern and Eastern Provinces invalid.

“No one among the large number of critics who made adverse comments on the judgment North East merger had the insight to ask from where did the five Sinhalese judges get the judicial power to hear a case and deliver a ‘judgment’?

“The Supreme Court of present day Ceylon in which name the ‘judgment’ was delivered, is a nullity in law, an illegitimate creation of a ‘parliament’ which has no legal source from where it can claim legitimacy.

“Every government, every parliament, all courts of law including the supreme court, and all agencies and institutions exercising powers of governance and which came into existence in or after May 1972 are all illegitimate and a fraud.

“All these are results of premeditated and well-planned scheme of the Sinhalese leadership representing the majority community in Ceylon to bypass the lawful Soulbury Constitution.

“Only a few days ago, the newly appointed British High Commissioner for Ceylon told the world that his country Britain first arrived in the Indian Ocean waters there were three different, separate, independent, sovereign Kingdoms in the island of Ceylon. All three came under British rule at different times.

“In 1833, Captain Colebrook merged the three Kingdoms and unified their territories into a single British colony for administrative convenience. The Jaffnapatnam Kingdom in the north and East was divided into the Northern and Eastern Provinces inhabited by the Tamils: the west and southern maritime countries of the Jayewardenepura Kotte Kingdom into the Western, North – Western, Sabragamuwa and Southern Provinces inhabited by the Low Country Sinhalese people; and the central hill country of the Kandyan Kingdom into the Central , North – Central and Uva Provinces inhabited by the Kandyan Singhalese people.

“In the context of the ‘judgment’ referred to above the question arises: why did not the President Mahinda Rajapakse and his JVP allies, all of the Southern Province, file a case to undo the Colebrook merger?

“Is it because they feared to rouse up the sleeping Kandyans?

“In the hypothetical event of such a case, what would be the judgment of the present day Supreme Court of Ceylon?”

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Birth centenary of V. Navaratnam, pioneer of Tamil Eelam polity

[TamilNet, Monday, 18 October 2010, 05:35 GMT]
18 October 2010 is the birth centenary of V. Navaratnam, doyen of the Tamil Eelam cause and founder leader of Thamizhar Chuyaadchik Kazhakam (TCK) in the late 1960s. TamilNet interviewed him in July 2005 when he was 95 years old. He passed away on 22 December 2006. Eezham Tamils and Sinhalese could never live under one government, even a confederation will not work and separation is the only way, he asserted in his interview. When his party contested the 1970 election there was only a little support. He was criticized for dividing the vote bank of the Federal Party. But within a few years all the mainstream Tamil political parties fell in line with his polity. The Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976 was a copy of his party manifesto, said Mr. Navaratnam. His interview in voice is reproduced here.

Mr. V. Navaratnam

Mr. V. Navaratnam photographed in 2005 [TamilNet Library Photo]

Born in Karampan in the Kayts Island on 18 October 1910, Mr. Navaratnam was educated in Ceylon Law College. He was Attorney-at-Law for 58 years and was Member of Parliament from 1963 to 1970, representing the Kayts constituency.

Mr. V. Navaratnam and Dr. E M V Naganathan were the Joint Founder General Secretaries of the Federal Party when it was formed in 1949 under S J V Chelvanayagam as its Founder President.

In 1970 when Navaratnam’s newly formed party contested in limited constituencies, all candidates lost including Mr. Navaratnam. There was criticism that a well-respected candidate of his party, Mr. A Ratnam [a former Survey Superintendent] contributed only to the defeat of Federal Party stalwart Mr. E M V Naganathan in the Nalloor constituency and to the narrow victory of Arulambalam of the Tamil Congress who later collaborated with Colombo.

But within six years, Navaratnam’s polity became acceptable to all the Tamil parties, including the communists led by Mr. V. Ponnampalam, who earlier defending the 1972 constitution challenged Mr. Chelvanayagam in the Bye-election of 1975.

Book Cover

Mr. Navaratnam authored the book, “The Fall and Rise of The Tamil Nation” in 1991, while spending his last years in Montreal, Canada. It had a second edition in 1995. Tamil sovereignty is not negotiable was one of the main themes of his book.

In his opinion in 2005, he wanted the Eezham Tamils to declare Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI). He said that he was very much looking forward to it.

‘Sri Lanka’ is not ‘Ilangkai’. Sri Lanka that came with the1972 constitution is illegal and its constitution is illegal. All the Constitutional efforts after independence had the aim of only subjugating Tamils, he said.

The following are abridged excerpts of his 2005 interview:

Nothing is going to happen in Oslo. I don’t expect Pirapaharan to be deceived. Even the [Norwegian mediated] P-TOMS has now become a deception, Mr Navaratnam said in the interview.

The LTTE might have thought that some thing could be achieved through the ISGA, but in my opinion nothing is going to come out of it. There is nothing the Tamils could get by the Sinhalese giving it. People who are involved in this process may think there could be some shortcuts. But, I have no faith. How many agreements were there in the past? Not even a single clause of them was implemented. The LTTE has now taken a line, I don’t understand much of it, but I don’t expect anything positive, Mr. Navaratnam commented on the developments of 2005.

Mr. V. Navaratnam

Norway may have good intentions, Mr Navaratnam said, but he sounded sceptical on any positive outcome through the involvement of Norway as he saw it as a part of the international politics.

What is appropriate now is to declare UDI and get separated, he reiterated.

There is no point in any talks. They all serve only to deceive Tamils. Unless there is separation the Tamil nation will be ruined was my conviction even in those days. Tamils and Sinhalese can never live under one government. The attitudes will not permit.

Even a confederation will not work.

We started asking for federation. All our democratic efforts in this respect failed. That is why I started the Thamizhar Chuyaadchik Kazhakam. If needed for co-existence, the Tamil nation-state and the Sinhala nation-state could enter into bilateral treaties and agreements. But there shouldn’t be any continued hooks as such a confederation. India or any other country should not instruct us on our national aspiration. We have to look after ourselves.

On India Mr Navaratnam observed: There are two Indias, New Delhi is different from India. New Delhi doesn’t realize its friends, or perhaps thinks that it could enjoy the benefits while keeping Tamils, whose goodwill is taken for granted, as subjugated.

The media should enlighten the people in this regard. My blood boils when I read what the Indian mainstream media writes.

The International Community has very little experience on the attitude of Sinhala polity. Only recently they realise a little, but what they see is only the tip of the iceberg, Mr. Navaratnam said.

The IC should see the past history, but the big impediment in the IC realising the true picture is that the Sinhala government is always successful in getting some Tamil collaborators to cast a deceptive image to the world. They only help Colombo to deceive the world.”

The trend started with Thiruchelvam (Sr.), Navaratnam said adding that Luxman Kadirgamar got associated with Chandrika Kumaratunga through Neelan Thiruchelvam.

Kadirgamar now regrets for having a Tamil identity on him and he tells the world to look at him as a human and not with a tag on him as a Tamil.

His grandfather comes from Ma’nkumpaan [in the Kayts island] and he was educated at Jaffna College. His elder brother Rajan Kadirgamar, who was once the Naval chief of Ceylon, was thinking differently compared to him. Rajan Kadirgamar had a dream of developing a harbour of international importance by deepening the waters surrounded by the seven islands off the Jaffna peninsula. He had the feeling as a Tamil.

I realized that Tamil were going to be deceived immediately after the 1965 elections when Thiruchchelvam [father of Neelan Thiruchelvam, who was then a Federal Party leader] entered into talks with Dudly Senanayake and accepted a ministerial post in his government. In 1968 it was confirmed [Dudly – Selva Pact for power devolution was abandoned].

Thiruchelvam conceded Trincomalee. Amirthalingam agreed to write off Seruvavila. They helped the Sinhalicisation process.

The FP leaders including Selvanayakam shouldn’t have participated at all in the Constitutional Assembly of 1972. ‘We should participate, but if they reject, we should come out’ was his position. [VN was implying that by doing so they gave legitimacy to an illegitimate and one-sided constitution].

There is a long history. Sir P Ramanathan realized the deceit that was taking place, but after him even his own nephew A. Mahadeva and his son-in-law Nadesapillai didn’t realize. Later, G. G. Ponnampalam was dragged into this line of politics. Most of them becoming Colombo Tamils was the problem.

Mr. V. Navaratnam

Some of these leaders were then advising Tamils that if something was not possible, one should forget about it. They were telling this against Tamils for their rights. ‘We asked, but they didn’t give it, so we should forget it’, was their line of argument.

In Pirapaharan’s politics such collaboration injustices cannot take place.

The strategy of the Sinhala leaders is to drag on in the guise of peace talks. They expect to achieve their aims either after the time of Pirapaharan or by making him agreeable when he becomes old. They expect Pirapaharan to behave like Suntharalingam and Ponnampalam who were collaborative when they became old. ‘How long Pirapaharan can be there, another Pirapakaran cannot come after him’, is their thinking.

The Colombo government adopting all bad examples of others is not caring to learn good lessons from them, Navaratnam said, citing what lessons had to be learnt by the colonisation and settlement crises in Northern Ireland and Palestine. The colonisation programme of Colombo will lead to dangerous consequences, he said.

Federal Party leaders at the Trincomalee Convention, August 1956

Federal Party leaders at the Trincomalee Convention, August 1956. (L-R) M. M. Mustapha, MP for Poththuvil, K. Thurairatnam (smiling), MP for Point Pedro, N. R. Rajavarothayam (foreground), MP for Trincomalee and Chairman of the Reception Committee for the Convention. V. A. Kandiah, MP for Kayts, A. Amirthalingam, MP for Vaddukoaddai, C. Vanniyasingam, MP for Koappaay and President of the Party for the year. S. Sinnathurai (with mustache) retired Postmaster and administrative secretary in charge of Party headquarters at 2nd Cross Street, Jaffna. S. Nadarajah (later Senator), S.J.V Chelvanayakam, MP for Kaangkeasanthu’rai and Leader of the Party (holding thalikody and neckchains of gold donated by Trincomalee women), V. Navaratnam, then General-Secretary of the Party and Organizer of the Convention and later MP for Kayts (holdig rupee notes donated by the public) and Dr. E.M.V Naganathan, Joint General-Secretary, later MP for Nalloor.

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Doyen of FP, uncompromising on Tamil National question

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 October 2005, 00:16 GMT]
Are leaders of Sinhala community prepared to share state power with Tamils? Mr. V. Navaratnam, the only surviving founder member of the Federal Party that provided political leadership to Tamils for more than three decades since it was formed in 1949, and described as the brain behind FP, shared with TamilNet his views on Tamil National struggle. The doyen of Tamil politics who negotiated with the father of the incumbent President Chandrika Kumaratunge and other Sri Lanka leaders for sharing state power within a federal framework for almost three decades turns 96-years this month in Montreal, Canada. He also inked the Bandaranaiyake Chelvanayagam pact.

Navaratnam was Member of Parliament for Kayts in Jaffna. Born in Karampon on 18th October 1910 in Jaffna and educated in Ceylon Law College, he was an Attorney-at-Law for nearly 58 years. In 1956 he authored the book “Ceylon Faces Crisis,” and in 1995 “The Fall And Rise Of The Tamil Nation,” a book that provides a historic and detailed understanding of early negotiations between the Sinhala and Tamil leaders from a Tamil perpective.

Despite his age, Mr. Navaratnam, keeps himself current with the political events in Sri Lanka from his residence in Montreal, Quebec.

TamilNet: As a co-founder of the Federal Party and as participant in dialogues with Sinhala leaders for peaceful solution in the 50s and 60’s, could you share your views regarding those negotiations? Mr. V. Navaratnam
Navaratnam: Earliest agreement between Tamils and Sinhalese dates back to 1919, when Ponnambalam Arunachalam [later Sir], a Cambridge educated Tamil, founded the Ceylon National Congress and was elected its first President. He led Ceylon’s intelligentsia in its agitation for political reforms under British rule. The Agreement of 1919, between Ponnambalam Arunachalam on behalf of the Tamils, and James Pieris and E.J. Samarawickrama K.C. on behalf of the Sinhalese, provided for a Tamil seat for the Tamils of the Western Province in the legislature. When it came up before the Ceylon National Congress in 1922 for ratification before forwarding it to Whitehall, a faction of the Sinhalese led by H.J.C.Pereira opposed it arguing that it was an agreement between individuals not binding on the Congress. Thus ended the 1919 pact.

The next agreement was the Sinhalese-Tamil Pact of 1925, known as the “Mahendra Pact”. A delegation of the Ceylon National Congress led by its President C.E. Corea, accompanied by his brother C.E. Victor S. Corea, George E. de Silva, M.P. Jayatilake, T.B. Jayah, M.A. Arulanandam, P. de S. Kularatne, R.S.S.Gunawardene and S. Muttiah entered into a pact with a Tamil delegation in Jaffna at Waithilngam Duraiswamy’s residence named ‘Mahendra’. The parties agreed that in any future Constitution, the proportion of representation in the country’s legislature should be one for Tamils and two for Sinhalese.

This agreement was placed before the general session of the Congress in Kandy in 1925. Ratification was postponed for a special session of the Congress. The next general session was held in Galle in 1926 when C.E Victor S. Corea proposed ratification of the 1:2 ratio agreement and pleaded not to alienate Tamils by reneging. A dissident section of the Congress led by Francis de Zoysa sabotaged it arguing that they were not at a special session.

Mr. V. NavaratnamTowards the end of the second world war in the early 40’s when the prospect of the liquidation of the British Empire was in the air, S.W.R.D. Bandranaike campaigned for Sinhala as the only official language of Ceylon. The then powerful UNP leader of the Sinhalese, Don Stephan Senanayake (father of Dudley Senanayake) reprimanded Bandaranaike and got Ceylon’s legislature, then the State Council, to adopt a Resolution declaring that both Sinhalese and Tamil should be the official languages of the Ceylon. Bandaranaike, however, bided his time, seceded from the UNP, and founded the Sri Lanka Federal Party (SLFP). Independence was granted under the 1948 Constitution. But, when S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike became Prime Minister in 1956, his very first Government business was to get an Official Language Act making Sinhala Only, passed in the Parliament Chamber while outside the Parliament House hired thugs and hoodlums had a field day, thrashing and kicking Tamil Members of Parliament and their supporters who were squatting on the Galle Face Green, in a non violent, peaceful protest.

This was a blatant repudiation of what was virtually a Sinhalese-Tamil Pact vested with the authority of Legislative Resolution.

The most publicly noticed reneging was that of the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact (B-C Pact) of 1957 because it was an agreement which generated high hopes for a resolution of the Self-determination demand of Tamils. One Sinhala leader, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike of the SLFP, was seen as conceding, while another Sinhala leader J. R. Jeyawardene of the UNP, was sabotaging it.

TamilNet: What made Mr. Bandaranaike concede?
Navaratnam: It was the historic Trincomalee Convention of the Federal party in August 1956. The convention, consequent to passing of the Sinhala Only Act, adopted a single Resolution giving an ultimatum to Colombo to abolish the 1948 Unitary Constitution and replace it with a Federal one within a year, providing for Tamil and Sinhalese states as constituent units vested with autonomous and residuary powers. The Federal Party threatened with continuous nonviolent direct action if Colombo failed. In order to avoid direct confrontation, Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike entered into the B-C Pact providing for “Regional Councils” of a sort. Even so, at the negotiating table there was opposition from a Minister of his own Government. Philip Gunawardene, Minister of Agriculture, and at that time an LSSP Marxist, refused to concede any of the powers of his Ministry to the proposed Tamil Regional Councils.

Claiming that Bandaranaike had sold the Country to the Tamils by this Pact, J. R. Jeyawardene resorted to protest with a marathon march from Colombo to Kandy to rouse the extreme nationalist feelings of the Sinhalese Buddhists. In February 1958, a crowd of Buddhist monks in saffron robes sat on the lawn of the Primie Minister’s residence, refusing to leave unless the B-C Pact was abrogated. Bandaranaike emerged from his door with the document and tore up the B-C pact. Ceylon’s career of crises was well and truly under way.

Federal Party leaders at the Trincomalee Convention, August 1956

Federal Party leaders at the Trincomalee Convention, August 1956. (L-R) M. M. Mustapha, MP for Poththuvil, K. Thurairatnam (smiling), MP for Point Pedro, N. R. Rajavarothayam (foreground), MP for Trincomalee and Chairman of the Reception Committee for the Convention. V. A. Kandiah, MP for Kayts, A. Amirthalingam, MP for Vaddukoaddai, C. Vanniyasingam, MP for Koappaay and President of the Party for the year. S. Sinnathurai (with mustache) retired Postmaster and administrative secretary in charge of Party headquarters at 2nd Cross Street, Jaffna. S. Nadarajah (later Senator), S.J.V Chelvanayakam, MP for Kaangkeasanthu’rai and Leader of the Party (holding thalikody and neckchains of gold donated by Trincomalee women), V. Navaratnam, then General-Secretary of the Party and Organizer of the Convention and later MP for Kayts (holdig rupee notes donated by the public) and Dr. E.M.V Naganathan, Joint General-Secretary, later MP for Nalloor.

TamilNet: And your personal experience with the then UNP leaders who followed?
Navaratnam: It is now 40 years since that illfated day in 1965 when some of us were seated in the hall of the Turret Road residence in Colombo of Dr. M.V.P.Peiris, facing Dudley Senanayake, Esmond Wickramasinghe (father of Ranil Wickramasinghe) and J. R. Jeyawardene and negotiating what came to be known as the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam pact (DS-C Pact), under which the Federal Party of the Tamils agreed to supply the numbers in Parliament which Senanayke needed to become Prime Minister and form a UNP government. Dudley Senanayake in turn promised the Federal Party to grant self-determination to the Tamils through District Councils.

Mr. V. NavaratnamTowards the closing stage of the meeting, I raised the question of state-aided Sinhala colonisation of the Tamil Northern and Eastern Provinces and asked whether the District Councils would be granted exclusive control of Crown lands. Suddenly Dudley Senanayake threw up his hands in the air and shouted: “Then where are my people to go for land?” Silence fell in the room for a couple of minutes, after which Esmond Wickremasinghe turned to me and said, “Don’t hold up the talks, Nava. I can suggest a formula which will meet your concern.” He took my sheet of paper on which I was jotting down notes of the terms and wrote the clause about priority being given to applications from the Tamil provinces and only if there was dearth of sufficient numbers, applications from other provinces would be considered. In the end, this helped signing of the DS-C Pact, but not what Esmond meant.

Having thus taken over the reigns of government as Prime Minister, and having tied the hands of the Federal Party, Dudley Senanayake lost no time in rushing through Parliament, and government administrative machinery, measures which were uppermost in the minds of Sinhala nationalists.

TamilNet: What measures?
Navaratnam: Dudley Senanayake forcibly uprooted 525,000 upcountry Tamils who had laboured on the plantations for generations and shipped them to India, ostensibly implementing the Sirima-Sastri pact which his SLFP predecessor Srimavo Bandaranaike had entered into with an obliging Indian Prime Minister.

Dudley Senanayake nationalized the Port of Trincomalee in the Tamil country of the Eastern Province, which paved way for Sinhala colonization and the creation of a new Parliamentary constituency of Seruwela (assented to by Tiruchelvam and Amirthalingam) providing a seat in Parliament for the Sinhala settlers in the Eastern Province, thus driving a wedge between the Tamils and Muslims.

Mr. V. NavaratnamHe dismissed three Government Servants, Pathmanathan, Surendranathan and Kulamani from the Public Service for not learning Sinhala, thus sending a message to all Tamils that his Government meant business, in carrying out the Sinhala Only law to the letter.

But when it came to implementing his promise of District Councils granting self-determination to the Tamils he reneged – true to the tradition of the Sinhala leaders. He submitted a White Paper in Parliament claiming to contain proposals for District Councils. Upon scrutiny it was found that the existing local government village committees had greater and more meaningful powers than these District Councils.

TamilNet: How did you react after witnessing the failure of these agreements and pacts?
Navaratnam: It was while addressing during the debate in Parliament on the White Paper that I made a call to the Tamil people never again to enter into any agreements or pacts with Sinhala leaders or governments and not ot expect the Sinhalese leaders to honour their word. It is in the Hansard dated 11th June 1968. I recounted in my speech the long history of the Sinahalese chicanery on every single agreement or pact from the year 1919 to the last repudiation by Prime Minister Dudley Senanake in 1968. The hollowness of the proposals contained in the White Paper dashed all Tamil hopes and made me call upon the Tamils to work towards the establishment of a separate self-governing Tamil State. Following that speech of mine in Parliament, Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake withdrew the District Councils proposals, the Federal Party Members of Parliament seceded from the Government Parliamentary Group, and their Minister M. Tiruchelvam left the Cabinet.

The failure of every one of these long line of “Pacts” is always attributable to the many divisions among the Sinhalese. When one party agrees to condescend towards some solution on the Tamil problem , the others will rise in unison to object and obstruct. They will never compromise or agree on any decision when it comes to solving the Tamil problem by consensus. It is not in the ethos or in the political character of the Sinhala leaders and governments to honour and abide by agreeements and pacts conceding rights to the Tamils as a people.

It is pertinent here to recall the history of 1948 Unitary Constitution. When the Soulbury commission submitted a draft constitution which contained Article 29(2) as a safeguard for the Tamils and other minorites, and Britain insisted that all the communities of Ceylon must unitedly accept the constitution, there was utter confusion among the leaders. One important section of Tamil leaders was for rejection of the Soulbury draft. D.S.Senanayake, S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike and other leaders on the Sinhalese side, speaking in the State Council debate in 1946, begged and pleaded with the Tamils to trust them and join the Sinhalese in the acceptance of the British offer. Even if they were not prepared to trust the Sinhalese, they said, there was the Article 29(2) which would be a sure and permanent safeguard for the protection of the Tamils and other minorities for all time. Professor C. Suntharalingam trusted Senanayake’s assurances and voted with the Sinhalese on behalf of the Tamils for the acceptance of the Soulbury draft. A series of anti-Tamil policies and legislative Acts of Parliament by both the UNP and SLFP governments under that Constitution exposed the calculated deceit of the “trust us” mantra.

Mr. V. NavaratnamThe culmination of Southern leaders’ betrayal of trust came when Colvin R. de Silva, the constitutions expert of the socialist LSSP, spearheaded the drafting and setting up of Srimavo Bandaranaike’s Republican Constitution of 1972 which repealed Article 29(2) and reduced Tamils to be eternally at the mercy of the Sinhalese.

The 1972 Constitution and all constitutions that followed are illegal ones. They are in blatant violation of the Supreme Law of the 1948 Constitution, along with Article 29 which was supposed to contain the safeguards and which had been declared by Her Majesty’s Privy Council in England, to be unalterable and to be with entrenched powers. Yet, this was replaced by a totally illegal constitution which declared Ceylon a Republic, without Tamil mandate.

When I left the Federal Party, I founded the Tamils’ Self-Rule Party to work for the attainment of a separate self-ruling independent Tamil State in the Tamil homeland of North-East Ceylon. This inspired and influenced the young school-going student Velupillai Pirapaharan and his friends to start the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam movement for the achievement of the separate State. Federalism became a dead-letter to the Tamils, since then, consigned to the dust bin in history.

Today the Tamils are not concerned or interested in whether President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’s country should be a unitary state or a federal one, whether the Executive Presidency system should continue or be abolished, what system of government is best suited for her country.

TamilNet: What do you think about the CeaseFire Agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers and the scuttled Joint Mechanism P-TOMS?
Navaratnam: I have no means of knowing what realisitic conditions existed in the country which persuaded the LTTE to disregard all this history and enter into yet another Pact called Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) in February 2002. Nor do I want to know what made the LTTE acquiesce with President Chandrika Kumaratunga in P-TOMS. But, of course, I can see the value of the CFA and P-TOMS for being a de facto recognition by both the UNP and SLFP Governments of the Tamil State in North-East Ceylon which is a reality on the ground.

TamilNet: How do you view the forthcoming Presidential election?
Navaratnam: It is not the concern of the Tamils whether Mahinda Rajapakse or Ranil Wickramasinghe will or should win the Presidential election on November 17. All these are matters which concern only South Ceylon. Let the Sinhalese people sort it out and decide for themselves.

It will be inappropriate for the Tamils to use the Presidential election of 2005 as an occasion to demonstrate what they really are.

They are a separate independant State centred in the Vanni with its own Government, Police, a conventional Army and Defence Forces, a separate economy, legal system, banking and administrative machinery. Let the Tamils keep out of the election on November 17, and have nothing to do with events in South Ceylon. Enough is enough. I have not reached my 96 years in this world with my eyes shut. I have seen enough of the Senanayakes, Bandaranaikes, Ratwattes, Kotalawelas, Jayawardenes, Wickramasinghes, Premadasas, Pereras and Silvas. There is no denying that they are all genuine, sincere patriots, every one of them – but Sinhalese, not Ceylonese.

There is no need for the coalition led by the Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapakse, to circulate the message that the Presidential election applies only to the Sinhalese part of the country, namely, the south of Ceylon.

The South is only following what has been a regular Sinhalese practice for over fifty years ever since the British pulled out from Ceylon. It is like the SLFP-LSSP coalition led by Srimavo Ratwatte Bandaranaike, the then Prime Minister, summoning a so-called constituent assembly in 1972 consisting of members elected by the Sinhalese electorates of South Ceylon only, and deliberately drafting and enacting a brand new Constitution for South Ceylon only.

Book Cover

Book authored by V. Navaratnam in 1995

I have been crying hoarse for forty years urging the Tamils never again to trust Sinhala governments or to enter into agreements and pacts bartering away Tamil interests and rights. They can never make any decision for the solution of the Tamil problem by consensus.

For all practical purposes, the citizens of Tamil North-East Ceylon do not count at all. The Tamils come in only when their help is needed by one or the other of the two major Sinhalese political parties in their contest for the seat of power in Colombo. In a tricky situation of uncertainty as to which way the Sinhalese votes of South Ceylon may go, and knowing their own people’s, well known trait of “divunum paththatta hoyya” (jump to the winning party), both the Sinhalese parties, the UNP as welll as the SLFP, have always been in the habit of wooing for Tamil votes promising the moon in return. Once their objective is achieved with the help of the Tamil votes, and having fulfilled none of the things promised to the Tamils in return for their support, it has always been the parctice of Colombo governments to kick the Tamils out and tell them to go to hell. The forthcoming Presidential election on November 17th is just another of such seasonal contests between the UNP and SLFP.

TamilNet: What is your reaction to recent stand taken by the European Union?
Navaratnam: One is unable to think of the real reason for this Declaration. The declared reason, namely violence and terrorism, cannot be the real reason because Britain, which holds EU’s presidency, itself resorted to violence and terrorism to shoot and kill the last Tamil king, Pandara Vanniyan, from behind a hiding place, seize his kingdom and amalgamate it through Captain Colebrook with the Sinhalese South Ceylon.

It is more obvious that the EU (or, rather Britain) has taken this action at the behest of the Sinhalese Colombo Government. The EU cannot pretend not to know that showing bias in favour of one negotiating partner and prejudice against the other negotiating partner is not the way to advance Peace Process.

The European Union (EU) countries of the Western World has now thought it fit to insult the Tamils by making a public derogatory Declaration about the LTTE. The EU is well aware that in all Peace Process negotiations LTTE means the Tamils and Tamils means the LTTE. For reasons best known to itself, the EU declares that the Tamil representatives are no longer admissible into its member states. Let the European Union’s insult of the Tamils during Britain’s rotating Presidency be the last straw.

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Chronology:

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