Successive Lankan Governments have used the Tamil Card to gain power and used terror against the Tamils to sustain their power.
Excerpts from different sources to get a fair view.
Stephen Senenayake was the first Prime Minister of Ceylon, when Ceylon became independent on 4 February 1948. The first Act he introduced in the parliament was the Ceylon Citizen Bill on 15 September 1948, that effectively disenfranchised the Indian Tamils. The Indian Tamils are also known as Hill Country Tamils, Up-country Tamils or simply Indian Tamils.
The are descended from workers sent from South India to Sri Lanka in the 19th and 20th centuries to work in coffee, tea and rubber plantations. Some became merchants and others service providers in the towns. These Tamil-speakers mostly live in the central highlands and also major urban areas and in the Northern province.
To create the plantation industry they toiled through the malaria infested jungle. In the whole process a good percentage of them died. The plantation sector economy brought prosperity to Sri Lanka but socially and economically their standard of living is below that of the national average. These people are now disfranchised That is justice in Sri Lanka.
D.S Senanayake was respected by Sinhalese and some Muslims. However, Tamils were not happy with his citizenship laws, which disenfranchised virtually all Tamils of recent Indian origin living in the central highlands. He set in motion the first ethnic cleansing, which was followed by all Sinhalese leaders thereafter.
Another Sinhalese leader, Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaikeorganised the Sinhala Maha Sabha in 1936. In 1946 he backed the United National Party (UNP) and held ministerial posts from 1947 to 1951. In 1951, Bandaranaike led his Sinhala Maha Sabha faction out of the UNP and established the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).
Bandaranaike became prime minister after winning the 1956 elections in a landslide merely by emphasising on the language issue. He made Sinhala the official language of the country, downgrading the official status of Tamil andEnglish and promoting socialist, anti-Western policies that profoundly changed the course of Ceylonese politics in the following decades.
His policies galvanised the Tamils, and under the leadership of Thanthai Chelvanayagam, peaceful demonstrations were held. These were brutally suppressed by the Sinhalese thugs and police. Then followed a series of riots, the first of which was in 1956. This was the beginning of the present ethnic problem. This was the beginning of the second ethnic cleansing; the driving out of the Sri Lankan Tamils, who were in Sri Lanka for more than 2,000 years, so that the entire island would become a Sinhala Buddhist country….
The act was strongly opposed by certain sections of the Sinhalese community led by Jeyawardene, and was eventually torn up by Prime Minister Bandaranaike in May 1958. The abandonment of the pact led to tensions between the two communities, resulting in a series of outbreaks of ethnic violence in the country which eventually spiralled into the 26 year Sri Lankan Civil War. Prime Minister Bandaranaike’s later attempts to pass legislation, similar to the agreement, was met by strong opposition, and led to his assassination by a Buddhist monk in 1959.
After his death his wife, Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike, took over the government. The most important thing she did was to find a solution to the festering problem of the Indian Tamils.
When Sri Lanka disfranchised the Indian Tamils the government of India had made it clear to Sri Lanka that it would not accept responsibility for those Indians whose applications for citizenship were rejected by the Sri Lanka. Discussions between the two governments continued, and in October 1964 agreement was reached between Sirima Bandaranaike, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, and Lal Bhadur Shastri, Prime Minister of India, called the “Sirima Shastri Pact” in 1964
The ideology of the Sri Lankan regime uses a mythologised history drawing from religious texts to assert that the whole of the island has been Sinhala and Buddhist by divine sanction for 2500 years — since being visited by Buddha.
While it is true that Sinhala Buddhist societies have existed in Sri Lanka for over two millenia, the Tamil presence also dates from antiquity. While the Sinhala-chauvinist official history maintains that the Tamils were later invaders, this is not at all clear from the actual historical and archaelogical record.
What is clear is that for centuries Tamil and Sinhala kingdoms coexisted on the island. When Portuguese traders visited the island in 1505 there was a northern Tamil kingdom and two Sinhala kingdoms.
By 1619, the Portuguese had changed from traders to colonialists and began overthrowing the indigenous kingdoms, bringing in three centuries of European rule, which created an economy based on plantation monoculture for export and a single state covering the island. The plantation economy and unitary state are at the centre of the current conflict.
The Sinhala-chauvinist ideology is modern, originating in the late 19th century amongst Buddhist monks who were anxious to defend their theocratic privileges from British encroachment. In the 20th century, nationalist and socialist groups developed that were secular and multinational in character.
However, when the British granted independence in 1948, politicians used populist appeals to Sinhala chauvinism to distract from their inability to satisfy popular expectations.
Immediately after independence, a million Tamil plantation workers lost their citizenship and right to vote. A majority of these stateless Tamils were deported in the 1960s and ’70s.
In the lead-up to the 1956 elections, the Buddhist clergy launched a racist anti-Tamil movement that culminated in the first pogrom against Tamils. It also proved that the clergy could swing elections and secured their position in the political elite.
Following the 1956 elections, laws were enacted making Sinhala the only official language. This excluded most Tamils from public sector employment.
A number of Tamil political parties contested elections on a platform of equal rights. Their inability to prevent further discrimination created sentiment for Tamil independence. By 1980 the Tamil United Liberation Front, that called for self-determination, had become the largest opposition party in the Sri Lankan parliament.
The 1983 pogrom, which took 3000 lives and caused 150,000 Tamils to flee abroad, became the watershed that caused a majority of Sri Lankan Tamils to support the armed struggle for independence by the LTTE, waged since the 1970s.
The SLA’s war against the Tamil population has involved some of the world’s worst war crimes. Civilians have been targetted: orphanages and hospitals have been regularly bombed. Starvation sieges have been imposed, including after the December 26, 2004 tsunami.
Torture, rape and random killings have been perpetrated by the military and pro-government paramilitaries.
Underpinning this war has been Western military aid and political support. This reflects Sri Lanka’s strategic significance, but also that the military, political and theocratic elites that rule Sri Lanka maintain Western domination of the economy that still follows the colonial export-oriented model.
The major suppliers of arms are the US and Israel. Israel provides Kfir jets and illegal cluster munitions and the Israeli secret police, Mossad, train Sri Lankan special forces and paramilitary death squads.
The Tamil Genocide by Sri Lanka: The Global Failure to Protect Tamil Rights …
By Francis A. Boyle
Refer Google books for More.