Monday, October 20, 2014

Eelam struggle receives major boost

Vol 5 Issue 42, Oct 17 - 23, 2014 theweekendleader


Eelam struggle receives major boost
20-Oct-2014 By Paul Newman

Posted 18 Oct 2014
In a significant development in the Eelam liberation movement, the European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union (EU) has annulled the restrictive measures against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

It vindicates the belief that the Eelam Tamils will receive justice from the international community based on the merits of their case for recognition of their liberation struggle.
It was only after the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center (WTC) in 2001 and the pressures adopted by the Congress led Indian government that the world was fed with a totally distorted view of the Tamil Eelam struggle.

In December 2001, in the aftermath of the WTC attack, the EU imposed specific restrictive measures directed against certain persons and entities with a view to combating terrorist organizations.

On 29 May 2006, the European Council took the decision to freeze the funds of the LTTE.

In contesting the Council’s decision, the LTTE demonstrated to the world its faith in democratic processes.

The LTTE sought to establish its credentials as a liberation movement, and stated that it “was involved in armed conflict against the armed forces of the Government of Sri-Lanka, seeking self-determination for the Tamil people and their ‘liberation from the oppression’ of that government.

“Given the way in which the LTTE’s armed forces were organised and their manner of conducting operations, the members of those forces meet all the requirements laid down by international law for recognition as ‘combatants’.

“That status gave them immunity in respect of acts of war that were lawful under the terms of the law on armed conflict and meant that, in the case of unlawful acts, the LTTE would be subject only to that law, and not to any anti-terrorism legislation.

“Since legitimate acts of war cannot be categorised as unlawful under national law, they fall outside the scope of Common Position 2001/931, which, as provided under Article 1(3) thereof, does not apply to acts which are not offences under national law”.

EU lawyers heavily depended on the Indian government’s ban of the LTTE as a precedent conveniently forgetting that the ban on LTTE in India had a lot of politics behind it.

The LTTE lawyers rightfully argued that “the Indian authorities cannot be regarded as a reliable source of information since they have adopted a ‘biased position’ in the conflict between the LTTE and the Government of Sri-Lanka.”

Recently the Government of Tamil Nadu withdrew its case against MDMK leader Vaiko, who had been charged under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act for being a vocal supporter of the LTTE.

The LTTE was banned in India in the background of the killing of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, which is an unresolved mystery. The LTTE had not accepted responsibility for his killing.

A recent book titled 'Assassination of Rajiv Gandhi: An Inside Job?' by a senior journalist Faraz Ahmad has thrown many questions on the killing of Rajiv and even hints that it could have been a contract job. Hence, there is no certainty over who the killers of Rajiv were.

The EU Court observed that “the placing of the LTTE on the list relating to frozen funds constitutes an infringement of the principle of non-interference under international humanitarian law and the Council was wrong to apply to the LTTE the provisions of EU law on terrorism.”

This verdict will have a positive impact in countries like Malaysia and Australia. In the recent past Malaysia has been deporting Tamil refugees on the ground that they have links with the LTTE.

Malaysian Member of Parliament M Kulasegaran, a well known lawyer, who has represented Malaysian Parliament at the International Criminal Court, and has been trying to push Malaysia to ratify the Rome Statue, told this writer, “This verdict will go a long way in the protection of the Eelam Tamils who many times are branded as Tamil terrorists around the world as a result of the negative campaign of Government of Sri Lanka.

“This will also help Tamil asylum seekers favorably. There is also a possibility of states looking at the Tamil problem empathetically. It is a snub on the arrogant ruling regime in Sri Lanka which has branded all Tamils as terrorists. Hope this verdict will help in ending the miseries of the Tamils”.

For obvious reasons, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) is jittery at the turn of events. The GoSL has expressed disappointment at the verdict and says it would give more evidence to the EU to reconsider the case.

But it should know that the times have changed and the UN has already initiated an inquiry into the allegations of War Crimes against it. It would do well to save its own President from the grave charges against his regime.

This verdict is also a lesson to the pro LTTE groups in Tamil Nadu to hire eminent legal luminaries who can argue the case on merit rather than on emotions as has been done so far.

This would go a long way in liberating the Eelam Tamils from the clutches of the brutal Sri Lankan Sinhala regime.

Dr. Paul Newman holds a Doctorate of Philosophy on ‘Internal Displacement and Human Rights situation in Northern Sri Lanka from Bangalore University. He was one of the four public speakers at the Permanent People’s Tribunal on War Crimes against Sri Lanka

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DAP laments puny Indian share of Budget 2015

8:24AM Oct 19, 2014 Malaysiakini

By Terence Netto

DAP laments puny Indian share of Budget 2015

Budget 2015’s meagre allocation for the upliftment of the lot of Indian community has been criticised by DAP national vice chairperson M Kulasegaran.

Speaking in Parliament last Friday, the MP for Ipoh Barat compared the RM110 million allocated for specific Indian causes to the RM337 million to be streamed to 63,478 fishermen to improve the latter’s housing, equipment and other needs.

“This works out to RM5,300 for every fishermen whereas eight million Indians have to scrounge for a meagre share of a third of the overall allocation for fishermen,” said Kulasegaran (left).

“Indians would not begrudge the allocation made to fishermen but after five decades of neglect by the government of what was once a reliable vote bank for the BN,  surely they deserve of bigger share of the budgetary cake,” said the DAP leader.

Kulasegaran also said for the alleviation of the lot of Indian have-nots, it was imperative that the government keep its promise of allocation 1,500 seats in matriculation for the community.

“Education is the key to the economic advancement of any community and so this allocation of matriculation seats must be kept as there is no other recourse for the poor Indians.

“They have to obtain tertiary education or else they will languish in poverty,” said the lawyer legislator.

Word good only for elections

He said there was no hope of attainting the goal of 3 percent equity for the community, set in 2000 for achievement in 2010 and later deferred for another 10 years because of failure to achieve it.

“The equity goal, like the setting up of an Indian advancement task force, is something that is talked about in the lead-up to a general election and then conveniently forgotten afterwards,” he commented.

“Never mind, there is no need for goals that are inherently unrealisable. But promises on seats for Indian students in the education sector are attainable targets with high impact consequences.

“These targets must be met because their results are quickly obtained and their impact on livelihoods readily seen,” said Kulasegaran.

He said the government must not view Indians as a community to be lulled with promises before a general election and with neglect after the polls.

“This is a callous attitude towards a community that has contributed to the national development in areas where it took strenuous labour at low wages to build things up,” said Kulasegaran.