'Reconciliation means mending of hearts, not just building roads' - Prof Paul Newman


• India would have influenced the US to bring about this resolution.

• It is a politics of compulsion for China, Russia & India to protect Sri Lanka.

• It is the electoral politics and politics of Seeman that made Tamil Nadu Chief Minister & New Delhi to speak for the Tamils!

Dr. Paul Newman is a Professor of Human Rights at the University of Bangalore, India. He participated at the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions held in March 2012 in Geneva. He shares his thoughts as to what really happened with regard to the U.S sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka which was supported by Canada, analyses the background that led to the current situation and suggests where the Tamils should go from here.

The full interview is given below:

Charles Devasagayam: At the recently held United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) United States (US) brought a resolution on Sri Lanka. Can you really say that this resolution is against Sri Lanka, as reported in many foreign media. And also how much India got involved in the wording of this resolution?

Dr. Paul Newman: To answer the first part of your question, I don’t really feel that it’s a resolution against Sri Lanka, because if you see the wording of the resolution it only calls upon high lights. It calls upon ‘requests’ and ‘cooperation’ of the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL). Resolution must be a strongly worded one. Wordings such as ‘Calling upon’ and ‘requesting’ is not against a country. Its only seeking the cooperation of that country. Here again, if you see, it’s a request to Sri Lanka to implement its own recommendations made by a committee appointed by its own President. In that sense I will go to the extent of saying that it’s not a resolution but, a request.

And speaking on the question of India’s role, India voted for this resolution with its own politics in mind and apart from that, they further watered down the resolution. It would have been better if India had voted against this resolution or if they had abstained, because of the new changes that are coming in the state of Tamil Nadu. It’s extremely important that these changes come up in Tamil Nadu. After these changes only we will be able to realize the ultimate aim or dream. Then only people who are living in the North and East of Sri Lanka would be able to live peacefully.

CD: Also, most of the foreign media reported that this resolution was about the war crimes committed in Tamil Eelam. Can you comment on that?

PN: No, nowhere in the resolution you will find the term War Crimes or Crimes Against Humanity. It only speaks of implementing their own recommendations and treating all people of Sri Lanka with justice. Here, the question of War Crimes does not arise at all. When we talk about the War Crimes, it should be investigated by the International authorities or International Experts who are specially trained in this field and who have no bias as such. LLRC is a very, very biased committee set up by the Sri Lankan government to save it’s skin at the International forum, because of the kind of pressure that was built upon during the last three years by the UNHRC around the world. So, the question of War Crimes does not arise any where in this particular resolution. It’s only one more way of giving leverage to Sri Lanka and easing Sri Lanka from pressure. I will call it as diversionary tactics wherein you forget what had really happened and then you are giving leverage to Sri Lanka for a new escape channel.

CD: UN’s Secretary General formed his own Panel Of Experts (POE), and Channel 4 submitted its own video. Then why would any country, instead of calling to implement the UN’s POE recommendations, go for the LLRC which was considered, as you said a biased one?

PN: It is here that I really doubt the role played by India. I have a strong feeling that India would have influenced the US to bring about this resolution, in order to open up a channel, as I said earlier, for the GOSL to escape from what the International Human Rights Groups are talking about.

As you rightly pointed out, we have a very credible team of people who form the UN’s panel of Experts, whose credibility is impeccable and cannot be questioned by any one. When it comes to the question of number of civilians killed, it only speaks about 40,000 people. The LLRC does not speak of numbers as such. However, I feel that nearly 150,000 people were massacred during the last phase of the war. Though all the other recommendations of the POE are welcome, at the same time, going by the numbers of 40,000 which again not to dispute them, they are also unclear when they say, a minimum of 40,000. That means they are keeping the other end open.

I once again feel it’s a diversionary tactic adopted by India with a very clear understanding of USA, that they would join the band wagon in the end and vote for the resolution after completely watering it down there by giving leverage to Sri Lanka to escape from the route taken up by the POE, which strongly recommends an International investigation in to crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Apart from these two, there is also very strong indication that it was not just war crimes or crimes against humanity, it’s a very systematic Genocide that was carried out by the Sri Lankan government and still being carried out by the Sri Lankan government on the Tamils. So, here I really doubt the motive behind moving this resolution whether it was really meant to serve the purpose or ease pressure for the Government of Sri Lanka.

CD: So, if the resolution was not based on the UN’s Panel of Experts report, i.e. not against War Crimes committed, why Sri Lanka was so hyper about it?

PN: That was just to tell the world that something against them is being spoken world wide. It was a synchronized drama wherein Sri Lanka too was very much part of this whole drama. I very much feel that India would never have got in to this without the concurrence of Sri Lanka. India would have wanted Sri Lanka to play this kind of role whereby from day one they start objecting to these moves. At the UN, however soft, it was a resolution against a country. So, Sri Lanka naturally had to resist and put up a brave face. At the same time, Sri Lanka had to show protest against this. That is why they brought about 72 goons from their country to enact this play. Though it was a soft resolution, it was still against Sri Lanka and that is how they pursued this. Any other country would do the same, in the circumstances, but not to the extent of bringing goons like Sri Lanka and exposing themselves to the world.

CD: You mentioned about soft approach but in the case of the ‘ Arab Spring’ , the ‘west’ used strong words against the country involved and even actively participated including in the armed interventions. Sri Lanka is just a tiny country in the Indian Ocean. Why the ‘west’ was going through the back door or adopting quiet diplomacy or soft resolution when it came to Sri Lanka?

PN: There are many factors in this. First and foremost is the American theory of ‘Clash of Civilizations’. In the Clash of Civilizations, Buddhists are never a target. The target was the Muslim countries. Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country. Apart from this, in the ‘Arab Spring’, these are oil rich countries whereas Sri Lanka is not an oil producing country. Thirdly Sri Lanka is a country which is closer to India and also China. India is a strategic partner of Sri Lanka. So, whatever America has to do with regard to Sri Lanka, they have to do it in concurrence with India. They cannot have an independent plan for Sri Lanka without keeping India in the loop.

In today’s Geopolitics of the world, Pakistan is out from the sphere of influence of the Americans. India has replaced them. Pakistan is much closer to China than to the US, in today’s world. At the same time if you see, China is also present in Sri Lanka. On one side China is protecting Sri Lanka. Same way the Russia is also protecting Sri Lanka. Then, as the country which is most closest to the US in that area, India is also protecting Sri Lanka.

It is a politics of compulsion for these countries to protect Sri Lanka not just for the strategic interests, but also for being part of the war, especially when it comes to the question of India which was directly involved in the war. India would not allow the US to have a free hand in Sri Lanka. However, US also had their role in Sri Lanka during the course of the war.

When the Iraq, Iran war was going on, Iraq was supported by the US. After the war was over, on the crisis of Kuwait, US was the first one to jump in. Because Iraq had no protectorate. On the other hand Iran has the protection of Russia. In the Middle East, US protected Iraq and then jumped against them. In Sri Lanka they were part of the war. Then again India and China were also part of the war. So, when Sri Lanka was not listening to US, they could not go berserk against the Sri Lankans like the way they did in Iraq or in any other part of the world.

Because Sri Lanka received the protection of three big powers namely India, China as well as Russia, US had to take this soft approach to fulfill their own aspirations of regaining their lost credibility around the world. They wanted a resolution which they could easily win. They wanted a winnable resolution when their credibility was really low. US had the support of India from the beginning. Hillary Clinton came to India last year, specifically to discuss this. She went to Tamil Nadu to gauge the situation in that state. Spoke to Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to see whether the people of Tamil Nadu were behind this and whether they could be rallied behind by creating an emotional upsurge in Tamil Nadu where in it will look like that the people of Tamil Nadu are wanting the change in the Indian foreign policy, therefore we have to give in to the demands of the Domestic situations, to the emotions of the Tamils. In this way it was a resolution which was brought about by a well coordinated effort between India and USA.

CD: Did Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in any way influence Manmohan Singh’s or Sonia Gandhi’s administration to help Sri Lanka during the last stages of the war? As you know Vaj Payee administration was trying to bring about a peace agreement between GOSL and LTTE?

PN: Regarding the role of Sonia Gandhi and the killing of Rajiv Gandhi, I would like to quote what Mr. Sam Rajappa has said. He is one of the most respected journalists not only in India but around the world, who used to work with the BBC in the early 1980’s. He is now the Director of the Pioneer School of Journalism.

Mr. Sam Rajappa has proved beyond doubt that this war was a ‘War of Vendetta,’ which was waged by Sonia Gandhi against the killing of her husband. But so far, let me go on record that Rajiv Gandhi’s case is still not settled. You can accuse a person only if that person is proved beyond doubt that he was the killer.

In the case of LTTE, it has not been proved. The killers may have been working for the LTTE at one time or another. But, at the time Rajiv Gandhi’s killing took place, one wonders whether they were really working for the LTTE. I am not a sympathizer of LTTE and I go by the Jain Commission report which is inconclusive. It says that India needs to investigate on three fronts:

One is the CIA front. Because, when Rajiv Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India, he was pro Russia. He blocked the Globalization and Liberalization coming into India. The calculation was that if Rajiv Gandhi is removed then the present Prime Minister, that is Manmohan Singh will become the Finance Minister and Narasimha Rao will become the head of the congress and thereby virtually become the Prime Minister of India.

If Narasimha Rao came up as the Prime Minister and Manmohan Singh as the Finance Minister, there was every chance of USA coming into India to control the Indian economy. So, the Jain Commission said that this angle should be investigated. This has now happened virtually with Singh as PM and liberalization came to India. Thanks to Manmohan Singh, 246,000 farmers, who are heads of the families, committed suicide after this globalization coming to India.

One more thing we have to look at is that, Adnan Khashogi was then the World’s leading arms dealer. Rajiv Gandhi stopped buying arms from him and started buying arms from Otavio Quatrocchi, who is an Italian very well known to Sonia Gandhi’s family. At that time India was the World’s largest arms buyer. So, if Rajiv Gandhi is removed, then Otavia Quatrocchi is also removed. Adnan Khashogi is also very close to Subramaniya Swamy, Chandra Swamy and Narasimha Rao and once again got back into the Indian market as the leading arms supplier. So, this is what the Jain Commission states. That’s why Jain Commission wanted an inquiry into this angle again.

Thirdly, another angle to this issue brought up by Mr. Sam Rajappa was about M.K Narayanan. He was the Intelligence Chief when Rajiv Gandhi was alive. He got the news that Rajiv Gandhi would be killed, but he did not act upon that. So, his guilty conscience prevailed upon him to think ‘yeah, it must be the handy work of LTTE and we need to teach them a lesson’. So, they gave a free hand to Sri Lanka to do whatever they wanted and also supplied the arms, satellite photos etc. to Sri Lanka.

As a person who have visited the field several times in the heartland of Vanni, where the war took place, I have met civilian witnesses who said that they had found the dead bodies of Sartharjis, people who wear turbans on their head.

CD: May be they were the advisors, not soldiers?

PN: No, advisors cannot get into the field and get killed. Advisors will not carry guns. Advisors will not go to the heart of the Vanni land.

CD: But, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa has said recently that they fought this Eelam War alone without any foreign help, therefore foreign countries should not be interfering in to their internal matters when it comes to the Tamil issue.

PN: Yes, there are business interests, because it’s a multinational corporation. Its transnational rather than multi-national. Because, we get information that right from Kanimozhi to many have properties in Sri Lanka which have been lavishly donated by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

CD: Could it be just a rumour?

PN: No, it is not a rumour. It is a fact. When Nirubama Menon, I use the word Menon, because there is a big Malayalee lobby at the South Block, who frame the Indian Policy. Nirubama Menon, who is an Anti-Tamil, when retired, the first thing she did was, going on a trip to Colombo.

Nirubama Rao (Menon), who is the Indian Ambassador to USA at present, went to Sri Lanka as a personal guest of Sri Lankan President, the day she retired from the Indian Foreign Service as the Foreign Secretary of India. She stayed in his place, Temple Trees in Colombo for four days just before her assignment to the Washington, USA as the Ambassador of India. So, I don’t understand whose interests she is going to protect, Mahinda Rajapaksa who I presume helped her get the appointment or the Interests of Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul Gandhi or the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. We need to understand that there is something beyond this kind of official relationship. It is a very murky affair that was enacted and India’s hands are not clean. India’s hands are also red.

Because we had a Foreign Minister by the name of Pranab Mukherji, who is now the Finance Minister and this man in the month of February 2009, when 400,000 people were there (in Vanni) went on record by stating that there were only 70,000 people left in the War Zones and they would be rescued shortly.

And I don’t understand what was the intent behind this statement. But, as a Human Rights Advocate, I would say that the intentions were very clear, to wipe out the rest of the people (Tamils). Pull out 70,000 and say that they have rescued 70,000. At the end of the War 282,000 Tamils were huddled at Manik Farm refugee camps which the International Rights Groups could see through the satellite photos. Countries which have better satellite facilities like India or USA would have seen that. They were all watching the war live.

The War was over by May 18, 2009. But, on 16th of May, Mahinda Rajapaksa landed in Colombo and the first thing he did was to kiss the earth, the way Ratzinger the Pope does. I don’t call him Pope Benedict because he was the only European Head of State who gave an official reception to the Sri Lankan President.

I am an ardent Catholic, but, when it comes to this particular (Tamil) issue, I have addressed hundreds of Catholic Priests in India and told them that I am sorry to use this name Ratzinger, because he supported Nazi regime when he was a young priest and he continues to support such kinds of regimes. Nothing has really changed.

CD: You are an out spoken person, Human Rights Advocate. Do you have any concerns from the state authorities of the countries in question?

PN: If I am scared, I would not be here or in Geneva. I have never killed anyone, but the Tamils have been. I am a champion of Human Rights, a person fighting for Human Rights, siding with the oppressed and marginalised. The people who committed these crimes should be afraid and these people are going scot free. The people who are victimised should speak about it.

I told you that I am an ardent Catholic. Christ worked for the oppressed and marginalised. So, I leave it up to the Lord. I walk the way he was walking.

CD: But, they crucified him !

PN: They crucified him 2000 years ago. Today, things have changed. Today, we speak of Liberation Theology. As a Catholic, it is my duty to Liberate people. Mahinda Rajapaksa is a Buddhist, but he never lived like a Buddhist. I am a Catholic and live like a Catholic and live by the standards set up by the Catholic church.

I am a product of the Jesuit University. I used to teach at the Jesuit University. The Jesuits are the ones who brought up the whole question of Liberation. The Liberation Theology engulf the whole of Latin American countries. Today, Latin America is looked up by rest of the world as a place where people are liberated, people who are knowledgeable, thanks to the Jesuits. I am proud of my rich Jesuit heritage, of being part of this whole Jesuit Education which has made the world a better place in the last 500 years of their existence. So, I am for the Liberation of People who are oppressed whether it is in Eelam, Kashmir or whether it is a question of Naxalite Maoists, I stand by the rights of the people. Christ stood for the rights of the people. So, I do not believe in being a Christian in name only, but I want to be a disciple of Christ in deed. I don’t want to go to church and kneel down and be just a devotee. I just want to follow the teachings of Christ. Otherwise there is no point in being a Catholic and calling us human beings without responding to the calls of the fellow human beings who are suffering.

CD: When you come back to the root causes as to why India supported Sri Lanka’s agenda, you mentioned about Mr. Sam Rajappa’s article that explained about M.K. Narayanan’s role. There is also talk about Indian or Sonia government’s change of position after Priyanka, Rajiv Gandhi’s daughter went and met with Nalini, one of the accused in Rajiv’s murder case. Is there any truth in it?

PN: India’s agenda was very, very clear even before that meeting and after that and even at present. Their politics is electoral politics, to stay in power. So, the question of emotions have no place in electoral politics.

Look at the way China has grown while this family was ruling. India became independent in 1947 with much less population and better resources being a democracy. The Education level was much higher than that of China. But, where are we now? So, Priyanka met Nalini to get confirmation whether LTTE was the one which killed Rajiv Gandhi and the War changing course, all of this is not going to happen all of a sudden. It was a very well executed plan of India which was dictated by Madam Sonia Gandhi and very well implemented by Manmohan Singh.

They got Manmohan Singh, because they could not get another puppet who could dance well to Sonia Gandhi. Also, he is a friend of the United States. Manmohan Singh’s interests are the best interests of Americans and not the interests of Indians. As I told you earlier, from 1947- to -1977, about 10,000 farmers committed suicide in India. From 1977 till last year about 246,000 farmers have committed suicide as the result of globalisation and liberalisation brought about this great man. So, here is to whom he is loyal to.

CD: According to Norway’s report on the Eelam War IV, Erik Solheim has said that no one believed that Sri Lanka can win the war over LTTE till latter part of 2008. What gave Rajapaksa the confidence to go all the way to finish off LTTE?

PN: The Indians gave confidence to Rajapaksa. Not only confidence but also told him that they would be truly behind him. You can see there was a naval blockade imposed by India around Sri Lanka. Satellite photos were provided by India. We call Pakistan an enemy of India. But, when it came to the question of Sri Lanka, and suppressing LTTE, Pakistan, China and India coordinated perfectly to eliminate LTTE. I would not have any issues if they eliminated LTTE only with whom Sri Lanka was waging a war. But, it involved tens of thousands of civilians.

Today, North-East stands as a zone that has produced 90,000 war widows and 50,000 of them are below the age of 40. Even if you take the productivity level of 50,000 women to one child per person, Tamil Eelam would have 50,000 more Tamils living there. If you don’t call this a ‘Genocide’, what else is it ? 50,000 widows who are of Child bearing age! So far I don’t see any of these Academics raising this issue. I am not an Academic specializing in Demography. But, still this question lingers in my mind. Meantime, the Indian Foreign minister, S. M, Krishna goes to Sri Lanka on a packaged tour, comes back and says, "Yes, the roads are good, big buildings are coming up" etc.

Reconciliation does not mean roads and buildings, but mending of hearts. This mending of hearts have never taken place in Sri Lanka. The government is very, very clear that it wants to suppress and wipe out the Tamils and that is one of the reasons why they are not allowing any kind of Psycho-Social intervention there. They don’t want the church authorities or any other NGO’s to go and speak on Psycho-Social trauma counselling.

GOSL is very clear that trauma counselling should not take place in the war zone. They feel that the people who attend these trauma counselling once again bring back the memories of war and this is on record as said by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Till the affected people undergo counselling, it is going to hurt them forever. They are going to live with the feeling of guilt of losing the near and loved ones.

So, all these crimes were perpetrated not just by the Sri Lankan forces. Sri Lankan forces acted on behalf of Mahinda Rajapaksa and he in turn acted on behalf of India. I go on record telling you the very first Interview given by Mahinda Rajapaksa after the war to NDTV 24/7 news channel in India. You have the Editor-in-Chief of Indian Express, Shekar Gupta, regarded as one of the best journalist in India, shamelessly shaking hands with Rajapaksa and congratulating him for winning the war. I doubt whether this man will do the same thing today!

So, the immediate answer of Mahinda Rajapaksa was “I did not win the war. I won India’s war”. What does he mean by that? So, we need to deeply think about what India has done. Just because India has voted in favour of this resolution does not mean that they could absolve themselves of their sins committed. We need to make sure that both Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa substantiate the statement on the role played by India. We need to ensure that it is done.

CD: Diaspora Tamils were very impressed by the Tamil Nadu politicians coming together on the US resolution at UNHRC putting pressure on New Delhi. I always wondered why there was not a Federation Of Dravidian States in South India? If there was such a Federation and if their voices were raised collectively at the Rajya Sabha, just like this March, the Eelam Tamils issue could have been solved much earlier. Even the issues such as Mullaiperiyar could have been solved? Is it a ploy by the Central government to divide and rule, just as the British did?

PN: Good that at least finally you came to this part of the interview. Where does the word Dravidian come from? Forefathers of all the Dravidians are Tamils. Tamil is the world's oldest living language. All Tamils should be proud of it. Tamils belong to a rich cultural heritage that is still alive.

I was telling my friends that the world's deepest gold mine is dug by the Tamils in Kola Gold Fields in Karnataka. The world's highest road ways are laid by the Tamils in Khardungla, Kashmir. Here we are talking about such a hard working people, who love their land and culture. How did the Dravidian name come about? It is the other languages that were split from Tamil, with the influence from Sanskrit, new languages such as Kannada, Malayalam, Telugu and Tulu came up. The Tamils at the same time are a foolish lot. Because, they have the nature of coping with whatever comes in their way. Tamils are very generous people. Being generous we have made a lot of mistakes. Tamils are very accommodative, very hospitable and whoever coming home, they invite them and make them part of their home.

So, this has been our very rich cultural heritage that others have misused. So by misusing, what has happened was, in the past 40 years, in the name of Dravidian politics it was a Telugu who had ruled Tamil Nadu, I meant M. Karunanidhi to be specific. Also, Malayalee, M.G. Ramachandra Menon had ruled Tamil Nadu. A Kannada, Dr. J. Jayalalithaa has ruled and ruling. These are the people who have ruined Tamil Nadu for the last 40 years.

So, why do you need Dravidian Politics? Dravidian means it should be in all the four states of South India. Why should only Tamil Nadu be speaking of Dravidian Politics? Why not have Dravidian politics in Karnataka, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh? Here Tom, Dick and Jerry claim to be Dravidians and come to rule, except the Tamils. The last Tamil Chief minister of Tamil Nadu was Kamaraj. But, he was more of an Indian than a Tamilian.

So, here is where you should try and bring an alternative politics. Not Dravidian politics, not a caste based politics. In Tamil Nadu politics you will see three mainstream types of politicians. The Dravidian political parties comprising of DMK, AIAMDK, MDMK and Vijaykanths party, DMDK; the caste based politics: PMK, VC (Thalith Panthers) and PT (Puthiya Thamizhagam) and the National Parties, The Congress (I) and BJP.

So, after Mullivaikaal, the youth in Tamil Nadu, those who are in between the ages of 15 – 40, started analysing as to where have they gone wrong. The 120 million Tamils in the world, have lost to just 15 million Singhalese. Where did they go wrong? They realised that there are no Tamil leaders and hence a new leader emerged in Tamil Nadu.

And the leader is Senthamilan Seeman. A selfless man who has rallied behind the Tamils and who has got the support of the Tamils. Today, Tamil Nadu is not what it was till 2009. It required one Seeman to rally behind the youth and students to make them think that we are Tamils, we have lost out and we have to come back.

He started a new movement. He went around, tried to align with all the Dravidian political parties. But, there was no way these political parties would support the Tamil cause. If Vaiko was to change this kind of politics, he would have pulled out his ministers from Manmohan Singh government, which he was part of in 2009. He did not do that. Ramdoss (PMK) did not do that. His son was a Minister at the Central government. Karunanidhi (DMK) had 9 ministers in the government. They just threatened that they would resign, but no one resigned. Karunanidhi enacted a drama, the world’s fastest Fast, after Break Fast and Before Lunch, at the Marina Beach to stop the war. Then the war was over. Manmohan Singh phoned him telling, yes, we will take care of it. But, nothing really happened.

It was when Seeman came out and said “No, we Tamils have been cheated in the Dravidian politics. We have to emerge as Tamils. Let us come out from the shadow of being Dravidians. Why should we, being the forefathers of Dravidians, call ourselves Dravidians, when we are Tamils. This question he took to the youth in Tamil Nadu. He made them to think. Today, Tamil Nadu is not a place where you find fellows going behind film actors and pouring milk on the popular film stars.

Today, the average Tamilians think and the education level has gone up. The educated young men and women started to see the reality that they are not Dravidians but Tamils. Our own Tamil brothers got massacred in Eelam. If we don’t give them a voice who will? So, this kind of a new upsurge was brought about by Senthamilan Seeman. He has rallied all the people saying, "Yes, we need to come together for a cause and that cause is the rights of the Tamils in Eelam". He started his own movement called "Naam Thamilar Iyakkam". In 2010, it transformed into ‘Naam Thamilar katchi (Party),’ because, if Tamils are to have a chance, they need to convert themselves as a Political force. Only then Tamils can bring about a change. Today, it is a strong force to be reckoned with. In 2011, during the Tamil Nadu elections, he campaigned in 60 out of 65 electorates where the Congress contested. In all the 60 seats Congress lost. In the other 5 places, Seeman was unable to go and campaign. So that shows the power of Seeman. Today, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister has taken up the issues of Tamils because of this person Seeman. If not for him, she would not be. A lady who was completely against the Tamils for the last two decades, had a change of heart all of a sudden. What made her change? It was not divine force that intervened to change her mind. It was the electoral politics and the politics of Seeman.

She knows that if Seeman requests, the people of Tamil Nadu will come to the streets any day and protest against anyone. She is a very articulate and an intelligent person and she understood that if she does not do enough for the Tamils, this man is not going to let her live peacefully and forced to take up the cause of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. This radical change was brought by Seeman. While I place on record my appreciation of all what he has done, I would challenge any one to deny that if India had to vote against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC, indirectly they may give 1001 reasons, but, ultimately it was because of one man, that was Seeman.

CD: However, after the UN resolution, Karunanidhi has said that “Eelam is my unrealised Dream.” And even before the elections, Jayalalithaa was canvassing that once she gets elected with a majority, she would work towards Tamil Eelam. So, how do you respond to that? Now, both of them say that Eelam is their dream. So, how does Seeman differ from them?

PN: You see, Jayalalithaa used this only for the election purposes. After that she does not speak Eelam as her dream. This election took place in 2011. Seeman started speaking about it immediately after the war. Even before he was speaking about it but the issue became a real force after May 2009.

During the war time Jayalalithaa has said that ‘in a war people die.’ That was her famous statement. So, where was Jayalalithaa in 2009 when the war was being fought? That we have to question. When Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister with 9 central ministers in 2009 he could have fulfilled his dream. What was he doing when thousands of Tamils were getting massacred every day? Today, he has lost so badly, he has lost his face. Now, he is not even the leader of the opposition.

So, the only way for Karunanidhi’s resurgence is to speak about Eelam, so that he can come back to the lime light once again. Otherwise no one respects Karunanidhi. He is an aging man. He will not be there in the next election. Yes, he has a dream. His dream is to see that his children become Chief Minister and ministers of Tamil Nadu and carry on his dynasty and legacy.

If he had his dream of Tamil Eelam, what was he doing when he was the Chief Minister or what is Madam Jayalalithaa doing as the present Chief Minister? By just passing resolutions alone, you cannot achieve your aim. If you are serious, you need to act. So, what’s happening? Both of them failed because they are Dravidians and they are not Tamils. Seeman is a Tamil; his blood is Tamil; living as a Tamil and will die as a Tamil. There is no doubt about that. It’s simple as that. Whereas these two people are Dravidians, it's just simple as that.

CD: This is the first time that so many Tamil groups made representations at UNHRC. How did the Sri Lankan government react to that?

PN: Sri Lankan government reacted in a very, very violent way by bringing out thugs in the form of Human Rights Activists and it was a blessing in disguise. Because, the whole world got to see how the so called Human Rights Activists were behaving. So, now they know how the hard core Sinhala soldiers with the minimum education would have behaved against the Tamils. In that sense it was a welcome sign that GOSL brought this jumbo delegation.

CD: What did they exactly do?

PN: They intimidated, photographed opponents and stalled meetings. They started shouting slogans. They never allowed anything to happen the way normally happens at UNHRC. They were staring at people and questioning people. It was extremely threatening. It was not a conducive atmosphere at all in the midst of people who would physically threaten you. You always had the threat of being physically abused.

They would spread out in every hall, then start shouting and yelling. They are massive compared to representatives from Tamil groups who had come to Geneva. At the same time, it was a blessing in disguise. Because, the International bodies there were observing the activities of these unruly people who have come from Sri Lanka.

When Swiss gentlemen pointed out that they were intimidating the functioning of the normal human rights procedures in the UN, the High Commissioner, Madam Navi Pillay very directly pointed out that ‘Yes, I have also got this complaint. I know the people from Sri Lanka are doing this and said stern action would be taken against them if they do not behave properly.’

CD: So, where do the Tamils go from here, now US sponsored UNHRC resolution has been passed? So, what would be the short term and long term benefits to the Eelam Tamils?

PN: There are no short term or long term benefits. Tamils have to stick to their stand. Tamil’s stand is very, very clear. That is the International War Crimes Investigation, leading to proclaiming that this was a ‘Genocide’ of 150.000 Tamils during the course of the war. Tamil’s cause is to take this to the next level, that is, International investigations.

Tamils won’t just live by what this resolution has stated. This resolution speaks on behalf of Sri Lanka to implement their own commission of inquiry, LLRC. But, LLRC is not what the International Human Rights Organisations wanted. We won’t keep quiet till the International Investigations are initiated. Then we will spell out the next course of action. Because, this is a very clear case of ‘Genocide’ that took place in Sri Lanka and LLRC report is not an answer. It is a cover up to the crimes committed by the GOSL. Because, it absolves the involvement of the Army. It speaks of individual cases of atrocities and not the institutional crimes committed by the government and the Army. So, nothing short of International investigation will satisfy us.

CD: Thank you for your time.

PN: Charles, it’s a pleasure speaking to the Tamil Mirror readers through you.

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