Here is the full text of the speech of Former Cabinet Minister& Member of NDA Coalition, India Dr. Subramanian Swamy at Defence Seminar 2012;
I’m here to speak as an Indian, but an Indian very sympathetic to the cause which the present Government of Sri Lanka is committed. When I was coming in the Delhi airport there was a poster of the ministry of environment in which it said 'be aware the tiger is becoming extinct'. Well I said I’m going to a country it is already extinct. I must say that the victory of the government of Sri Lanka over the terrorist organization called LTTE is a historic landmark in the history of the world. Because it was a decisive victory. There had been terrorism in the other parts of the world where compromises have been made. Yet governments after governments have committed themselves to what they call a zero tolerance for terrorism. But Sri Lanka ultimately made the sacrifice to bring it to an end and as a consequence we in India I would say most Indians if not all Indians, most Indians are pleased with this development grateful to the government of Sri Lanka because for us also the LTTE was a problem. One of our former Prime Ministers in his young age in his forties was assassinated by the LTTE and the LTTE has carried many illegal activities in India such as drug peddling, gun running, and sometimes functioning as contract killers in the state of Tamil Nadu. So for us also the end of LTTE was a great turning point India assisted in the war and I think India will continue to assist more and more in whatever way the government of Sri Lanka wants.
This conference is in fact extraordinary. This is one of the best organized conferences I have attended in my life and I have attended many and to see such participation is extraordinary. I would like to concentrate on the question of reconciliation. But I would like to say that let not this victory over terrorism be diluted by the media circulation of wild acquisitions of genocide and throws human rights etc. I would say that experience, I have studied cases of many countries, I've in fact written a book on how to deterred terrorism. In the experience of many countries which fight internal insurgency, not external wars, because wars between two countries are regulated by the Geneva convention. But when you fight a insurgency within your country then there's a lot of collateral damage that takes place and that collateral damage includes innocent people being killed. That doesn't mean that the violation of the human rights implicit in innocent people being killed is a state sponsored one. We face this in India every day this criticism, what was happening in Kashmir, or what's happening in Nagaland or Manipur. If you want to protect the integrity of our country and the insurgency is domestic, and it intermingles with the local population I think it is inevitable that you see some civilians destruction or killings. Even in World War II the city of Brisbane and Germany was destroyed completely by Britten even though it was not a place where there was a military concentration but it was to break the moral of the German nation. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where only civilians were killed, was again to bring the war to an end and in the November trials its very explicitly recognized where there's such collateral damage takes place. I am here to raise the questions of pre requisites or essential elements of the reconciliation.
The first essential component of reconciliation has to be necessarily that the Tamils of Sri Lanka must vocalist what they feel in their hearts and what they tell me in private because I'm also a Tamil, of course the pro LTTE Tamils don't recognize me as a Tamil, That doesn't matter, I don't recognize them as humans! But the fact that matters is that Tamils after Tamils tell me that they now are happy that their children are not going to be forcibly recruited by the LTTE, that they can go to schools and colleges, that their money is, that their pay cheque is not sliced by extortion. That there is no uncertainty. There are of course they aren't fully satisfied, they want certain expressions, they want to feel that they will not be marginalized in society, because there has been a portrayal and partly, mostly by the LTTE spokesman.
That this is our war between the Sinhala’s and the Tamils and the Tamils lost. So there is a concern on the question of marginalization. But never the less they all acknowledge that there is a breath of fresh air that now they breath. And they want this to continue, they don't want this fighting to resume. The fighting itself came, the militancy itself came because there were agreements between the Tamil leaders and the Sinhala Leaders. And these were not kept. Whatever reason they were broken, after they were signed. There is a background to all this. Which we must recognize. When the British came to the Island as the British were prone to do where ever they went. They cultivated the minority and collarated the majority. That is that in India that is that in many other countries. It was a very effective way to rule. Minorities were grateful short-sightedly grateful and the Tamils benefited by their collaboration with the British and as a consequence by 1948 when Sri Lanka got independence. The Tamils got a huge disproportionate share in the services and universities and so on. Democracy in Sri Lanka led to the majority getting power and since it was a unitary state Sinhalese got almost 100% of the power. And they went about correcting this imbalance. In the process of correcting this imbalance they went over board and this led to anxiety and finally Tamil leadership entered in to negotiation. These negotiations ended up in a failure. Because they signed the agreement and then it was gone back on. As a consequence a new young breed of boys began portrayal this leaders as softies, as uncle toms, as betrayers and out of that came militancy and finally in India when Mr Jayawardane was the President here when Mrs Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister their chemistry was never very good and she thought that this was an opportunity to take the revenge. In fact she had even alleged that J.R. Jayawardane was elected as President because the CIA helped him. Well it was the Soviet Union helped her that’s a different matter. So, therefore she launched on a programme of training these militant forces. But the LTTE wanted to be the soul representatives of the Tamils. And they decimated everybody else.
They decimated anyone who was not in their control, even if they were not hostile. There was a Harvard law graduate here, Dr Neelan Thiruchelvan who used to plead with me whenever I used to go back to teach briefly at Harvard is he was assumed that I was law school. He is to plead with me you know don’t be so harsh on the LTTE, we have nothing else. But even he was killed by the LTTE, because he refused to become a member. Same with Amrithalingam who started the whole movement for Eelam in the 70’s he too was killed. The mayor of Jaffna Yogeshvaran was a member of parliament he was killed, his wife was became a mayor she was killed. In fact the entire democratic leadership of the Tamils was destroyed by the LTTE. And it is in that vacuum that this terrorism grew it spread all over the world I was talking to their arms procurer and who is now in the custody of Sri Lankan government and he told me that the weapons came freely from North Korea and this is the first time I heard this admission being made. But they got weapons and they of course there’s an ancient culture here both Tamils and Sinhalese, they were able to make aero planes, they were able to make submarines, they were on the way to making a submarine, and if they had succeeded as the Norwegian wanted and thank god Rajapaksa didn’t listen to them. They would have been a threat to all the nations in the neighbourhood and particularly India where there is a Tamil population. So I’m saying that first and foremost of all the essential has to be that the Tamils has to recognize and own up this victory as theirs. And Sinhalese should also be able to core up them in this victory.
I don’t want this victory to be dive elated by any other consideration. I oppose the resolution of the UNHCR India very vehemently appeared on television denouncing the government. I know that the Prime Minister left to himself would not have supported this resolution. But our Prime Minister in an extraordinary possession where he was not the final authority in making decisions and consequently he had to go along the United States for some other obscure reasons decided to pursue this resolution although United States internationally was the country which made LTTE in to a recognized terrorist force first country outside India which banned the LTTE was the United States. And United States then went after other countries to the same they went after Canada, European Union and LTTE became one of the most banned organizations in the world, thanks to United States. But I don’t know what happened sometimes lapses do take place and I hope the United States will reconsider not to grow on this path because this is something which is, there is no end to it. If you start this kind of resolutions, so I would say the first resolution would be that this is something the Tamil community must recognize and I say this because I extraordinarily disappointed that those who are screaming most about the Sri Lankan Army is committing exercise genocide, killing innocent people, shooting them when the elections came and the President Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa stood again. The Tamils couldn’t find anyone else, but the Commander in Chief of the Sri Lankan Army to be their candidate to fight against the atrocities committed on the civilians by the Sri Lankan Army by President Rajapaksa. This twisted logic nobody understood. How can the President be responsible when the executer was the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army Mr Fonseka and then the Tamils particularly the LTTE Tamils, the TNA was always a spokesman for the LTTE.
I don’t know why they still are. But they proposed him as a candidate. That was the hour when the Tamils could have participated and joined the Sinhalese majority and owned up this victory as a victory for peace for democracy. But they missed it. And that is something that is essential where all of us including those who are in India and particularly those who are in India must exercise their influence to see that the Tamils identify themselves with those steps taken by the government of Sri Lanka to bring normalcy to the state. I’m happy to see that today the Indian government has finally written a letter to Mr Karunanidhi the DMK Chief who is wanting to hold another conference for the creation of Eelam. First they verbally told them if you mention Eelam it will be a criminal offense under the law. So he gave a public statement that he will not mention Eelam as a separate country. But now they have sent a letter today that if you hold a conference and that Eelam name comes anywhere then will banned the conference. So I think finally India is again returning to the path of normalcy on the question of dealing with this problem. But I would like the Tamil population to exhort the Tamil population through this platform. Please identify this with this move towards normalcy reconciliation by owning up; whatever happened has happened. Whatever allegations had been made are what happened three years ago. It is nobody’s case that anything has happened since then. Our own government tells me before I leave for this conference that the work the Sri Lankan government has done in rehabilitation is commendable. They have met most of the targets they said that they would meet. So these are some of the things that need to be highlighted and the Tamil population should participate that. The second essential I think is time that this idiom that this is an ethnic war being given up. There’s nothing ethnic about it.
You will be surprised many foreign delegates should be surprised to learn that both the Sinhalese and the Tamils claim that they came from India only that the Tamils have a more vigorous spokesman. Whereas the Sinhalese have, who is not interested in the problem. Sinhalese claim that they came from Orissa, Bangalore and Bihar and the leaders of those states are not bothered about the fate of Sinhalese at all. Its only the Tamils who had been fed this separatist ideology which now being exploded by the new genetic research through the use of DNA. Mon genetic research scientific research now says that all Indians has the same DNA. When the British were ruling in India they produced text books to made out we were two communities one called Aryans and the other called Dravidians. Dravidians were ruling India and Aryans came from Europe and through the Hindu push the invaded India and took over draw the Dravidians to the South. And Mr Karunanidhi in Tamilnadu bought this wholesale in fact he used to recently celebrate Raavan leela because in North India used to celebrate Raama’s victory over Raavan who was the king of Sri Lanka. But he was not a Sri Lankan. He was actually born on the borders of Delhi in a place now called Naida and his wife was born in Mirath later on his brother was here.
He came and conquered Sri Lanka and became the King. The demon king as he is called in the Great Ramayana which Mr Karunanidhi turned upside down and started celebrating Mr Raavan as the great hero of Dravidians. There is no word called Aryans in the entire script there is a word called Arya which means gentleman. But there is no word called Aryans. There is no record in any part of Indian scriptures of historical writings that some people came from outside and ruled. But somehow perhaps divide and rule was the policy of the British it has been a part of our text books which is now slowly being exorcized because of modern science that there is no such division at all. We are one, and I know that there is a research which has not yet been published which will be published soon says Sinhalese and Tamils also have the same DNA. There is no ethnic difference between the Sinhalese and Tamils and that is Sinhalese and Tamils should recognized. Nor is there any religious differences in any fundamental sense. The difference between Buddhism and Hinduism is much smaller than between Shiya and Sunnies and the catholics and the protestants. We Hindus recognize Buddha as our God as a revolved soul, divine soul who reformed some of the bad practices in Hinduism and therefore that doesn’t divide us. In fact I’m very pleased to see Sri Lankan leaders coming to India and going to temples, the Thirupathi Sai Baba Temple, the Guru Iyappan Temple. So there is no religious difference of any significant. Even linguistic differences. both languages enjoy common vocabulary through Sanskrit. Tamil has 40% Sanskrit words, Sinhalese language probably has more. I don’t know any Sinhalese at all. But when I listen to Sinhalese speak I can understand what they say, because of Sanskrit words. So, why is the difference. The difference is not cultural, the difference is not religious, the difference is not racial. It’s not any ethnic difference. And if that is taught in schools, and colleges and text books then this divide will go. The Tamils are different. By the way let me tell you that after eating this Tamil food here I have come to the conclusion that the Tamils of Sri Lanka didn’t come from Tamilnadu they came from kerala. So you may have to amend that. And the words they use, and the accent they use also very malayali. So anyway doesn’t matter the fact that matter is we all are same. And that has to be instilled in the younger generation that we are one people. We have differences there in India we have all kind of differences. But when there is an attack on the nation we have combined. Whenever there is a war the India has combined, whenever there is a catastrophe like a assassination of a leader we have became one.
We may have differences, may have disagreements, but ultimately when the country’s future is at stake we should be one. That’s the second essential that has to be instilled in to the population. There is no Aryans, Dravidians. That is nonsense. Dravida is a Sanskrit word which means where the three oceans meet. And that is Southern India. And I told Arya that has no other meaning except that you are a gentleman or a person of culture. Now the other thing you need to do is the third essential and that is the question of minority and majority. That could be rectified only by devolution. No doubt, tamils are minority. And if you divide Tamils into Tamil Muslims, Tamil Christians and Tamil Hindus it will become bigger minority. Even more sharply a minority. The Sinhalese population is like 75%, like the Hindus are 83% in India, it’s a dominant thing. And when you have a dominant majority everything cannot be decided by the majority rule. It’s a standard constitutional principal there has to be safeguards. That is the only problem that Sri Lanka today has to address. as an observer I say, as a well wisher of Sri Lanka I say, yes there was a disproportionate representation of Tamils in 1948. But much water has flown down the rivers and now is the time to recognize Tamils as the minority and to bring in constitutional changes which would then make it possible for the Tamils to meet some of the regional, local aspirations without disturbing the overall integrity of the island of Sri Lanka or the country of Sri Lanka. How is that to be done. That is the question. And I will take two minutes just to conclude on that. We need therefore a constitutional change. Not in the fundamental sense. Indian constitution is a unitary constitution, Sri Lankan constitution is a unitary constitution, there is no need for you to have or any one of us to have because you are in a nation building process of federal constitution like the United States where states are almost along to themselves. We need therefore safeguards to see that anytime a state tries to break lose or doesn’t perform according to national objectives. Then there must be constitutional provisions by which it should be enforced. 13+ amendment now is in great circulation the thirteen amendment itself was adopted by the parliament some changes are necessary I had the opportunity of meeting your President yesterday who said that if the parliament reprocess could be speeded up by a cooperation from the novel community and the opposition. It can be done quickly and that’s precisely what’s need to be done. I would say for; I circulated to the organizers a printed copy of my written address which is in much greater detail. But let me say I point eight points with that I would conclude.
First is that no proposal for reconciliation should be and can be pushed from abroad. It has to be indigenously emerged. And of course with due consultation of stake holders. Nobody has a veto but the parliament is the ultimate authority.
Secondly is the white spread acceptability of the 13+ amendment and this should be suitably modified by parliamentary committee and a final shape should be given to that as early as possible because that is the only thing that is being used against Sri Lanka all over the world there is a minority and a majority doesn’t want to devolve power. Nobody goes into this substance of what kind of the evolution. But I think get it out of the way. Some devolutions should be done. And therefore this is out of the debate. And once it is out of the debate then we can proceed further with other aspects of nation building. So there should not be much delay. This is my opinion. Whether there will be a delay or not that Sri Lankans will decide. But I’m of the view that it will be much easier to fight the enemies of Sri Lanka unity if there is some devolution.
Third is that of course the Sri Lankan constitution must remain unitary and the sender should have power to dismiss the provinces when they do not act according to the constitutional provisions. The provincial governments in order to be acceptable to the minority should the head of the government there called the Chief Minister should have primary responsibility to maintain public order which means control of the Police. But the union in the constitution should be empowered to have a central Police and the Army to be stationed to and also the power to appoint national magistrates under the authority of the central government having authority to over ride the orders given by the state magistrates. Sri Lanka of course will be a secular country but its identity is clearly Buddhist country which no one can have any objections to it after all culturally a Buddhist country. But it should be in political matters a secular country. And finally with the increasing proximity of Tamils and Sinhala communities the recognition that we are the same, there is no difference religiously, ethnically, linguistically any difference or even from the origins of coming to Sri Lanka between the Tamils and the Sinhalese. One people I think there should be progressively this sharp polarization, geographical polarization of Tamil and Sinhala must slowly com to an end and they all must be composite states in the sense that every state has a representation of Tamils and Sinhala. Not some areas exclusively Tamils and some areas exclusively Sinhala. These are some suggestions I make humbly and this is for your consideration. But I as a friend would find it much easier. I as an Indian would find it much easier. To meet criticism against Sri Lanka if there is some early devolution. So that we have that out of the way and we can proceed. Thank you very much.