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Origin of the minority issue. Great Britain as colonial rulers contributed to this agony in two ways.

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Origin of the minority issue

  • Great Britain as colonial rulers contributed to this agony in two ways.

  • 1.The British as part of their Colonial Administration tactic felt safer giving minority more authority than the majority and at the time of independence Tamils of Sri Lankan origin were in a privileged social setting.

  • 2.Sri Lanka was left with a population of Indian origin Tamils who were brought in as cheap labor to work in tea plantations in the hill country (towards the end of 19th Century). These Indian origin Tamils were only 2nd class citizens when British ended their colonial rule, however post independence governments have gradually improved their living standards and social standing.

  • As you go on with this presentation you will realize that this problem has to be taken in the pretext of a minority trying to get back the undue tactical privileges given to them by a colonial rule, or worse still a minority trying to oppress the indigenous people of a country.


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Ethnic composition

POPULATION BREAKDOWN BY ETHNICITY

  • The Sinhala Race

    • Dates back to Prince Vijaya in 543 BC

  • The Tamils

    • A small number immigrated to Sri Lanka much later

    • brought by the British in large numbers, from South India in the late 19th and 20th centuries to work as laborers on large estates

Moor

7%

Sinhalese

74%

Burgher, Malay, and Vedda - 1%

Tamil

18%

Total =18 MM

Source: Sri Lanka 1982 Survey


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Religious composition

POPULATION BREAKDOWN BY RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION

Muslim

7%

Christian

8%

  • The mix of races and religions coexisted peacefully for centuries until the violence started in the early 1980’s

Buddhist

70%

Hindu

15%

Total =18 MM


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Claims of the Tamil Tiger Terrorists

Claim 1

Geographical Restrictions - That the Tamils are not free to live where they chose to in Sri Lanka

Claim 2

  • Education

    • That the Tamils do not have the same access to education that the Sinhalese do

Claim 3

  • Health facilities

    • That the Tamils do not have access to quality healthcare and hospitals, when compared to the Sinhalese

Claim 4

  • Jobs and businesses

    • That the Tamils do not have access to professional jobs


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Why 1982 Statistics should be compared with Claims

  • How do Tamil claims match up to the real situation in pre-war Sri Lanka?

    A study of 1982 statistics will show that there was no reason to start a War, Violence and suicide bombing.


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For administrative purposes the British divided the Island into 9 provinces. Adding insult to injury a racially discriminatory law (‘Thesawalama Law’) that is a total violation of the sovereignty of the Hela was introduced. This ‘apartheid' type law that is still enforced today for the benefit of the non-indigenous ethnic Tamil community and deprives any indigenous Hela from purchasing land in the northern province of their Island. 

Claim 1: Tamils do not face geographical restrictions. They are able to live where they choose within Sri Lanka

The Jaffna peninsula

North East region - consisting of the Districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Amparai

Over the third of Tamils live in the South West

“Tamil Areas” is a misnomer – Generally referred areas where the population is dominated by Tamils or where large #’s Tamils live

Source: Sri Lanka 1981/82 Survey


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Tamils are able to, and do, live in areas other than the North-East

33% of Tamils lived in Sinhalese areas [see map]

Only 3% of Sinhalese lived in the North East

Tamils are able own land anywhere in Sri Lanka

they own a majority of prime land in and around Colombo

A law still in force (called the “Theevalmai”) prevents Sinhalese from purchasing Land in the Jaffna peninsula

Fact 1: Tamils do not face geographical restrictions. They are able to live where ever they choose within Sri Lanka

The Jaffna peninsula

North East region - consisting of the Districts of Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Amparai

Why 1981/82 Statistics?

That is the last available statistics before LTTE started terrorism

Over the third of Tamils live in the South West

“Tamil Areas” - areas where the population is dominated by Tamils or where large #’s Tamils live

Source: Sri Lanka 1981/82 Survey


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Fact 2: Tamils do not face education-based discrimination - they are able to study in their mother-tongue and enjoy high acceptance levels to Universities

University Admission for Tamils in Sri Lanka 1981

Tamils enjoy a disproportionately high percentage of University Admissions

% of Total Admissions taken up by Tamils

These Tamil students can attend University in Colombo or anywhere else, while Sinhalese students are unable to attend university in Jaffna

Source: Sri Lanka 1981/82 Survey


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Moreover, while being able study in their native tongue (Tamil), they had access to better educational facilities

Number of Schools with Science Laboratories per 10,000 students population by province

The Northern district enjoyed the best facilities, while the Eastern province has better facilities than many other provinces

Number of Schools

Province

Source: Ministry of Education 1081


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Fact 3: Tamils did not face discrimination in any professional sphere - they hold a disproportionate share of public service employment

Share of Public Service Jobs Occupied by Tamils

Though only 13% of the population in 1981, they held a higher % of jobs in almost all fields

% of jobs

Source: Sri Lanka 1981/82 Survey


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Contrary to LTTE claims, the Tamils in North enjoyed better access to healthcare

Infant Mortality rate per 1000 live births

The Northern districts of Vavuniya and Jaffna has lower mortality rates than all other districts in the country

Deaths per 1000 live births

X’Axis’Label

Source: Central Bank Reports


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Moreover, Tamils in Sri Lanka enjoy equal rights and receive equal protection and attention in every day matters

Government Documents and Currency Printed in all 3 Official Languages

  • Tamil is an official language of Sri Lanka along with Sinhala

  • All government documents are printed in all three languages


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Tamils have also held prominent roles in the government and public sector. In 1983 3 0ut of 15 Cabinet Ministers were Tamils

Examples of Prominent and Influential Tamils in Sri Lanka - past and present

At the time of the first act of violence by the LTTE in 1983, Sri Lanka’s Ambassadors to Britain, France, West Germany, China and other countries were Tamils

SAMPLE ONLY

Name

Description

Mr. Lakshman Kadiragama

  • Foreign Minister1977 -1982

Mr. K. W. Devanayagam

  • Minister of Home Affairs

Mr. Thondaman

  • Minister of Rural Industrial Development

Mr. C Rajadorai

  • Minister of Regional Development

Two Past Attorney Generals

Kamalasabesan

Siva Pasupathi

Mr. C. Mahendran

  • Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nation, New York 2002-2004

Mr. Kumar Ponnambalam

  • Prominent politician during the time Sri Lanka gained independence from the British

Mr. Amirthalingam

  • Leader of the Opposition in the Sri Lanka parliament


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LTTE activities 1 - killing of politicians and other as part of their strategy and also for financial gain (Contract killing)

  • The LTTE is the only terrorist organization that has been able to assassinate two heads of state

    • Indian Prime Minister Rajive Gandhi was killed by LTTE suicide bomber

    • Sri Lankan President R. Premadasa was killed by a LTTE suicide bomber

  • The LTTE was paid $10M by Bangladeshi dissidents to assassinate Prime Minister Shiekh Hasina Wajed in year 2000.

    • The LTTE was selected based on the fact that they hardly left a a trace

    • Luckily, this plot was foiled by officials before the contract could be carried out

Rajive Gandhi and R. Premadasa, both killed by the LTTE

LTTE hired to assassinate the Bangladeshi Prime Minister

Source: www.asiaweek.com; www.dailystarnews.com; www.himalamag.com; www.lanakalibrary.com; The Star (Canadian newspaper); AsiaWeek; Various reports from The U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Release Date


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