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JULY 83

 

WHO SHOULD BE HELD  RESPONSIBLE FOR THE 1983 JULY INCIDENT?

It has become necessary to re-examine the true nature of the 1983 July incident to find out who had the power to prevent the riots at the first sign of trouble, therefore who should bear the full responsibility for not arresting the incident at its inception. At, present the blame is vested on the Sinhalese in general.

It has been said, “the power of Authority carries the burden of responsibility”. Therefore, it is necessary first to ascertain who had the power during that time and to what extent to take preventive measures to stop the spread of riots? Also why certain groups of people were compelled to initiate certain measures by themselves as a reaction to the action of the LTTE, which was said to have been done to sabotage the peace talks called by the government, a few weeks prior to the incident. President J.R Jayawardana as an executive president had 5/6 majority in Parliament to draw support for any political decision, hence he had near absolute political power at that time. Therefore, in theory he should bear the full responsibility for that incident. President JRJ he is no more to answer any questions and to face any punishments in the event he had no acceptable excuse. Therefore, the responsibility is automatically transferred to others in his government. This is the normal procedure in any governmental structure.

It is also true that there were no members in Parliament during that time who could call the President and asked him to do something about it. They feared him so much during his rule. But that was no excuse for the rest of the cabinet ministers in his government to be relieved from the responsibility for not taking any steps to prevent the riots at its inception.

However, there was one person who could have reached him without getting scolded and could have asked him, Uncle don’t you think that this incident could do an enormous damage to the image of the country? He was the then education minister and now the opposition leader – Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe. Therefore, the question now arises as to what was he doing at that time. A fair guess would be that he must have been watching the riots in the TV.

Also there were 16 TULF members in Parliament but none resigned in protest and they were the elected representatives of the Tamil community that was subjected to severe harassment by the Sinhala thugs. They too must have been watching the incident in the TV.

Therefore, there was clear evidence that those who had the power of authority were completely silent during the riots. Does that mean that everybody else also should have maintained his or her silence? The then government was elected by the people exercising their right of franchise under the so-called democracy.

When members of your community get killed by the Terrorists from another community and when the elected representatives are silent, then should all the members of that community maintain its silence? What would be the out come if all maintain their silence? The result would be that the terrorist will get the confidence to unleash more attacks and the Tamils would get confidence to harass the Sinhalese in day-to-day life.

The truth is that a vast majority of people did maintained their silence and only certain groups of people resorted to violence because certain groups wanted to exploit the situation for their personal gain and for some due to justifiable reasons. Recently, during the riots in Egypt, many poor people ransacked shops and super markets not because the super market owners were rich or foreigners.

During July 83, the poor people’s excuse to ransack the shops was the Tamil terrorist attack upon their community. Can anybody say, had this been a Tamil country then the situation would have been any different? Therefore, excuses to unleash riots differ from incident to incident. The people who took part in the riots can be categorized into the following groups.

(a). First group was the people lived in the streets of Colombo without a proper job and always striving for their day to day existence even by pick pocketing, extortion and by other illegal activities. Did they attacked  the Tamil shops and loot them just because they were Tamil shops? That group would have attacked any shop under a chaotic situation.

(b). The second group may have connected to the petty trade. Why did they want to attack their fellow Tamil traders who do business with them everyday?  The reason for that was because no retaliatory response in the form of military action by the elected representatives. Had there been no riots, then the Tamil traders could have forced most Sinhala petty traders out of Colombo and created a no go area for the Sinhalese. Such Muslim areas do exist at present where the slightest incident means Sinhalese are getting beaten badly.    

(c). The third group mostly again consists of ordinary people that took part in riots because they too realized that no action means a meek life thereafter. Their logic was that unless we teach them a lesson, we would not be able to live in this country. Starting from home, to neighborhood and to a village, when somebody threatens another person, then if the victim does not retaliate, what would be the result thereafter? The victim will have to face constant pressure for the rest of his life. In life it is either fight or flight. In the case of dogs, the weaker one has to stick his tail between his legs. In human conflicts the same rules apply. 

(d). The fourth group was an unknown group that cannot be categorized for certainty but believed to be UNP thugs because, a few years ago a group of gangsters have said that it was they who attacked the Tamils in 83.

TAMIL COMMUNITY’S RESPONSE TO THE 1983 JULY RIOTS

The riots against Tamils occurred during the UNP regime and the then UNP government did nothing to save the Tamils for about five days. Yet strangely, the Tamils continue to vote for the UNP. In the election results even up to the last Local Government election; Ranil was their favorite leader. The leader who watched TV when the Tamils were attacked. In comparison, the SLFP never attacked Tamils but Tamils never look at them except during the Presidential election 1994 when Chandrika was contested.

Therefore, why do Tamils like those who beat them up? The reason is as follows. The Tamils construe that them getting beaten by the UNPers are a blessing in disguise for their community. The LTTE attacked Dalada Maligawa in order to provoke the Sinhalese and to get the Sinhala thugs to beat the Tamils. The Tamil community knew the LTTE’s motive very well very but their support for the LTTE never diminished. The truth is that the Tamil community was and is willing to make that sacrifice in order to get the international sympathy for their Eelam project. Therefore, all in all, 1983 July riots was a gift from heaven for the Tamil community in this country. That helped them to move to the west with ease and settle there. The so-called Diaspora (economic migrants) we see today is they and their descendents.  Therefore, the Tamil community is forever grateful for the UNP, hence they vote Ranil to pay their sincere gratitude for watching TV instead of saving them. So much for their grievances now elevated to aspirations.  

 

THE    TAMIL COMMUNITY HERE AND THE TAMIL DIASPORA 

ARE    COLLECTIVELY A PARTY TO THE LTTE WAR CRIMES

The Sinhalese rioted against the Tamil community in July 83 under provocation & duress. There were no pre-mediated actions to do any harm to them by ordinary people or groups.

It was well known that the vast majority of Tamils supported the LTTE cause and most elders were saying, “Our boys are doing a good job”. That means killing Sinhalese was a good thing for the Tamil elders consist of Priests, Professors, lawyers, engineers, artists est. There was a group of Professors who were dedicated to the LTTE cause justifying the LTTE Eelam project through terrorism. Some pensioners were crediting their entire pension to the LTTE funds and the wealthiest were channeling vast amounts of money to the LTTE coffers. Therefore, the Tamil community in this country was part and parcel of the war crimes that the LTTE committed; hence the bulk of the Tamil community is indirectly guilty for the LTTE War crimes. A Tamil does not have to be battle-hardened fighter to be part of the war crimes.  

COLLECTIVE GUILT OF THE SINHALESE

Not  a single Sinhala Buddhist monk, a professor, a doctor,  a lawyer, an engineer or an artist took part in the JULY83  riots to harm the Tamils instead some protected them. But today almost all of them are suffering from  a collective guilt for something that did not do. A guilt that has been forced upon them by the very politicians who did not take any preventive measures to stop it, when they had the power to do it.  

 

 

 

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