April 26, 2010

Revolutionary Social Transformation is the only Path towards Annihilation of Castes!

The gruesome burning of an eighteen year old dalit girl and her father in Hisar, Haryana by dominant caste Jats is yet another instance of how nakedly casteism pervades our society. The polio stricken girl along with her aged father was burnt to death by a mob of 100-150 people who set around ten houses ablaze. A trivial scuffle led to the immediate unleashing of the feudal wrath of the caste-hindus, who had the political power and social clout to dare and commit such an atrocious crime without fear. In Gohana, thousands of dalits were made to flee their homes after which 50 dalit homes were set on fire in 2004. In Jhajhar the police supervised and facilitated the lynching of five dalit youth in 2002 by a mob comprising of dominant caste villagers led by VHP and Bajrang Dal, who alleged that the dalits were slaughtering a cow. These are just three incidents of caste violence in recent memory in the state of Haryana, touted to be one of the economically ‘advanced’ regions of the country. Caste atrocities in other economically ‘developed’ states of the country have also been regularly committed. The horrific incident of Khairlanji in Maharashtra in 2006, where four members of a dalit family were slaughtered, two women of the family Surekha and Priyanka were paraded naked in public before being raped and murdered, is fresh in public memory.

Such murder of dalits by the dominant castes takes place on a daily basis in every part of the country. When the usual methods of terrorizing and suppressing the oppressed castes are challenged, murderous gangs are raised to crush the assertion of dalits. Ranavir Sena, the upper-caste private army of the landlords committed a series of massacres in Bihar in the 1990s. The mass murder of 58 dalits including 27 women and 10 children in Laxmanpur Bathe were part of the Naxalite movement. 23 dalits were killed in Shankarbidha in Janaury 1999 while eleven were hacked in Jehanabad in February 1999, both by Ranavir Sena goons. The upper caste landlords committed these genocides to crush the assertion of the oppressed castes, who as part of the revolutionary movement were part of the struggle against the feudal forces for land and dignity.

These are neither isolated nor exceptional incidents: The carefully nurtured myth of Democratic India is exploded each and every time a dalit is killed by the caste-Hindus, when a dalit woman is raped to subdue the oppressed castes, or a dalit family’s house is raged to the ground to reassert the caste hegemony of the oppressors. These are just a few forms of atrocities in which casteism surfaces, to be again receded to the oblivion of everyday life, normalized and accepted as a part of our social reality. While the social scientists sitting in the temples of higher learning theorize about ‘the withering of castes’, atrocities on dalits go on unabated. According to a survey by the NGO National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, 27 atrocities against Dalits every day, 13 Dalits murdered every week, 5 Dalits' homes or possessions burnt every week, 6 Dalits kidnapped or abducted every week, and 3 Dalit women raped every day, 11 Dalits beaten every day. Only the most gruesome of these incidents get reported in the mainstream media. This should not surprise us when the dominant castes have a stranglehold over the Indian media, as much protected from the entry of dalits as has been the temples.

The present social order has failed to deliver justice to the dalits: The brahminical Indian judiciary is the custodian of injustice meted out to the dalits. The rate of conviction of dalit atrocities cases is a dismal 15%. For example, it took 12 years for even the Patna lower court to sentence those responsible for the Laxmanpur Bathe massacre, and left unpunished the real perpetrators. Even the CBI has absolved the politicians of BJP and NCP who were involved in the Khairlanji massacre, and no case was filed under the Prevention of SC/ST Atrocities Act against the perpetrators. The police refuses to register complaints of atrocities and violence against the dalits, let alone taking action against the dominant castes. Where the formal institutions of justice have proved to be useless, the parallel ‘justice system’ of the dominant castes, be it the Khap Panchayats or the village panchayats, regularly punish the members of the oppressed castes through social boycotts, denying them work, corporal punishment and even pronouncing death sentences. This state of affairs even after 63 years of so-called Indian independence shows that Indian political system is nothing but a dictatorship of the upper/dominant castes in the mask of democracy, where political power, economic and educational resources, and social hegemony is in the hands of the minority of oppressor castes.

The Indian state and all its institutions including the political parties, judiciary, police, bureaucracy, media, reproduces and strengthens the caste-system. This constitutes merely the super-structure of the caste-based feudal social relations, wherein the numerically miniscule dominant castes have ownership and access to all the resources, while the majority of the people who serve them have nothing but hunger, disease and death. In India the caste system is an integral part of the production system, with huge disparities in ownership of land or capital resources, education, healthcare facilities on caste basis. Two-thirds of dalit households are landless (According to the draft paper of the Ninth Five-Year Plan, 77% of dalits and 90% of the adivasis in India are either ‘absolute landless’ who own no land, or ‘landless’). Unemployment and underemployment is the highest among the dalits and backward castes, with a very high number being employed as landless workers in villages. Even in urban areas the percentage of regular income earner is abysmally low, with most dalit or oppressed caste members being employed as for manual works as contract labour. 60% dalit wage labourer household in rural areas and 70% in urban areas fall below the ‘Poverty Line’. The only area where dalits constitutes a majority is in the job of safai karamcharis where their presence is a whopping 73%. Even today in almost all states of India, dalits especially dalit women are made to do manual scavenging, whereas 88% of seats for SC & ST in class I / II government jobs have not been fulfilled. OBC representation in university faculty across the country is 1%. The Arjun Sengupta report shows that 88% of all SCs and STs, 85% of all Muslims and 80% of all OBCs survive on less than Rs. 20 per day. On the other hand, the upper castes, who demographically are just about 15% of the population, constitute the bulk of the Indian ruling class – industrialists, senior executives, bureaucrats and landlords; controlling 96% of industry and trade, and 71% of agricultural land and natural resources.

Liberalisation is only making it worse: Since the inception of five year plans in India less than 2 percent of the total expenditure has been spent on the SC, ST and OBCs combined (report of Working Group on Development of SCs during 8th five year plan). Non-plan spending on social services has fallen by 16 per cent in the 2010 budget. Within this miniscule budget, the specific allocation for SC, ST and OBC has gone down from 7.06% to 2.89%. Budgetary allocation of funds for the masses (like agriculture, health, education etc.) is getting drastically reduced. The resources of the people is being drained out by MNCs. Rampant unemployment and lack of access to education are making things worse for all but the privileged few who hail from the dominant caste-class background. The current policies of rampant land grab for SEZs and imperialist plunder has also affected the dalits severely. The dalits being landless in most of cases they are dispossessed of their livelihood once the agricultural land which they cultivate is handed over to MNCs. After the adivasis the dalits form the majority of the people displaced since 1947.

NONE of the parliamentary parties have worked towards what Dr. Ambedkar had envisioned: the annihilation of caste. They rather systematically and opportunistically reinforced this most oppressive structure for their own electoral ends.  The discontent and pressure from below has forced the government to very reluctantly legislate reservation, it is evident that there is no will to implement it. During the Mandal Commission days, both Congress and BJP had openly opposed reservation, while the ‘Official Left’ had maintained a very dubious, opportunistic dithering between support and opposition. The parties which self-styled champions of dalit cause like BSP, SP, JD(U) etc. the fight against brahminical social order is only restricted to the fight for reservation and representation. While reservation is indeed important, by its very nature it only benefits the comparatively better off section of the oppressed castes who could afford some education, leaving out the vast majority of the dalits out of its purview. Besides, education or comparative economic prosperity notwithstanding, the oppressed castes are discriminated against because they belong to a certain caste. The victims of the Khairlanji were indeed among the better educated and landed people in their village. Even those who get into an institution through reservation are discriminated against and harassed.

All these parliamentary parties are also ruthlessly pursuing the imperialist agenda. All of them support SEZ, land grab and corporate loot of resources. None of the states in India have so far seen successful land distribution among landless dalits. Even the ‘left’ ruled states where claims to land reform is trumpeted every now and then, in reality the so-called land reforms were instrumental in promoting a particular form of agricultural economy- the cash crop based economy- binding it more closely to the international imperialist market nexus. In whole of post ‘land-reforms’ Kerala for example, the dalits, dalit Christians and Muslims comprise the vast majority of those dispossessed from land or excluded from the purview of land reforms. 85% of the dalits in Kerala where the CPM has trumpets its fraudulent land reform are landless. The reformist ‘land reform’ that some state governments pretended to do was done in the aegis of Wolf Ladejinsky, an agent of the world Bank and US imperialism. He assisted some of the state governments to undertake this devious ploy to divert the huge masses of landless population, vast majority of whom are dalits and adivasis, from the revolutionary movement of Naxalbari and its clarion call of ‘Land to the tillers’. And this central question of land is not addressed by ANY of the parliamentary parties, including the official ‘left’ or the self-styled champions of dalit cause like BSP, SP, JD(U) etc.

The fight for social justice, for the dignity of dalits, access to resources and most importantly, real political power can be won by the oppressed only with a revolutionary social transformation. The entrenched feudal forces in the Indian society in tandem with imperialist forces will never allow any change in the inhuman conditions in which dalits in this country are forced to live. The parliament, the court, the government, the police have all systematically helped in maintaining the brahminical status quo, where dalits are deprived of minimum human dignity and livelihood. The system also co-opts. It has co-opted a small section of the dalits who have been successful in bettering their class status. This section, rather than serving the interests of the dalits, serves the present brahminical system. Therefore, to democratise the society, to end the continued violence on dalits and other oppressed majority of our society, to entrust the means of production to the real producers, there must be a unity of the struggle for annihilation of caste and the revolutionary movement to overthrow the present oppressive social order.

Throw the VC and his neo-liberal agenda out of JNU!

The JNU administration’s proposal in the last EC meeting for the amendment of JNU Act and for the extension of the present VC’s tenure is a further attempt to strengthen the anti-student, casteist and pro-corporate forces in the administration. In this meeting the VC unilaterally rejected the JNU Teachers Association’s (JNUTA) resolution opposing the item for amendment and extension of tenure, which was kept at the top of the agenda. However, strong opposition from an overwhelming section of the EC members inside and a large mobilization of students and faculty members outside prevented the VC and his allies in administration from taking a decision. This unified opposition to his second term made him tell the media that “I am not interested in seeking a second term.” 

JNU community has stood with people’s movements, fought for social justice, struggled against gender discrimination and violence on women, resisted attempts at privatisation of education, for an inclusive campus. All these struggles in the past few decades have contributed to a progressive political culture which created a space for questioning and fighting against the anti-people and anti-student policies of the government. JNU has emerged as a powerful voice within the country’s progressive students’ movement, fighting the onslaught of neo-liberal policies in the form of fee hike, corporate take-over of education, scuttling of reservation in faculty and student intake, curbing of right to expression, and so on. Imposition of Lyngdoh and the ban on JNUSU elections was meant to silence this student movement in JNU. Taking advantage of this assault, the JNU administration has been trying to introduce a new wave of policies and measures, which stands opposed to each and every democratic principle that JNU has evolved. 

The latest in this series of attacks is the attempt to allow second term for the VCs of Central universities. This is a fallout of the recent MHRD Circular which stipulated that the VCs of Central universities who have performed ‘above average’ in his or her first term can be considered for a second term. Who will decide how a VC performed? What will be the criteria to judge his/her performance? In any case, the students and teachers of central universities do not have any say in the selection of their VC. The VCs are appointed by the political party in power, and most of them are considered for the post not for their contribution in the academic field but for their unquestioning loyalty to the rulers and their policies. This method of VC’s appointment is highly undemocratic and authoritarian. The new provision is a further assault on the autonomy of the higher educational institutions, and will lead to consolidation and concentration of power in the VC and his chosen team in the administration for ten long years. They will now be much more accountable to their political masters and not to the campus community, including the students. Contrast this provision to that of Lyngdoh, which stipulates that a student can be the union office bearer for only one year! This dangerous MHRD Circular must be opposed inside and outside the campus.

Even going by the logic of the MHRD Circular, can our VC’s performance be considered ‘above average’? Yes, our VC is indeed performed ‘above par’ in promoting the dreams of Birla-Ambani Report that recommends a depoliticized campus. Such a depoliticized campus will be ideal for introducing a market-oriented education and for perpetuating the hegemony of the dominant castes over knowledge production. The administration led by BB Bhattacharya has blatantly bypassed and undermined the democratic institutions in the campus in the last five years on many instances, be it the IHA, CDC, JNUSU, JNUTA, JNUSA etc. The drive for privatization was evident when PSR was rented out for commercial purposes without any consultation with CDC, when electric meters were installed in Koyna Hostel to impose user charges, and when the price of prospectus was hiked unilaterally. They violated basic legal directive of minimum wage for the workers. Students and workers who fought for such basic minimum rights have come under administration’s direct attack. This administration in order to promote a contractual, corporate model retrenched 72 workers overnight. All these were done in the name of ‘shortage of funds’.

 ‘Shortage of funds’ however has never come in the way of the VC’s dream of turning this campus into a ‘world class university’ by mindlessly spending on manicured beautification project and useless sophisticated gadgets. The large scale embezzlement of funds allocated for infrastructural development, the pathetic condition of library and health center are also glittering instances of VC’s ‘above par’ performance. As a stooge of the casteist forces and direct representatives of the ‘merit’ logic of Y4E, the VC and his team have repeatedly scuttled OBC reservation in the last two years. In the name of implementing the Supreme Court verdict on OBC reservation, the VC and his anti-reservation clique most ingeniously devised several ploys through which the actual intake of OBC students drastically dwindled. In similar manner, while the struggle against Lyngdoh is still going on, our VC and the administration recently decided to smuggle in the spirit of Lyngdoh recommendation in shape of a Circular. Echoing Mr. Lyngdoh, the Circular attempts to suppress all voices of dissent by censoring the activities which the administration considers to be ‘anti-national’. With administration’s history of shielding history-sheeters of right wing forces, such directives are a direct assault on campus democracy, politics of protest and struggle in JNU.

We call upon entire students’ community to strengthen the ongoing struggle against this authoritarian, anti-student administration led by the VC by voting against his extension in the referendum. This VC represents and reproduces the same imperialist and corporate forces and thereby remains opposed to political activism in campus. He echoes Vedanta, Birla, Ambani, Posco etc who believe that students don’t need to think about social justice, exploitation, freedom and rights but should rather prepare themselves for serving these corporate interests in the name of study in a highly depoliticized campus environment. With these ruling class policies in place, the removal of this VC cannot simply be the end in itself. This VC is after all going to be replaced with another one who may be equally eager to carry forward his agenda. Along with voting against the VC, the need is to strengthen our struggle against the oppressive, undemocratic policies and structures inside and outside the campus.

April 16, 2010

Rise Up in Defense of our Democratic Space! Give a Fitting Response to the Fascist Forces Trying to Crush all Forms of Dissent and Resistance!

Babasaheb Ambedkar struggled all his life for annihilation of caste, to uphold the democratic principles of equality and for social justice. He envisioned a society free of exploitation, inequality and discrimination. The brahminical Indian ruling class, a loyal lackey of the imperialist powers, is the biggest impediment to the realization of this vision. And therefore, even after 63 years of so-called independence, despite the constitutional mandate, reservation is majorly scuttled across the country. Atrocities on dalits even by government data is on a rise. Khairlanji, Jehanabad, Laxmanpur Bathe, Jhabua, Gohana, Jhajhar… the list of incidents of gruesome violence on dalits run endless. Even today, majority of dalits remain landless. The Fifth Schedule of the Indian Constitution pledges protection to the adivasi people living in the Scheduled Areas of nine states in the country from alienation of their land and natural resources. Vedanta, POSCO, Tata, Mittal, Essar, Jindal, Lafarge, Holcim etc. are definitely not ‘tribals’, most of them are not even Indians. Yet the encroachment of these Giant corporates in the adivasi areas and the subsequent loot of resources is facilitated and supervised by none other than the Indian state with all its military might. 

The Indian state has already been overturned by the imperialism and the hindu fascist forces. No wonder the Liberalizing of the Indian market, coincided with advanis’s Rathyatra culminating into demolition of babri masjid and the horrible anti-mandal uproar among urban sections. None of these were a part of Ambedkar’s vision. And since then the Indian state has intensified wars on the people. The war on the people of Kashmir and North-east, who have been long fighting for independence and nationhood were intensified. The AFSPA, POTA, UAPA and other draconian laws gave unlimited power to army leading into numerous killings, ‘disappearances’, rape and murder. Civil administration has been replaced by army rule. The Sachchar Committee made it clear that the socio-economic conditions of the Muslims are backward even than the most backward of classes. The state responded to this structural violence by declaring another war, a continuation of the global ‘War on Terror’ initiated by the US. Thus state remained blind to the pogrom in Gujarat 2002, to the hindu terrorists like Sadhvi Prgya Thakur, Colonel Purohit and the likes. Their cases have been brushed under carpet while the witch-hunting of Muslim youths continues. The fake encounters of Sahabuddin, Kausar bi, Ishrat Jahan, Atif Amin, Mohammad Sajid are just a very few instances of the naked face of fascist state. Thousands of innocent Muslims are still languishing in jail, booked merely on suspicion, as ‘terrorists’. 

Operation Green Hunt is an all out war on the people and their movements for a better society. The Indian peasantry, of whom more than 2 lakhs peasants have committed suicide, the 40 million people who have been dispossessed of their land and livelihood and the 77% people who live on 20 rupees per day are today the targets of this war. The state which has failed to provide the basic minimum facilities, forget about equal distribution of resources, in all these sixty two years is now preparing to militarily eliminate the most dispossessed sections. And there are two main reasons behind that. One, the state needs the resources, the forests, the minerals, the water and the land to hand them over to the big corporates at throw away prices. Second and more importantly, if these people are not eliminated now, the oppressed people will further strengthen the ongoing revolutionary movement which has become the ‘biggest internal security threat’ to the imperialist and feudal forces, the corporates and the ruling class. 

SEZ, foreign enclaves on Indian soil entails the latest ‘vision’ of Indian state. Land can be indiscriminately and ruthlessly grabbed for SEZ. The MNCs will get major tax-cut bonanza along with many other subsidies while no labour laws will work within the SEZs. A total of around 181 SEZs have already got governmental nods in India! However, not a single SEZ till date could be formally proposed in the so-called Maoist corridor! According to the government’s own report, while there is a massive depletion of forests countrywide, the forests have grown in the Maoist dominated regions. And that makes Operation Green Hunt even more necessary. The target of the hunt however, is not Maoists alone, but the entire adivasi population which historically has fought for its land and natural resources against various ruling classes. 

And in this war against people, all the ruling parties be it Congress, BJP or CPM stand in rock-solid unity! Their motive is the same; remove the people grab the land. Dispossession, displacement, destitution, death be called ‘development’. In 2005 in Salwa Judum, sponsored by Tata and Essar was launched in Chhattisgarh to lead the genocide. They burnt down 644 villages and 3,50,000 people were displaced from their land. Thousands of people were killed and numerous women raped. The Salwa judum failed in the face of resolute resistance from the people and world wide criticism from the civil society. The CRPF, COBRA, GREYHOUND, BSF, ITBP and state police, the footsoldiers of this very war were then brought in. U.S. and Israel are providing direct military and moral aid to this operation by providing weapons and training commandos in the jungle warfare schools. In the last 8 months since the Operation has stared these forces have done heinous crimes including killing people, raping women, burning down houses and crops across Chhattisgarh, Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa. Around 200 people have been killed so far; around 70 women have been raped by them. Their ruling class masters always use these people, who have taken up jobs in security forces out of their own material compulsion as the cannon fodder of their dirty war against the most dispossessed people. The recent killing of the 76 Jawans have to be seen in this context, the responsibility for their death squarely lies on Chidambaram, the agent of mining companies and CEO of this dirty war.  

When the progressive and democratic sections world over is opposing Green Hunt world over, the ABVP/NSUI/Y4E wants it to start in JNU. They are the Salwa Judums of campus. The SFI also have their silent support to the entire endeavor. Their parent parties are afterall hand in gloves in the corporate loot. They together want to gag the voices of democracy, of dissent, of criticism and resistance against Operation green Hunt. Like their masters, these lumpen brigades have also united to scuttle the voices of democracy. They are a minority in this campus, who needs to be politically isolated. The people across the country are braving extreme repression yet fighting for their land, livelihood and dignity as well as their inalienable rights. Let us stand in solidarity with their fight and let us not let the Killers of Gujarat, rioters of Delhi, rapists of Jhabua turn our campus into a fiefdom of their hooliganism. This will be one step forward towards materializing the ideals for which Babasaheb Ambedkar and thousands of revolutionaries fought and died for.

All Organisation Statement of 14 April 2010

JOINT STATEMENT

ON THE ACTS OF VIOLENCE AND HOOLIGANISM
PERPETRATED BY ABVP-YFE-NSUI AND THE
ASSAULT ON OUR DEMOCRATIC CULTURE

We, the undersigned organizations, express our shock and unequivocal condemnation of the attack on the cultural programme organised by ‘JNU Forum Against War on People’ on the night of 9th April as well as large-scale tearing and burning of posters all over the campus on the night of 10th April by a group of violent students belonging to ABVP-YFE-NSUI combine. On 9th April they tried to disrupt and stop the cultural programme by indulging in acts of rampant violence, targeting and injuring many students, pelting stones, vandalizing the venue and even physically assaulting the technician operating the sound system. On 10th April, this mob moved from hostel to hostel, tearing down posters, and dancing around the bonfire created out of the posters. In a highly intimidating posture, hurling abuse, this group did not allow for any other organization's posters to remain.

The entire episode is unprecedented and is a frontal attack on JNU's democratic tradition and the freedom of its students and members to debate and discuss. The fact that these individuals and organizations were part of such activities, only serves to highlight their utter and complete disassociation from and lack of understanding of the political culture and democratic ethos that JNU stands for.

The entire spate of vandalism was carried out in the name of 'opposing Maoist violence'. As is well known, several signatories of this statement too have severe differences and criticism of Maoist politics. At the same time, in keeping with the best democratic and dissenting traditions of JNU, we recognize everyone's right to put forth their own views. It is absolutely unacceptable that physical violence and vandalism be used to intimidate, silence and erase differing viewpoints and ideological positions.

We reiterate our condemnation of the entire episode and appeal to the student community to unconditionally denounce and resist any such actions that are against the democratic fabric of this university. We appeal to the students to isolate these fascist trends and tactics that are being employed by ABVP-NSUI-YFE to silence plural perspectives in the campus.

ALL INDIA STUDENTS ASSOCIATION (AISA)
ANJUMAN
DEMOCRATIC STUDENTS UNION (DSU)
DELHI TAMIL STUDENTS UNION (DTSU)
FORUM AGAINST WAR ON PEOPLE
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATIC STUDENTS UNION (PDSU)
PROGRESSIVE STUDENTS UNION (PSU)
UNITED DALIT STUDENTS FORUM (UDSF)
VIDYARTHI YUVJAN SABHA (VYS)

DTSU-DSU Convention on The Unspoken Genocide: War Crimes in Sri Lanka



A colossal tragedy - and a preventable one - played out in Sri Lanka last year. Colossal, because in its brutal offensive in the name of eliminating the Tamil Tigers, the Sri Lankan state massacred thousands of civilians and carried out the worst genocide in 21st century South Asia. Preventable, because Sri Lanka is essentially a semi-colonial country dependant on the aid of imperialist and expansionist forces and it would have stopped the offensive if pressure had been exerted. If only. But due to their strategic and economic interests in the tiny island, these forces gave complete support to a racist regime and watched as the Tamil community got butchered. It is a shame that India, which is home to 6.5 crore Tamils, was one of the partners in this brutal war and aided the racist Sri Lankan state.  

The Permanent People’s Tribunal consisting of internationally renowned activists including Nobel laureates, held a hearing in Dublin on January 2010 where it found the Sri Lankan govt. guilty of war-crimes and guilty of crimes against humanity. The report brought by the Tribunal also concluded that charges of Genocide need further investigation, besides criticizing the international powers for their tacit support to Sri Lanka. The report contains extensive details on the atrocities committed on the Tamils by the Sri Lankan state. 

History of Persecution Ever since it gained independence, the Sri Lankan ruling class has adhered to a majoritarian form of government and has systematically implemented measures to disempower the Tamils. The state sought to destroy all political, cultural and economical spaces of the Tamils and the major parties were playing games of competitive chauvinism. With the anti-Tamil riots of 1956, 1958, 1977 and the horrible Black July massacre of 1983, the Tamil masses realized that only a free Tamil Eelam would be a solution to their problems. And it is their genuine struggle for freedom that was dubbed as ‘terrorism’ by imperialist powers and their agents.   

Intended Genocide In its so called 'war against terror’, the Lankan armed forces committed every form of human rights violation imaginable. The Tribunal found that the Lankan Army dropped cluster ammunitions and chemical weapons like white phosphorus by war planes. There were was frequent use of heavy military artillery against LTTE forces in civilian areas which constitutes a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Between January 08 and May 08, over 40000 civilians were killed in air raids, mortar shelling and indiscriminate firing by soldiers. The aged, the disabled, women and children were not spared. Civilian areas, including schools, hospitals, camps and orphanages were deliberately targeted. Brazenly flouting Geneva convention principles, prisoners of war were killed by the Sinhalese soldiers. Recently UN sources have confirmed the veracity of a tape that shows naked, bound Tamil captives being shot by Sinhalese soldiers. It is not without reason that Noam Chomsky likened the situation in Sri Lanka to the genocide that happened in Rwanda.    

Concentration Camps Over 280000 internally displaced people (IDP) have been herded into ‘welfare camps’ - which are modeled on the lines of the camps of Auschwitz and Dachau. While resettlement was promised, going by recent reports, it doesn’t seem to be happening. The detained Tamils face mental humiliation and torture on a day to day basis. On the slightest suspicion people are taken for ‘interrogation’ never to return. Besides abductions, rape and murder by the security forces, the interned Tamils are falling prey to all kinds of diseases owing to unhygienic conditions, lack of clean food and water, and unavailability of medicines. Thomas Seibert, a German human rights activist, confirmed that Tamil IDPs inside the barbed-wire internment camps in Sri Lanka Army controlled Vavuniya are not only medically underserved, but are subjected to degrading interrogations and there are reports of regular rapes and killings. Only the gas chambers are missing… Of course, media persons, except those who sing praises of the Lankan govt., and independent observers have been denied access to the camps.  

Rape as a weapon of war Historically, armies of reactionary forces have used sexual violence as a weapon of war in order to physically and psychologically humiliate the ‘enemy’ women. The most recent examples of horrifying mass sexual violence perpetrated by armies are in Rwanda and Bosnia. Sri Lanka can easily be added to that list. In the course of the war, Sri Lankan soldiers raped scores of Tamil civilians. In fact, there are video accounts that show army men stripping the bodies of dead women Tigers and parading them nude. The tribunal report states that sexual abuse of the detained women was rampant in the “welfare camps”. There is also enforced sterilizations, forced pregnancies and sex slavery.

Tamil Eelam is Bound to Win It is clear that the Lankan state’s ‘victory’ seeks to crush the national aspirations of the Tamils physically, psychologically and politically. Even after the war, repression continues in other forms, this time in the name of ‘peace’. The people of Eelam who have fought relentlessly for over 70 years, will not accept living as third grade citizens in a majoritarian Sri Lanka. As long as there is oppression there will be a fight for freedom and only a free and independent Tamil Eelam can ensure permanent resolution to the national question in Sri Lanka, and only a unity based on justice and equality of the two nations can usher in peace in the island. The Struggle for Tamil Eelam is not just a movement for an independent state that the Tamils could call home. It is an idea of an egalitarian society sans bias, sans discrimination where free men and women would progress and prosper. An idea of struggle for justice and freedom. This critical moment in the timeline of the Eelam struggle signals only the end of a phase, not the struggle as such. Tamil Eelam is not over. It has reached a new beginning.

At this crucial juncture, there is a pressing necessity to discuss and deliberate on the injustices committed on the Tamil nation. There is a need not only for sympathetic ears, but also firm voices, to condemn the brutal repression on the Tamils. The need to keep the Lankan disaster in discourse is not only because of the numerous hardships the Tamils are enduring in the concentration camps, but also because of the chilling similarities with the Indian state's war on people in Kashmir, North-east and in its own heartland. It is not a coincidence that the shameless supporters of Operation Green Hunt want a ‘Sri Lanka solution’ to crush the people’s movement in the country. Please join the Convention on this Unspoken Genocide. 

DELHI TAMIL STUDENTS UNION (DTSU)
DEMOCRATIC STUDENTS UNION (DSU)
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