Saturday, 13 March 2010

After the Violence, Referendums Galore!

Tamils of Sri Lankan origin in various parts of Europe and North America having been holding referendums to decide if there is to be an independent Eelam or not. There have been referendums in Canada, Denmark, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany etc. For an outsider, these referendums look hilarious. Not only are they not backed or endorsed by any government, let alone the Sri Lankan government, those taking part in the referendum are people who have left Sri Lanka and are unlikely to ever return. I wonder how many individuals would have taken part in these referendums if there was the slightest possibility that an overwhelming vote in favour would have created an independent Tamil Eelam and forced all those who voted in favour to go and live there.

In the meantime, the Tamil National Alliance of Sri Lanka, a party that was at one point considered the political wing of the LTTE, has dropped its demand for an independent Tamil state. Even now the TNA is the largest Tamil party in Sri Lanka. Rather than independence, the TNA says it will seek a federal setup for Sri Lanka with ‘significant’ devolution of powers. The TNA also wants a merger of the two Tamil-majority provinces, the northern and eastern provinces. I definitely support the first demand. I am not sure if I agree with the second one. Ever since Karuna revolted, it is not possible to say that the Tamils of Eastern Sri Lanka will be happy to throw in their lot with the Northern Tamils.

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