The Indo Sri Lanka Accord – Suthumalai
On the Indo Sri Lanka Accord
Suthumalai Speech
4 August 1987
Beloved and Esteemed People of Tamil Eelam,
Today, a turning point of immense significance has taken place in the history
of our struggle. This turn of events occurred so suddenly that it stunned us as
if it has happened beyond our powers. We have to wait and see whether the
consequences of this turn of events will be favourable to us or not.
You are aware that this Agreement, concluded suddenly in haste between
India and Sri Lanka, without consulting us as the representatives of our
people, is being implemented with expedition and urgency. I was not aware of’
this Agreement until I reached Delhi. Having convinced me that the Indian
Prime Minister desired to meet me, I was taken to Delhi in a hurry. The
Agreement was shown to us when we reached Delhi. There are a lot of flaws
and defects in the Agreement. We doubt whether the Agreement will bring a
permanent settlement to the problems of our people. Therefore, we explained
to the Government of India in clear terms, that we cannot accept this
Agreement. But the Indian government was firmly determined to implement the
Agreement whether we opposed or not.
We are not surprised over the position of the Indian government. The
Agreement is not primarily concerned about the Tamil question. It is
essentially a bi-lateral Agreement concerned with Indo-Sri Lanka relations.
There are obligations in the Agreement that binds Sri Lanka to India’s geostrategic
sphere of influence. It prevents the penetration into Sri Lanka
external subversive forces inimical to Indian interests. It is for this reason
India showed extraordinary interest in the Agreement. At the same time, this
Agreement contains elements that determine the political destiny of the Eelam
Tamils. That is why we are strongly opposed to the Agreement since it was
concluded without taking into consideration our views and the opinion of our
people. But our protests are meaningless. When a mighty super-power has
determined to decide the political destiny of our people it is beyond our ability
to do anything.
`The Agreement directly affects the political projects of our liberation
organisation; it affects the mode of our struggle; it attempts to put an end to
our armed struggle. The mode of our heroic struggle, fought for the last 15
years and built on the blood and sacrifice of our fighters, is to be dismantled in
a few days time. This, we cannot digest. This Agreement suddenly disarms us,
without providing adequate time, without getting the consent of our fighters,
without offering guarantees for the safety and security of out people.
Therefore, we refused to lay down arms.
It was in these circumstances the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, invited
me for a discussion. I spoke to him frankly about our problems. I confided to
the Indian Prime Minster that I do not repose the slightest trust in the Sinhala
racist state nor do I believe that the Sinhalese will implement the Agreement. I
spoke to him about the issue of security of our people and the guarantees for
their safety. The Indian Prime Minister has given me certain pledges. He has
offered to guarantee the security of our people. I trust his sincerity. I have faith
in his assurances. We trust that the Government of India will not allow the
Sinhala racist state to resume genocidal violence against our people. It is
because of this trust we have decided to lay down our weapons to the Indian
Peace Keeping force.
I need not elaborate here the immense sacrifices we have made for the
protection of our people. Our people are fully aware of the nature and
character of our deep devotion and commitment to the cause. The weapons
that we took up and deployed for your safety and protection, for your
liberation, for your emancipation, we now entrust to the Indian government.
From the very moment we handover our weapons we hand over the
responsibility of protecting our people to India.
In receiving our weapons from us – the only means of
protection for the Eelam Tamils – the Indian government
takes over from us the tremendous responsibility of
protecting our people. The handing over of arms signifies
the handing over, or rather the transfer of this
responsibility. Were we not to hand over our weapons we
would be placed in a perilous situation of clashing with the
Indian army. We do not want that. We love India. We love
the people of India. We are not prepared to deploy our
arms against Indian soldiers. The soldiers of the Indian
army are taking the responsibility of safeguarding and
protecting us against our enemy. I wish to emphasise that
by the virtue of our handing over our weapons, the Indian
government should assume full responsibility for the life
and security of every one of the Eelam Tamils.
My beloved people, we have no alternative other than to
co-operate with this Indian endeavour. Let us offer them
this opportunity. However, I do not think that this
Agreement will bring a permanent solution to the Tamil
question. The time is not far off when the monster of
Sinhala racism will devour this Agreement.
I have an unshakable faith that only an independent state
of Tamil Eelam will provide a permanent solution to the
problem of the Tamil Eelam people. Let me make it
absolutely clear to you that I will continue to struggle for
the cause of Tamil Eelam. The forms and modes of
struggle may change but the goal of our struggle will never
change. If our cause is to triumph we should have the
whole – hearted support of our people. Circumstances
might arise for our liberation organisation to participate in
the interim government, or in the election for the sake of
promoting the interests of our people. But I wish to
declare, firmly, that under no circumstances and at any
point in time will I ever contest the elections or accept the
office of Chief Minister.