Tamil United Liberation Front
General Election Manifesto
[The TULF that went to polls with this manifesto won an overwhelming majority of votes from the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka (Tamil homelands) – considered as a mandate for secession from Sri Lanka and to form the independent sovereign state of Tamil Eelam]
The Sinhalese people who gained political power from the British drafted for themselves, in fulfilment of their sovereignty, a constitution which they put into operation, and the first general election after Ceylon was declared a republic is being held now.
The issue as to who would be put into seats of power will not be the only one that would be decided by the votes that people would cast at this election.
Do the Tamils and the Muslims who have lost their freedom accept a Constitution that has paved the way for the majority community, the Sinhalese, to usurp, in full, under a facade of the sovereignty of the people, the totality of political power in this country? That is the issue to be resolved by the votes that our people would cast at this general election.
At the time the Republican Constitution was accepted by the Constituent Assembly and thereafter, very important changes took place among the political movements of the Tamils and in the midst of the Muslim people. The Tamil Parties that were at one another’s throat with conflicting goals came together, at last, to form the Tamil United Front. This became possible at a conference of the Tamil political Parties held in 1971 at Valvettiturai. Organisational consolidation followed at Trincomalee and in 1976 the Front came to be called the Tamil United Liberation Front.
A number of incidents that took place in the country along with certain actions of the Government following the proclamation of the republic led to a rethinking in the minds of Muslim people also. Particularly the Muslims in the Eastern and North-Western regions of Ceylon realised that their religion and language, lands and opportunities of employment were all being taken away from them and that in their own native land their lives and property too were insecure. They also realised that movements that accepted the leadership of the Sinhalese political parties would not defend even these basic rights of theirs. This realisation led to the formation of the Muslim United Front.
Bound together by the bonds of a common language and intertwining lives in a common territory and brought together by the common danger of total destruction, the Tamils and the Muslims realised the indispensability of joint action. Subject to the safeguards of preserving the identity of the Muslims and ensuring their sovereignty, the Muslim United Front joined the Tamil United Liberation Front as a constituent unit. The rights of the Muslim people in the Tamil State of Eelam will be amplified further in this manifesto. When we speak of the Tamil Nation, we refer to the entirety of the people in this country to whom the mother tongue is Tamil.
One Question: Freedom or Servitude?
The General election of 1977 is a crucial one to the Tamil Nation. So far as the Tamil territory is concerned, this general election is a clash between the only political movement of the Tamil Nation and the representatives of the various political parties of Sinhalese imperialism that keeps the Tamil nation under its heels. The election in the Sinhala territory decides the question as to which of their parties should come to power. And in the Tamil territory, the question to be resolved is whether the Tamils want their freedom or continued servitude. The Tamil United Liberation Front will use this election to resolve the issue.
Though Ceylon is a single state now, yet by facts of history, by the languages spoken by its inhabitants, by culture, tradition and by psychology, it is the common home of two nations and consists of two countries.
The present Republic of Sri Lanka is, in reality, a union of “Sinhala Land” and “Tamil Eelam”.
The fact that the Tamil nation has been living in this country from pre-historic times enjoying its sovereign rights under a state of its own is recorded in no less an authority than the great work of Sinhalese history – Mahawamsa.
Even before the Christian era, the entire Island of Ceylon was ruled by Tamil Kings, Senan, Kuddikan and Elara (Ellalan) and thereafter for over thousand years, as a result of struggle for supremacy between the Tamil Kings and the Sinhalese Kings the capital of the Sinhalese Kings was gradually shifted southwards away from Tamil Centres. These are facts of recorded history.
It is also a fact that the entire Island was under the sway of Tamil Kings at times and the Sinhalese Kings at other times. From this background of alternating fortunes, emerged, at the beginning of the 13th century a clear and stable political fact.
At this time, the territory stretching in the western sea-hoard from Chilaw through Puttalam to Mannar and thence to the Northern Regions and in the East, Trincomalee and also the Batticaloa Regions that extended southwards up to Kumana or to the northern banks of the river Kumbukkan Oya were firmly established as the exclusive homeland of the Tamils. This is the territory of Tamil Eelam.
For several centuries before the advent of Europeans to Ceylon in the 16th century, the Tamils have been living in this territory under their own Kingdom. Tamils reigned supreme in this country with their own national colours and their own military forces.
The Portuguese who for over a century were at times entering into treaty relationships with these Tamil Kings and at other times meeting them in losing battle – fronts finally, in the war of 1619, captured the Tamil King, Sankili Kumaran, and took him to Goa where he was hanged.
It was the assistance that King Sankili gave to the Kandyan King in transiting reinforcements from neighbouring South India for the latter’s war against the Portuguese that made the European power battle in full vigour for an indispensable capture of the Jaffna Kingdom.
The Tamil King was captured by the military might of the Portuguese aided by local Quislings. However, for three years thereafter, the Tamils continued to fight against foreign domination under the leadership of a coastal petty king Varnakulathihan. And they lost.
Neither the Sinhalese king nor the Sinhalese people did offer any assistance to the Tamils who were fighting to defend their state. It was their view that they and their country had nothing in common with the state of Tamil Eelam. This is exactly what we want the Sinhalese people to reiterate now.
The Portuguese who subdued the State of Tamil Eelam continued to govern it as a separate state. So did the Dutch who captured it, in turn from the Portuguese. The Cleghorn Minute clearly establishes that even under the Dutch, the judicial district of Jaffna patnam that covered the northern and eastern parts of the Island extended, in the west coast of the Island, from Puttalam to Mannar and in the east, southwards up to the limits of Kumana or the river Kumbukkan Oya that separated Batticaloa from the southern Sinhalese district of Matara.
This Tamil State was captured from the Dutch by the British who too continued to retain its separate status till 1833 when, for convenience of administration, it was brought under one all-island authority, the Government of Ceylon. Totally disregarding the history, traditions and aspirations of peoples of these various states, the British brought together under one authority the state of Eelam which they captured from the Dutch, and the Kandyan Kingdom which they overran in 1815 along with the Sinhalese Kingdom of Kotte.
The sovereignty of the Tamil Nation
The sovereignty of the people of Tamil Eelam changed hands from the Portuguese who defeated them in battle into those of the Dutch and later into those of the British. Ceylon was granted independence on the fourth of February 1948.
Though political power was transferred to the people of this country, yet the British Queen continued to be the repository of their sovereignty.
The republican constitution that came into operation with its acceptance by the Constituent Assembly on the 22nd of May 1972 severed this legal continuity and guaranteed the sovereignty of the people of Ceylon proclaiming that the people of Ceylon themselves were the repository of this sovereignty.
But the representatives of the Tamil Nation withheld their consent to this constitution and rejected it. 15 out of the 19 Members of Parliament elected by the Tamil people rejected it and boycotted the meeting of 22nd of May 1972 that was called to accept that constitution. It is clear that there is neither legal continuity nor the consent of the Tamil Nation to this constitution.
The sovereignty of the Tamil Nation and the statehood that was taken away from them, in the battlefield in 1619 by the Portuguese changed hands to the Dutch and later to the British by right of conquest. But it is clear that the Sinhalese Nation has not taken over the sovereignty of the Tamil Nation through legal continuity or by consent or by right of conquest. There is no doubt that the Tamil Nation, by standards of international law, does possess the right, on the basis of the right to self-determination, to re-establish its sovereignty and statehood and to draft for itself a constitution and thus to administer its own affairs, all by itself.
The Sinhala Nation imposing its reign over the Tamil Nation and the conversion of Tamil Eelam into a colony of the Sinhala State is undoubtedly nothing else but the imperialistic rule. The present constitution is one that was drafted on the basis of the right of self-determination of the Sinhala Nation, on a mandate given by that nation for that purpose.
In the same manner, the Tamil United Liberation Front views the forthcoming general election as an opportunity to obtain the mandate of the Tamil Nation and on the basis of its right to self-determination, re-establish the independence of the State of Tamil Eelam, the expression of the sovereignty of the Tamil Nation.
With a view to dispelling the doubts of those who still wonder whether there is no alternative to the re-establishment of our sovereignty in our exclusive soil, we wish to record here briefly to what position of desperation the Sinhala imperialistic reign of the last 30 years has driven the State of Tamil Eelam and the Tamil Nation.
The Tamil Nation under Sinhala Domination
1. Citizenship Laws
The citizenship laws of this country were made within six months of the transfer of political power to the Sinhalese in 1948. As a result of this legislation, the Tamil labourers of the tea and rubber plantations in the central hills of Ceylon whose blood and sweat alone have built up and sustained the prosperity of this country were rendered stateless.
Out of the eight representatives elected to Parliament with their votes in 1947, not a single one could be returned in the general election of 1952 or ever thereafter.
Constituencies, for the demarcation of which their voteless numerical strength was taken into computation, returned Sinhalese representatives whose numbers were thus inequitably swelled in Parliament. The Sinhalese people who form about 70% of the population secured for themselves 80% of the seats in Parliament. The concept of ‘Safeguard to Minorities’ was distorted into ‘Safeguard to the Majority Community’ that ensured a position of excessive representation to the majority community.
One could see this very same position continued in the present Constitution as well. Thus, this disfranchisement of the plantation (Tamil) labour was the first step that paved the way for a series of denial of the political rights of the minorities with a view to enthroning Sinhalese imperialism.
Tamils and Muslims of Ceylon were made doubtful citizens by these Citizenship laws. In consequence they had to face a lot of miseries in their day to day life. And to inquire into these irritations and to provide relief to these people, the very government, in 1964, appointed a committee of government officers. The recommendations of this committee even after 13 years, today, are still in cold storage awaiting implementation.
To register a document of purchase of land made with his own savings, a Tamil or a Muslim outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces finds himself in the plight of having to pay a discriminatory tax of 100%. Tamils and Muslims who are unable to establish that for two generations before 1948 they were born here are teeing shut out from business, travel, trade, employment opportunities etc. The first fruits of freedom to the Tamil Nation was disfranchisement, statelessness, the status of illicit immigrant and a position of doubted citizens.
The aggression against Tamil Eelam by planned colonisation by the Sinhalese governments has been drastic and grave. Beginning with the government of the United National Party and those of the Mahajana Eksath Peramuna and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party that followed, in turn, put into operation planned and state aided colonisation schemes by which lakhs and lakhs of Sinhalese people were planted in the homeland of the Tamil Nation that was once ruled by the Tamil kings from whom foreign imperialism wrested this Tamil homeland through force of arms.
Sinhalese people were “put in occupation”, at state expense, of extensive tracts of the Eastern Province at Pattipalai Aru, Alla Kantalai, Padavikulam, etc. Illegal occupation of state-owned lands by Sinhalese people with covert government support was legalised and their ownership regularised by the government. Lands and coconut estates taken over from the Tamils and Muslims in the Amparai district by the state, under the Ceiling on Lands Act are now being distributed to the Sinhalese people.
Lands owned by the Tamil and Muslim peasants and also lands which these people themselves developed and cultivated at places like Kondaivettuwan and Akkilaveli have been forcibly taken over and handed over, with government help, to the Sinhalese people.
Puttalam is yet another District where state conspired Sinhalese colonisation has deprived the local people of their territory.
While this government has been providing these facilities to the Sinhalese aggressors of Tamil Eelam, it let loose the army, under Special Emergency Regulations, against the hill country Tamil labourers who sought to make a living by opening and developing forest lands that lay unexplored and uncared for, at Punanai, in ‘the Eastern Province. A cadju plantation scheme started at Kondaichi, in the Mannar District, is now a Sinhalese colony of two thousand families.
In the very Tamil heartland of Jaffna, at Colombuthurai, a Sinhalese colony, like Amarasekera Pura, has been opened up. The Eastern Province where, when the British left in 1948, there were hardly 10,000 Sinhalese, is now flooded with some 180,000 Sinhalese people.
The extent of this damage to the political power and influence of the Tamils is reflected in the newly created Parliamentary constituencies of Amparai and Seruwila which have engulfed some 1,500 square miles of Tamil territory. And this constitutes a 2/5th of the land area of the Eastern Province whose further development lies within these fertile lands, thus usurped. The Tamil Nation is confronted with the danger of being rendered a minority and being thus destroyed in its own homelands all over Tamil Eelam. The Nation realises the need to liberate its land to save itself from annihilation.
Before the attainment of independence, a resolution was passed in the State Council, the legislature, in 1944 that Sinhalese and Tamil shall be the official languages. Every Sinhalese political party at that time accepted this policy.
But Mr Bandaranaiyake’s government, in 1956, passed the Sinhala Only Act. The United National Party too supported it. At present, all the Sinhalese political parties have accepted the policy of ‘Sinhala Only’. This Act, which, in 1956, was an ordinary law, has in the Republican Constitution of 1972 been elevated to constitutional status.
Regulations on the use of Tamil Language, which the Tamils secured for themselves as a result of several struggles with the government, have been deliberately dethroned in the constitution. Section 8 (2) of the constitution unequivocally stipulates that these regulations will not be treated as being a part of the constitution.
In consequence has developed a situation where the Tamil speaking public servants have to groan under the loss of equal opportunities with the Sinhalese officers in matters of employment, promotions, extension of service, increments etc. The real intention of the Sinhala Only Act is to create a situation that would keep out the Tamil officers and ensure the appointment of Sinhalese officers only, in government service.
The rulers are greatly successful in the endeavour. This is not an emotional issue as some are inclined to believe. In a country that is being overwhelmed with nationalisation, this is a life and death issue that affects the economic life of the Tamil Nation.
Buddhism has been given preeminence in the constitution and declared to tee the only religion that would enjoy state protection. Other faiths have no right to any protection except the right of being practised, in private. The Tamil Nation comprises Hindus, Christians and Muslims. And the constitution has thus placed on them the stamp of second-class citizens.
Though the Tamils and Sinhalese have lived in this country for over two thousand years, yet the Tamils have continued to preserve their individual culture based on their language. This culture and the traditions were nurtured even under Portuguese, Dutch and British imperialistic rule.
The vital reason behind this survival was that though the Tamils in Eelam were not strong in numbers, yet they never lost the opportunities of maintaining close bonds with the powerful fountain of Tamil culture across the Palk Strait, in Tamil Nadu, South India.
No doubt there were pre-eminent sons of Eelam like Arumuga Navalar, Swami Vipulananthar, Father Gnanapiragasar and others who rendered tremendous service to the growth of international Tamil culture. Yet, if the bonds of art and literature etc. with South India are snapped, it is certain that the culture of Tamil Eelam would weaken and turn into one that is Sinhalese based.
In recent times, the government of this country not only imposed several restrictions on the import of cultural works, literature, quality films etc. from Tamil Nadu but also put obstacles to the visits of Tamil scholars and artists from Tamil Nadu. By the government policy of imposition of the Sinhala language several Sinhala words like poya, pola, laksala, salusala are creeping into the Tamil language in Eelam. With the curtailment of links with Tamil Nadu, on the one hand, and the increasing tempo of Sinhala imposition on the other, Tamil language will undergo a strange transformation and the identity of the Tamil culture will be destroyed and finally the Tamil Nation itself would disappear from this land. That is the goal that the government has set for itself.
Through the help of Christian religious institutions under foreign colonial rule and later through great educational institutions the Tamil people established by themselves, for themselves the Tamil students of this country were in the forefront of education.
Sinhalese students in districts like Colombo, Kandy and Galle also enjoyed similar opportunities. It is imperative that the Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim students of the backward areas, deficient in such facilities, should be provided with those facilities and enabled to go forward. This is an obligation of the State. But several obstacles are put in the way of Tamil students outside the Northern and Eastern provinces in obtaining even elementary education. Several Tamil elementary schools are being closed down to provide accommodation for Sinhalese schools. Tamil sections in several Sinhalese schools are being destroyed. Some are not functioning because of the non-appointment of a sufficient number of teachers.
As a result, Tamil students in several areas are compelled to study through the Sinhala medium. In the heartland of Tamil Eelam, in the Northern Province itself, a few people have been enticed with teaching jobs and Sinhala Buddhist schools have been opened and approved and Sinhala has been made the medium of instruction there. If the government could display so much of audacity here, then one could easily fathom the depth and fanaticism of Sinhala imperialism in the annihilation of the Tamil Nation.
In the sphere of education, it was in the university admissions of 1970 that the gravest injustice was perpetrated against the Tamil speaking students.
A large number of Tamil students qualified to gain university admission to the medical, engineering and science faculties that year were shut out through an inequitable device, designated standardisation.
While Sinhalese students who obtained 229 marks were admitted to the medical faculty, Tamil students who were admitted were required to obtain 250 marks. In the same manner, for admission to the Engineering Faculty of the Peradeniya Campus, a Sinhalese student had to obtain 227 marks whereas a Tamil student had to score 250 marks. It is intolerable that while a Tamil student with even 249 marks cannot gain admission, a Sinhalese student with 227 marks could do so, with ease.
For the last 7 years, this standardisation has been in operation in various guises and in every faculty of the university, the number of admissions of Tamil students has been going down.
Here is an illustration: Of the total number of students admitted to the university in 1969, the percentage of Tamil students was 40.8. This figure has been steadily going down and it was 16.3 in 1974, it dropped still further in 1975 and 1976. One could see that the sections that were most affected by this injustice were the most backward ones in the Tamil community. Thus, parents who lacked the means to employ private tutors to get their children pushed through this drastic ordeal had to forget about higher education to their children. As a result, the student community was driven to the brink of frustration and engulfed by anxiety about their future Could anyone deny that the Sinhalese reign that has been responsible for the grave injury should be ended if this generation of youth is to live as human beings brimming with self-confidence.
7. Employment Opportunities
The very same discriminatory policies pursued in the sphere of education are being pursued in a worse manner in the field of employment. Out of a 22% population of Tamil speaking people, not even a 2 (two) per cent are selected for jobs in the armed forces. In the police force, at the level of the lowest rung, the constable, five per cent of the places and in higher rungs an even smaller percentage of the places only, are offered. In the clerical and technical grades also, the percentage is the same.
Because equal opportunities in education were available in earlier times, Tamil students were able to gain enough places in the medical and engineering professions. Now, even in these spheres as a result of the impact of standardisation, a percentage far less than the one warranted by the percentage of the Tamil population is taken in. Vacancies in the minor grades in the Tamil areas are filled with people selected in divisional offices like Anuradhapura and Badulla in the Sinhalese areas.
As an example could be cited the recent selections of the Ceylon Electricity Board for vacancies in the Tamil district of Jaffna. Out of the people selected at the Anuradhapura office, 66 were Sinhalese and 2 (two) were Tamils. In a country where, as a result of the policy of nationalisation, the private sector is shrinking, should we not ponder what tragedy would overtake the economic life of the Tamil Nation if the government should adopt such a form of discriminatory policies. If our country is to prosper, the reins of our destiny must not be left in the hands of others. We must become our own masters of our own Destiny. That is the irrevocable goal that the Tamil Nation has set for itself, now.
8. Economic Development of Tamil Eelam
The state-owned factories in Tamil Eelam today were set up 20 years ago. Every single factory that was set up in this country, with foreign aid, was set up only in the Sinhalese Districts. Schemes like the Kachchai Salterns, the Kankesanturai harbour development, Fishery Harbour at Myliddy, all of which were started between 1965-1970 by a government in which the Tamil representatives too were members, have all been abandoned for the last seven years.
No major irrigation scheme of the government will help develop our Eelam. Save for the schemes like Gal Oya, Allai, Kantalai etc. whose deliberate motive was the planting of the Sinhalese population in the territory of Tamil Eelam, no irrigation scheme of any consequence that had as its objective, the welfare of either the Tamil or Muslim population in Eelam has ever been implemented during the last twenty years.
There were, of course, some minor schemes of whitewashing. When oil prospecting with Soviet aid was started in Mannar, the local Tamil and Muslim populations were ignored and 90% of the labourers were imported from the Sinhalese areas. In the private sector, obtaining licenses to start industrial ventures in the Tamil areas is a Herculean task. Even in some minor factories started in the Tamil areas, the majority of the employees are Sinhalese. Not only are the Tamil people ignored in the matter of employment opportunities in the state sector but also are the Tamil areas ignored in economic development. They have been allowed to deteriorate into backward areas.
9. Racial Terrorism
For the last twenty years, racial terrorism has been let loose in this country, against the Tamil and Muslim population in a manner that reminded them that they were slaves who were not entitled to any rights or protection. Tamils and Muslims have been quite often the objects of violence of the Sinhalese hooligans instigated by government-supported Sinhalese communal organisations and of the Police and the armed forces in whose hands they suffered untold misery by way of looting and arson in homes, shops and places of business, by grievous injuries, loss of life and property and violation against women.
In 1956, Tamils were attacked in Colombo and in a part of the Tamil territory of Eelam that had been turned into Sinhalese land, Amparai. Age old Tamil villages like Thuraineelavanai had to resort to firearms in defence of their hearths and homes from attacks by Sinhalese hoodlums.
The communal fury against the Tamils in 1958 in the entire Sinhalese land is a chapter of the dreadful blot in the history of this country. Thousands of Tamils were taken to Northern and Eastern provinces in commandeered ships and army protected convoys. Property worth several million were lost, several hundred lost their lives and thousands of their homes.
Tamil women were raped; pregnant women were slaughtered to pieces on public highways. The Murugan Temple priest at Panadura was burnt alive. Several dead bodies were retrieved from one well alone at Maha Oya. While Sinhalese terrorism raged against the Tamils all over the country, the Sinhalese government arrested the Tamil leaders and put them behind bars. It was insult added to injury.
Military terror was let loose in the Tamil provinces against the Tamils who were engaged in a non-violent campaign of Civil Disobedience in 1961 to demand their language rights.
No civilised country could have witnessed a police attack as barbarous as the one that the Sinhalese police made against the Tamil people in their lakhs were listening in a state of rapture to a treat of a Tamil literary talk by Professor Nainar Mohamed on the last day of the Fourth International Tamil Research Conference where Tamil scholars from the world over had assembled, on January 10th 1974 in Jaffna. The rulers of this country refused either to hold an enquiry or even to express sympathy at the atrocity that resulted in 9 Tamil deaths. This tells its own tale of the manner the Sinhalese governments treat the Tamils in this land.
Pararasa, a bank clerk was shot dead by the police while he was returning from a temple festival, in Jaffna. Tamil leaders, who went to the office of the police superintendent, were set upon by the Sinhalese police in civil clothes. Ledchumanan, the Tamil youth, who refused to be driven out into the street from his home in the tea plantations, was killed by the police. Homes of Tamil labourers at Gampola were looted and set ablaze. Unjustified Sinhalese police attacks and the fury of Sinhalese hooligans have, for the last few years been let loose against the Muslims also. In 1976 alone, in no less than 40 places like Mahiyangana, Gampola, Panadura, Nikawartiya etc. unprotected Muslims were the targets of Sinhalese rowdies. Their losses ran into lakhs and lakhs of rupees.
On the 2nd of February 1976, seven of the Muslims at prayer inside a Mosque at Puttalam were ruthlessly massacred by the Sinhalese police, inside that holy spot. 271 houses, 44 shops 2 fibre factories belonging to the Muslims of Puttalam were set on fire, 2 Mosques were burnt down, 2 Muslim youths were burnt alive by the Sinhalese hooligans. The government was not willing to hold a public enquiry into the horrible murders. These incidents only reiterate the fact that the lives and property of Tamils and Muslims who are living as slaves in this country do not enjoy any protection from the Sinhalese governments.
10. The imposition of a New Constitution on the Tamil Nation
Drafting a new constitution and its imposition on the Tamil Nation is the climax of the dictatorial actions, samples of which were shown here.
The Ceylon Parliament, which became a symbol of perverted democracy when its citizenship laws helped grab 80% of Parliamentary representation by the 70% Sinhalese population, after the general election of 1970, was formed into a Constituent Assembly.
The deliberations of this Assembly were conducted under a state of emergency, proclaimed in 1971, where the freedom of speech and freedom of writing were all taken away from the people and while strict press censorship was in force.
The two-thirds majority of the Government and the Sinhala communal majority were fully exploited.
All the Amendments to the Basic Resolutions introduced on behalf of the Tamil speaking people were rejected, in-toto, by the Sinhalese majority in the Assembly.
A federal scheme with an Autonomous Tamil state and an Autonomous Muslim state with three Sinhalese States put forward by the Federal Party, a constituent of the present Tamil United Liberation Front, as a solution to the racial problems of this country, was turned down by the Assembly even before being examined.
Neither any Sinhalese Party nor any member from the majority community came forward to discuss or offer any alternative scheme that could meet with the aspirations of the Tamil Nation.
Attempts made by the Tamil members to secure a place in the Constitution at least for the Regulations for use of the Tamil Language proved abortive. The only outcome of these efforts was the introduction, in the Constitution, of section 8 (2) that categorically stated that these Regulations on the use of Tamil Language shall not form a part of the Constitution. Realising the futility of any continued participation, the Tamil representatives in the Constituent Assembly walked out.
The Assembly meeting of 22nd May 1972, which was summoned to pass the Constitution, was boycotted by 15 out of the 19 elected Tamil representatives.
Out of the four that voted in favour of the constitution, two lost their representative character after having been expelled from their party, the All Ceylon Tamil Congress; one was elected as a candidate of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Federal Party) and was expelled from that party and thus lost his right of representation. The fourth was a member who contested on an anti-government platform and won as an independent.
Hence it is obvious that this constitution was rejected 100% by the Tamil people. The manner in which the unanimous opposition of the Tamil Nation was ignored and how the new constitution was imposed on them has only confirmed the psychology of the Sinhalese imperialistic masters that they are ruling over a slave Nation according to their own whims and fancies.
They have done away with the meagre safeguards provided for the minorities in the constitution left behind by the British, placed their own language and religion at such high a pedestal that no one could ever tamper with them and through this imposed constitution, made the Tamils their slaves without any share in the political power of this State.
Does the Tamil Nation have an alternative?
The leader of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, Mr G.G. Ponnambalam before the withdrawal of British power, demanded balanced representation for the protection of minorities. Though the Soulbury Constitution rejected the demand, yet it incorporated a safeguard in Section 29 of that constitution. But the new Republican Constitution of 1972 has deleted that safeguard.
Mr S. J. V. Chelvanayakam through his Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Federal Party), toiled for 25 years to safeguard the rights of the Tamil Nation through the device of federalism. He entered into agreements with Premier Bandaranaike and his Sri Lanka Freedom Party and also with Premier Dudley Senanayake to obtain at least regional autonomy for the Tamil Nation. These agreements were later abrogated because of opposition from the Sinhalese people.
The demand for a federal solution was rejected by the Constituent Assembly even without a debate. Neither the six-point demand of the Tamil United Front nor the twenty-point demand of some Tamil elders ever had any reception.
What is the alternative now left to the Nation that has lost its rights to its language, rights to its citizenship, rights to its religions and continues day by day to lose its traditional homeland to Sinhalese colonisation? What is the alternative now left to a Nation that has lost its opportunities to higher education through standardization, and its equality in opportunities in the sphere of employment? What is the alternative to a Nation that lies helpless, as it is being assaulted, looted and killed by hooligans instigated by the ruling race and by the security forces of the State? Where else is an alternative to the Tamil Nation that gropes in the dark for its identity and finds itself driven to the brink of devastation?
There is only one alternative and that is to proclaim with the stamp of finality and fortitude that “we alone shall rule over our land that our forefathers ruled. Sinhalese imperialism shall quit our Homeland”. The Tamil United Liberation Front regards the general election of 1977 as a means of proclaiming to the Sinhalese Government this resolve of the Tamil Nation. And every vote that you cast for the Front would go to show that the Tamil Nation is determined to liberate itself from Sinhalese domination.
Tamil Eelam – A Secular Socialist State
Hence the Tamil United Liberation Front seeks in the General Election the mandate of the Tamil Nation to establish an independent sovereign, secular, socialist State of Tamil Eelam that includes all the geographically contiguous areas that have been the traditional homeland of the Tamil speaking people in the country.
At the same time, The Tamil United Liberation Front proclaims the following guarantees on the political, social and economic structure of the State of Tamil Eelam. The Front declares that the Tamil State of Eelam will be established on the basis of these guarantees.
1. FOLLOWING SHALL BE THE CITIZENS OF TAMIL EELAM:
(a) All those people now living in the territory of Tamil Eelam.
(b) Tamil speaking persons from any part of Ceylon seeking citizenship in the State of Tamil Eelam.
(c) Tamil speaking people of Ceylonese descent living in any part of the world and seeking citizenship in the State of Tamil Eelam.
2. Political power shall be decentralised so that no one region or no one religion is allowed to dominate over any other region or religion thus ensuring regional autonomy for the people in the various regions in the pattern of federalism obtaining in Switzerland. The Tamil United Liberation Front guarantees that particularly Muslims who form a part of the State of Tamil Eelam will be established in the Regions where they are in a majority as an autonomous province with the right to secede on the basis of the right to self-determination.
3. The Tamil United Liberation Front guarantees that neither a Tamil majority region nor a Muslim majority region will be allowed to be colonised by the other group thus ensuring that no group of people is reduced to a minority in its own Region.
4. Caste system along with the atrocity of untouchability and the grave injustice of attributing social superiority or inferiority by birth will be totally eradicated and any such practice subjected to rigorous punishment by law.
5. The State of Tamil Eelam shall be a secular one where all the religions practised by the people in the State will receive equal protection and aid.
6. Tamil shall be the official language of the State of Tamil Eelam, while the Sinhalese living in the State will be provided with the right to be educated in their own tongue and to transact their business with the state in their own language. Similarly, guarantees will be sought from the Sinhala State about the language rights of the Tamil-speaking people living in that state.
7. In Tamil Eelam, which shall be a scientific socialist State
(a) Exploitation of man by man will be prevented by law;
(b) Dignity of labour will be protected.
(c) While the private sector will be permitted within limits imposed by law, means of production and distribution will be state owned or subject to state control.
(d) Full protection will be afforded to tenant cultivators and residents on privately owned lands.
(e) The economic development of the Tamil State of Eelam will be on the basis of Socialist planning.
(f) A ceiling will be fixed on the wealth an individual or a family could accumulate.
8. While the Socialist State of Tamil Eelam would follow a policy of non-alignment, it would, in the international field, lend its support to the anti-imperialist forces and democratic liberation movements.
9. The State of Tamil Eelam will develop a friendship with the progressive forces in the Sinhalese State and would on the basis of fraternity, work out a peaceful solution for the mutual problems facing the two nations.
Liberation – how will it be achieved?
The Tamil Nation must take the decision to establish its sovereignty in its homeland on the basis of its right to self-determination. The only way to announce this decision to the Sinhalese government and to the world is to vote for the Tamil United Liberation Front. The Tamil speaking representative who get elected through these votes, while being members of the National State Assembly of Ceylon, will also form themselves into the “NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF TAMIL EELAM” which will draft a constitution for the State of Tamil Eelam and to establish the independence of the Tamil Eelam by bringing that constitution into operation either by peaceful means or by direct action or struggle.
The National Assembly of Tamil Eelam will draw up and implement plans relating to the economic development of social progress, protection of territory, educational development etc.
Action will be taken to enlist international support to achieve the freedom of Tamil Eelam.
Other programmes of work
The problems of the Tamil-speaking people outside Tamil Eelam are getting complicated today. Particularly the upcountry Tamil workers are being forcibly driven out of their places of work and places of residence by the Sinhalese government and government abetted Sinhalese hooligans. It is quite clear that the terrible act of arson on the homes of Tamil labourers and the police firing that caused the death of the Tamil youth, Ledchumanan, in the Devon estate, have been pre-planned and deliberate.
The Tamil United Liberation Front will fight for the rights of these workers who have toiled for the prosperity of this country, to live in their own homes with security of employment fully guaranteed. The Tamil United Liberation Front will work for the basic human rights and political, social and economic rights of the Tamil-speaking people living in any part of Ceylon.
At the same time, the Tamil United Liberation Front will set up a special organisation to prepare plans for the well-being of and to give all assistance to the Tamil Speaking people who wish to migrate to Tamil Eelam to set up their lives in their new homes.
It is indispensable that every person who is a member of the Tamil Nation that aspires to be free must be able to live in enjoyment of human rights, in full. Hence, as an important aspect of the liberation movement, intensive steps will be taken for the abolition of the caste system and social disabilities imposed on any section the Tamil people.
Tamil United Liberation Front will take steps to develop a friendship with the progressive forces, in South Ceylon, that recognise and are sympathetic towards, the aspirations of the Tamil Nation and with countries that are sympathetic towards the freedom movements particularly with the anti-imperialist forces abroad.
The Tamil Nation is at a turning point in its history. The unity we have achieved has made the Sinhalese imperialists take a fresh look at the situation. In this background, as a first step towards the realisation of the freedom of the Nation, the unanimous verdict of the Tamil-speaking people is indispensable. Hence we appeal to you to set aside your passions for, or prejudices against, individual candidates, to forget differences of region, caste or religion and, with the one and the only determination of making the Tamil Nation master of its Destiny.
Ø For the Tamil United Liberation Front.
Ø For the emancipation of the Tamil Nation.
Ø For the Freedom of Tamil Eelam
Translation from the Tamil Original