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'Recognition of and justice for genocide vital for lasting peace' - Uthayan editorial

Reflecting on the Indian minister P Chidambaram's recent statement that 'none can deny there was a genocide' during the final stages of the armed conflict, in its editorial today entitled, 'After Indira's, a bold decision', the Jaffna based newspaper Uthayan welcomed the move, stressing the importance of the international community acknowledging the genocide before being able to provide a just solution to the Tamils.

The editorial is translated in full below:


After Indira's, a bold decision

The Indian government's sudden decision to accept that what happened at the final conflict was a genocide for the first time has caused astonishment and bewilderment. 

The Central government minister P. Chidambaram announced this position of the Indian government about the final conflict, at the event which took place in Chennai on Saturday evening. This announcement - this position of India's central government - is a very, very important milestone in the Eelam Tamil struggle. 

Going one step further Chidambaram announced that the Indian government would not rest until those responsible for the genocide on the island are brought to justice, reported the Tamil version of the newspaper, 'The Hindu'.

There is no doubt that if this is the true position of the Indian government on the final conflict, then this is to be praised and welcomed.

If a lasting peace is desired on the island, then it is vital that the international community accept that what is taking place here is a genocide, and those responsible for the war crimes committed during the final conflict are identified and brought to justice. 

Only when the fact that a genocide is being committed against Tamils is accepted, can the international community provide a true, just and fair solution to them. Similarly, it is only when those involved in the war crimes and genocide are brought before the law that afflicted Tamils will find solace, and confidence in the majority community can be found.

However, in reality, the international community has not accepted that a genocide took place on the island. Till now, countries worldwide have been hesitant to acknowledge that what happened on the island was more than a conflict between the LTTE and the government, or more than a war on terror.

Even Western countries that accept the Sri Lankan government discriminated against the Tamils and war crimes and human rights violations took place, are not prepared to accept that a genocide took place.

It is in this context that the Indian government has for the first time made a public statement saying that what happened was a genocide.

Beyond the increased pressure this will put on Sri Lanka in the international arena, this has formed a good starting point [Pillaiyaar suli] for other countries to one day view what took place here as a genocide.

After the Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's diplomatic moves, this may be considered a very bold decision by the Indian government on the Eelam Tamil issue. At the same time, is impossible not to point out, that New Delhi has an important responsibility to prove that this announcement is not election rhetoric, but a manifestation of the concern India has over the Eelam Tamils. 

There is no doubt that this decision by India will put increased pressure on India's relationship with Sri Lanka. However, the reality is, without adopting such a strict approach, it is not possible to bring Colombo in line.