ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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of Tamil interests in Sri Lanka than the Tamils themselves was of little substantive significance. Even if the assumption was objective!) correct, it was atrocious to act in terms of that assumption. The moment the government of India began to tell the Jaffna, Batticaloa, l'rincomalcc and Amparai Tamils, through the language of the army bayonet, what was good for them, it was total alienation. The Indian 'Peace' Keeping Force may continue to shoot down a do/en or so of Tamil youth, or come to capture a cache of Tamil arms. That only clinches the point: it is now exposed as an army of occupation, comprehensively hated by those for whose sake it claims to have marched in. Our government's residual hope rested on a rushed election and installation of a Tamil administration in the merged province; this administration could bargain, after December, with the newly-elected president in Colombo. The IT'LL calculate otherwise, and they have the strength to prove thai it is their calculations which matter. From their desks in New Delhi, foreign service mandarins may order our troops to arrange elections in Sri Lanka's temporarily merged province. The IPKF cannot however bully the people into coming to the booths; they cannot bully a sufficient number of individuals to stand as candidates so as to give a veneer of respectability to the so-called elections; they cannot even find electoral officers locally to receive the nomination papers. It is specious to claim, as New Delhi keeps claiming, that all this is because the LTTE has succeeded in terrorising the population. Large-scale terrorisation has played a part, hut it is also terrorisation by the Indian troops which has largely helped to make up the Tamil mind in Sri Lanka. Just ask the Tamil United Liberation Front, the political entity in Sri Lanka which, till about two years ago, held views most proximate to those held by the government at India; leaders of the Front would now have no hesitation in admitting in private that they have become irrelevant, and, in the island's northern and eastern provinces, it is Prabhakaran and his followers who have emerged as the symbol of Tamil pride and TamiI dignity.

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