Monday, May 28, 2012

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa: Sri Lanka north 'not just for Tamils'


Pic courtesy: www.globaltamilnews.net
Sri Lanka's defence secretary has said it is not appropriate to view the north of the country, over which a separatist war was fought, as a predominantly Tamil area.
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, who many credit with defeating Tamil rebels, also told the BBC there were few civilian casualties in the war's closing phase.
Human rights groups say tens of thousands died at the end of that war.
He also cast doubt on accounts of enforced disappearances after the war.
Mr Rajapaksa, brother of Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, portrayed a normalising Sri Lanka with opportunities for all regardless of ethnicity.
But he firmly declined to discuss Sarath Fonseka - the man at the helm of the army at the end of the war and who later fell out with the president - who was released from prison last Monday.
The army defeated the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels after 26 years of a bloody civil war in May 2009.
Freedom to move
Meeting Mr Rajapaksa in his heavily guarded office near the Colombo shorefront, the BBC asked him about a recent local government reshuffle in the north which has seen some senior Tamil officials replaced with Sinhalese personnel.

Start Quote

These are lies... to prevent the visitors coming into Sri Lanka, the investment coming to Sri Lanka”
Gotabhaya RajapaksaDefence secretary
"Earlier before the war, all were Sinhalese," Mr Rajapaksa said. Just as "a lot of" Tamil officers worked in southern districts, Sinhalese and Muslims should be able to work in the north. "It is part of Sri Lanka."
So were Tamils correct to view the north as a predominantly Tamil place?
"Why should be that? Why should be that?" Mr Rajapaksa said. "If you are a Sri Lankan citizen you must be able to go and buy the properties from anywhere. I'm not talking about the forced settlements, I'm talking about the freedom for a Sri Lankan to live anywhere in this country."
Many Tamils favour provincial devolution to give them a greater voice in areas where they predominate.
The government and the largest Tamil party have been holding talks on this issue, but these have currently stalled.
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa commented on the contentious subject of civilian casualties in the final stage of the war - one factor that prompted a critical resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in March.
A recent government census, given little publicity, suggested some 7,400 northern Sri Lankans were killed during the last months as a result of the fighting.
But Mr Rajapaksa said only a few of these were civilians and most were Tamil Tiger fighters.
"Do you think it was a battle between the Sri Lankan army and civilians? It's a battle between the army and the terrorist group which were equally armed like the military," he said.
Six thousand army soldiers had been killed in this period, he said."Within this 7,000-odd number that includes the combatants as well!"
He said the census-takers had visited family after family and taken the names of all those who died. There might have been "certain" civilian casualties but "not in the numbers you quote".
If there were proven violations of the laws of war "then we can punish, no problem, but you have to prove that".
The army had defeated a terrorist group that killed innocent people, destroyed property, buses, trains, hotels and many other targets, he said.
"All this we have stopped... but you don't talk about that. You are supporting the terrorist cause!"
'Suddenly freed'
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa gave scant comfort to the families of people who have recently disappeared.
Human rights campaigners documented 32 such disappearances between October and February and several more since then.
But Mr Rajapaksa dismissed this as "wrong allegations".
"These are lies... to prevent the visitors coming into Sri Lanka, the investment coming to Sri Lanka, to give a wrong image of Sri Lanka by the rump of this LTTE which is remaining outside and trying to damage the image of Sri Lanka," he said.
Recent cases include Ramasamy Prabagaran, who was abducted before he was due to testify on police torture and remains missing; and Sagara Senaratne, who was suddenly freed after his brother-in-law, a minister, reportedly contacted top government figures.
But Mr Rajapaksa asked why the authorities should want to victimise such people and said many recorded as missing were criminals who had escaped abroad.
In the north, he said, life was getting back to normal - fishing restrictions had been lifted, the army had moved out of contentious areas such as running restaurants, and anti-LTTE Tamil groups had now been disarmed.
In the country as a whole, he said, the government had opened a window to progress by ending the war.
"This is a time that... irrespective of whether Sinhalese, Tamil or Muslim, you as a Sri Lankan move forward."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The austerity of the affluent... By P Sainath

Source: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/sainath/article3439624.ece

Pranab Mukherjee's stirring call for austerity tugs at the national tear ducts. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has pleaded for it in the past and watched his flock embrace it creatively. With the Finance Ministry even acting on Dr. Singh's call in 2009 (economy class air travel, spending cuts), we are now in the fourth year of our noble quest.
There are, of course, several kinds of austerity. My pick would be the variety practised by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia. No one can challenge Dr. Ahluwalia's commitment to austerity. Look at the way he's stood up to the populist demand for a poverty line that makes sense. No pampering people here. Spend Rs. 29 a day in urban India or Rs. 23 in rural India and you are not poor. He's even asked the Supreme Court to uphold the imposition of such rigour on hundreds of millions of his fellow citizens. One affidavit filed by the Planning Commission defended a line of Rs. 32 (urban) and Rs. 26 (rural) a day. Since then, the Padma Vibhushan awardee and some of his colleagues have stuck their necks out to lower that further.
RTI queries
That Dr. Ahluwalia practises austerity himself is evident from two RTI queries. Both fine examples of RTI-based journalism, but failing to get the attention they deserved. Both exploring the anatomy of his austerity. One was a story in India Today (covering Dr. Ahluwalia's foreign trips between June 2004 and January 2011) by Shyamlal Yadav. This journalist (now with The Indian Express), has done outstanding RTI-based stories in the past as well.
The other, in February this year, came from The Statesman News Service (reporter unnamed). This one took out details on Dr. Ahluwalia's global forays between May and October 2011. In that period, he undertook “four trips covering 18 nights [which] cost the exchequer a sum of Rs. 36,40,140, an average cost of Rs 2.02 lakh a day,” says the SNS report.
At the time this happened, that Rs. 2.02 lakh would have been worth $4,000 a day. (Gee! Lucky for us Montek was into austerity. Imagine what his expenditure might have been otherwise). That is a daily spend almost 9,000 times greater than the 45 cents cut-off point at which rural Indians would be doing okay, in his view. Or over 7,000 times greater than the 55 cents cut-off point for urban Indians that Dr. Ahluwalia would find “normatively adequate.”
Now his spend of Rs. 3.6 million (or $72,000) in 18 days might well have been his personal stimulus to global tourism in that year. After all, the industry in 2010 was still recovering from the ravages of 2008-09, as the United Nations World Tourism Organisation points out. The U.N. agency found, on the other hand, that 2011 saw global travel revenues cross $1 trillion. The largest revenue increases were seen in the U.S. and Europe (where most of those 18 days were spent). The Indian public can rejoice over its money playing a humble part in that recovery even while scorched by austerity at home.
The stats from the Shyamlal Yadav's RTI are fascinating. To begin with, his findings show Dr. Ahluwalia made 42 official foreign trips and spent 274 days overseas during a seven-year tenure. That is “one in every nine days” abroad. And that's excluding travel days. The India Today story found that his excursions cost the exchequer Rs.2.34 crore. However, it points out that they received three different estimates of the costs of his trips and charitably went with the lowest. Also, said the India Today story, “it is not clear whether the figures include the expenses incurred by Indian embassies abroad on frills such as hiring limousines. The actual costs could be a lot higher.”
Since the post he holds does not require so much foreign travel — all of it done, though, with “the permission of the Prime Minister” — this is puzzling. That 23 of the 42 trips were to the U.S., which does not believe in planning (but then, perhaps, neither does Dr. Ahluwalia), is even more puzzling. What were these trips about? Spreading global awareness on austerity? If so, we'll have to spend more on his travel: look at those revolting Greeks killing the Cause on the streets of Athens. And even more on his trips to the U.S. where the austerity of the affluent is striking. CEOs in that country took home billions in bonuses even in 2008, the year Wall Street tanked the global economy. This year, even the media journals of the super-rich in the U.S. write about CEOs destroying their companies, jobs and more — and gaining personally from it. Millions of Americans, including many who suffered home mortgage foreclosures, saw a different kind of austerity. The kind the French increasingly fear and have voted against.
When Dr. Singh pleaded for austerity in 2009, his Cabinet rose handsomely to the call. Each member added a modest million rupees a month thereafter, on average, to his or her assets over the next 27 months. All the while, hard at work as Ministers. (“The Union Cabinet gets healthier,” The Hindu, September 21, 2011). Praful Patel excelled, adding on average, half-a-million rupees to his assets every 24 hours in that period. Workers in Air India, under a Ministry he headed much of that time, struggled to get their salaries for weeks on end. Now with Pranab cracking the whip, there'll be even more austerity going around.
Note the bipartisan spirit of this austerity: in the past few years, Praful Patel (UPA-NCP) and Nitin Gadkari (NDA-BJP) have hosted two of the costliest weddings ever, with far more guests than seen at any IPL final. Gender-balanced Spartanism, too. That was for Mr. Patel's daughter and Mr. Gadkari's son.
Their corporate counterparts take it further. Mukesh Ambani with his 27-floor (but higher than 50 storeys) costliest residence in living memory. And Vijay Mallya — whose employees in Kingfisher struggle for their salaries — who tweeted on May 5: “Having dinner at Atmosphere on the 123rd floor of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Never been so high up in my life. Awesome view.” That's probably higher than Kingfisher is flying right now. Both own teams in the IPL. Which body has received public subsidies (by way of entertainment tax waivers, for example). That is, until the matter went to the Bombay High Court. There are other public-funded austerities linked to the IPL — watch this space.
Wall Street model
The corporate world here generally follows the austerity model of Wall Street. There, nine banks including Citigroup and Merrill Lynch “paid $32.6 billion in bonuses in 2008, while receiving $175 billion in taxpayers funds,” reported Bloomberg in 2009. It quoted New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's report on the subject: “When the banks did well, their employees were paid well. When the banks did poorly, their employees were paid well. When the banks did very poorly, they were bailed out by taxpayers and their employees were still paid well. Bonuses and overall compensation did not vary significantly as profits diminished.”
Note that Pranab's austerity prayer last week saw the soothsayers of the super-rich raging on TV that the deficit was all due to “one populist measure after another.” That is, stupid things like trying to give people work, reduce hunger or send children to school. No mention of the Plutocrat Populism which saw about Rs. 5 lakh crore (roughly $100 billion at the time) being gifted mostly to the rich and the corporate classes by the same Pranab budget in concessions on Corporate Tax, Excise and Customs Duties. (See “To fix BPL, nix CPL,” The Hindu, March 26, 2012). Sitaram Yechury pointed out in Parliament that these write-offs for the super-rich exceeded the fiscal deficit by Rs. 8,000 crore. But it is the ‘populist measures' aimed at the poor that get panned.
Amartya Sen (The Hindu, Jan. 7, 2012) ruefully asks “why there is hardly any media discussion about other revenue-involving problems, such as the exemption of diamond and gold from customs duty, which, according to the Ministry of Finance, involves a loss of a much larger amount of revenue (Rs.50,000 crore per year) than the additional cost involved in the Food Security Bill (Rs.27,000 crore).”
Indians outside the charmed circle of the meritorious know a different austerity. Food inflation in double digits. Vegetable prices rising 60 per cent in a year. Child malnourishment double that of sub-Saharan Africa. Families cutting back sharply on milk and essentials. Massive increases in health costs bankrupting millions. Farmers unable to afford inputs or access credit. A drinking water scarcity for many, as more and more of that life-giving substance gets diverted for other purposes. How much nicer to practise the austerity of the elite.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

'Foreign travel is expensive but necessary for the discharge of official duties'


source: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3449609.ece
Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, responds to P. Sainath:
The article “The austerity of the affluent” (The Hindu, May 21, 2012), is so misleadingly distortive on two points that I feel compelled to clarify the position. I have high regard for your newspaper, and subscribe to the notion that there should be full transparency in government. It is in this spirit that I hope these clarifications will be published by you, for the benefit of your readers.
The first error is comparing the daily cost of foreign trips undertaken by me with the Tendulkar poverty line, which incidentally is not on a daily basis, but on a monthly budget basis for a household. This comparison is intended to suggest gross extravagance. Air travel and hotels in major capitals are very expensive, and the class of air travel and the class of hotels are not determined by me, but by government rules applicable to all Ministers, Members of Parliament and senior officials. There is no denying that foreign travel is expensive, but it is often necessary for the discharge of official duties. I should add that each day spent abroad is filled with 14 hours of meetings, and is a day spent away from family and not exactly a holiday. We should, of course, attempt to reduce costs, but we need to consider whether and to what extent this would affect our ability to enter into negotiations immediately on arrival, or have delegation meetings in the hotel room. One needs to carefully weigh the costs and benefits before taking a considered decision, and in any event, this is a decision that would need to be taken by the appropriate authorities.
The second error in the article is to suggest that the frequency of my travels is unnecessary, as the functions of the Deputy Chairman do not require such foreign travel. I agree that the role of Deputy Chairman itself does not, per se, require extensive foreign travel. But the article omits to note that most of the foreign trips made by me were in the capacity of sherpa for the G-20, or as member of the Prime Minister's delegation. I am the co-chair of the Indo-U.S. Energy dialogue and the co-chair of the India-China economic dialogue. These are special assignments and not part of my duties as Deputy Chairman. The decision on who should undertake these tasks is not taken by me, but when chosen to perform these tasks, I consider it an honour, and do the best I can. As in the case of all persons of cabinet rank, each trip is cleared by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Prime Minister's Office.
I should add that G-20 meetings were especially frequent between 2008 and 2010, because of the global financial crisis. In fact, each summit was preceded by two or three preparatory meetings of sherpas. One could, of course, argue that India should not have been represented at these meetings. That would certainly have saved some money, but the question to ask is whether the country would be better served by not being represented. Finally, in the interest of full transparency on foreign travels I have decided to put all my foreign trips on the website of the Planning Commission so that all those interested can find out where I am going and why.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

P. Sainath replies... to Montek

source: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3449607.ece

Dr. Ahluwalia does not contradict a single fact in the article:
(i) Rs.2.02 lakh daily average expenditure for trips between May and October 2011 (well after his “busy” G-20 period ending in 2010). No “gross extravagance”?
(ii) 274 days abroad, or one in every nine. Factor in travel days and it could be one in seven away from office.
(iii) 42 trips, half of them visits to the U.S. (several trips not connected with his duties as Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission).
The link between the poverty line figures he supports (and defends in the Supreme Court) and his own expenditures is extremely relevant and pertinent. It is hypocrisy to impose one approach on an impoverished people while practising another — entirely different — for himself, with their money — public money. That too in a period where his government calls for more austerity. Dealing with abject poverty was central to the founding principles of the Planning Commission. But that, unlike Dr. Ahluwalia, is hobbled by “resource constraints.”
The travel period he cites as vital (2008-10) was one in which Dr. Manmohan Singh had ordered that government “severely curtail expenditure on air travel, particularly foreign travel,” except where deemed “absolutely necessary” (The Hindu, June 6, 2008).
Several ministers' foreign trips were cancelled and cuts announced in travel expenses. Two ministers lost their five-star hotel suites. The External Affairs Minister gave up his plane for overseas trips, and others flew economy class (The Hindu, September 13, 2009). Dr. Ahluwalia is silent on what class he actually travelled by, then or thereafter, or his expenses.
How much travel does he undertake within India — surely a priority for a Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission? Put that up on the website?
Costs of $4,000 (daily average) are huge. And we don't know what the embassies and consulates spent on him locally. But spending curbs worry Dr. Ahluwalia, who asks “whether and to what extent this would affect our ability to enter into negotiations immediately on arrival…” Hope he spares a thought for how millions of Indian travellers, like migrant labourers, journey, and have to be productive on arrival. He plans for them, after all. G-20 meetings in 2008-10 were held in different countries, but his visits mostly took him to the U.S. His U.S. visits were prolific earlier, too, as the RTI data show.
Given the importance he claims for his sherpa work in G-20 and other forums, which he admits is unconnected to the Planning Commission, why remain in the Commission and paralyse its functioning by being absent so often? The first day of the 11th Plan was April 1, 2007. But the Plan document was ready only on June 25, 2008 — an entire year wasted that brought cascading disaster for many vital projects. The “mid-term” appraisal came in the fourth year of that Five-Year Plan! Now, we're into the first year of the 12th Plan and it is not even remotely ready.
It is good to know the Planning Commission's website will carry his travel details. But the RTI data was also about his expenses. Will he put those up, too? Better still, if other PC members' expenses go up as well, to allow us comparisons.
It is a measure of how disconnected Dr. Ahluwalia is that he does not sense how the public views his expenditures. Nor, worse, the further damage his clarification will do to their perceptions.
sainath@thehindu.co.in


Bright future for Dry Bulk segment in Maritime Trade: Expert


Published in Sagar Sandesh edition dated May 23, 2012:


“With the demand for ocean transportation of coal/ ore in India/china that is bound to increase in the coming years, the future for dry bulk segment in Indian maritime trade is positive”, Mr K Shankar, President –Shipping in the India Cements and the Chairman of Institute of Marine Engineers (India) Chennai Branch, has said.
In an exclusive interview to Sagar Sandesh, Shankar, who has more than 40 years of experience in the shipping industry, shared his views on several issues in the maritime trade including the growing piracy menace and also about the future plans of India Cements’ Shipping division to reach numero uno position in the trade in the Southern Region.
Excerpts of the interview…
 
Q: Tell us about the India Cements Shipping division, its vision?
 
Mr K Shankar: Shipping and India Cements have come a long way together. Our Founder, Shri.T.S.Narayanaswami, a visionary was one of the pioneers in South India in identifying shipping to be a profitable business.  He was keen to implement the then declared National Policy of improving growth of Indian Shipping and thus placed India Cements very early on the Indian Shipping Industry map by entering shipping business through SISCO-South India Shipping Corporation in 1964.  He thus helped South India gain a rightful place in Indian Shipping. The formation of SISCO was a record in corporate promotion in the South due to his imagination and initiative.  Financial arrangements were enabled for the acquisition of five vessels by December 1966 and their operation in the global tramp trade.
India Cements continued to have a good presence in shipping as ICL Shipping Limited.  During the early 2000s, with consolidation and focus on expansion of the core business, the industry witnessed a decline in ICL’s presence in Shipping.
While shipping business per se depends on the availability of cargoes, cargo owners who have abundant cargo also enter shipping so as to insulate themselves from freight market fluctuations as also to ensure the security of their supply chain.  While there are points both in favour of and against a cargo owner in being a ship owner with the advantages of sticking to the core competency and the lack of understanding of key variables in shipping being against, the possibility of having a greater control over logistics and higher certainty in decision making has encouraged many a cargo owner to take charge of shipping. 
Today India Cements has got a cement production capacity of about 14 MnT and the annual cargo imports are close to 1.2 Mn T, all of which are transported by sea.  With captive power plants set-up to meet the power needs, the cargo requirement is only bound to increase.  India Cements have also invested in coal mines in Indonesia to meet their import needs.  With power requirements in India set to grow multifold in the coming years and with the growing aversion to atomic power stations worldwide following the disasters witnessed in Japan, the ocean transportation of coal is set to increase much more than the earlier estimates.  With a control of such large volumes of cargoes, ICL strategically re-entered Shipping in 2008 with the acquisition of 2 handy-size vessels, Chennai Jayam and Chennai Perrumai. These vessels have carried import cargoes for ICL in the past and have also been suitably employed outside to leverage on higher freights whenever available.  India Cements has been continuously seeking such opportunities so that the group benefits from better returns at all times.
 
Given the growing demand for power in India and the increasing demand for coal both in India and worldwide, the demand for ocean transportation of coal is expected to increase for a long time in the future.  India Cements with its own shipping division and a fleet of vessels is thus well-poised to take advantage of this demand.
 
Q. Has the shipping division recorded the anticipated growth since its inception?
KS: Shipping business since re-entry in 2008 has been a value addition to the group as a whole since they have carried import cargo for ICL and employed outside to leverage on higher freights whenever possible.  With growing demand for import cargos, our ships will be mainly deployed for our own captive trade and India Cements with its own fleet of vessels is thus well poised to take advantage of the demand.  We have recently signed a MOA for the acquisition of a TESS 52 – Tsuneishi 2001 built 52K Supramax vessel that will be taken delivery by us shortly.  This will be a value addition for our captive trade requirements.
 
Q. If we see the shipping companies profile in India, most of them are anchored in Mumbai only. Why South India lacks in it and what has to be done?
KS: If you are looking at the traditional maritime history, yes, you are right in saying that the shipping activities those days were centered around Mumbai.  Those days, shipping companies preferred to operate out of Mumbai as a matter of convenience and proximity.  But in these days of advanced technology and communication options, there is no need for any shipping company or its activity to be centered around Mumbai or Chennai.  In today’s world, an organization requires an efficient database, excellent communication system and global access with advanced technology that is readily available to handle ship related matters.  Hence, it is unnecessary to focus on where a shipping activity has to be based in order to efficiently run its operations.
Q. What is the present scenario of dry-bulk segment in the maritime trade? How do you see the future for dry bulk segment?
 
KS: It is an accepted fact that the future maritime trade will be focused towards India / China inspite of the sluggish economy and the markets.  In the long term, India’s growth in infrastructure, power & energy sectors is a certainty that cannot be avoided or postponed.  There is a huge demand for dry bulk movement of coal.  Most of the large business houses like Reliance, TATA, Adani, Essar have been investing into ship owning for supporting their captive cargo needs.  Hence, the demand for ocean transportation of coal is bound to increase for a long time into the future.  There are over 847 billion tons of coal reserves worldwide while oil and gas reserves are equivalent to around 50 years with current production levels.  In India, there is a huge power deficit and all leading industrial houses have ventured into setting up major power plants both for their captive needs and for trading in power. These power plants are coal fuelled with steam coal imported mainly from Indonesia, Australia and South Africa.  Hence, the demand for dry bulk segment in India can only increase in the future.
 
Q. In your view, which is economical and safer-- moving cargo in dry bulk or container?
KS: There are different types of ships meant for different types of cargo. For example, liquid cargo, gas, chemical; these are carried by specialized tanker vessels, adaptable for the same.  Similarly there are specialized vessels meant for dry bulk or general cargo such as dry bulk carriers, container vessels, break bulk vessels, general cargo vessels, etc.
We cannot generalize and compare between the containerised cargo and the dry bulk cargo in terms of operational safety or economy.  For example, if I have to ship my cement in bags, I would prefer to do the shipment in containers whereas if I have to import my coal for captive requirement, it has necessarily to be on a bulk carrier vessel.  The thumb rule is the higher the capacity of cargo in one shipment, the cheaper will be the freight cost. In other words, my freight cost or the cost per ton of coal moved in a 52K Supramax vessel in one shipment will be more than the cost per ton of a 75K parcel of coal carried on a Panamax vessel.  This is the basis with which the trader purchases coal from the seller and customize same for the required needs and offer the buyer the best solution.
 
Q. With the world slowly moving towards sending cargoes in boxes for more safety, do you have any plans to procure vessels for moving containerized cargo?
KS: You may be aware the Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission’s XII Five year plan sub group on Inland Water Transport Services envisages National Waterways NW4 to be completed in seven years.  Such a project envisages a potential bulk cargo movement of 11 Mn tons per annum of coal, cement and rice movements on smaller vessels through the Inland Waterways having restricted draft.  This will be a long term boost to trade and industry.  Once this becomes the reality, the need for smaller vessels suitable for Inland Waterways navigation with specialization in containered cargos cannot be ruled out.  Possibly we will look at for our movement of cement as containerized cargo.
 
Q. What is the share of Shipping division in overall company’s business portfolio?
KS: The demand for shipping is a derived demand i.e., unless there is a demand for goods far away from the location where they are available, there will not be a demand for shipping.  Shipping is capital intensive business and requires a consistent availability of cargo for both profitability and sustainability.  As far as ICL is concerned, the cargo requirement is bound to increase and we won’t be found wanting for transportation of such large volumes of cargo in today’s highly volatile market.
 
Q. Is Indian ports are equipped enough to meet the growing demand?
KS: I am not satisfied with the growth of the port infrastructure to suit the growing demand of industry. The pace of development is extremely slow.  We have no other option, but to accept the administrative hurdles, the facilitator / end user mismatch.  Let us hope that the result is not too far ahead.  I am sure, the Industry will tide over the shortcomings and that all the ports will adapt to the growing demand of industry sooner than later.
 
Q. How do you see the threat of piracy in mid-seas? According to latest reports, Somali pirates slowly moving towards Indian Ocean as they are running out of more options near Horn of Africa.
KS: The menace of piracy continues unabated in spite of naval presence in the gulf of Aden regions and merchant ships are frequently given guidelines to comply with the best management practices that includes establishment of ‘citadel’.  35 percent of total numbers of ships transiting the waters deploy security guards.  Providing security guards on board the vessel is a matter of serious concern. The recent incident of Italian ship held back at Kochi (released few days ago) on this account is a glaring example.  The merchant ships carrying arms will lead to many hassles trading in international waters and the ship owners are left to evaluate their own risk assessment.  There are many private maritime security companies offering these services.  I doubt if this will be a permanent solution. Like terrorism, piracy is an evil.  United Nations and IMO must recognize this as an international peril and declare war against piracy and adopt a resolution to combat piracy in general and their operational base in particular.  Security forces should target and destroy the piracy base and cripple their activities in an orderly and effective manner.  The international community will wholeheartedly welcome this.  I am really concerned about the seafarer’s plight and dread the miseries that they need to undergo if and when under captivity.
Q. As a shipping industry expert, what is your advice to young seafarers?
 KS: My advice to the young seafarers of today is – “you are your own teacher. Choose your own mentor. Do what you can with total professional commitment and sincerity and learn the good values of professional conduct and attitude during the initial stages of your professional career”. That foundation shall be your worth that will keep you in good stead in your professional career.

Friday, May 18, 2012

As Air India bleeds, national carrier organises Maharaja-style trip for Minister, media


By SUJAY MEHDUDIA & VINAY KUMAR
Pic courtesy:www.topnews.in
Even as the cash-starved Air India grapples with a 10-day strike that has cost it over Rs.150 crore and undermined its recovery plans, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has invited journalists to join him and an entourage of officials to travel to the United States to take delivery of the first of the airline's new long-range Boeing 787 jets.
In an e-mail sent to media organisations on Thursday, the Civil Aviation Ministry invited journalists to accompany Mr. Singh on his “visit to Seattle and Charlston, USA, from May 28-31 to get delivery of [Air India's first] B787 Dreamliner.” “[T]ravel, accommodation, etc., will be taken care of by us,” the e-mail states.
The invitation came hours after the release of official figures which showed that Air India's market share had declined sharply to 17.6 per cent, making it only India's fourth largest airline measured by passengers carried, ahead only of Go Air with 7.3 per cent and Kingfisher 5.4 per cent.
The figures showed that 5.4 per cent of Air India flights were cancelled in April — the highest among all Indian airlines — in a month when it did not face industrial action.
On Wednesday, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee signalled growing concern at the prospects of the economy — key to the airline's hopes of better times — by announcing he was “going to issue some sort of austerity measures.”
Ironically, the aircraft Mr. Singh is planning to receive has sparked the ongoing strike in Air India. Pilots who worked for the airline prior to its merger with Indian Airlines say they alone should be retrained to fly the jet, as allowing pilots from the erstwhile sister-carrier would jeopardise their career prospects.
In April, Mr. Singh announced approval for a turnaround plan for the airline, saying it was the national carrier's “last chance.” The government gave a Rs.30,000-crore bailout to Air India, in return for its committing itself to meeting specified performance parameters. The bailout was won after the airline registered annual losses of over Rs.7,000 crore, leading to a situation where it could no longer afford to pay staff salaries.
Like other corporate entities, Air India sometimes invites journalists for expenses-paid visits, meant to gather positive publicity for its services.
Earlier, several journalists were flown to the U.S. when Air India's low-cost subsidiary, Air India Express, purchased several Boeing 787-800 aircraft for use on its Gulf routes.
However, the scale and timing of Mr. Singh's trip, coming as it does at a time the airline is cash-strapped, have raised eyebrows even within his Ministry. “The Dreamliner is going to come to India from the U.S. anyway,” a senior official at the Ministry said, “so I cannot understand what need there is for anyone to go there to welcome it into the fleet, especially at a time Air India is surviving hand to mouth.”
The Ministry did not respond to queries from The Hindu why Mr. Singh needed to travel to New York and whether it was appropriate to spend public money on the jamboree.

தமிழர் இனவழிப்பு நினைவுநாள் – 2012 :அறிக்கை


"எனவே தனிப்பட்டவர்களும் அமைப்புக்களும் எமது மக்களுக்கான அரசியல்தீர்வாக பன்னாட்டுச்சமூகத்துக்கு முன்மொழிவது எமது மக்களுக்கான தன்னாட்சியுரிமையுடன்கூடிய நிர்வாகக் கட்டமைப்பாகவே இருக்க வேண்டும். அதைநோக்கியே எமது வேண்டுகைகளும் வேலைத்திட்டங்களும் அமைய வேண்டும். அனைவரும் ஒன்றிணைந்த குரலாக எமது அரசியல் வேட்கையை வெளிப்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்பதே எமது அவாவாகும்."




தலைமைச் செயலகம்,                                                                                    /செ///02/12 தமிழீழ விடுதலைப்  புலிகள்
தமிழீழம்.
18/05/ 2012.          

தமிழர் இனவழிப்பு நினைவுநாள் – 2012

அன்பான தமிழ் மக்களே,

இலங்கைத் தீவிலே தமிழர் தேசத்தின்மீது காலங்காலமாக அன்னியரால் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்ட இனவழிப்பு நடவடிக்கைகளின் உச்சம்தான் 2009 ஆம் ஆண்டு மே மாதம் 18 ஆம் நாள் முள்ளிவாய்க்காலில் நடந்த பேரவலமாகும். இந்நாளே தமிழர் இனவழிப்பு நினைவுநாள் என எம்மால் நினைவு கொள்ளப்படுகின்றது.

ஈழத்தமிழரின் விடுதலைப் போராட்டத்தைத் தலைமைதாங்கி நடாத்திக்கொண்டிருந்த தமிழீழ விடுதலைப் புலிகள் அமைப்புக்கும் சிறிலங்கா அரசுக்குமிடையில் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்ட போர்நிறுத்த உடன்படிக்கையை சிறிலங்கா அரசுதரப்பு படிப்படியாக மீறிக்கொண்டிருந்த நிலையிலும், தமிழ்மக்கள் வேண்டிநின்ற அரசியல் தீர்வைப் பெறுவதற்கான எந்தவொரு முயற்சியையும் சிறிலங்கா அரசுதரப்பு செய்யாமல் காலத்தை வீணடித்துக்கொண்டிருந்த நிலையிலும், பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் காட்டிய மெளனத்தை சிங்கள ஆட்சியாளர்கள் சாதகமாக்கிக் கொண்டு தமிழ்மக்கள் மேல் கொடிய போரைத் தொடுத்தார்கள்.

தென்தமிழீழத்தில் வெளிப்படையாகத் தொடங்கிய போர் தமிழரின் பூர்வீக நிலங்களெங்கும் விரிந்தது. சிறிலங்காப் படையினரின் வல்வளைப்புக்கள் விரிவடைந்து தமிழரின் நிலங்களை கையகப்படுத்தியது. எமது மக்கள் தமக்கான பாதுகாப்பைத் தேடி ஆயிரமாயிரமாக இடம்பெயர்ந்தார்கள். இருக்க இடமின்றி, உண்ண உணவின்றி, மருத்துவ உதவியின்றி மரங்களின் கீழும் வீதியோரங்களிலும் வாழ நிர்ப்பந்திக்கப்பட்டனர். இத்தகைய மனித அவலங்கள் எதனையும் கருத்திற் கொள்ளாது தொடர்ச்சியான விமானத்தாக்குதல்கள், எறிகணைத்தாக்குதல்கள்பல்குழல் பீரங்கித் தாக்குதல்கள், போர் நெறிகளுக்கு மாறான கொத்துக்குண்டுத் தாக்குதல்கள், இரசாயன எரிகுண்டுத் தாக்குதல்கள் எனச் சிங்கள அரச படைகளினால் திட்டமிட்டுப் படுகொலைகள் நிகழ்த்தப்பட்டு வந்தன.

பன்னாட்டு ஆதரவுடன் 2002 ஆம் ஆண்டு ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்ட சமாதானச் சூழலை ஒருதலைப்பட்சமாக முறித்துக்கொண்ட சிங்கள அரசின் கொடிய போரைத் தடுக்க பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் சரிவரச் செயற்படவில்லை. மாறாக சிலநாடுகள் தமிழ்மக்களுக்கெதிரான கொடிய இனவழிப்புப் போருக்குப் பக்கபலமாக நின்றன. எமது மக்கள் புலம்பெயர் நாடுகளிலும், தமிழகத்திலும் பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கில் திரண்டு நின்று நீதிகேட்டு நடாத்திய போராட்டங்களைக் கண்டுகொள்ளாது இனவழிப்பை வேடிக்கை பார்த்துக்கொண்டிருந்த உலகம் அப்போது நீதியின் வழியில் நடக்கவில்லை.
தொண்டு  நிறுவனங்கள் உட்பட நடுநிலையான அமைப்புக்களையோ சுதந்திரமான ஊடகவியலாளரையோ அனுமதிக்காது தன் கொடுமைகளை உலகம் அறியாது இருக்க இருட்டடிப்புச் செய்துகொண்டு மிகப்பெரும் காட்டுமிராண்டித்தனத்தைத் தமிழர்மீது கட்டவிழ்த்துவிட்டது சிங்கள அரசு. இறுதியில் நவீன மானுடவரலாறு கண்டிராத மாபெரும் அழிவொன்றை முள்ளிவாய்க்காலில் ஏற்படுத்தி ஓய்ந்தது.

 தாயகத்தில் சிங்கள இனவாத அரசின் கொடூரமான போர் முடிந்து மூன்றாண்டுகள் நிறைவடையும் இந்நேரத்தில் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் சிறிலங்கா மீது சிறிதளவேனும் அழுத்தமாகச் செயற்படத் தொடங்கியுள்ளது. உலக நாடுகளின் உதவியுடன் சிறிலங்கா அரசு மூர்க்கத்தனமாக தமிழ்மக்கள் மீது தனது போரைத் திணித்திருந்தது எனவும் ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் சபை தமிழ்மக்களின் உயிரிழப்புக்களைத் தடுக்கத் தவறியுள்ளது எனவும் பன்னாட்டு ஊடகங்கள், மனித உரிமை அமைப்புக்கள் பகிரங்கமாகவே தமது விமர்சனங்களை முன்வைக்கத் தொடங்கியுள்ளன.

இந்நிலையில் நடந்துமுடிந்த ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் சபையின் 19ஆவது மனித உரிமை கூட்டத் தொடரில் சிறிலங்கா அரசுக்கு எதிரான தீர்மானமொன்று நிறைவேற்றப்பட்டுள்ளது. பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் சிறிலங்கா அரசுமீது அழுத்தத்தைக் கொடுக்க முற்படும் இச்செயற்பாடு கொடிய இனவழிப்பை எதிர்கொண்டு நிற்கும் எமது தமிழினத்துக்கு ஓரளவு ஆறுதலைத் தந்துள்ளது. எனினும் தமிழ்மக்கள் வேண்டி நிற்கும் விடுதலையும் உரிமைகளும் இத்தீர்மானத்தில் உள்ளடக்கப்படவில்லை என்பதோடு தமிழர்களுக்குப் பாதகமான பல அம்சங்களையும் கொண்டுள்ளது என்பதை வேதனையோடு சுட்டிக்காட்ட வேண்டியுள்ளது.

இனவழிப்பை நிகழ்த்தியவர்களே நடாத்திய கண்துடைப்பு விசாரணை அறிக்கையை முதன்மைப்படுத்தி அதன்வழியே தமிழர்களுக்கான நீதியைப் பெற்றுக்கொடுக்கும் வழிமுறையை முன்மொழியும் இத்தீர்மானம் எமது மக்களுக்கான தீர்வைப் பெற்றுக்கொடுக்காது. குறிப்பிட்ட விசாரணை அறிக்கையை தளத்திலும் புலத்திலும் தமிழ்மக்களின் பிரதிநிதிகள் ஏற்கனவே நிராகரித்திருந்தனர் என்பதையும் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் நினைவிற்கொள்ள வேண்டும்.

சிறிலங்கா அரசின் கட்டமைப்புக்குள்ளேயே உள்ளகப் பொறிமுறையொன்றை தமிழர்களுக்குரிய அரசியல் தீர்வாகப் பரிந்துரைக்கும் இத்தீர்மானம் நடந்துமுடிந்த முள்ளிவாய்க்கால் பேரவலத்தையும், கடந்த பல்லாண்டுகளாக நடைபெற்றுவரும் -  இப்போதும் தொடர்ந்துகொண்டிருக்கும் இனவழிப்பு நடவடிக்கைகளையும் கவனத்திற்கொள்ளவில்லையென்றே சொல்ல வேண்டும். மேலும் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் வரலாற்றிலிருந்து பாடங்களைப் படிக்கவில்லையென்றே கூறவேண்டும்.

1983 ஆம் ஆண்டு தென்னிலங்கையில் நிகழ்ந்த இனவழிப்பு நடவடிக்கைகளின் பின்னால் அடுத்த ஆண்டு கூடிய ஐக்கியநாடுகள் சபையின் மனித உரிமை விவகார அமர்வில் சிறிலங்கா தொடர்பாக விவாதிக்கப்பட்டு, தீர்மானமொன்றை நிறைவேற்றினர். அது தமிழரின் நிரந்தர பாதுகாப்புப்பற்றியோ அரசியல் தீர்வு பற்றியோ போதிய கரிசனை கொள்ளாமல் சிறிலங்காவின் உள்ளகப் பொறிமுறையை மையமாக வைத்தே இருந்தது. அதன்பின்னர் இன்றுவரையான காலப்பகுதியில் இலட்சத்துக்குமதிகமான மக்களைப் படுகொலை செய்யவும், தமிழரின் பூர்வீக நிலங்களில் பெரும்பகுதியை விழுங்கவும், இலட்சக்கணக்கான தமிழ்மக்களை நாட்டைவிட்டு வெளியேற்றவுமே சிறிலங்காவின் உள்ளகப் பொறிமுறை சிங்களப் பேரினவாதத்துக்கு உதவியுள்ளது.

இதைவிட தமிழர் தரப்புக்கும் சிறிலங்காத் தரப்புக்குமிடையில் காலத்துக்குக் காலம் நடைபெற்ற பேச்சுவார்த்தைகள், ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்ட உடன்படிக்கைகள் என்பவற்றைப் பார்த்தால் அனைத்துமே சிங்களப் பேரினவாதத் தரப்பால் முறிக்கப்பட்டு தமிழ்மக்கள் ஏமாற்றப்பட்டுள்ளமை தெளிவாகத் தெரியும். சிறிலங்கா அரசுடன் நேரடியாக பேசிப்பயனில்லை என்ற வரலாற்று உண்மையை உணர்ந்தே பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் 2002 ஆம் ஆண்டு எமக்கும் சிறிலங்காத் தரப்புக்குமிடையில் நிடுநிலையாளராகப் பணியாற்ற முன்வந்தது. அவ்வாறு பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்தின் மேற்பார்வையில் எழுதப்பட்ட போர் நிறுத்த உடன்படிக்கைகூட சிறிலங்காத் தரப்பாலேயே ஒருதலைப்பட்சமாக மீறப்பட்டது.

உலகின் ஆலோசனைகளுடன்கூடிய உள்ளகப் பொறிமுறைகளைச் சிங்கள
ஆட்சியாளர்கள் மிக இலாவகமாக தமது அதிகாரத்தைப் பயன்படுத்தித் தூக்கியெறிந்தமைக்கு சுனாமியின் பின்னரான பொதுக்கட்டமைப்பு வசதிக்கான
பொறிமுறை (P-TOMS Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure) ஒரு சிறந்த எடுத்துக்காட்டாகும்.

இப்போது மீண்டும் சிறிலங்காவின் உள்ளகப் பொறிமுறைமூலமான தீர்வைநோக்கித் தமிழர்களைத் தள்ளுவதைப் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் செய்யத் தொடங்கியுள்ளது. தமிழ்மக்கள் பட்ட துன்பங்களையும், அவர்கள் சிறிலங்கா அரசால் ஏமாற்றப்பட்ட வரலாற்றையும் நன்கு தெரிந்துகொண்டும், அதைவிட தாமே சிறிலங்கா அரசால் ஏமாற்றப்பட்ட அனுபவங்களைக் கொண்டிருந்தும்கூட தொடர்ந்தும் சிறிலங்காவின் உள்ளகப் பொறிமுறைமூலமான தீர்வைத் தமிழ்மக்கள் மேல் திணிக்க முயல்வது எமது மக்களுக்கு விசனத்தையே ஏற்படுத்துகின்றது.

போர் ஓய்ந்ததாக அறிவித்து மூன்று ஆண்டுகளாகும் இந்நிலையில் தமிழர் நிலங்களில் படையினரின் செயற்பாடுகள் குறைக்கப்படவில்லை. நிலப்பறிப்புக்களும் சிங்களக் குடியேற்றங்களும் தொடர்ந்தவண்ணமே உள்ளன. மக்களின் அன்றாட அசைவியக்கம் இன்றும் படைத்தரப்பால் கட்டுப்படுத்தப்படுகின்றது. பலவிடங்களில் சிவில் நிர்வாகக் கட்டமைப்புக்களை சிறிலங்காப் படைத்தரப்பே நடத்தி வருகின்றது. போர் நடைபெற்றுக்கொண்டிருந்த காலத்தில் தம்மை நம்பிய தமிழ்மக்களைக் கைவிட்டது போலவே இன்றும் எமது மக்களை பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் கைவிட்டுள்ளது என்றே உணர்கின்றனர்.

இந்நிலையில் விரைவானதும் நிரந்தரமானதும் நீதியானதுமான தீர்வொன்றை தமிழ்மக்களுக்குப் பெற்றுக்கொடுக்கவே பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகம் உழைக்க வேண்டும். மாறாக முழுமையற்ற பொறிமுறைகளை முன்மொழிவதும் சிறிலங்கா அரசிடமே தமிழ்மக்களின் பாதுகாப்பையும் அவர்களுக்கான தீர்வை வழங்கும் பொறுப்பையும் ஒப்படைப்பதும் திட்டமிட்ட இனவழிப்பை நிகழ்த்திக்கொண்டிருக்கும் சிறிலங்கா அரசதரப்புக்கு காலஅவகாசத்தையும் பாதுகாப்பையும் கொடுப்பதாகவே அமையும்.

இதேவேளை, நடந்துமுடிந்த மனத உரிமை கூட்டத்தொடரில் தாயகத்தில் எமது மக்களின் அரசியல் பிரதிநிதிகளாக விளங்குபவர்கள் கலந்துகொள்ளாது தவிர்த்தமையை நாம் வேதனையோடு பார்க்கின்றோம். தமது அரசியல் நலன்களுக்காக மட்டுமே செயற்படும் அரசுகளை விடவும், எமது அரசியற் சிக்கல் தொடர்பில் நியாயமாகச் செயற்படக்கூடிய பல்வேறு தரப்பினரும் பங்குகொள்ளும் ஓரிடத்தில் எமது தாயகத்து உண்மை நிலைமைகளை தாயகத்திலிருந்தே வந்து சொல்வதென்பது மிக முக்கியமான தாக்கத்தை வழங்கியிருக்கும். சிறிலங்கா அரசின் பொய்ப்பரப்புரைகளை மிக இலகுவாக முறியடிக்கக்கூடிய வாய்ப்பாகவும், அதேவேளை எதிர்காலத்தில் எமக்குச் சாதகமாக பல நிகழ்வுகள் நடக்க ஏதுவான நிலைமையை ஏற்படுத்தியிருக்கும் என்றே நாம் கருதுகின்றோம்.

அன்பான தமிழ்பேசும் மக்களே!

மிக நீண்ட போராட்டத்தில் நாம் எண்ணற்ற தியாகங்களையும் அர்ப்பணிப்புக்களையும் செய்திருக்கிறோம். அன்னியப் படைகளின் கொடுமைகளில் நாம் எமது நிலங்களையும் இலட்சக்கணக்கான உயிர்களையும் இழந்திருக்கிறோம். உலகமே வேடிக்கை பார்த்துக்கொண்டிருக்க பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கான எமது மக்கள், உணவின்றி, உறைவிடமின்றி, மருத்துவ உதவிகளின்றி அவலப்பட்டு மரித்தார்கள். இவ்வளவு அவலங்கள், தியாகங்களின் பின்னால் நாம் சோர்ந்து போகக்கூடாது. எமக்கான நீதியையும் விடுதலையையும் பெறும்வரை நாம் ஓய்ந்துபோகக்கூடாது. அனைவரும் ஒன்றிணைந்து எமது விடுதலைப் பயணத்தைத் தொடர்ந்தும் முன்னெடுக்க வேண்டிய நேரமிது.

பூகோள அரசியலில் ஏற்பட்டு வரும் மாற்றங்களை உன்னிப்பாகக் கவனித்து எமது போராட்டத்தை முன்னெடுக்க வேண்டிய தருணமிது. தற்போதைய நிலையில் எமது போராட்டம் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்தின் அதிகரித்த கவனத்தைப் பெற்றுள்ளது. சில பன்னாட்டு ஊடகங்களினதும் தன்னார்வத் தொண்டர்களினதும் செயற்பாடுகள் பெரியளவில் தாக்கத்தை ஏற்படுத்தியுள்ளன. இதைவிட எமது மக்களின் தொடர்ச்சியான செயற்பாடுகள் தொடர்ந்தும் எமக்குச் சாதகமான மாற்றத்தை உலகில் ஏற்படுத்தி வருகின்றது.

எமது மக்கள் அமைப்புக்களாகவும் தனிப்பட்டவர்களாகவும் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்தினர் மத்தியில் பரப்புரைகளை மேற்கொண்டு வருகின்றனர். கடந்த மூன்று ஆண்டுகளில் இச்செயற்பாடுகள் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்தில் கணிசமானளவில் எமக்குச் சாதகமாக தாக்கத்தை ஏற்படுத்தியிருக்கின்ற போதுங்கூட சில குழப்பங்களையும் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்துக்கு ஏற்படுத்தியுள்ளது. அமைப்புக்களும் தனிப்பட்டவர்களும் எமது மக்களுக்கான நிரந்தரத் தீர்வு தொடர்பில் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்துக்கு விடுக்கும் வேண்டுகோள் முரண்பட்டவைகளாக அமைவதும், ஒன்றையொன்று விமர்சிப்பதுமாக இருப்பதும் எமக்குப் பாதகமான விளைவுகளையே தந்துள்ளது. இந்த முரண்பட்ட தீர்வு வேண்டுகைகள் தொடர்பில் பல பன்னாட்டுச் சக்திகள் தமது கரிசனையை வெளியிட்டுமுள்ளன.

அன்பான மக்களே!

எமது இனத்தின் விடிவுக்காக எமக்கிடையிலான பிணக்குகளை மறந்து ஒன்றாகச் செயற்பட வேண்டிய தருணமிது. எமது பிரச்சனைகளையும் அரசியல் வேட்கையையும் செவிமடுத்துக் கேட்கும் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்துக்கு நாமே பல்வேறு செய்திகளையும் முரண்பட்ட தீர்வுகளையும் வழங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கும் நிலை எமக்குப் பாதகமாகவே அமையும். உலகத்தின் கவனம் இன்று எமது மக்கள்மீது திரும்பியிருக்கும் நிலையில் எமக்கான தீர்வாக நாமனைவரும் ஒரேவிடயத்தை அனைத்துலகச் சமூகத்துக்குச் சொல்ல வேண்டும். இதுவே ஆரோக்கியமான வழிமுறையாக அமையும்.

பல்லாண்டுகளாக சிங்கள – பெளத்த பேரினவாதத்தால் நசுக்கப்பட்டு இனவழிப்பை எதிர்கொண்டிருக்கும் எமது இனம், கடந்த காலங்களில் அனைத்து வழிமுறைகளிலும் முயன்றும் சிங்கள ஆட்சியாளரிடமிருந்து குறைந்தபட்ச உரிமைகளைக்கூட பெறமுடியாமல் ஏமாற்றப்பட்ட வரலாற்றைக்கொண்ட எமது இனம், வேறு வழியின்றி ஆயுதப்போராட்டத்தைக் கையிலெடுத்து அதன்வழியே தனக்கான பாதுகாப்பையும் தனியரசுக் கட்டமைப்பையும் குறிப்பிட்ட காலம் பேணிய எமது இனம், சிறிலங்கா அரசில் எப்போதோ நம்பிக்கை விட்டுப்போய் பன்னாட்டுச் சமூகத்தை நடுநிலையாக வைத்து அரசியல்தீர்வை எட்ட நினைத்து அதிலும் ஏமாற்றப்பட்ட எமது இனம், மானுடவரலாற்றில் மிகக்கொடுமையான இனவழிப்பை எதிர்கொண்டுள்ள எமது இனம் தனக்கான நிரந்தரமான அரசியல்தீர்வாக முன்வைக்க வேண்டியது சிறிலங்கா என்ற அரசகட்டமைப்புக்குள் அல்லாமல் சுயாதீனமாகத் தம்மைத்தாமே ஆளும் உரிமையுடன்கூடிய அரசியல்தீர்வையேதான்.

இதற்காகத்தான் பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கான எமது மாவீரர்கள் தமது உயிரைத் தியாகம் செய்தார்கள். இந்த இலட்சியத்துக்காகத்தான் இலட்சக்கணக்கான எமது மக்கள் எமது போராட்டத்தில் தோளோடு தோள் நின்றார்கள்.

எனவே தனிப்பட்டவர்களும் அமைப்புக்களும் எமது மக்களுக்கான அரசியல்தீர்வாக பன்னாட்டுச்சமூகத்துக்கு முன்மொழிவது எமது மக்களுக்கான தன்னாட்சியுரிமையுடன்கூடிய நிர்வாகக் கட்டமைப்பாகவே இருக்க வேண்டும். அதைநோக்கியே எமது வேண்டுகைகளும் வேலைத்திட்டங்களும் அமைய வேண்டும். அனைவரும் ஒன்றிணைந்த குரலாக எமது அரசியல் வேட்கையை வெளிப்படுத்த வேண்டும் என்பதே எமது அவாவாகும்.

அதேவேளை எமது போராட்டத்தின் ஆணிவேராகவிருக்கும் தாயகத் தமிழர்களின் தற்போதைய இன்னலைத் துடைத்து அவர்களின் வாழ்வாதாரத்தை மேம்படுத்தும் வேலைத்திட்டங்களை முன்னெடுக்கும் அனைவரையும் நினைவிற்கொள்வதோடு எமது புலம்பெயர்ந்த மக்கள் தொடர்ந்தும் இப்பணியை முன்னெடுக்க வேண்டும் என வேண்டி நிற்கின்றோம்.

இறுதி யுத்தமென்று கூறிக்கொண்டு எமது மக்கள்மேல் பகைவர் தொடுத்த கொடிய போரில் கொல்லப்பட்ட மக்களை நினைவுகொள்ளும் இவ்வேளையில், அவர்களின் குடும்பங்கள், உறவினர்கள், நண்பர்களின் துயரத்தில் நாமும் பங்குகொள்கின்றோம்.

பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கான மாவீரர்களதும் மக்களதும் தியாகத்தால் கட்டியெழுப்பப்பட்ட எமது போராட்டத்தைத் தொடர்ந்தும் வலுவாக முன்னெடுத்து எமது இறுதி இலட்சியத்தை அடையும்வரை தொடர்ந்து போராடுவோமென இந்நாளில் உறுதியெடுத்துக் கொள்வோமாக.


“புலிகளின் தாகம் தமிழீழத் தாயகம்”


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Headquarters Secretariat,                                                                  H/S/D/A/02/12
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam
Tamil Eelam
18/05/2012
 Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day – 2012
Dear Tamil People,
The Mullivaaikkaal catastrophe of 18 May 2009 was the epitome of genocidal activities periodically undertaken by the enemies on the Tamil Nation in the island of Ceylon. This day is commemorated by us as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day.
In the context of the government’s increasing violations of the ceasefire agreement entered into between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam spearheading the Liberation struggle of Eelam Tamils and the Sri Lankan government and the procrastination displayed by the government in not attempting to reach any political solution, the international community kept silent. Using this silence the Singhalese rulers waged a cruel war against the Tamil people.
The war that began in South Tamil Eelam spread all over the traditional lands of Tamils. Tamil lands were secured in the offensive encirclements of the Sri Lankan forces. Our people were displaced in their thousands seeking shelter. With no place to live the people were compelled to live under trees or beside roads with no food and without medical assistance. With no consideration for these human tragedies the Singhalese security forces deliberately carried out massacres by resorting to continuous air raids, shellfire, multi barrel rocket attacks and used cluster bombs and incendiary bombs in violation of the laws of war.
The international community failed to act appropriately to prevent the cruel war started by the Singhalese government that unilaterally walked away from the prevailing peace achieved in 2002 with international facilitation. Instead, some states lent support for the genocidal war against the Tamils. The Tamil diaspora and Tamils in Tamil Nadu gathered in their thousands to demand justice. However, the world looked askance, was a silent witness to the acts of genocide and failed to ensure justice.
The Singhalese government mounted a barbaric war of immense proportions on Tamils and ensured that its cruelty was hidden from the eyes of the world by denying access to the independent media and independent organisations including non- governmental organisations. Ultimately the Singhalese chauvinist government rested only after the Mullivaaikkaal massacre, an atrocity not witnessed in modern times.
At a time nearing three years since the ending of the cruel war of the Singhalese chauvinist government in the Motherland, the international community has commenced bringing some pressure to bear on Sri Lanka. International media and human rights groups have made public that the Sri Lankan government did carry out, with the assistance of world states, a fierce onslaught on the Tamils and a that the United Nations failed to prevent the deaths of Tamils.
In the meanwhile a resolution had been passed against the Sri Lankan government at the 19thsessions of the UN Human Rights Council. Our Tamil race that is facing a diabolic genocide is somewhat consoled by this action of the international community to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government. However, it has to be pointed out with regret that this resolution not only does not include the freedom and rights that form the aspirations of the Tamils but also that it includes some features that are inimical to Tamils.
This resolution that places emphasis on the report of the farcical inquiry by those who committed this genocide and which seeks to deliver justice to Tamils through the implementation of this report will not secure a solution for our people. The international community must be mindful of the fact that representatives of the Tamils both in country and abroad have already rejected the report of this commission.
It need to be stated that recommendation in the resolution concerning an internal mechanism within the Sri Lankan government structure as a means for delivering a political solution to the Tamils fails to recognise the fact of the Mullivaaikkaal catastrophe or the acts of genocide perpetrated over the years and which continue to be perpetrated. It also needs to be stated that the international community has failed to learn the lessons of history.
Following the 1983 pogrom in southern Ceylon a resolution was passed relating to Sri Lanka after discussion, in the next year at a sitting on Human Rights Affairs in the UN. That too centred on an internal mechanism of Sri Lanka with little consideration for the permanent security of Tamils or a political solution. From then on up to now the internal mechanism of Sri Lanka has only assisted Singhalese chauvinism in a great way to kill lakhs of Tamils, to encroach on traditional lands of Tamils and to expel thousands of Tamils from the country.
Moreover, all the talks periodically held between the Tamils and Sri Lanka representatives and agreements entered in to were repudiated by Singhalese chauvinism revealing the simple fact that the Tamils were cheated. It is in the realisation of the historical fact that direct talks with the Sri Lankan government was not feasible that the international community came forward in 2002 as facilitators in the talks between us and Sri Lanka. Even that ceasefire agreement entered in to with international facilitation was unilaterally abrogated by Sri Lanka.
The discarding of Post Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS) is a good example as to how Singhalese rulers conveniently used their powers to discard an internal mechanism devised with an international input.
The international community is again goading the Tamils towards a solution based on another internal mechanism of Sri Lanka. The attempt to foist an internal mechanism of Sri Lanka on the Tamil people, despite being aware of the suffering the Tamils endured and the manner in which they were deceived in the past by the Sri Lankan government and further having had the bitter experience of themselves being deceived by the Sri Lankan government, is only causing grief among our people.
Activities of the troops have not decreased in Tamil lands despite it is three years since the announcement that war had ended. Land grabs and Singhalese colonisation continue unabated. The daily routine of the people is curbed by the forces. Civil administrative structures are run by the forces in many areas. Our people feel that the international community has left them in the lurch today just as in the past when during the war they looked up to them as their only saviours.
In this situation the international community needs to strive for a swift, permanent and just solution for the Tamils. But recommending half baked mechanisms and entrusting the security of the Tamils and finding a solution for Tamils to the Sri Lankan government itself which is committing systematic acts of genocide will only help it buy time and protect itself.
At the same time we are pained to note that the political representatives of our people in the motherland had avoided attending the Human Rights Sessions that have concluded. Their attendance after arriving from the motherland and statements about the ground situation from them would have had a great impact at a forum where there are not only representatives of states who have their own political agenda but also several players who could act impartially with regard to our political problems. We believe that it was an opportunity to easily dispel the false propaganda of the Sri Lankan government and would have helped create favourable developments in the future.
Dear Tamil speaking people!
Countless acts of sacrifice and dedication were made in our long struggle. We have also lost our lands and thousands of lives as a result of the war crimes committed by enemy’s forces. While the world looked on our people died in their thousands from starvation, lack of shelter and medical facilities. In the backdrop of this amount of catastrophes and sacrifices, we should not feel jaded.  We should not rest until we achieve justice and freedom for us. It is the time now for us to be united in our journey for freedom.
We should take our struggle forward with timely decisions taking note of the changes in global politics. At the moment our struggle has drawn the increased attention of the international community. The activities of some international media and volunteer organisations have caused a great impact. In addition, the continuing activities of our people are creating a favourable change in the world.
Our people, as organisations and individuals are propagating among the international community. Even though this has caused an impact in our favour during the last three years, it has also caused some confusion among them. The pleas to the international community made as individuals or organisations in connection with a permanent solution for our people being contradictory or critical of each other had been detrimental to us. International powers have expressed their concerns about contradicting pleas for a solution.
Dear People!
In the interest of freedom for our people, the need of the hour is for us to act in unison forgetting the differences among us. Offering contradictory solutions and news to the receptive international community will only harm us. In the present situation where the attention of the world is turned on our people we should all take one solution as our message to the international community. This is the right path.
Our people were suppressed by Singhalese- Buddhist chauvinism over the years had have withstood genocide. Our people are with a history of being deceived by the Singhalese rulers failing to secure even the minimum rights from them. With no other alternative, our people took up the armed struggle and for a period achieving their own security and maintained a de facto state. Our people had long lost hope in the Sri Lankan government and sought to obtain a political solution with international facilitation. They were deceived in this effort too. Our people have witnessed the worst genocide in the annals of human society. The permanent political solution sought by our people is the unfettered right to rule themselves outside the realms of the Sri Lankan state structure.
It is for this that thousands of our fighters sacrificed their dear lives. It is for this goal that lakhs of our people joined in our struggle.
Therefore, the plea from individuals and organisations to the international community should be a political solution based on an administrative structure that ensures self rule. Our pleas and planning should focus on this. Our wish is that all should be united in voicing our political will.
At the same time, while recognising the efforts of all who have undertaken projects for affording relief to the Tamils in the Motherland who form the tap root of our struggle we urge the Diasporas to continue with this task.
Whereas at this time we remember our people killed in the ferocious war waged by the enemy in his so-called final battle, we also share the grief of their families, relatives and friends.
Let us on this day take the pledge that we will energetically take forward our struggle that rests on the sacrifices of thousands of Martyrs and ordinary Tamils until our goal is achieved.
“Tamil Eelam is the yearning of Tigers”
Headquarters Secretariat,                                               
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,
Tamil Eelam.