12 April, 2021

Is Eelam Inevitable?

Sinhalese now answer the query-are they tired enough of war to cede a state?-with a 'yes but...', not a 'NO'.

Is Eelam Inevitable?

A decade has passed since the IPKF was expelled from Sri Lanka by the island’s maverick nationalist president, Ranasinghe Premadasa. From India’s original intervention in Sri Lanka in 1987, Premadasa had been opposed not only to the IPKF but Indian involvement in Sri Lanka’s affairs. Like most Sinhalese, he saw the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987 as an instrument of imperialist oppression and considered the IPKF an occupying army. As prime minister under J.R. Jayawardene in 1987, he even went so far as to boycott Rajiv Gandhi’s Sri Lanka visit. When he became president in 1989, such was his haste to expel the Indians that he helped arm the Tigers to defeat the Indian army. When this didn’t work, he announced publicly that the IPKF was no longer welcome in Sri Lanka, without first informing New Delhi-a slight several changes of government in India have not been quick to forget.

The rupture led to an enduring rift, which began to heal only with the ascendancy of Chandrika Kumaratunga to the presidency. Harking back to her mother Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s...

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