The state assembly of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has passed a resolution calling for a United Nations-supervised referendum on independence for the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
This follows a month-long wave of mass actions throughout Tamil Nadu, initiated by students but drawing in broader sections of the population.
The Tamil Nadu protesters want the Indian government to raise a similar resolution at the United Nations. The students are planning to launch a civil disobedience campaign if the Indian government does not act on their demands.
The demand for an independent Tamil homeland (Tamil Eelam) became popular among Tamils living in the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka as result of decades of racism and repression.
When peaceful protest was violently repressed, some Tamil youths took up arms. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fought for nearly three decades before being defeated in May 2009.
During the later stages of the war, the Indian government gave military aid to the racist Sri Lankan government, which had long been receiving military aid from the United States and its allies such as Israel and the European Union countries.
Thus India shares responsibility for the Sri Lankan government’s crimes, including the massacre of an estimated 40,000 civilians in the final few months of the war.
Since the end of the war, the Sri Lankan regime has kept the Tamil areas under military occupation, and is implementing a policy of confiscating Tamil-owned land and establishing Sinhalese settlements in Tamil areas. Tamils face imprisonment, murder, torture and rape at the hands of Sri Lankan government forces.
Throughout the war the United States government occasionally expressed concern about human rights violations, but continued to supply military and other aid to the Sri Lankan government. US hypocrisy on human rights continues today.
On March 21, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted by a margin of 25 to 13 (with eight abstentions) for a US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka.
The resolution calls on the Sri Lankan government to “conduct an independent and credible investigation into allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law”.
Since the Sri Lankan government has been and continues to be the main perpetrator of human rights abuses, this amounts to calling on the government to investigate itself.