Rajiv’s Ghost and Srilankan Tamils

February 20, 2009

Why did India not bomb the under-seige Taj and Oberoi Hotels, to flush out all the terrorists? Why did Indian foreign minister escort a top terrorist to Kandhahar to get the hostages released? Why is Indian army not launching an all-out war against terrorists, even in Kashmir, where they are accused of extreme excesses? Why did India not support Israel’s rampage in Gaza? Any sane Indian citizen will dismiss these as questions of a lunatic.

But then, by the same rationale, should Indian government not be condemning Srilanka for its utter disregard for human lives in its war against LTTE? Why then, is the acting Prime Minister reading out a statement in the Parliament that eerily resembles Srilankan government propaganda material?Yes, LTTE is a proscribed organization, which may have indulged in acts of terror. Yes, LTTE may have assassinated a former Indian Prime Minister. Yes, Pirabakaran needs to be tried in a court of law in India. Yes, LTTE may be holding over a lakh Tamils as ‘hostages’.  But how does any of these make the actions of the Srilankan government justifiable? Will any government put the onus for the lives of its citizens on the terrorists? If the Government doesn’t care about a lakh citizens perishing during its pursuit of a thousand terrorists, why would the terrorists care – after all, these are people who have least regard for their own lives? How can India endorse such an act, particularly when the Indian connection is so strong for the victims through their sympathising brethren in Tamilnadu? Is it because the victims have a stronger ‘Tamil’ association than a ‘Hindu/Indian’ association?

It is time Rajiv Gandhi’s ghost is exorcised. One hundred thousand people cannot be allowed to languish anymore because of one man’s unfortunate death a decade ago. Mahatma Gandhi’s ghost was buried with the ascent of BJP to power. Indira’s ghost was bid adieu with the Sikh pogrom orchestrated by Congress. Rajiv’s ghost still dictates India’s policy on Srilanka and by being approvingly nodding, indirectly presides over the mass man-slaughter occuring in Srilanka. How many more lives need to be sacrificed before India exorcises Rajiv’s ghost and asserts itself as a moral and regional power to rescue the thousands of innocents caught in the cross-fire between a suicidal rebel group and an irresponsible fascist government?