Vinod Mubayi


South Asia is experiencing an unprecedented degree of ethnic, linguistic, and religious conflict.  This is exemplified by the fast growing Talibanization of Pakistan and the violence perpetrated on innocent civilians, the depredations of the Hindutva fundamentalists in India not only against religious minorities but also on all those who do not subscribe to their ideology, but above all by the majority Sinhala – minority Tamil conflict in Sri Lanka now reaching a climax, which threatens a full-scale genocide of the hapless Tamil population, caught between two brutal opposing forces, the LTTE and the Sri Lanka Army.


This issue of the Bulletin carries articles on the ethnic, linguistic, and religious conflicts in three South Asian countries, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.  The lead article by the Sri Lankan scholar, Neil deVotta, is devoted to the horrific situation in Sri Lanka, where thousands of Tamil civilians have been caught in the cross-fire, many have perished, and thousands more remain in intense danger.  The world has taken precious little action so far to avert the catastrophe that threatens Sri Lankan Tamils.  Even India, Sri Lanka’s closest neighbor, and the country most likely to be affected by the outcome of the ongoing war has remained relatively uninterested and uninvolved perhaps mindful of the LTTE’s assassination of the ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 following the failure of the Indian Peace Keeping Force’s mission in the late 1980s.  Silence and averting the gaze, however, is not an option when a disaster of this magnitude threatens.  The peace of the graveyard that the Sri Lankan government wishes to impose on the minority is not going to prevail.  The Sri Lankan Army may well destroy the LTTE as a cohesive fighting force, but the remaining cadres are likely to morph into a guerilla force that will grow as long as Tamils are denied justice and equality and their rights are routinely violated by the racist majority Rajapaksa regime that wishes to proclaim Sri Lanka a Sinhala Buddhist nation where the minority Hindu, Christian and Muslim Tamils can only live as second class citizens.

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