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Case Studies in Ethnic Conflict - Essay Example

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Factors that led to the emergence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Introduction After independence, it was assumed that Sri Lanka would flourish among its other newly independent Asian neighbours (DeVotta, 2004). It gained voting rights in 1931, and enjoyed a peaceful transition from colonial rule to a national government in 1948…
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Case Studies in Ethnic Conflict

Download file to see previous pages... Despite the Tamils being previously viewed as a passive and non-violent community, their terrorist organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam or LTTE was “arguably the most disciplined, dedicated, and ruthless guerrilla organization in the world” (DeVotta, 2004: 170). The secessionist movement of the LTTE also referred to as the Tamil Tigers, soon turned into a vicious struggle between them and the Sri Lankan government for territorial control over the eastern and northern regions. From a survey of the literature available on the LTTE, it is found that there are various factors that led to their emergence, ranging from ethnicity and language issues, to political, ideological, military and economic factors. This essay will study the various causal factors (national and international) that led to the rise of the LTTE and their subsequent importance in the Sri Lankan politics since 1983 until their demise in 2009. Discussion LTTE, which was founded in 1976, aimed at creating an independent ethnic state for the Tamils in the north and north-eastern parts of Sri Lanka, often referred to as the Tamil Eelam. ...
This view of a struggle for independence had a widespread acceptance among the Tamils, even among the non-combatant ones. To justify the Tamil claim for independence and separate identity from the Sri Lankan political system, it was claimed that the Singhalese and Tamils, prior to the British intervention, existed as two distinct communities occupying separate areas, and the Tamils were looking to re-assert their political sovereignty (Kulandaswamy, 2000). There were claims that the Singhalese and Tamils existed as two territorially distinct States with political sovereignty until 1833, when the British brought them together for administrative convenience, under the Colebrook Commission, and there were further claims that the Tamils did not give up their legal sovereignty and remained independent even under the British rule (Vaddukkodai Resolution, 1976). However, de Silva (1981) in his researches suggested that the LTTE brought in the ‘two-nation theory’ (prior to the British rule), merely to justify their violent struggle for liberation and use of arms, which had a greater support and attraction at an international level. The characteristics used for establishing the ‘two nation’ theory were separate territories, language differences between the two communities, and distinct political entities. However, a closer analysis revealed that under the British rule, despite creating distinct divisions using their classical divide-and-rule policy, they managed to maintain a strict territorial integrity (de Silva, 1981). In another analysis, the conflict is termed a terrorist movement, which was a political difference between the Sri Lankan government and a secessionist group (Bandarage, 2009). Bandarage claimed that according to Uphoff (2000), the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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