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The end of war between Sinhalese army and Tigers guerrilla has provoked the reintroduction of a domination process over the Tamil minority by the Sinhalese majority. Today Tamil Nadu looks towards the economic development and the revival of Indian power on the international stage.

Is there a new relationship between communities?

srilankan army2The Sri Lankan civil war ended with the "victory" of a faction, or rather the destruction of the second. In this kind of situation the victorious camp tries in general to dictate its rules over the weaker. It's impossible to know if the position of Tamil minority would have been better today if the Sinhalese government and Tamil Tigers had reached a peace agreement during the 1990s. In any case the end of war lead to the establishment of an authoritarian power that wants to control the Tamil minority.

What means of pressure?

The first mean of pressure consists to settle in several Northern and Eastern territories by the Sri Lankan army. The army starts to manage various industries, such as luxury hotels, shops and tea plantations, the most prosperous and flourishing activities on the island. Important population movements are also encouraged to install Sinhalese of the South in lands mainly populated by Tamils, and thus to destabilize the Tamil economic activity. The army prevents for example the local fishermen to work, but facilitates the navigation of new Sinhalese settlers. Many Tamil temporary refugees became permanent refugees, in certain cases only few hundred meters from their old house.

srilankan armyAlmost thirty years of civil war anchored more deeply the distrust between both communities. Too many political promises were made on each side, perpetually followed by new war crimes. While Sinhalese and Tamils are suspicious on each other, the mistrust also affects the civil society that looks away from political personalities and national army. Although the Tigers guerrilla never represented all Tamil opinions, they tried hard during 26 years to eliminate any other rival political voice. There is a lack of political representation for the young Tamil generation, raising the legitimacy problem of their political representatives.

Perpetuation of ethnic logics

The case of religion, which was the trigger of Tamil guerrilla in 1972, is always so sensitive. The Sri Lankan army destroyed numerous Hindu temples during the conflict; today there is a multiplication of Buddhist building sites in the North and East of the island. Finally it's the post-conflict judicial treatment that informs best about the will of societal cohesion (or not) of the government. In the Sri Lankan case the justice is not applied to crimes of both camps. Estimations evoke 100 000 deaths, including 40 000 during the national army final assault in the North at the beginning of 2009. 80 000 individuals are also considered as missing: war crimes were numerous and common from both groups.

The UN submits its report about the judicial treatment in September 2015 and its observation is irrevocable: Sri Lankan political powers have never tried to set up a court to judge mutual crimes, financial and human means are not awarded to the national justice to handle the case. Assistance from the international community would be needed to highlight crimes of the 26-years civil war, but neither procedure can be launched without the support of the Sri Lankan government.refugees camp

In Tamil Nadu

New Delhi turns away from Sri Lanka during the 1990s after got stuck and lost more than 1 100 soldiers in few months. While Indian Tamils supported massively the Tigers during the civil war, positions are less fixed today. Tamil nationalist claims at the Indian independence can partially explain the feeling of sympathy for the Tamil fight in Sri Lanka. Nevertheless the destruction of Tigers guerrilla in the first half of 2009 dispersed the Tamil fervour. It's an Indian national logic that actually occupies the spirits of Tamil inhabitants. Tamil identity is certified and protected by the Indian federal government from more than 60 years; economic logics succeed to identical logics from now. The two principal regional parties referring to the Dravidian inheritance share the power for more than 40 years. This governmental communitarianism is confirmed in facts and in consciousness; the regional economy becomes the new center of interests.

The Indian economic renewal ...

modi srilankaWhile the Sri Lankan civil war is ended, the economic development of India and its growing place on the international stage becomes the major issue for Indian populations. The rural exodus is fast-growing (Chennai is the fourth Indian city in demography), cities enlarge in an uncontrolled way, and the chase for wealth is launched. Tamil Nadu turns away from Sri Lankan solidarity to look towards the economic future of India, which passes beyond the Indian Ocean towards South-East Asia. Tamil Nadu tries to develop its textile, mechanic and petrochemical industries, taking advantage of its key points as tropical cultures (horticulture, rice, cotton and seeds). The tertiary sector has a great development potential, mainly in information technologies, electronics, financial services and tourism. In any case, the political cohesion of Tamil Nadu is a central element of its diversity and economic growth.

... And its diplomatic overture

The Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi goes to Sri Lanka in March 2015. This diplomatic journey aims to strengthen the links between the two countries, while Sri Lanka becomes a privileged partner of the Chinese competitor. Modi takes advantage of this trip to visit Northern and Eastern territories to ensure Tamil populations of Indian support. The Prime minister was partially elected on a development program of Indian power on the international stage; New Delhi thus considers Sri Lanka as a single entity. In front of the Chinese competition in this part of the Ocean, the national reconciliation between Sinhalese and Tamils comes after the cooperation with Colombo.

dheepanWhile Tamil minority represents more than 3 million individuals in Sri Lanka, the civil war provoked the flee of a part of this population. The historic Tamil presence in Malaysia increased to 2 million inhabitants. 200 000 Tamils also found refuge in Singapore, in the French island of Reunion or in Canada. France welcomed a restricted number of refugees: their story inspires Jacques Audiard's last movie, Dheepan, which tells the exile of a Sri Lankan Tamil towards France and its installation in a poor suburb.

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