Who Will Speak For Tamils At UNHRC?

By Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Spinning Everywhere

Our President declared in India that everyone has a right to protest in a democracy. But Tamils are questioned over religious functions and protesters are ducked in dirty engine oil, locked up or worse. He claimed to be performing a Suprabhata Seva for Venkateswara. But that seemed intresting given how many Hindu temples have been destroyed during the war. Claiming ‘a private visit’ he reportedly met the head of RAW, Alok Joshi.

The rejection of 5,000 metric tonnes of diesel imported by Lanka IOC on grounds of quality leaves people wondering if it is really for that or his thumbing his nose at India ahead of the UNHRC, declaring himself unruffled.
Now in Jaffna he will open a hospital building, commission generators at Chunnakam and, as Myliddy-folk remain evicted, open a hotel there for soldiers. The TNA revealed that the military had taken over 10,000 acres near Palaly.

A show is on with carpet roads and intense cleanup wherever he goes. The culvert from Palaly Road at Ariyakulam to Subash Hotel has been rebuilt with supporting sand bags. Once he goes the bags need to be removed to prevent blockage. Does the govt. think the public is fooled or is the President being misled by his stooges?

In this democracy TNA MPs were kept out of Jaffna development planning meetings. In a measure of progress, in 2011 young Jaffna couples for Rs. 100 could reportedly have a screened off area at check points for sexual activity, but today, Rajasingham Jeyadevan reports, Jaffna has a Honeymoon Lodge for quick sex at Rs. 1,500 per hour. Recall Rajapaksa’s campaign promise to ‘create a society with good values and ethics,’ and police in Colombo tokenly tearing down ‘indecent’ posters.

Anwar Ibrahim

At the World Tamils’ Protection Conference last weekend in Kuala Lumpur attended by TNA’s Mavai Senathirajah and others, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim called for protection for Tamils and punishment for their killers.

Sampanthan or Ponnambalam?

It is time to push at Geneva. Last time the TNA did not go but this year party leaders aver they would, but no team has been named. It really is important that the MPs, especially those who will speak moderately in terms understood by diplomats, go and explain what is happening, avoiding the word Eelam with focus on human rights.

Sampanthan represents what is good in Tamils. He has good relations with Muslims and, a devout Hindu, is well regarded by non-Hindu Tamils and helped SLMC candidates in the East during elections. His word counts.
Lankan Tamils with the most at stake may not go for want of funds but expatriates, whose needs and experiences are different, will through NGOs. Activists have begun cyber attacks on government sites and 50, including EPF, Ministry of Justice, Immigration, and the Media Center for National Security are down.

My fear is that speaking for us will be TNPF’s Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, now married in the West, whose sidekick Selvarajah Kajendran boasted in parliament during his 2004 maiden speech that the Sinhalese should ready themselves to receive 40,000 Sinhalese soldiers in coffins and in 2007 welcomed the LTTE’s Colombo air bombings. Diplomats in Geneva will be turned off.
In its YouTube videos titled Palaka’ni, TamilNet recently interviewed Gajendrakumar. Repeatedly using the strange word ‘obfiscate,’ he left me shaken by defining the Tamil Nation as a people of the same predominant religion, departing from the long standing position on ‘Tamil speaking peoples.’

The Clough History

To understand Gajendrakumar’s Saiva mindset, we must go into his good Christian Clough heritage from Caradive. The first Clough was trained at Batticotta Seminary. There were then two Cloughs, presumably his sons, Albert Edward and William Adam. They went as surveyors to the Federated Malay States where Albert’s son was knighted and became a Minister standing for pluralism. William on his return was awarded the King’s LSO Medal. They both had acquired great wealth. The Cloughs’ relatives included prominent Tamil Christian families – Eliezers, Hitchcocks, McIntyres.

Albert arranged a marriage for his daughter to a Christian that failed. With wealth but limited options, Albert agreed to marry her to G. G. Ponnambalam on condition of a civil marriage. GG reneged, with a follow up ceremony with 30 Brahmins.
To hide Christian antecedents the Clough name is never mentioned in public or biographies; nor is Mrs. GG. As fallout from the revoked compact, her eldest brother Clough Balasingham contested the Kayts seat against GG’s Congress in 1952. Further, in 1970 in the Jaffna District Court, the five Clough children wrangled over whether dowried daughter Millie should have a share of Albert and Clara’s Malayan rubber estates. The name Albert was buried for a previously unheard of Kasinathar although he signed his last will in 1937 as Albert Edward Clough. It is now claimed this Albert converted for admission to school whereas his father, Clough, was already Christian.

GG’s betrayed Tamil following waned after he joined the cabinet that passed the Citizenship Act. The Ponnambalam household does not seem to have been happy. Female servants could not stay. The related stories were election campaign stuff off Federal Party platforms. After the utter rout of the Tamil Congress in 1956 when only 1 Congress candidate, GG, was returned, GG slowly shifted to Malaya for his legal practice, with occasional forays: losing his seat in 1960, winning it back in 1965 and losing it forever in 1970 when, at the Sri Lanka Book Depot, I witnessed GG come campaigning, and asking a boy “Thamby how is your father?” and being replied “Tell me who he is.” Such was his fall.

In 1972 the TUF was formed. In GG’s absence, M. Sivasithambaram who had worked with the Federal Party during the Satyagraha, had brought the Congress into the TUF. GG came to Jaffna in a huff to break it up. I watched the TUF greet him as he arrived by Yaldevi and garland him as their leader. He went to Palm Court with the crowd following to prevent his intriguing. Frustrated, he took the Night Mail back and proceeded to Malaysia, fading out of Tamil life.


The younger GG, Kumar, was married to Additional Jaffna GA Murugesampillai’s daughter, Dr Yogaluckshmi. When Mrs. Bandaranaike, subject to boycotts for standardization and the Buddhist constitution, visited Jaffna two incidents diminished Murugesampillai. Tamil newspapers widely ridiculed him for washing Mrs. B’s feet at Kandasamy Temple. And when Mrs. B was on a stage with a minister readying a cigarette, Murugesampillai ran up and lit it for him. The Ponnambalams were zeros.


But Kumar in the Chandrika era appeared free in egregious PTA cases. His associate A. Vinayagamoorthy is clear that Kumar was supporting not Prabhakaran but his ‘political ideology.’ The Ponnambalam name seemed redeemed in some Tamil circles.
In 2001 the LTTE seeking to gain from Kumar’s murder in 2000, nominated his son Gajendrakumar for the TNA list and rigged the elections. However, Gajendrakumar’s real standing comes through in 2010 when his party polled a mere 4.28%, far less than Douglas! In 2003 Prabhakaran made Kumar a Maamanithan with Yogaluckshmi personally accepting. Since then many in the Diaspora have rallied behind Gajendrakumar. But in Sri Lanka, as noted, his support is nonexistent. If TamilNet is to be credible it must cultivate leaders who have support at home and re-examine some its own anti-Christian and anti-Muslim positions.
The Ponnambalams’ anti-Christian attitudes remain. Yogaluckshmi shamelessly plugs for only Hindus to hold high office in Jaffna.

Consistent Spokespersons

Liberal Hindus, Muslims and Christians, the vast majority of ‘Tamil speaking peoples,’ will not find Gajendrakumar or anyone who justified the expulsion of Muslims and the conscription of children, an acceptable spokesperson in Geneva. To have a credible winning voice in Geneva, we must argue for accountability in a Sri Lanka that is plural and democratic, through spokespersons who have reflected the very same values we root for.

14 Comments for “Who Will Speak For Tamils At UNHRC?”

  1. kamala

    Why do you need to drag all the family stuff to show that Grandson Ponnambalam is useless as a representative of the Tamils? Can you not argue this based on the silly things GP has written and spoken?

  2. Sri Babu

    No one speaks for any specific ethnic group of Sri Lanka at UNHRC. GOSL representative speaks for all the Sri Lankans in the country that includes everyone the group you have referred to.

  3. dagggy

    Tamils are in a pickle and Sampanthan suffers from bouts of dimentia.
    So much so that, he forgot to mention of HR abuses of TNA parlimentarians when inquired by Julie Bishop. He completely forgot Sridaran’s office had been raided by the GOSL..

    In this context, whom shall we nominate? That show man in sunglasses Mano Ganeshan or Mahavi Senathiraja the dhoby for Amirthalingams children?
    how about that cloak & dagger S,J,Emmanuel but his batchmate has thrown in the towel….How about the Prime Minister Rudra? He must be a dreamer.
    How about that Burt guy ? No ..can not he is White..

    Hoole…….. you will have to think hard. Who will do the Palaka’ni honours in Geneva.
    Need somebody to match the finger wagging Pillay.

    So, Rajasingham Jayadevan complaints being charged Rs. 1500 by the guest house to release his pleasures. Castro’s guest house did not charge him
    Nevertheless, 1500 is summa when converted into Sterling Pounds. He seems to like it sd hr frequent Jaffna.

  4. dagggy

    Hoole do not sweat…….
    Ask the reporters for their names and send them to Geneva.

    Ex-LTTE Cadres Contribute To Economy

    By Camelia Nathaniel reporting from Kilinochchi -

  5. Steve

    Good article.
    So, president provided electricity to Armed forces?
    Did he Built streets to travel soldiers?
    Did he build any rural roads?
    Did he provide electricity to farmers?
    Did he building houses for Armed forces?

  6. lanka peiris

    Professor Hoole go and clean up your dirty linen privately. TNA MPs were all Prabhakarans boot lickers and it is a shame that the Tamil people elect these same idiots to political office.

    Disgruntled Tamils in Sri Lanka and the asylum diaspora can shout through rooftops but as far as Sri Lankans are concerned, what has happened is done and over. Sri Lanka have anihilated Tamil Tiger Terrorist Morons. If Tamils want to live peacefully in Sri Lanka become Sri Lankans and think less of your Tamil ethnicity.

  7. tonga

    what we can gather from this article, is that Tamils who were spearheading their cause ultimately lost their directions, but sought refuge in foreign lands when their struggle and their lives endangered, and feathered their nests. At last those so called ‘poraligals’ lost their lives in thousands in cruel ways, velupillai gave the image of captain and ended up tragically even his 12 year old son brutally murdered. What happened to Raviraj and Joseph Parajasingam of TNA same fate, hello the remaining tamil citizens of lanka toe the line of good governance and try at least to protect the remaining tamil people including your lives…. at least now give up your useless and unachievable struggle for autonomy or whatever……

  8. sangaralingham

    the morality of the country and my be right the world as we today is taking a path of uncivilised undemocratic mess. all we need is a gallant leader of international repute who respect humanity for honesty civility respect each other with good moral philosophical thinking. civility has been diluted so much recovery is hard to find or notice. analyse the world events for last 75 years we are on a sliding path

  9. sellam

    It is a pity that learned men like Prof..Ratnajeevan Hoole washing dirty linen when the Tamils in the North and East are suffering. Why cannot he do something fruitful. I am aware of the past Tamil history in Jaffna.There was no unity among the christians and the Hindus in the North and there was drift . How could they achieve anything for the Tamils.

  10. Mr. SAMPANTHAN, don’t talk what the President declared in India or UN. He has two tongues with which he will promise to bring the MOON for the TAMILS. What has he done in the last few years? STOP wasting the time in the PAST and look ahead to do the right thing for your PEOPLE. The Government knows that you have a few years and you will go away. Think of your past MISTAKES as lessons and ACT WISELY withouT further ADO.

  11. Sri

    There is no such thing as “plural and democratic” Sri Lanka! What exists is an autocratic mono-ethnically racist and religious Sinhala Only Buddhism foremost government since 1971 to date. Surely this is common knowledge! How could the writer have missed these basic facts unless he wants to “wash” Rajapakse’s feet.

    What has been sorely missing right through from 1948 to date is good governance and a good plural constitution for all citizens and protection of human rights, humanitarian rights and the absolute right to security of life itself! Also important are: rule of law, justice and an end to impunity together with the scrapping of the PTA which is used to execute all sorts of crimes against humanity by the state.

    Sampanthan who knows the history of the Tamils plight will be a good interlocutor with fairness all round. The ongoing militarism, gooning and ethnic engineering in the north and east have to be highlighted as well as a call for full accountability for all sorts of terrible crimes against humanity by all the parties concerned. As this invariably means one carried out by the UN itself as the state of SL is a highly concerned party to such heinous crimes made worse by being in a state of continuos abject denial.

    It is time for real change.


    I read Prof. Hoole’s above article with great interest, and really admired his English and meticulously quoted archival political and biographical info. But he could have expressed the same content in a few words, such as: ‘We need a good person to speak for the Tamils at UNHRC this time. Of the two being talked about, I believe, Mr. R. Sampanthan is far more preferable to Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam. Our President must solve our problems without delay with TNA’s full participation.’ Or, something simlple like that. Most of his article is personal.
    I have never met Prof. Hoole, but have great respect for his talents and intellect, both of which are, I believe, being wasted in efforts to over-sell his merits. Sad!

  13. Jonathan

    This is look like a personal bikering than a real thought out article. Get a room Hoole…you need to check yourself in a mental hospital. And you call yourself an intellectual. What a tool!

  14. I always read your article first in the sunday Leader and appreciate your journalism.
    In the last weekend Sunday Leader your article”who will speak for the Tamils at UNHRC”made me to nauseate.
    You have rediculed Gajan’s parents,grand parents and even the maternal grand father-in law in a very despicable manner.Do you know that Gajans paternal grand uncle Rev. Fr Balasundaram was a well respected cotholic priest.in the north Srilanka.
    I can understand you praising Sampanthan and TNA But I cannot understand what you gain by rediculing Gajan trying to prevent him from speaking for the Tamils at UNHRC in Geneve. Helping SLMC candidates in the East in the last elections is appreciated but I wonder where was sampanthan when the Muslims were thrown out of the North a few years back
    Have you forgotten that Sampanthan did not want to go to Geneve last time UNHRC brought a motion against Srilanka and also prevented other TNA MPs also from going to Geneve to speak on behalf of theTamils. Did he not do that to please Mahinda Rajapaksa
    What is wrong in Gajan going to Geneve to protest against the S.L Govt attrocities and war crimes.
    G.T.F , Tamil Eelam Govt. in exile along many thousands of Tamils from all over Europe are planing to go to Geneve to protest and expose the Srilankan war crimes and the crimes that are continualy being committed and expose the forced singhala colonisation in Tamil Eelam G.T.F has already exposed the war crimes of S.L. Govt.by a documentary produced by channel 4
    I wonder who is behind you to write such a horrible article at this time when Tamils all over the world are united to expose the crual and notorious Sri Lankan Govt.and demand Justice and peace for the Tamils in Srilanka
    You call yourself a Christian but your article exposes your true charecter and is very disgraceful
    Joe Nathan

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