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 Post subject: Sri Lankan Tamils an extinct species in Sri Lanka !
 Post Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 10:57 am 
Date : 2005-10-20
@ - Asian Tribune -

Sri Lanka Tamil population drop from second to the last in the latest census -- World Factbook

Based on the latest census figures the World Factbook states that the Sri Lankan Tamils who were the second largest community (12%) has come down to 3.9 % in the census figures of 2001. The Sri Lankan Moors have shot up from the third position to No: 2 -- i.e .7.2%. The Indian Tamils is at 4.6%. The Sinhalese as expected topped the list with 73.8%. These figures indicate that the Sri Lankan Tamils have dropped to the bottom of the ladder with all other communities climbing over it.

Sri Lankan Tamils constituted around 1.2 million in the pre-Eelam war period. The decline in the population of the Sri Lanka Tamils is mainly due to the post-1983 politics of violence.

Mass migration of the Sri Lankan Tamils began in the post-1983, after the ethnic riots. This migration consisted of both political and economic refugees. While pockets of Tamil migrants increased abroad their population decreased in Sri Lanka. The LTTE in particular welcomed this trend as these pockets were seen as sources of revenue. But the flip side of it was the drop in population which can have serious political implications for the separatists.

The Tamil diaspora boasts that their total population in Canada is around 150,000. In UK its around 100,000. Europe too accounts for another 100,000. Australia around 50,000. The Tamil diaspora is also spread around other parts of the world including some refugees in India. The LTTE claims that nearly half of the Tamils killed in the decades of war were Tamils. These factors should account for the drop in the demographics of the Sri Lankan Tamils.

However, it should be noted that the last census was obstructed by the LTTE and the Tamil MPs who feared that the new figures would reveal the decrease. It was a partial census which did no include most of the north and east.

The Tamil lobby abroad and in Sri Lanka thrived on the previous figures of 12% which gave them the higher political claim as the second largest community in Sri Lanka. In the post-1983 period, the LTTE was also able to cook the books in the areas controlled by them and claim a disproportionate share of government assistance based on the earlier figures. Most of the dead were also included in the list prepared by pro-LTTE government servants who claimed subsistence, pensions etc for the missing persons.

Despite the partial census, it is logical to assume that there has been a decline in the Tamil population. This is inevitable considering the mass migrations and those who died in the war. It should also be noted that most of the dead were the young ones who, if they lived, would have contributed substantially to the growth of the Tamil population.

The overall impact of this decline in population is to undermine the claim of a separate state by a declining group of separatists at the expense of the other major minorities, particularly the Muslims. One cynic remarked that the Sri Lankan Tamils will soon be an extinct species at the rate the LTTE is killing them indiscriminately.

That apart, it is legitimate to ask whether there is any rationale in carving out a separate state for 3.9% of the population. Even if this figure is doubled in a full census it is clear that the Sri Lankans have lost the demographic advantage they had earlier. At this stage what is clear is that the Sri Lankan Tamils have moved out of Sri Lanka looking for new homelands. Tamils in the diaspora are reluctant to come back to Sri Lanka and they have exerted maximum pressure to remain in their new land of domicile. Besides, more migrations are taking place, some of whom are now fleeing the terror and the oppression of the LTTE.

One political commentator asked: "Since the Sri Lankan Tamils are leaving in plane loads is Eelam only Velupillai Prabhakaran and his minions in the Vanni?"

The World Factbook presents annually statistical and factual data profiling each country. It is edited by the CIA. USA. The following is a part of the latest report.

Ethnic groups:
Sinhalese 73.8%, Sri Lankan Moors 7.2%, Indian Tamil 4.6%, Sri Lankan Tamil 3.9%, other 0.5%, unspecified 10% (2001 census provisional data)

- Asian Tribune -

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