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Quote Democracy may mean acceding to the rule of the majority but democracy also means governments by discussion and persuasion It is the belief that the minority of today may become the majority of tomorrow that ensures the stability of a functioning democracy The practice of democracy in Sri Lanka within the confines of a unitary state served to perpetuate the oppressive rule of a permanent Sinhala majority It was a permanent Sinhala majority which through a series of legislative and administrative acts ranging from disenfranchisement and standardisation of University admissions to discriminatory language and employment policies and state sponsored colonisation of the homelands of the Tamil people sough to establish its hegemony over people of Tamil Eelam These legislative and administrative acts were reinforced from time to time with physical attacks on the Tamil people with intent to terrorise and intimidate them into submission It was a course of conduct which led eventually to rise of Tamil militancy in the mid 1970s with initially sporadic acts of violence The militancy was met with wide ranging retaliatory attacks on increasingly large sections of the Tamil people with intent once again to subjugate them In the late 1970s large numbers of Tamil youths were detained without trial and tortured under emergency regulations and later under the Prevention of Terrorism Act which has been described by the International Commission of Jurists as a blot on the statute book of any civilised country In 1980s and thereafter there were random killings of Tamils by the state security forces and Tamil hostages were taken by the state when suspects were not found The preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads Whereas it is essential if man is not compelled as a last resort to rebellion against tyranny and oppression that human rights should be protected by the rule of law The rise of the armed struggle of the Tamil people constituted the
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