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Tamil protesters hold rally near White House
Hundreds of demonstrators call for the end of "genocide" against the Tamil people in Sri Lanka near the White House in Washington on May 18, 2009. (UPI Photo/Roger L. Wollenberg)
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Tamil Eelam (Tamil: தமிழீழம், tamiḻ īḻam, generally rendered outside Tamil-speaking areas as தமிழ் ஈழம்,Sinhala: දෙමල ඊලාම්, demaḻa īḻaam, as referred to in the south)is the name given by certain Tamil groups in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora to the state which they aspire to create in the north and east of Sri Lanka. Tamil Eelam has no official status or recognition by any other state or authority. The name is derived from the ancient Tamil name for Sri Lanka, Eelam.

The United Kingdom gained control of the small island of Sri Lanka, in 1815 and administratively unified the island with a legislative council in 1833 with three Europeans and one each for Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils and Burghers. British Governor William Manning, who arrived in Ceylon in 1919, created a reformed legislative council in 1921 and actively encouraged communal thinking in the legislative council. As a result, the Tamils started to develop communal consciousness and began to think of themselves as needing to be represented by Tamil leadership. It was this development that made way for the development of the Tamil political organization called the All Ceylon Tamil Congress headed by G. G. Ponnambalam.

Sri Lanka achieved independence from the British in 1948 and in the same year the government of Sri Lanka, with the acceptance vote from G.G. Ponnambalam, passed a new act called the Ceylon Citizenship Act which disenfranchised the Indian Tamil plantation workers Though Ponnambalam did not vote for all the bills pertaining to the Ceylon citizenship act (including the offending bill), his silence in parliament made the Tamil public believe that he was not interested in Indian Tamil rights. In 1949 a new Tamil political party, named the Federal Party, was formed and was led by S. J. V. Chelvanayakam who earlier broke away from All Ceylon Tamil Congress because of the latter's decision to tie up with the UNP.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tamil Eelam."
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