With the fall of Mullaitivu, the last town held by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in northern Sri Lanka, the decades-old war for a separate Tamil state in that island may well be over.
The question is, what next for Sri Lankan Tamils? For long, they have been pawns between a separatist force and a government that was hardly bothered about their fate.
Will that change now? Will they get a better deal now? It may be too early to say that. But given that LTTE no longer figures in the political equation, much depends on how the Lankan state views them—as citizens or as defeated opponents.
Initial reactions from Colombo seem positive. At a rally in the Central Province on Sunday, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said his government was determined to give the Tamils their rightful place and treat them equally with all other communities on the island.
That positive sentiment will take a lot of effort to be translated into reality. Sentiments have a way of getting wasted in South Asian settings. Rajapaksa should bear that in mind.