Tamil festival for self-determination on 'pearl coast'
[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 February 2002, 19:28 GMT]
More than twenty thousand, including Muslims, thronged the seaside village of Mutharipputhurai in Mannar Thursday for the 'Tamil is our Being' (Thamil Engal Uyir) celebration. The organisers of the event made a declaration that the homeland of the Tamils and their right to determination should be recognised; that the Liberation Tigers should be accepted as the sole representatives of the Tamils and that the ban on the LTTE should be removed; that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be repealed and all Tamil political prisoners held under this draconian law should be released.
Mutharippu is 45 kilometres by road from Mannar in the southern coastal region of the district controlled by the Liberation Tigers.
The Tamil National Alliance was also actively involved in organising the event. Parliamentarians and representatives of the Peopleís Liberation Organisation of the Thamil Eelam (PLOTE), the Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF), the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) and the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) took part in the festival.
Inaugurating the meet, the head of the 'Tamil is our Being' organising committee, Mr. T. Iruthayarajah Cruz said, "The people of Mannar have thronged to Mutharippu today to submit this memorandum to the new government through the district secretary to reiterate our desire for genuine peace and to urge Colombo to completely lift the economic embargo on the Vanni and remove the restrictions and ban on fishing and farming".
One of the chief organisers of the event, Mr. S. Baskaran said that not enough vehicles could be found in Mannar town to transport the thousands who had gathered there to come for the Tamil is our Being celebration. Hundreds, who were thus stranded in Mannar, came by sea to Mutharippu.
From ancient times the village was renowned for its pearl fishery. The ruins of a governorís residence and a minor fort still stand witness to the revenues the Dutch were able to extract from the pearl fishery of the Mutharippu coast.
'Mutharippu' in Tamil means pearl sieve.