South African media regrets the act of Indian consulate

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 March 2008, 20:35 GMT]
It would have been better if a representative of the Indian Consulate had accepted the memorandum from the peaceful protestors, even if the consulate was not in agreement with their views, aired the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in its morning news last Friday while reporting the demonstration conducted in front of the Indian consulate in Durban the previous day by the Indian community in South Africa in support of the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka.

Voice: SABC National Radio coverage

MP3 AudioDirect Link (mp3)
The video and audio clippings received by TamilNet, bring out further details of the demonstration held in Durban on 20th March.

Thangam Jodia, married to a Sri Lankan Tamil, speaking to SABC said she has personal experience of the sufferings undergone by her husband’s relatives in Sri Lanka.

“My husband’s aunt was abducted in Batticaloa by unidentified armed men but was luckily released after two weeks because of the serious efforts of her relatives’, she said.

Videoclip from the protest
"I am also aware of the atrocities committed against Tamil women in Sri Lanka, families subjected to rape, young girls fleeing to safer areas to protect themselves from sexual assaults and abductions of innocent civilians by men operating in white van," she recounted with horror.

Mr. Maduray, a leader of TCC-SA said: "We have chosen to stage our protest in front of the Indian Consulate and we have very good reason for doing so. GOSL has reneged on its Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) and India as a super power in the sub-continent has done nothing about it. Infact India has sided with the Sri Lankan government.

"To add insult to injury, India has been providing military training it Sri Lankan troops and in addition it has been supplying radar equipment to the GOSL. We object to the support that India is providing to GOSL, especially as this support is being used to murder the innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka," he concluded.

The Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), Jody Kollapen, who received the memorandum and addressed the gathering said: "The people here often ask why we South Africans should be concerned. Yes, we are South Africans first, but we have links to Tamils all over the world. We share common culture, common language and we look alike.

Pointing out to a photo of a Sri Lankan Tamil Woman, Mr. Kolappen said “We feel the pain when we see this picture of a mother who had lost her child and we care for her."

"South Africa achieved liberation because millions of people across the world cared for us. They did not know us but still they fought our struggle. They stood with us because we are human beings. That is why is we have to share solidarity with the Tamils in Sri Lanka.The Tamil issue is now being discussed only among Tamils. It has to be taken beyond the Tamil community .We need to take it to others such as trade unions, political parties and other religious groups and enlighten them. I want to commend your efforts .You have certainly succeeded in highlighting this issue.

"Each of us has a duty to the same. When I go home today it is my duty to tell my wife and Children about what is happening in Sri Lanka.

"Your duty is to tell your neighbours, the lady working in your home, the employee serving you in the super market. Ask them 'Do you know that there is a country called Sri Lanka? Do you know what is happening there?'

"If you don’t do this it is a waste of gathering here. I know it won't be a waste because you all know the passion of a father, sister or a mother." Kollapen at the end of his address, read out excerpts from the U.S. state department's Human Rights report on Sri Lanka.

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