India denies visa to US rights activist

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 September 2009, 03:47 GMT]
Indian embassy in New York denied a visa to US-based humanitarian worker and a critic of the Sri Lanka Government, Dr Ellyn Shander to travel to New Delhi to address the Delhi Tamil Sangam on 20th September, Deccan Chronicle reported. Shander was to address the Delhi meeting with MDMK General Secretary Vaiko, after attending meeting in Bangalore with the local Tamil Sangam on 15th of September.

"Her [Shander's] Indian host Mr M.Natarajan, Chennai-based political activist and husband of Ms Sasikala, close friend of AIADMK leader Ms Jayalalithaa, has accused both the Central and state governments of curbing free speech in the country," the paper said.

Natarajan has organised a series of meetings in Chennai, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Madurai and Delhi till Sept. 20 with Ms Shander as the main speaker, the paper added.

Mr Natarajan said that the Chennai police had denied permission to conduct an indoor meeting with Ms Shander as the guest on September 16. “We have moved the Madras high court against denial of permission to conduct indoor meetings on the human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The writ petition would be heard on Monday,” the paper said quoting Mr Natarajan.

Ms Shander told TamilNet that she will protest against the visa cancellation.

"My only hope and desire is to see the Tamils of Sri Lanka liberated from the hell of the concentration camps. They are being brutalized, killed, raped and deprived of even basic human rights, by their own government, all because they were born Tamil in Sri Lanka," Shander told TamilNet, adding, "The Indian government has the ability to be a shining example of humanitarianism and save the Tamils of Sri Lanka. India will then go down, on the right side of history."

Dr Shander, a Connecticut physician, worked with the Elie Wiesel Foundation to obtain a statement from the nobel laureate, Elie Wiesel supporting Tamils right to "live and flourish in their homeland."


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