Vanni artistes highlight detainees' plight

[TamilNet, Friday, 30 August 2002, 05:46 GMT]
A Tamil parliamentarian Thursday called for the repeal of Sri Lanka’s notorious Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) under which hundreds of people continue to be detained. Mr. K. Thurairatnesingham, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) was addressing people assembled at Trincomalee St. Joseph's College auditorium Thursday evening to view the play enacted by the Vanni Teachers' Aesthetic Society, a group of teacher-artistes of Vanni region.

"The draconian PTA which has been the cause for the immense suffering of thousands of Tamil youths of this country should be repealed immediately from the Statute book," said Mr. Thurairatnesingham.

The two hour play named 'Uyirppinai Nokki' (towards life) focused the pathetic plight of Tamil political prisoners still being detained at various prisons in the south of the island for several years. Ms Kaaronja, the head of the Liberation Tigers Education and Cultural wing in Trincomalee made the introductory speech.

Many people are being held even after the ceasefire agreement between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government came into force in February this year.

The Vanni artistes' group has set out to mobilise public opinion against the continuous detention of Tamil political prisoners when the country is steadily moving towards achieving peace, the Director of the play, Mr. K. Vijyasekaran said.

The play 'Uyirppinai Nokki,' first staged in Vavuniya, will be staged in several parts of the northeast before going to Colombo next week. From Trincomalee, the group will go to Batticaloa Friday.

Mr. Vijeyasekaran said they also intend to visit prisons in south where Tamil political prisoners are detained. Mr. Thurairatnesingham further said that while the government is going to have direct talks with the LTTE, it is a pity to note that large numbers of Tamil youths are still languishing in jails and detention centres on charges of helping and providing food to members of the LTTE.

"Although the ceasefire agreement now in force has brought normalcy for the people of other provinces in the country and not to the people of northeast," Mr. Thurairatnesingham said.

"Still displaced people live in welfare centres and refugee camps, unable to return to their villages. Tamil youths arrested under the PTA are still under detention at various prisons," he pointed out.

"Tamil political prisoners should be released forthwith and all displaced people should be resettled if true normalcy is to prevail in northeast," the TNA MP said.

'Uyirppinai Nokki'

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