'Independence celebrations not for Tamils' -JSU

[TamilNet, Monday, 03 February 2003, 23:04 GMT]
In a statement issued Monday on the eve of the country's fifty-fifth independence day, the Jaffna Students' Union (JSU) questioned the reluctance of the United National Front government in removing high security zones and rehabilitating the displaced people at a time when there is a peaceful environment in the country, and said that the Tamil people have been denied the benefits of independence the country gained 55 years ago.

"Fifty-five years have gone by since the country gained independence. But the Colombo government still refuses to release even five feet of land to Tamils," the JSU said.

Excerpts from the statement:

"The fifty-fifth Independence day celebration is to be held in the country on a grand scale on February 4. However Tamils are not allowed to live in their own homes and do cultivation in their own lands. The freedom of Tamils in the country is curtailed. The government is not prepared to release even five feet of land to Tamils.

"Tamils in this country have been described as migrants and vagabonds in Sinhalese history books such as the Mahavamsa and Deepavamsa. Why has this situation arisen? It is because Tamil leaders in the past believed that Sinhalese politicians would treat Tamils and Sinhalese alike. Sinhalese Leaders deceived Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam eighty-three years ago. Following the independence of the country, Tamil leader Mr.S.J.V.Chelvanayakam was deceived not once but several times. Mr.Chelvanayakan signed an agreement with Mr.S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, which was later abrogated. He later signed an agreement with Mr.Dudely Senanayake, and that, too, was abrogated due to the pressure of some chauvinist elements. Every time there was an agreement, Sinhalese politicians let down the Tamil moderate leadership.

"This clearly shows that the political independence the country gained fifty-five years ago is only for the Sinhalese community and not for Tamils. Since then Tamils have been forced to fight for their rights. The duty of the country's army is to safeguard the people and not to deprive their rights. The Sri Lanka Army should bear this in mind.

"Even after fifty-five years of political independence Tamils and Muslims in the country continue to agitate for their rights. For whom is the political independence the country gained fifty-five years ago?"


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