Feature Article

Colombo’s brutal suppression of Tamil Heroes’ Day counter-productive to stated objectives: Tamil MP

[TamilNet, Sunday, 06 December 2020, 15:44 GMT]
Emboldened with a two-thirds majority in the SL Parliament, the regime of Rajapaksa has chosen to suppress Tamil remembrance days, particularly the Maaveear Naa'l (Tamil Eelam Heroes’ Day) this year. The Rajapaksa regime was short-sighted in using the opportunity to showcase to its southern audience that it was more determined than its predecessor in blocking November 27 Remembrance. However, the brutal manner in which the SL State and its judiciary suppressed the collective remembrance events received more attention not only among the Tamil youth in the North and the East but also in the South, said ITAK (TNA) Parliamentarian from Batticaloa Shanakiyan Rasamanickam. “I received phone calls from Up-Country Tamil youth from Deniyaya and Matara in the down south to Kandy and Colombo,” he said adding that even fifteen and sixteen-year-old youth were posing questions.

They were only around five in 2009. Now, they are getting interested in the history of the struggle thanks to the SL State suppression, he said.

The stated objective was such remembrance would rekindle the uprising of the Tamil youth.

Even those who voted for ex-paramilitary and the ruling party were now realising their fault, the TNA politician said.

Like the long-term land grab and other structural genocide programmes of the SL State, the negation of identities related to the struggle and the rejection of the right of remembrance also have the intention of rejecting the history of Tamil struggle, the TNA MP said.

Mr Shanakiyan called the arrests as being part of a “grand scheme of things” on the part of the Colombo regime.

While there were thousands of Tamils posting messages on Maaveerar Naa'l on social media, only a few have been personally targeted.

The pattern of arrests in Batticaloa also raised the doubt that certain former paramilitary outfits had a hand in the scheme, he said.

There were also reports of Thuyilum Illam (Heroes’ Cemetery) at Ka'ndaladi in Vaakarai being further desecrated this November by unknown elements, he added.

The suppression by the SL State resulted in Tamils, particularly the youth among them, to mobilise for marking the traditional Kaarthikai vi'lakkeedu, the offering of lamps on the Kaarthikai day, that fell on Sunday, two days after the Heroes’ Day. Unlike never before, the Tamils marked Kaarthikai-theepam this year, he said.

SL Police from Ea'raavoor in Batticaloa arrested four Tamil persons for posting greeting messages on November 26 on the occasion of the birthday of LTTE leader V. Pirapaharan.

The four Tamils, 28-year-old Vivek Vaithilingam from Kumaara-veali-puram in Chengkaladi, 30-year-old Soban Karunakaran from Chiththaa'ndi, 30-year-old Yogarasa Yogendran from Paarathi-puram in Chengkaladi and 39-year-old Jegan Kanakasooriyam from 5th cross street at Ramespuram in Chegnkaladi, have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism (Proscription of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) Regulations No. 1 of 2011, according to the SL Police.

A freelance Tamil journalist, 37-year-old Kokilathasan Muruguppillai from Vaazhaich-cheanai, was arrested by Vaazhaich-cheanai Police in Batticaloa on November 27 for posting a Facebook comment related to the suppression of Heroes Day.

Meanwhile, Koappaay Police in Jaffna arrested M. Tharshikan, a Tamil student of the Science Faculty of the University of Jaffna at the Ramanathan Street entrance of the University for lighting Kaarthikai-theepam on last Sunday, November 29. He was not booked under the PTA and was released on bail the following day.

The SL courts have placed the detained Tamils from the East under quarantine, and their cases would be heard after 14-days. The cell phones of the Tamils detained for posting social media messages were to be subjected to digital forensics under cyber terrorism investigations, according to the Police, Mr Shanakiyan said.

“What we know now is that they have been booked under the 2011 Gazette notification. But, we don't know how they are going to frame the charges. Once that is known, we would take up the issue with the SL Attorney General and demand instruction from him to release them,” he said.

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, who was under detention in connection with the assassination of TNA Parliamentarian Joseph Pararajasingham, was recently released as per the clarification from the SL Attorney General. If that was the case for an alleged assassin, why can't we have the same Attorney General to recommend the release of the Tamil persons who are now detained, Shanakiyan asked. He was in communication with all the Tamil parliamentarians to demand the same.

The PTA is being applied selectively to Tamils and Muslims. If Tamils are detained for posting messages of remembrance, why the same PTA is not used against the Sinhala members of chauvinist organisations such as the Bodu Bala Sena for posting threatening statements of annihilation against other communities, he asked.

The awareness of Tamil Eelam Heroes Day is increasing among the youth and the suppression coming from the genocidal state of Sri Lanka would only add meaning to the remembrance, commented Tamil activists in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

The remembrance was marked in grand scale by all sections of pro-Eelam grassroots organisations, movements and parties across Tamil Nadu. Tamil families of all walks of life in the Indian state marked the remembrance day at their houses with LTTE emblems, flags and other insignia, they commented.

“Even if all the world powers were to join the SL State to suppress Tamil Eelam Heroes’ Day, the Tamils in Tamil Nadu alone would keep up the tradition, inspiring all the Tamils of the world,” commented a former LTTE political wing member currently residing in Chennai.

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