US Tamils call for an end to East violence
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 February 2005, 12:00 GMT]
Condemning the recent killing of LTTE's Political Head of Batticaloa-Amparai Mr Kausalyan and others in the East, a group of expatriate Tamil organizations in the US called upon Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga "to suspend
immediately the military officers who were in charge of Welikanda and Punnai, where this inhuman act took place...[and to take] swift actions and measures to prevent similar atrocities in the future," in a press release issued Tuesday.
Excerpts from the press release follow:
"We, the undersigned, are angry and saddened by the killing of Mr.Kausalyan, the LTTE political leader and coordinator for Tsunami relief work in the Eastern part of the island of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ariyanayagam Chandra Nehru, former Member of Parliament and founder of the Northeast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) and three other political activists.
The brutal killing of these five has shattered our hope that the Tsunami catastrophe, which has destroyed thousands of lives without distinctions of race, religion, sex or creed, will inspire a hope of reconciliation between the communities. The fact that Mr. Kausalyan was killed when he was returning from a meeting discussing Tsunami relief makes this crime even more heinous.
Mr. Chandra Nehru committed his life to protect and promote the human rights of the people of the Northeast.
Mr. Kausalyan dedicated his life to the realization of the Tamils' right to self-determination. He had tremendous moral courage in withstanding attempts to enflame regionalism, thereby destroying Tamil unity. We are also aware that, since the Tsunami disaster, he was involved around-the-clock in addressing the urgent humanitarian needs of the Tsunami' s victims.
We join UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Japanese Envoy Yasushi Akashi and other members of the International Community in mourning the loss to our community and the world.
These assassinations occurred in Sri Lankan Government-controlled territory, specifically between two Sri Lankan army checkpoints, in Welikanda and Punnai. The fact that Mr. Kausalyan, Mr. Chandra Nehru and their party were traveling unarmed in that particular vehicle at that particular time was known only to victims and to the Sri Lankan military checkpoint at Welikanda, where they registered their names and vehicle. According to the person who escaped the murder, the assassins were wearing Sri Lankan military uniforms.
Thus, the facts surrounding this inhuman act points to the Sri Lankan military's connivance, if not involvement. Pursuant to the Ceasefire Agreement, the Sri Lankan Government has a legal obligation to provide security to unarmed LTTE members, who travel to or travel via a Sri Lankan Government-controlled area. If blatant violations like this can happen with impunity, the Ceasefire Agreement becomes questionable. Therefore, if these cold-blooded assassinations of a member of NESOHR and unarmed members of the LTTE were carried out by paramilitary groups, as insinuated by the Sri Lankan Government, it is also a violation by the Sri Lankan Government of the Ceasefire Agreement, which mandates disarming of paramilitary groups.
We call upon the Government of Sri Lanka for swift actions and measures to prevent similar atrocities in the future.
In this connection, we would like to bring to the attention of the Sri Lankan Government the leadership shown by the Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas regarding the shooting at Israeli settlements from Westbank. Prime Minister Abbas never insinuated blame on others or waited for the completion of an investigation. He immediately suspended the security officers who were in charge.
We call upon Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga to suspend immediately the military officers who were in charge of Welikanda and Punnai, where this inhuman act took place. The suspension of these military officers is not only a moral necessity, but also a political necessity, for the creation of a climate conducive to unhindered relief work for the Tsunami victims, and the resumption of negotiations between the Sri Lankan Government and the LTTE.
Illankai Tamil Sangam, New York
World Tamil Women Organization, Maryland
Federation of Tamil Association of North America
Illankai Tamil Sangam, Florida
World Tamil Organization
Midwest Tamil Sangam, Illinois
Tamil Heritage International
Ohio Tamil Association, Ohio
Tamil Refugees Rehabilitation Organization, California
Illankai Tamil Sangam, California
Illankai Tamil Sangam, Vancouver-Portland
Illankai Tamil Association, North Carolina
Tamil Welfare and Human Rights Committee, Washington D.C.
World Tamil Coordinating Committee – USA. New York"