2nd Lead (Adds photos)
Up-Country Tamils protest against Sri Lankan Minister
[TamilNet, Monday, 08 August 2005, 13:43 GMT]
More than five-thousand protesters demonstrated Monday in front of
Colombo Fort Railway station from 3:00 p.m till 4:30 p.m. against the Sri Lankan Deputy Minister of Labour Relations and
Foreign Employment, Mr.
Mervyn Silva, over his recent racial slurs directed at the
Up-Country Tamils of Indian origin. Mr. Silva, while verbally abusing
journalists who went to cover a court case where his son was
involved, also insulted the Up-Country Tamils, according to journalists in Colombo.
Demonstrators carrying placards against Mr. Mervyn Silva
CWC leader Mr. Arumugam Thondaman talking to media
Security beefed up in Colombo
A general shut down was observed in Up-Country towns Talawakelle, Nuwara Eliya and Hatton.
Hundreds of protestors travelled from Up-Country to Colombo
to join the protest.
Security was beefed up with police and the armed forces in the vicinity of
Fort Railway Station and other key places in the city of Colombo.
Demonstrators chanted slogans against the comments made by deputy
Minister Mervyn Silva and urged Sri Lanka's President Chandrika
Bandaranaike Kumaratunga to take stern action against Mervyn Silva.
Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), Up-Country
People's Front (UPF), Western Province People's Front (WPPF) together
with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress
(SLMC) and other organisations jointly participated in the demonstration.
"The attitude of Minister Mervyn Silva
highlights the chauvinistic nature of Chandrika's government," Mr. Vasudeva Nanayakara, leader of the leftist New Democratic Front, said
addressing the rally.
UPF leader Mr. P. Chandrasekaran, CWC leader Mr. Arumugan Thondaman, parliamentarians Mr. M. S. Sellasamy, Mr. V. Puthirasigamani, WPPF leader Mr. Mano Ganesan and Free Media Movement (FMM) spokesman Mr. Sunanda Desapriya attended the demonstration.
Mervyn Silva, a confidante of Kumaratunga, lost the general elections in
April 2004, but was appointed as a member of parliament from the national
list. On 18 July he was appointed as Deputy Minister of Labour
Relations and Foreign Employment by Kumaratunga.
Mr. Periyasamy Chandrasekran, UPF leader addressing the rally
Demonstrators in front of Fort Railway Station
UNP parliamentarian Maheswaran addressing the rally
TNA's Jaffna MP Gajendran addressing the rally