Muththukumar hailed as hero, tension escalates across Tamil Nadu

[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 January 2009, 05:13 GMT]
Protests and strikes spread across Tamil Nadu, snarling traffic at major important roads particularly in Chennai, demonstrators held vigils in Coimbatore, Thiruvannaamalai and Salem paying homage to Muththukumar who self-immolated to show solidarity with Eezham Tamils, and Madras High Court Advocates Association boycotted courts on Friday, while mainstream media said the prevailing tension in Tamil Nadu can snowball into a potentially explosive situation.

Muththukumar
The Advocates' Association demanded the intervention of the United Nations Security Council, and the president of the association, S Prabhakaran, strike was a warning to Rajapaksa to immediately halt the ethnic cleansing and the genocide taking place in the island, according to local reports.

He also condemned the Sri Lankan Government for making false statements that the LTTE had trapped the civilians, and added that it was only the Sri Lankan Army which was shooting the fleeing civilians.

Media personnel in Coimbatore and Thiruvannamalai paid a hero's homage to Muthukumar and lit candles to mark a vigil. Transgenders in Salem took out a procession to mourn his passing and to condemn the Indian Government. Members of the pro-Tamil parties including the VCK and PMK have put up digital banners of Muththukumar in several hundred locations across Tamil Nadu,

Simultaneously, students across the state undertook an oath to fulfill the dreams of "Martyr Muthukumar.” A fast-unto-death by students of the Tiruchi Law College also entered the third day Friday.

A student of the St.Xavier's College in Tirunelveali refused to accept his degree at the University Convocation after coming to the stage. He caused a fluttter when he said that unless peace entered into the lives of Eelam Tamils he would do without his degree, sources in Tirunelveali said.

Sensing the mood in the state, the Tamil Nadu police denied permission for the silent protest in which Tamil leaders Vaiko, Dr.S.Ramadoss, Thirumavalavan, Nedumaran and D. Pandian were to participate. The leaders however told media Thursday that they would violate the ban and hold their silent black-flag demonstration. However, a joint statement issued Friday by the leaders of the Eezham Tamils Protection Movement, announced that the silent protest scheduled to take place in the evening had been cancelled to facilitate attending Muthukumar's funeral.

Student leaders made it clear that they would not let Muthukumar to be buried immediately and foiled moves to hold the funeral on Friday. Student spokesperson said that they would hold protests by refusing to bury Muthukumar's corpse, to satisfy the last wish of Muthukumar that his mortal remains be used as a trump card to carry forward our struggle," they said.

Students, actors, activists and political leaders thronged Kolathur to pay their last respects to Muthukumar's remains. Leaders of the Eezham Tamil Protection Movement, BJP MP S Thirunavukkarasu, Traders Union President Vellaiyan, Director Bharatiraja, actor-politician Sarathkumar, actors Satyaraj and Vadivelu, lyricist Thamarai also paid their homage to Muthukumar.

Director Cheran who spoke in honour of Muthukumar also endorsed the students point of view. "If Muthukumar is laid to rest before the war is stopped, his soul will not rest in peace," he said.

At the Kilpauk Medical College Hospital where Muthukumar was admitted, he had spoken highly of the Tamil people, and had urged the doctors to convey news of his self-immolation to his "elder brothers" Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi founder Thol. Thirumavalavan and LTTE leader V Pirapaharan. Those were his last words, according to a report in The New Indian Express.


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