Bishop urges Tamils to vote
[TamilNet, Monday, 13 December 1999, 15:17 GMT]
The Rt.Rev.Rayappu Joseph has advised the people in his Diocese of Mannar that it is important to elect a leader who will lead the country with a vision and usher in permanent peace based on justice, and who will be capable of bringing an end to the unbearable burden that the people are given to bear in a statement issued on the Presidential election today.
The text of the statement follows:
"The Presidential election scheduled o take place on 21.12.99 is for certain not the priority for us Tamils at the moment."
"However, we cannot relegate it to the background or much less ignore it for the last over fifty years we have been meted out with violence by the state in our efforts to claim our political rights and for the last sixteen years, it had been the terrible war and its evil consequences that we Tamils mainly had to bear."
"Our only desire is that this inhuman war should stop and there open up doors for the blossoming of our right to self-determination as a people. We cannot hope that the southern politics will easily give in to these aspirations of the negotiations and a civilized way of solving this national problem."
"At this juncture, I wish to point out to you how important it is to elect a leader who will lead the country with a vision and usher in permanent peace based to justice, a leader who will be capable of bringing to end with no further delay the unbearable burden that the people are given to bear."
"It is our basis right to freely make use of our right of franchise. If we fail in this our obligation, we may indirectly be giving opportunities for the rigging of votes that ugly practice that we had witnessed in the recent elections."
"We are bound as individuals and as communities to strictly avoid all types of election violence: to be vigilant over the evil of rigging of votes and to do everything to ensure the free exercise of the right of franchise."
"I wish to draw your attention to the gruesome incident that took place at Madhu on 20.11.1999. This is a pitifully indication of the height of evil in the country. This process of evil should be brought to end. God is the author of lives that these will be the seed for the birth of our long awaited peace, let us go to the polls to elect a leader the time demands."