'Pongu Thamil' draws thousands in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 20 February 2001, 05:07 GMT]
More than three thousand students, staff and people took part in the 'Pongu Thamil' (Tamil Upsurge) program Tuesday at the Eastern University in Batticaloa. An effigy of Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was hung near the campus entrance. Hundreds of people and school children from nearby villages and towns began arriving at the University from early morning. The program began at 9.31 a.m. with the lighting of a flame aloft a pedestal near the stage.
Students and staff addressed the rally, urging the Sri Lankan government to begin peace talks with the Liberation Tigers.
Speakers called on the international community to exert pressure on Colombo to stop the war and search for peace and emphasised the Tamils' right of self determination.
Meanwhile, hundreds took part in the Pongu Thamil program at the Batticaloa Teachers' Training College. The Pongu Thamil at the Training College also began at 9.31 with the lighting of the flame.
The Pongu Thamil is in progress and is expected to end around noon.
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