Sinhala domination in N-E Youth Camp criticised
[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 October 2001, 21:21 GMT]
Tamil and Muslim youths participating in a youth camp organized by the Sri Lanka National Youth Federation in collaboration with the North-East Provincial Council inaugurated Saturday in Trincomalee protested against the organisers for not giving due place to the Tamil language and Tamil culture.
The Tamil printed on T-shirts given to them to wear at the inauguration had many gross grammatical errors. Tamil and Muslims youth wore those shirts upside down as a protest when the chief guest and others assembled on the stage.
The angered Tamil and Muslim youths then handed over a statement to the Provincial Secretary to the Ministry of Education, Cultural Affairs, Sports and Youth Affairs, Mr.K.Parameswaran, condemning the partisan attitude of the organizers of the camp.
In the statement they asked the officials who organised the camp "Is the money allocated by the Northeast Provincial Council for this youth camp meant only for promoting Sinhala culture on Tamil soil?"
"The chief guest and other prominent personalities were received at the opening ceremony according to Sinhala tradition. Even the girl attired in Tamil cultural dress was a Sinhalese and not a Tamil. Isn't there Tamil culture in Trincomalee? Northeast youth become militants because of these injustices", the statement added.
Mr.Parameswaran in his speech said, "My ministry had no say in organizing this camp. Youth who participate in the camp should take up this matter at their level and find a solution to the shortcomings. Youths should become leaders in finding solutions to problems affecting them".
The four-day Youth Camp from October 13 to October 16 is the first one to be organized in the northeast province by the NYC.
Of the three hundred participants, 260 are Tamil and Muslim youth. The rest are Sinhalese. Youth from the districts of Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Mannar, Vavuniya and Amparai are participating in the youth camp at Abeyapura Sinhala Maha Vidiyalayam, Trincomalee.
A Provincial Ministry Official who is responsible for youth affairs said that the Sri Lanka Youth Federation, which has its headquarters, is solely responsible for organizing this youth camp. Even the National Youth Services Council, which comes under the line Ministry of Youth Affairs, was not consulted in this regard, sources said.
The Sri Lanka Youth Federation (SLFU) first approached the Governor of NEPC for funds to organize a youth camp in the province. The Governor then directed the Provincial Ministry of Education and Youth Affairs to allocate money for organizing this project. Accordingly Provincial Secretary Mr. Parameswaran allocated two hundred thousand rupees to the SLFU. The SLFU which is fully dominated by Sinhalese made the necessary arrangements. They printed all posters, notices and other literature for the event in Colombo. A lot of grammatical errors were found in all Tamil publications printed at Colombo.
But officials of the Provincial Ministry of Education and Youth Affairs say they are not responsible for all the shortcomings.