'Pongu Thamil nailed Chandrika's canard' - Students' Union leader
[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 January 2002, 18:16 GMT]
More than 1500 undergraduates, teachers, school students and members of the public took part in the ''Pongu Thamil'' rally at the Jaffna University Thursday morning. Addressing the rally on the campus grounds the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Pon Balasundarampillai, said "Life should return to normal among the Tamils before the government begins talks with the Liberation Tigers."
"All restrictions and blockades in the north and east should be removed. Fishermen should be allowed to fish freely. Our lands which are occupied by the army should be given back and camps should be removed. And people should be able to move about freely. It is only then that we can have true peace and hold peace talks," Prof. Balasundarampillai said.
The V.C in his address further said: "There is much hope among the Tamils that the efforts of the new government would usher in peace soon. 'Pongu Thamil' is observed all over the world today. This due to the untiring efforts of our Jaffna University students."
TNA MP for Jaffna Mr. V. Anandasangaree and the new Mayor of Jaffna, Mr. Sellan Kandaiyyan also took part in the rally.
The Jaffna University Students' Union leader Mr. Selvarajah Gajendran who addressed the rally said: "Last year, this day was a political turning point in Tamil affairs. We started 'Pongu Thamil' in this university as a mass movement to proclaim the Tamil people's legitimate right to self-determination and their identity as a distinct nationality. The 'Pongu Thamil' movement nailed the Chandrika government's canard that the Tamils had no grievances and it revealed the truth about their sufferings.
"We showed the world the Liberation Tigers are the sole representatives of the Tamil people. This was the day on which we made the Sri Lankan government realise the truth that the Tamil people cannot be bought over with petty concessions. This was the day which inspired the people of Jaffna who were petrified with mortal fear after the Sri Lanka army occupied the peninsula to rise against intimidation and oppression. But government at the time was bent only on destroying the Tamil people. As a consequence it was defeated in battles and lost the elections. The Tamils have asserted their aspirations through the general elections that the Liberation Tigers are their sole representatives and that the ban on the LTTE should be lifted before the negotiations", Gajendran said.
The University and its environs were decorated with yellow and red pennants and banners on the Tamils' right to self determination.
An audio cassette of 'Pongu Thamil' music and songs was released at the rally. A book of 'Pongu Thamil' poetry was also launched at the meeting. Several civil society and trade union leaders addressed the rally.
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