Fifty thousand at Trinco 'Pongu Tamil'
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 March 2002, 16:57 GMT]
(News Feature) More than fifty thousand people thronged the eastern port town of Trincomalee to attend the 'Pongu Tamil' (Tamil upsurge) rally held Tuesday, urging the Sri Lankan government to lift the ban on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and to recognise the Tamil people's right to self-determination.
Processions from various parts of Trincomalee town and its suburbs commenced around 8.30 a.m. and arrived in the heart of the town around 12 noon. Thousands of school children, undergraduates, teachers, government officials and members of the public from all parts of the district participated in the processions and the rally.
| Sri Lanka's Minister for Social Development and the leader of the Upcountry People's Front (UPF) Mr. P. Chandrasekaram speaking at rally. (Photo: TamilNet)|
Life size cut-outs of LTTE leader Mr.Vellupillai Pirapaharan were put up at the main junctions in the town, which came to a standstill for the duration of the rally. All government and provincial departments, local government institutions did not function. Business establishments belonged to all communities were closed, as were public markets.
Several speakers addressed the massive crowd, including Sri Lanka's Minister for Social Development and the leader of the Upcountry People's Front (UPF) Mr. P. Chandrasekaram, Mr. M. K. Sivajilingam, Jaffna district parliamentarian, and Mr. R. Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group leader.
TNA parliamentarians Mr.Sivasakthi Anandan, Mr.A.Chandranehru, Mr.V.Krishnapillai Mr.G.Krisuhnamoorthy, Chief Secretary of the Northeast Provincial Council, Dr.T.Jeyasingham, Rector, Trincomalee campus of the East University and Mr.S.Thandauthapani, President of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union also spoke.
TNA parliamentarians Mr.N.Raviraj, Mr.Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam Mr.Mavai Senathirajah and Mr.A.Vinayagamoorthy also participated in the Pongu Tamil rally.
"Tamils in Sri Lanka today live with self respect because of the sacrifices made by thousands of Tamil youths in armed liberation struggle," said Minister Chandrasekaram. "Mr.V.Pirapaharan; Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is today unanimously endorsed as the saviour of the Tamils in the island."
| Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam, Jaffna district parliamentarian speaking at the rally in Trincomalee. (Photo: TamilNet)|
"Under the past government, the rights of Tamils were suppressed and their lives were threatened by the State armed forces. With the ceasefire agreement now in force that Tamils have come out openly to express their feelings without fear for any one," he said.
"The armed liberation struggle launched by the LTTE leader Mr.Pirapaharan has now transformed into a peoples movement with the advent of Pongu Tamil rally held in various districts in northeast province. Pongu Tamil rally now being held in the northeast show the world that the Tamils in the country are behind the LTTE leader Mr.Pirapaharan under the one flag," Mr. Chandrasekaran, whose UPF is a constituent of the United National Front (UNF) government, said further.
| Mr. R. Sampanthan, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentary group leader speaking at the rally. (Photo: TamilNet)|
Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam, Jaffna district parliamentarian said, "the armed freedom struggle led by LTTE leader Mr.Pirapaharan has now entered a new phase with the ceasefire agreement. Tamils have now united under the leadership of Mr.Pirapaharan to win their legitimate rights and aspirations. The Sinhalese leaders should grasp this opportunity to solve the Tamil national question. It would certainly lead to separation of the country if the majority community failed to find a permanent and durable political solution to the Tamil national question without delay."
Mr.R.Sampanthan, TNA parliamentary group leader said that a permanent and just political solution should be found to the Tamil national question. The self-determination of Tamil nationality should be first recognized as a prelude to find a political solution to the Tamil national question.