Massive 'Pongu Thamil' rally in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 April 2002, 14:55 GMT]
Over sixty thousand people attended 'Pongu Thamil' (Upsurge) rally held at Jaffna University medical faculty grounds Wednesday afternoon, journalists in the northern peninsula said. Processions from Nallur Kandasamy Temple premises, Kokuvil Hindu College premises and Saththiram junction commenced around 2 p.m. and reached the venue of the rally around four p.m. Most of the roads in the Jaffna peninsula were gaily decorated with red and yellow flags.

People shouted slogans such as "LTTE is the sole representative of Tamils," and "Pirapaharan is our leader." Demonstrators also shouted slogans demanding the government recognise the Tamil homeland concept and the Tamil people's right of self-determination. They also shouted demanding the government lift the ban on LTTE in Sri Lanka.

People carried photographs of the leader of the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Vellupillai Pirapaharan and large cut-outs of him were also carried on decorated vehicles in the processions.

Residents of Vadamaradchi, Thenmaradchi, Valigamam east (Kopay) participated in the procession that commenced from Nallur Kandasamy Temple premises.

Residents of Anaicoddai, Navaly, Manipay, Uduvil, Chunnakam, Tellipalai, Alaveddi, Ilavalai, Pandatherippu and Mathagal areas participated in the procession that commenced from Kokuvil Hindu College premises.

Residents of Kayts, Karainagar, Vaddukoddai, Araly, Moolai and Jaffna participated in the procession that commenced from Saththiram junction.

Several parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance, Jaffna Vice Chancellor Professor S.Balasundarampillai, East University Vice Chancellor Professor, V.S.Mookiah, also participated in the rally.

About three hundred East University undergrads also attended the Pongu Tamil rally. Several officials of the LTTE including its head of the Art and Cultural Department Mr.Puthuvai Ratnathurai attended the rally, which ended at 7 p.m.

Speaking at the rally Mr.Puthuvai Ratnathurai said "this is the last chance for the Sri Lankan government to establish a permanent peace in the country by finding a honourable and just political solution that could meet the legitimate aspirations of Tamils"

"We are for peace. There can be no doubt about our stand n this regard. But the government should take constructive steps to fulfil the aspirations of Tamils when providing a political solution," he said.

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