2nd Lead (Adds details, photos)

Festival atmosphere marks Vavuniya Pongu Thamil

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 September 2003, 03:38 GMT]
"If we desire permanent peace let us negotiate a permanent solution to the conflict," said many of the yellow-red banners in the Pongu Thamil celebrations being held in a festival atmosphere in Vavuniya Wednesday, sources in Vavuniya said.

The day started with special prayers for peace in Hindu temples and churches between 8am and 9am in Vavuniya town and surrounding villages, Vavuniya residents said.

Thousands of Tamil men, women and students from all walks of life thronged the urban council ground Wednesday evening around four from five corners of the town to attend the Pongu Thamil festival meeting.

Processions commenced from Vavuniya Tamil Maha Vidiyalayam and Irambaikulam St Anthony's Church were led by Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan and Mr.Raja Kuhaneswaran. The other three processions started from Kurumankattusanthi, Jaffna road and Poonthottam junction, sources said.

The normal activities of the town came to a standstill from noon as all business establishments and other private institutions had put up their shutters.

People carried banners, placards, Tiger flags and cutouts of LTTE leader Mr.Pirapaharan and shouted slogans such as :-

  • "The SLA should leave our homes and lands allowing us to live ,"
  • "Establish internal administrative council in the northeast immediately to restore normalcy in our lives,"
  • "Permanent solution would bring permanent peace,"
  • "We want our land,"
  • and
  • "Please do not make us to revolt again."


  • Students from schools, universities, Colleges of Education, Technical Colleges and government servants participated in the processions in large number, sources said.

    Unarmed police personnel and Special Task Force were seen in maintaining law and order A photoalbum of the celebrations as the day unfolds:

    Vavuniya Pongu Thamil Vavuniya Pongu Thamil
    Vavuniya Pongu Thamil Vavuniya Pongu Thamil
    Vavuniya PonguThamil Vavuniya PonguThamil
    Vavuniya Pongu Thamil Vavuniya PonguThamil
    Vavuniya Pongu Thamil Vavuniya Pongu Thamil
    Vavuniya Pongu Thamil Vavuniya PonguThamil



    (To view the full Pongu Thamil picture gallery click here)

    Meanwhile, a member of the paramilitary Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) who was distributing handbills denigrating the Pongu Thamil event was detained by the LTTE Tuesday, said Mr. S. Ezhilan, the political head of the LTTE in Vavuniya.

    The EPDP cadre was apprehended in Maravankulam in the Vavuniya district. Mr. Ezhilan added that the arrested youth had confessed to being a member of the paramilitary EPDP group, and that he would be handed over to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM).

     

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