Feature Article

'Wish and reality of Sri Lanka's Independence'

[TamilNet, Saturday, 05 February 2011, 03:08 GMT]
“I wish all Sri Lankans around the world a happy celebration and continued peace and prosperity in the coming year," said a statement harping on "post-war reconciliation" released from the office of the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, on the eve of the independence day of Sri Lanka on 4th February. But the imposed celebration was largely ignored inside the island and outside, the day drew protests across the world by Eezham Tamils. “Sri Lankan High Commission has invited the Sri Lankan community for a reception to celebrate their independence. We will assemble outside the embassy to condemn the Sri Lankans celebrating while denying the Tamils their right to independence,” the call for protest in London said. Demonstrations were held in London, Toronto and in Oslo. Addressing protesters in Oslo, Conservative Party (Høyre) leader Erna Solberg called for war-crimes investigations.

Feb 04, 2011 protest in Toronto
A banner displayed by demonstrators in Toronto

In the previous years, the occupying SL troops used to create a semblance of celebration in the Tamil districts, by intimidating the people. But this time the people decided to ignore such intimidations. People largely stayed indoors while street checks and the presence of troops in the streets were intense.

Pressed by the SL military, only the shops had the Sri Lanka flag in Jaffna. The Sri Lanka Government Agent Imelda Sugumar hoisted the Sri Lanka flag at the secretariat in Jaffna. Only the music of the Sinhala anthem was played in Jaffna, while the anthem was sung in Sinhala in Ki’linochchi and Vavuniyaa secretariats.

In Vanni and in the East, the floods have blunted the enthusiasm of even the SL occupiers from demonstrating simulated celebrations.

Feb 04, 2011 protest in Toronto
Eezham Tamil protesters in front of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Toronto
UK Demo
In London, the demonstrators hoisted Tamil Eelam flag in front of Sri Lankan High Commission.
UK Demo
Sri Lanka High Commission engaging in video photography of the demonstrators.
Feb 04, 2011 protest in UK
Protesters at No 10 Downing Street in London
Feb 04, 2011 protest in UK
Tamil activists in London were seen distributing leaflets and collecting signatures to appeal in prime locations of London which included Kings Cross, Liverpool Street, Victoria, Waterloo, Paddington, Oxford circus and Oxford Street. The British Tamils Forum (BTF) re-lunched its campaign "Are they Alive?" to coincide with so-called Sri Lankan Independent Day on 04 February 2011.
Hundreds of Eezham Tamils demonstrated outside the parliament in Oslo on Friday.

Demonstrators in front of the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Toronto carried placards urging the occupying Sri Lanka to leave Tamil Eelam.

In London, the demonstrators hoisted the Tamil Eelam national flag opposite the at a height on par with the Sri Lankan flag hoisted inside the Lankan High Commission premises. At the instigation of the High Commission officials when the police objected the Tamil Eelam flag, the demonstrators questioned the legality of the objection. The British police, after verifying the matter with higher authorities didn't intervene.

Later, the Sri Lankan High Commission officials sent some ‘counter protesters’ from inside the High Commission premises. As tension developed, police intervened and sent those ‘counter protesters’ back inside the High Commission.

To threaten the demonstrators and to blunt participation, the Sri Lankan High Commission arranged video photography of the protesters. The SL government effectively uses a threat of arrest and abduction of the demonstrators identified by the video images, if they happen to visit the island.

Parallel to the demonstration outside the High Commission, there was another demonstration in front of the British PM's official residence at No 10 Downing Street and the Eezham Tamil community was also engaged in a signature campaign in different locations in London, against detentions and disappearances in the island.

Meanwhile, there were also protests in London against UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon, when he came to address a lecture organised by the Department of Politics and International Relations of the Oxford University on Wednesday.

“I want to be re-elected. 40,000 innocent people were massacred in Sri Lanka and I did nothing. You decide,” the placards carrying the picture of the Secretary General read.

During the question and answer session following his address, there was a question from Tim Martin of Act Now on Sri Lanka.

"The UN has failed to 'prevent and protect' in such countries as Sri Lanka where up to 40,000 innocent civilians were massacred in 2009. Will you ensure during your term that those responsible are brought to justice? Will you ensure there is a proper independent investigation into war crimes and will you push for a UN referendum as the situation in Sri Lanka is the same as in south Sudan? The people have the same cultural differences, a different language and a different religion," was the question.

The main point of Ban ki Moon’s reply was that “political stability and justice should go hand in hand. And that is what I have been doing to achieve even in Sri Lanka and I will continue to do that.”

Deliberately tilting the balance to destroy the political stability of Eezham Tamils and then talking of hand in hand political stability and justice, is double injustice, commented a diaspora activist in London.

Ban Ki-moon protest
Poster campaign against Ban Ki-moon in London



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