Feature Article

US, India deploy ‘entry-refusal’ weapon against Tamil solidarity

[TamilNet, Saturday, 05 November 2011, 23:19 GMT]
Tamil Nadu film director and leader of the Naam Thamizhar Movement that upholds the cause of Eezham Tamils, Mr. Seeman, was refused of landing permission in the USA when he went to participate in a Tamil conference organized by three US-based diaspora associations of both Tamil Nadu and Eezham Tamils. Mr. Seeman was given with a valid visa to visit the USA but was refused entry at the New York airport on Saturday. Last month, the President of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the diaspora-based umbrella organisation of Eezham Tamils, Rev. Fr. S J. Emmanuel, was refused entry at Chennai airport when he travelled from Europe, despite having valid multiple entry visa to India. Whether the USA and India, long known for the misuse of visa by the Establishments, cooperate or compete in capturing Tamil polity for their agendas is the emerging question.

Naam Thamizhar Seeman
Naam Thamizhar Seeman
The US Tamil conference “Thamizhar Changkamam 2011” (the Tamil confluence) on Saturday was organized by three US-based diaspora associations, World Tamil Organization, US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) and Ilangkai Thamil Sangam (Sangam) at Crown Plaza in New Jersey.

The conference was scheduled to discuss, improving lives of Tamils, war crimes investigations and coordination of activities.

According to the programme of the conference, Mr. Seeman was to deliver the keynote address besides speeches by the visiting TNA parliamentarians.

Mr. Seeman was refused entry at the New York airport on Saturday early hours.

Fr. S.J. Emmanuel
Rev. Fr. S.J. Emmanuel
When asked for reasons, Mr. Seeman was told that his connections with the LTTE would be a security threat to the USA, said a press statement from Naam Thamizhar, asking why then the US embassy in India had given him the visa.

The press statement said that Mr. Seeman was invited by the World Tamil Organization and accused that the deportation was at the behest of elements working against the Tamil nation.

While selectively deporting war-torn Tamils engaged in socio-political organisation, both the USA and India on the other hand competitively build their own ‘networks’ and NGO blocs among Eezham Tamils.

Meanwhile, internationally accused war criminals of Sri Lanka travel freely to both the countries.

Writing in Guardian on 30 September 2011, about States abusing visa to counter righteous struggles of peoples, Arundhati Roy said: “Our lungs are gradually being depleted of oxygen. Perhaps it's time use whatever breath remains in our bodies to say: Open the bloody gates."

In September this year, veteran US journalist and author, David Barsamian, founder and director of Alternative Radio, and a person having cultural contacts with India for well over 45 years, was refused landing permission in New Delhi. His entry was refused for reasons not revealed to him.

In last November, a US Professor of Anthropology, Richard Shapiro, who has his family in India, was stopped from entering India and he was not even replied to his queries when he could again return to India.

Arundhati Roy says Kashmir question was the reason for the refusal of entry to both the US visitors.

Arundhati Roy in UK
Arundhati Roy
The complaint against David Barasamian according to "official sources" is that he had reported on events in Jammu and Kashmir during his last visit to India and that these reports were "not based on facts," Arundhati cited Indian officials.

“Who decides which "facts" are correct and which are not? Would Barsamian have been deported if the conversations he recorded had been in praise of the impressive turnouts in Kashmir's elections, instead of about daily life in the densest military occupation in the world (an estimated 600,000 actively deployed armed personnel for a population of 10 million people),” asks Arundhati. [The intensity of SL military occupation of the country of Eezham Tamils is worse than that of Kashmir cited by Arundhati]

The deportation of Prof Shapiro “was probably a way of punishing his partner, Angana Chatterji, who is a co-convenor of the international peoples' tribunal on human rights and justice which first chronicled the existence of unmarked mass graves in Kashmir, Arundhati said.

More than 60 prominent intellectuals, academics, journalists and writers, including Prof. Noam Chomsky, who condemned the deportations in September 2011 said that “We are dismayed that this power to send people back from the airport is slowly becoming a weapon, used to discipline and silence people who draw any kind of attention to uncomfortable truths about India.”

“We demand that the right to travel and the right to free exchange of ideas between scholars, journalists, artists, and human rights defenders be respected and protected, and that government agents not authorize the denial of entry and eviction of visitors to India, or monitor their movement. Free exchange of ideas is one of the most basic human rights and values in free democratic societies. Freedom of travel is one of the most important avenues for furthering such exchange among peoples. Recognizing this, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India has ratified, protects freedom of expression, right to travel and scientific exchange,” said the September statement of Indian academics and journalists.

Whatever said to India is also applicable to the USA, perhaps in a more underlined way, because of the latter’s international involvements.

But, what one wonders is that how many in the USA, and how many among the ‘All India’ Indians will voice against what their Establishments are doing to Eezham Tamils in intimidating and hijacking their efforts to come out from genocide and annihilation of their nation.

Related Articles:
12.10.11   India refuses landing to GTF leader, TNA plans visit to USA

External Links:
The Guardian: The dead begin to speak up in India


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