STOP THE WAR AGAINST THE TAMILS – urges mass demonstration

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TAMILNET reports that the Indian High Commissioner in Mauritius last Friday rebuffed a memorandum from thousands of Mauritian Tamil demonstrators, requesting India stop the war against the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The representatives of the demonstrators were seeking to submit the memorandum in person to the High Commissioner, who is a Tamil, and they had informed the High Commission of their request five days in advance.

On Friday, Third Secretary Ms Menon and the Deputy High Commissioner who received them, turned down their request.

Angered at their contempt, the demonstrators chose to burn the memorandum outside the High Commission.

The Vice Prime Minister of Mauritius and the Justice Minister were active participants of the emotion-charged demonstration, organised by the National Movement Against Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Mauritius Tamils in large numbers took to the streets of Port Louis highlighting the plight of Tamils in Vanni and supporting Eezham Tamils’ right to self-determination.

Despite the downpour of heavy rain, over five thousand Mauritius Tamils participated in the demonstration between 2.00 and 4.00pm, carrying the Tamil Eelam flag and banners depicting the suffering of their brethren in the Eezham Tamil homeland.

Mauritius Justice Minister Rama Velautham distributed pamphlets calling upon the Sri Lankan state to end the genocide of Eezham Tamils, while the Vice-Prime Minister of Mauritius participated in the rally expressing solidarity with the protesters.

Prominent Mauritius Tamil activists Koomaran Chetty, Veeran Kumaran, Vijayan Murugan, Ganeshan Perumal, former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian MK Eelaventhan, and several political leaders of Mauritius spoke at the mass rally condemning the ‘genocidal attacks’ by the Sri Lankan state against Eezham Tamils.

Several participants who took part in the protest voiced support for the establishment of the independent state of Tamil Eelam and started to chant slogans in support of the Tigers and the LTTE leader V Pirapaharan

An interesting note on the sidewalks of the event was the Indian High Commission officials greeting the demonstrators by saying ‘Namaskaar’ and the demonstrators returning it with ‘Va’nakkam’.

India’s role in the war against Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka, the repercussions in Tamil Nadu, the unrest related to Tamils in Malaysia, the demonstrations in support of Eezham Tamils in South Africa and Mauritius being viewed with enmity by the Indian High Commissions – all these events don’t augur well for the policies followed by the present Indian establishment, political observers feel.

Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa, populated predominantly by the people of Indian origin who migrated in colonial times.

The majority community, which identifies itself as Hindu, largely consists of people from northern India.

Tamils are a major identity among the minorities, along with peoples of African, European and Chinese origins.

Mauritius ranks first among all countries in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to India amounting to a total of nearly 11 billion US dollars.

Meanwhile, the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) on Thursday condemned the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) for not reviewing the situation in Sri Lanka in its meeting in London, last Wednesday.

CMAG, a body of nine ministers, is mandated to check persistent violations of the ‘Fundamental Values and Principles of the Commonwealth,’ including democracy and human rights.

Contrary to the norm that limits each country to two-consecutive sittings, Sri Lanka is currently serving its third consecutive two-year term.

Sri Lanka’s membership has become particularly controversial as its own credentials as a guardian of these values become increasingly questionable, read a statement from CHRI.

The government of Sri Lanka has adopted a consistent pattern of denying its responsibility to protect its civilians.

In recent years, Sri Lanka has been facing a growing condition of general impunity buttressed by numerous allegations of human rights violations across the country.

A string of disappearances, arrests, uninvestigated murders and assaults involving dissenters, well known journalists and human rights advocates, sometimes in full view of the public, sometimes within tightly monitored high security zones operated by the government, are indicative of a pattern of human rights violations, intolerance, suppression and impunity.

By not respecting the independence of its institutions, not allowing independent observation and international organisations into the conflict area, it has repeatedly used ‘fighting terrorism’ as a justification for systematically destroying fundamental freedoms in Sri Lanka, the CHRI statement said.

l Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) launched heavy artillery barrage and mortar fire Saturday midnight on Sri Lanka Amy (SLA) soldiers of its 55th Division stationed in Chaalai, Chu’ndikku’lam and some areas of Puthukkudiyiruppu, killing and seriously injuring a considerable number of soldiers, according to an SLA source in Thenmaraadchi.

LTTE forces are attempting to break into the formation of the SLA 55th Division, the officer said.

Residents in Thenmaraadchi said they could hear loud explosions from the above area where the fighting is said to be continuing.