BANGALORE: He was barely seven days old when the civil war in Sri Lanka broke out in July 1983. “I was told how my elder brother used to hide me and take me to shelters. Our family lived in Colombo and we had a lot of property too. All of it was gone and our house was burnt down. My family was scattered across Sri Lanka and some came back to India. As I grew up, I started realizing how difficult it is to live as a Tamil in that country,” said N Kumar (name changed). He spent his entire childhood in Sri Lanka before coming to India in 2002 with images of terror that ruined his family.
A team from the National Alliance of People’s Movement is going around India to create awareness about the safety and dignity of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The team started in Chennai on October 16. In Bangalore on Saturday, it briefed media about its agenda to put pressure on the Indian government to back off from participating in the Nov. 15-17 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo.
“Our country has made Mahendra Rajapakshe a hero in the ‘war on terror’ but he is a mass murderer. If CHOGM happens in Sri Lanka , it will elevate him further , which will be a defeat of democracy in South Asia. Tamils in Tamil Nadu are agitating and students and lawyers are mobilizing movements to convince the Centre not to participate but most parts of the country don’t even know what is happening with Tamils in Sri Lanka. This nationwide campaign is to create a national sentiment,” said Dietrich Gabriele , national convener, NAPM.
Their agenda includes forcing the Centre to pass a referendum on empowering Tamils in Sri Lanka and allowing them to enjoy full political rights. Human rights and environment activist Medha Patkar and Satya Sivaraman are also part of the campaign.