Imposing conditions on Eezham Tamils to denounce their sovereignty is denial of their right to self-determination. The Eezham Tamils are a distinct nation with sovereignty-based claim to exercise their right to Self-Determination. A framework for political solution should therefore recognise the nationhood of Eezham Tamils, their geographically contiguous homeland and their inalienable right of self-determination. The interim report of the Steering Committee of the Constitutional Assembly [of genocidal Sri Lanka] has not only denied the right of self-determination, but it also attempts to force upon Tamils the unitary system with a Sri Lankan identity, both of which have been historically and democratically denounced by Tamils. Therefore Eezham Tamils should not hesitate to reject it, says Jaffna-based Tamil political analyst S.A. Jothilingam in an exclusive interview to TamilNet.
The students at the University of Jaffna on Friday launched a university-wide boycott of classes until further notice as student leaders are scheduled to discuss future course of protest action in support of the fast-unto-death being waged by the Tamil Prisoners of War languishing in the jails of genocidal Sri Lanka. The boycott on Friday was led by Tamil students and the students from other provinces, numbering around 41% of the total students, have also joined the protest heeding the request from the Jaffna University Student Union (JUSU). The protest comes after the leaders of the JUSU met SL President Maithiripala Sirisena on Thursday demanding the SL president to address the demands of Tamil political prisoners who are on a fast-unto-death campaign for the last 25 days.
The Leader of Jaffna University Students Union (JUSU) K. Krishnameenan and Secretary K. Jackson on Thursday evening said their negotiations with SL President Maithiripala Sirisena earlier on the day have failed to produce a favourable timeframe for meeting the demands of the hunger-striking Tamil political prisoners. Since the JUSU was behind postponing a fast-unto-death campaign announced unilaterally by the Arts Faculty Student Union earlier in the week and as the health of the three political prisoners on 25th day of the fast-unto-death in Anuradhapura prison would become life-threatening within the next five days, the JUSU leaders said Thursday evening that they now have no other option than stepping up the protest after consulting with fellow students.
The Department of Land Administration in the Eastern Province is ethnically biased against the Tamil-speaking people of the district, Tamil civil officials at the District Secretariat said. Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians such as K Thuraratnasingham are very well aware of the ethnic discrimination, but they have been unable to bring any change due to the collaborationist agenda of Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan, the officials said. The discrimination has escalated in recent times and the Sinhala officials are systematically ignoring the requests coming from the Divisional Secretaries of the Tamil-speaking divisions in the district. Requests for convening Land Kachcheri are also being neglected to escape resolving the burning issues of uprooted Tamil people.
A former EPRLF (Varathar wing) paramilitary operative turned sanitary worker at the secretariat of SL Governor to North, 30-year-old Sivarasa Sivakulan alias Murali, has been harassing Tamil public servants who have been sympathetic to the kith and kin of the struggling political prisoners, Tamil journalists and activists who have been supporting the elected Chief Minister of the NPC. The SL operative has handed over details of Tamil public servants, who took part in the black flag protest and demanded the SL Presidential Security Division (PSD) to punish them through SL Presidential Secretariat instructions to relevant ministries. The harassment has already begun with instruction of transfers being sent to North, informed sources in Colombo said. A Ministerial Security Division (MSD) officer in charge of SL Governor's security is also involved in the latest operation.
Eezham Tamil Refugees languishing for almost five years in the transit refugee camps in Medan, which is the capital of North Sumatra province in Indonesia, mobilized against the negligence by UNHCR and the local authorities last Thursday. They were demanding resettlement in a third country as promised to them by the UN body for refugees five years ago, when their boat en route to Australia was detained off the waters of Indonesia. The immigration authorities responded harshly with the arrest of 24-year-old Nathan Partheepan, one of the organisers of the agitation a few hours after the peaceful protest. Mr Partheepan is currently detained at a closed-door detention camp, where living conditions are appalling and medically hazardous. The organiser who talked to TamilNet before being transferred from the open camp, claimed he was among those recognised as refugees by the UNHCR.
Speedboats of intruding Sinhala fishermen on Saturday attacked a Tamil fisherman, who was engaged in fishing in the seas off Vadamaraadchi East in a small vessel. The injured fisherman was admitted to Pazhai hospital and later transferred to Jaffna hospital for further treatment. The violent incident comes after a section of Tamil fishermen detained a group of intruding Sinhala fishermen on Thursday morning in the seas off Vadamaraadchi East at Naakarkoayil. The Sinhala fishermen had destroyed the fishing nets of the Tamil fishermen and the intruders engaged in illegal fishing of sea cucumbers and chanks were handed over to the SL Police at Pazhai. The Divisional Secretary of Maruthangkea'ni also went on record in local newspapers on Friday that no-one was allowed to engage in sea cucumber and chank fishing along the coast in the entire division.
SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, who was visiting Jaffna Hindu College amidst black flag protest by Tamil activists and politicians, was trying to score a point with his Jaffna visit and engagement with the Tamil protesters. Talking briefly to protesters wavering black flags against him, he was trying to defend his position by saying he was planning to have an internal meeting within his government before arriving at a decision regarding the demands put forward by the hunger striking Tamil political prisoners. The protesters categorically refused to buy his argument, demanded immediate decision from him as he is vested with executive powers to release the prisoners. The protesters vowed to step up the protest even further if he failed to act within short time as the health situation of the protesting hunger strikers has worsened on the 20th day of their fast-unto-death campaign.
The five districts of the entire northern province stood at complete standstill on Friday heeding the joint call from 20 grassroots movements and civil groups to pass a strong message to the Colombo regime and its collaborators. As the SL State has failed to honour the demands of the hunger-striking Tamil political prisoners, the organisers of the protest resolved on Friday to step up the protest by wavering black flags against the visiting SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, who is scheduled to visit Jaffna Hindu College as the chief guest in the Tamil Language Day, jointly organised by SL Education Ministry and the Education Ministry of the Northern Provincial Council. ITAK Leader R. Sampanthan, scheduled to take part as special guest has cancelled his visit to Jaffna. In the meantime, SL Police is attempting to secure interim order against the protest on Saturday.
The occupying SL military in North, which has heavily militarised Jaffna peninsula, the islets off Jaffna and the Vanni mainland, is now claiming that no further lands would be released for the coming two years. 50-year-old Kalathevy Rajan, a mother uprooted from Palaali and stranded at Antony-puram in Vazhalaay, says that the latest stand of the SL military has dashed her hopes of gaining back her lands. The latest move aims to test the limits of patience and toleration of the uprooted people, who have been staging continuous protests. It also signals that the external strategic partners are encouraging genocidal Sri Lanka, which is engaged in military training with the US forces in the occupied homeland of Eezham Tamils. Future protests need to be addressed to the international Establishments rather to the Colombo Establishment, political observers in Jaffna commented.