02/22/2011, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Colombo stops politicians from attending funeral of the mother of former LTTE leader

by Melani Manel Perera
The funeral service was held this afternoon in a town near Jaffna. Three politicians from a Dalit party are stopped at Colombo airport without reason. Activists say the disgraceful act violates human rights.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – Parvathi Ammal was buried according to Hindu traditions today at 4 pm (local time) in her home town of Valvettithurai (Jaffna). She was the mother of Velupillai Prabhakaran, leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who died in 2009. Despite government fears, there were no violent incidents at the funeral of the 81-year-old woman. However, some political leaders who wanted to attend the service were prevented from going.

Thol. Thirumavalavan, president of Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, a party representing the Dalit community in Tamil Nadu, arrived this morning at Colombo International Airport for the funeral but was detained by police along with two other colleagues.

Although the funeral was open to everyone, the three men were taken to the airport’s Immigration Office without any explanation. Speaking to The Hindu, Thirumavalavan said his name figured in a no-entry list that read: “Do not allow to enter; send back to India.”

Other activists and ordinary people who came to the funeral said the action violated human rights and was bad and disgraceful.

Fr Marimuttu Sathivel, an Anglican priest and human rights activist, told AsiaNews that the government’s action was stupid, that it made the mother of the late LTTE’s leader appear “heroic”. Her son took up arms; she or anyone else did not. “Why stop people who come to pay their respect? Such a gesture of peace and freedom was fair-minded and right, something that honours the nation.”

Velupillai Prabhakaran, who founded the LTTE in 1970, was killed by the Sri Lankan military in May 2009.

When he died, his mother, Parvathi Ammal, and her husband Thiruvengadam Vellupillai, were taken out of the refugee camp where they were living with hundreds of thousands more and placed into military custody.

When her husband died in January 2010, Ms Ammal was released and travelled to Malaysia for medical treatment.

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