07/19/2014, 00.00
SRI LANKA

Jaffna: government erodes freedom and dignity of Tamil people

Melani Manel Perera
A thousand people of all ethnicities and religions participate in a meeting to denounce the conditions in which the North’s Tamils are forced to live. Police desperately try to prevent the rally, even threatening some refugees.

Jaffna (AsiaNews) - "The Sri Lankan government is violating and destroying the freedom and dignity of the Tamils ​​in the north of the country", denounces Ven. Bendiwewea Diyasena Thero, a Buddhist monk - along with a thousand people drawn from all ethnicities and religions - who participated in a rally held in Jaffna (Northern Province) on 15 July.

Originally, participants wanted to organize a peaceful demonstration (satyagraha) led by the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement in front of the main bus station in Jaffna. However, the police banned the protest under court order. They claimed that 12 people had submitted a request to block the gathering, for "fear that it could cause problems."

In addition to this, the security forces have threatened civilians living in the area - including some refugees - warning them not to attend the event.

However, NAFSO managed to organize a "rally", leading the protesters - Tamil, Sinhalese, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist monks, priests, civil society representatives, politicians and members of Christian Solidarity Movemement (CSM) - to the city's Weerasignham Hall.

"Silencing the media - said Fr. Reid Shelton Fernando - or preventing people from gathering and participating in peaceful events will not prevent the truth from being heard. Sacred Scripture says that one day the truth will out. Till then, according to our faith, we pray to our God to lead us to a peaceful society".

"In the north - said Suresh Premachndran, a lawmaker of the Tamil National Alliance - there are only 1 million people. The Sri Lankan army has only 200 thousand soldiers, of which 150 thousand deployed in the north. This clearly points to an ongoing militarization of the area" .

 

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