For Indian Tamils genocide is underway in Sri Lanka
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – “A genocide is underway in Sri Lanka,” this according to Fr A. Santhanam, a Tamil priest from India. Speaking to AsiaNews, the Jesuit clergyman said that “hundreds of thousands of innocent Tamils are being massacred by the army. We are profoundly anguished by the inhuman suffering inflicted upon our brothers and sisters of Sri Lanka.”
In India the war in northern Sri Lanka is seen as genocide. In the State of Tamil Nadu, whose population is predominantly Tamil, the clashes between the Sri Lankan military and the rebels of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) are seen as a slaughter perpetrated by the military against the population of the area.
Photos showing the amputated bodies of children, corpses piled up, disembowled headless women are being passed around in Tamil Nadu.
By word of mouth people are saying that tens of civilians are being killed every day in northern Sri Lanka.
“There is great anguish among local Tamils,” Father Santhanam. “We are brotehrs and sisters. The sea separates us from the Tamils of Sri Lanka, but we feel as one with them.”
In 25 years of war the Indian State opened its doors to almost 100,000 Tamil refugees from the island.
In order to help them the Jesuit Refugee Services has organised basic education programmes for children and is providing vocation training and learning to teenagers and adults.
Father Santhanam said that local Tamils have demonstrated several times demanding State and Union authorities put pressure on Colombo for an immediate ceasefire.
Whilst a bloody struggle goes on in Sri Lanka between the military and the LTTE, many religious men and women in Tamil Nadu are planning a demonstration for 29 April in front of the Indian parliament in New Delhi to demand an end to the war and the suffering of the north’s civilian population.
The Jesuit priest said that Tamils in India have called for international intervention to end the war. Rallies, hunger strikes and demonstrations have been held in various cities this month.
However, he also noted that the wave of initiatives in favour of Sri Lanka’s Tamils have gradually lost steam because if “anyone comes out in favour of Tamil Eelam [an independdent Tamil state in Sri Lanka] he runs the risk of being put on record under the National Security Act (NSA)”. This las entails detention for anyone accused of acting against the interests and the security of India, or harm India’s relations with foreign countries.