09/18/2023, 00.00
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Trincomalee: mob attacks Tamil commemoration, accuses police

by Melani Manel Perera

A procession remembering a minority leader who died in 1987 on a hunger strike stopped with violence. The accusations of a Tamil MP: 'It was the military that instigated them'. The distance between words on reconciliation after the civil war and the still open wounds.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - A demonstration in memory of a leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil (LTTE) was attacked by a Sinhala crowd in Trincomalee, in the north of Sri Lanka, confirming once again how open the wounds left behind by the war.est

Tamil National People's Front MP Selvarasa Gajendran led the rally and was on a truck carrying a photo of Rasaiah Parthipan, known as Thileepan, a Tamil revolutionary who went on a hunger strike on September 15, 1987 in front of the Nallur Kandaswamy Temple and refusing food and water for 12 days he died on September 26, 1987.

The memorial vehicle carrying Thileepan's image had started its journey from Poththuvil in Eastern Province and was scheduled to reach Nallur in Jaffna. But the procession was suspended after receiving information that Sinhala mob was preparing to block the vehicle and attack it with stones in Seruvila area of Trincomalee district.

According to footage released on social media, some vehicles carrying an image of Thileepan were attacked after being surrounded by crowds, including some women. A police officer at the scene was seen telling the vehicles to turn back as the crowd attacked them with poles and stones. “Tamil MP Gajendran was attacked and was injured in this attack,” Tamil activist Kumanan told AsiaNews. The MP also accused the military intelligence services, reporting that he had received threats and claiming that they themselves organized the protests.

“We strongly condemn this brazen attack on MP Gajendran in the presence of the police,” said Tamil Christian MP M.A. Sumanthiran -. Attackers can be easily identified. Let them demonstrate that reconciliation is not just rhetoric."

Other Sinhalese voices from Colombo are also shocked by what happened. “As long as this is the attitude, we cannot expect peace and reconciliation - a young Sinhala Buddhist commented to AsiaNews -. If the police do not take adequate action against those who attack a peaceful demonstration, it means that crowds can create violence in any area of this country."

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