February 01, 2004
Observe February 4th
as Black Day
February 4th is
once again a stark reminder to the Thamils that they lost their freedom on this black day
56 years ago. It is the day hegemonic rule was imposed on the unsuspecting Thamils by the
ungrateful Sinhalese leaders.
The hopes of the Thamil people
that they will be treated on equal terms with in a multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic,
multi-religious and multi-cultural society in which they will find the political space to
live in freedom and dignity has been rudely shattered. Over the years, Thamils have
been brutally excluded from the corridors of power and robbed of their language, cultural
and employment rights.
Through systematic state sponsored
Sinhalese colonization of traditional Thamil homelands, the demographic composition of the
Northeast has been drastically altered in favour of the majority community.
The two year- old MoU signed
between the LTTE and the GOSL has not restored the much-touted normalcy to the people
of Northeast. Except the fact the guns have fallen silent, Thamils continue to live
under the jackboot of an occupation army. The armed forces have refused to vacate HSZs in
terms of the MoU and as a result thousands of Thamil families continue to
languish in refugee camps and welfare centres.
rehabilitation of displaced people and reconstruction of damaged homes, schools, places of
worship had turned out to be a cruel joke.
Farming and fishing, the
mainstay of the Thamil people, continue to be crippled by the imposition of humiliating
restrictions by the occupation army. Their freedom of movement both on land and sea has
been severely restricted.
The fishing community is
still subject to restrictions imposed by the army in regard to hours of fishing and area
of fishing. The humiliation of obtaining daily passes from the army to put out to sea is
an insult to their dignity and self-respect. Likewise Thamil farmers have been
prevented from cultivating their traditional farmlands falling within the HSZs.
Hundreds of Thamils arrested
under the PTA are still locked up in prisons in the south. GOSL used or misused the PTA to
incarcerate Thamils on flimsy grounds.
Several schools, hospitals
and places of worship still remain within the HSZ without access to people. The MoU has only helped to convert the Northeast
into an open prison for our people.
While talking about
peace and seeking a negotiated political settlement to the ethnic conflict, the
government is also busy recruiting men and procuring arms to strengthen the armed
forces. The government is also signing defence agreements with countries like India, USA
and Russia, which will upset the military equilibrium and undermine the MoU. Apparently these defence agreements form part of
the so-called safety-net strategy pursued by the Prime Minister to crush the
LTTE militarily in case war resumes.
Despite the MoU, the
government is still using state terror as an instrument to cow down the Thamils. Assaults, torture, detention and harassment of
Thamils by members of the armed forces continue albeit on a reduced scale. The armys
mentality that it is above the law continue to dominate their psyche
To compound the already
muddied waters, the power struggle between the legislative Prime Minister and the
executive President has tied up the government in knots and paralyzed the functioning of
the state. The President who is the head of state is also at the same time the leader
of the opposition, a hypocritical mockery of democracy. Massive foreign aid by international community has
been put on hold till peace prevails between the two.
President Chandrika has
now embraced bogus revolutionaries and pseudo-Marxists like the JVP and MEP who fan
the flames of divisive politics. By embracing warmongers, she has wittingly damaged
her already dented image and irrevocably lost the trust of the Thamil people. Apparently
her propensity for self-delusion is indeed very remarkable and appears to have no limits. Lest someone forget, we like to remind that her
previous subterfuge of Peace through War wrought death, destruction and rivers
of blood for the Thamil people.
We, therefore, join the
civic organizations in the Northeast in calling upon the Thamil people to observe February
04 as a Black Day. This is the only way we can register our protest against the
continued denial of Thamil people's basic rights.
Contact: Tel. (416) 281 1165 (416) 447 6314 (905) 949 0824
Fax (416) 261 6745