As Tamils across the world marked the annual harvest festival of Thai Pongal this week, in the Tamil homeland security the Sri Lankan government deployed soldiers in Jaffna as Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited the Northern Province.
See our post: Sri Lankan military blocks access to temple, harasses journalists on Thai Pongal (15 Jan 2016)
An event in Jaffna to mark Thai Pongal was attended by British Foreign Office minister for South Asia, Hugo Swire and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswarwan addressed the event, stating that the continued presence of the Sri Lankan military more than 6 years after the end of the armed conflict “lays the foundation for violence”.
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TNA leader R Sampanthan released a Thai Pongal statement calling on Tamils to mark the festival by praying for those who remain displaced by the armed conflict over 6 years on.
See our post: TNA leader urges Thai Pongal prayers for IDPs (14 Jan 2016)
The Sri Lankan military also held Thai Pongal festivities in the Thirumurukkandi Hindu temple in Kilinochchi on Friday as local residents had gathered to pray.
See our earlier post: Sri Lankan military holds Thai Pongal prayers in Kilinochchi temple (17 Jan 2016)
Meanwhile, leaders in the United Kingdom and Canada released statements marking Thai Pongal and celebrating the positive contribution that the Tamil community has made in their respective countries.
See our posts:
Zac Goldsmith and Boris Johnson's Thai Pongal message
David Cameron praises British Tamils on Thai Pongal (15 Jan 2016)
Canadian Prime Minister sends Thai Pongal wishes (15 Jan 2016)