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‘Appa died doing what he loved’ – Sivaram’s children pay tribute

The children of slain Tamil journalist Dharmeratnam ‘Taraki’ Sivaram paid tribute to their father on the 15th anniversary of his assassination, with a piece highlighting the ongoing struggles faced by the Tamil people.

“This year marks the 15th anniversary of our father’s death and to this day, no one has been convicted for his murder,” wrote Vaishnavi Sivaram, Vaitheki Sivaram and Andrew Seralaathan Dharmaretnam on JDS Lanka.

“We are not surprised by this and neither is our family looking for justice. The Sri Lankan state has and continues to target journalists who write a counter narrative to the state's propaganda. There continues to be a lack of accountability for many other journalists who have disappeared, been assaulted, or murdered in Sri Lanka.”

“As his children, we also often think about how shattered he would have been if he had lived to witness the way the armed struggle for the liberation of the Tamil people ended in the Mulivaikal Massacre,” they continued. “The horrible atrocities committed against the thousands of Tamil people by the Sri Lankan state would have broken him.”

“That is why we feel the need to not only pay homage to our father but also to commemorate all who have lost their lives during the war, especially the thousands of Tamil people who were massacred during the end of the war in Mulivaikal. Justice for our father at this time would be holding the Sri Lankan state accountable for the war crimes committed during the Mulivaikal Massacre. Justice and accountability is needed for the Tamil families whose loved ones surrendered to the army during the final phase of the armed conflict and continue to be missing. Justice is needed for families who continue to live in displacement and all those who live under state oppression in the Northern and Eastern provinces.”

“More than his family and supporting those in need, defending the sovereignty of his people through his writing was his utmost goal,” they added.

“Looking back, we are happy that Appa died doing what he loved the most and hope that one day, his fight for the autonomy of the Tamil people can be realised.”

See the full piece from JDS here.

Also see more on Sivaram in our feature on the 15th anniversary of his killing here.

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