Sri Lanka’s United National Party has instructed the armed forces to take immediate action when information about LTTE commemorations is received, according to UNP Minister Navin Dissanayake. The Minister also claimed that the commemorations were being held as an organised campaign to attract Tamil diaspora money.
“This is an organised campaign that is being carried out; it is not limited to the North and East. It played out through using the internet to win the money of the diaspora. We are aware and alert about the issue. We strongly condemn any attempt to celebrate the LTTE in any way. We have instructed the tri-forces to ensure that immediate action is taken when information on such events is received,” ft.lk reports Dissanayake as saying.
“We know [the Joint Opposition] are trying to create new problems using the situation in the North and the East. But, we are ready to face any situation. We have a good army, we have a good army commander, and President Maithripala Sirisena is a good leader to the tri-forces. We are ready to counter any terrorist threat. LTTE will not rise again,” he said.
“We are opposed to the LTTE, we will always work against the LTTE. Sajith Premadasa and I will work against the LTTE. Our fathers were killed by the LTTE. As long as we hold positions in the Party, we will not allow the UNP to hold any other opinion,” he said.
Last November, thousands of Tamils attended commemorations for Maaveerar Naal which took place in every district of the North-East. Several areas have also engaged in community clearing of destroyed LTTE cemeteries and monuments, while other significant remembrance days in the armed struggle, such as Black Tigers Day and commemoration of Malathy, the first female martyr, have been marked by Tamils in the North-East.
However, preparations for Maaveerar Naal, and other commemorations, as well as cemetery clearing have been marred by altercations with the Sri Lankan military forces.
In a 2016 report on the repression of Tamil memorialisation in Sri Lanka, advocacy-group PEARL said:
“The legacy of the liberation movement is an important part of Tamil identity, and those who want to remember their dead must be permitted to do so, whether they were civilian victims or participants in the armed struggle. External constraints on commemoration only exacerbate divisions and contribute to further tensions.”