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Canadian school board 'clarifies' Mullivaikkal Genocide statement after backlash from Sri Lanka embassy

Peel District School Board has issued a "clarification" regarding its statement made on May 18 to commemorate the Mullivaikkal Genocide, after receiving backlash from the Sri Lankan embassy in Canada and a campaign by the Canadian Sinhala community.

The school board issued a statement yesterday, confirming that it was in response to concerns raised by "several members of the community and information received by the Consul General of Sri Lanka".

Peels Schools original tweet which was welcomed by the Canadian Tamil community said:

“Today is Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day. We honour the innocent lives that were lost, those who were displaced, and those who suffer trauma to this day.”

The Sinhala community mobilised in response to the tweets and the increasing recognition that the Tamil genocide was receiving in the country and around the world. A petition started by “United Canadian Sri Lankan’s in Ontario” for example has received over 13,000 signatures and states “we oppose and reject any proclamation of Tamil “Genocide” passed in Toronto, Brampton or anywhere in Canada”.

“Our community has mobilized and started a large scale campaign to raise awareness regarding current/future impartial divisive proclamations and bills,” it added.

Just last month, the Sri Lankan High Commission in London accused The Guardian of a "sinister attempt to propogate the ideology of a proscribed terrorist outfit" after the paper published a travel quiz on islands around the world. 

The question asked, "Eelam is an indigenous name for which popular holiday island?" 

Hours after the quiz was published, Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to the UK  wrote to the paper, claiming that the word "Eelam" has "never been used as an indigenous name for Sri Lanka."  The question was then taken down. 

These incidents form part of a series of Sri Lankan embassies abroad, voicing their concerns over local developments.