Responding to the arrest of Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) parliamentarian, Selvarasa Kajendran, for commemorating the death of Lt Col Thileepan; C.V Wigneswran, leader of the Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kootan (TMTK), condemned the police's actions and maintained the right of Tamils to remember their dead and to pursue self-determination.
"If the Government thinks such acts of wanton provocation would put fear into our people they are sadly mistaken. Such high handedness will expose the Government and make our people more determined to fight for political self determination in this country" Wigneswaran told parliament.
In his statement Wigneswaran slammed the police's actions noting that Kajendran, a parliamentarian, was "dragged by the police like a common criminal". "There is no law which states we cannot remember our dead" he maintained.
Read more here: 34 years since Thileepan began fast unto death
He further noted that the attempt to ban commemorations illustrates "the extent to which dead persons are disturbing the conscience of the powers that be". Thileepan died on 15 September 1987, after undertaking a fast in which urged the Indian government to honour the pledges it had made to the Tamil people.
"Why is the government getting agitated about people remembering a peaceful protestor who died for noble Causes?" Wigneswaran asks.
Whilst Kajendran has been released on bail police have claimed his arrest was due to violating COVID restrictions. In his statement Wigneswaran emphasied that COVID restrictions must not undermine people's basic rights.
Read his full statement here.