The Tamil National Green Organization (TNGO) opened 'Karthikai Vaasam' flower garden at Nallur Kittu Park in Jaffna on Saturday, as karthigaipoo flowers were pinned on participants including the Indian Deputy High Commissioner, ahead of Northern Tree Planting Month.
Indian Deputy High Commissioner Rakesh Natraj Jayabaskaran formally inaugurated the garden. The Indian Consulate and TNGO distributed saplings under the late actor Vivek’s tree planting initiative with the sponsorship of Australian Inbathamil Radio at the opening ceremony.
The inaugural event was attended by the leader of the TNGO, Tamil environmentalist, and former provincial minister P. Ayngaranesan, Jaffna Municipal Councillor V. Parthiban and many others.
Guests wore Karthika flowers and were gifted free saplings and flowers in observation of Tree Planting Month. Since the end of the armed conflict, the planting of trees in November has become a form of commemoration of those who died fighting for the Tamil struggle. The Northern Provincial Council officially declared November as Tree Planting Month in 2016.
Kittu Memorial Park in Nallur was opened in 1994 in honour of the senior Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) official Colonel Kittu who committed suicide along with nine other cadres after being surrounded by Indian navy warships in 1993. It is frequently used for community events including tree planting in honour of fallen LTTE cadres.
In March, the entrance to the park was set on fire in a suspected arson following the Sri Lankan state’s wholesale destruction of monuments to the Tamil liberation struggle across the North-East, after the end of the armed conflict in 2009.
Throughout the North-East, the Sri Lankan police have successfully submitted that under the Criminal Code and the widely condemned, Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) it is a crime to commemorate fallen LTTE fighters. Multiple district courts have issued event bans from 21st to the 28th to disrupt commemorations ahead of 'Maaveerar Vaaram', the week of remembrance preceding Maaveerar Naal on the 27th.
Karthika Vaasam will be open to visitors from 8.30 am to 7 pm until November 26.