Naam Tamilar Katchi (NTK) Chief Coordinator, Senthamizhan Seeman, has called on the international community to question the “racist repression of Sri Lanka” noting that the recent failure to include Tamil on the Attorney General Library’s plaque following the passage of the Colombo Port City bill.
The plaque only includes English, Sinhala and Mandarin despite Tamil being an official language.
In his statement, Seeman noted that the international community’s silence on Sri Lanka has caused “great unrest and outrage among Tamizhs” as “Sinhala fanatics […] have completely excluded the indigenous people of Sri Lanka from their rights, possessions, land rights, power and statehood […] establishing Sri Lanka as the Sinhala nation under a single language”.
He further added that “if only one language prevails, the country will be divided into two” and warned against Chinese encroachment.
“I say that China’s excessive domination and excessive encroachment on Sri Lankan soil can be detrimental to India’s sovereignty and security”, he maintained.
Writing in the Hindu, Meera Srinivasan notes that the exclusion of Tamil is seen through the lens of the infamous ‘Sinhala Only Act’ of 1956, which was one of the root causes of Sri Lanka’s armed conflict. Tamil was only included after the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1987 however Tamils in the North-East frequently point to the absence of Tamil in police stations and some government offices.
Commenting on this matter, TNA legislator, M.A. Sumanthiran tweeted the “exclusion of Tamil is certainly not new!”
Colombo Port City bill
The passage of the Colombo Port City bill has been widely criticised as undermining Sri Lankan sovereignty to serve Chinese interests.
Speaking in parliament, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, leader of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), slammed the Colombo Port City bill noting the hypocrisy of Sri Lanka denying Tamils a right to self-determination on the grounds of “sovereignty” but permitting the Chinese-led Port City project.
Read Seman’s full statement here.