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ITAK leader decries inhuman treatment of Tamils over Mullivaikkal Kanji

Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) leader and MP Sivagnanam Shritharan called the actions of Sri Lankan police who arrested four Tamils earlier this week for preparing Mullivaikkal Kanji ‘despicable’ and ‘inhumane’ adding that their arrests were unwarranted and illegal. 

“The police officers both men and women from the Muttur police station behaved like animals,” he said speaking in Sri Lanka's parliament. “It is shameful that they dragged the women away, while the women screamed helplessly and their families watched in horror. They were taken to the police station in the same clothing they had been wearing and continued to be detained. No law warrants their arrests for the distribution of Kanji.”

Shritharan went on to say that police brutality has been exposed in this instance and this is how Tamils continued to be treated by this government. “The rest of the country makes all kinds of food and meals including Kanji on Vesak, do we tell you not to? Is there a law that prohibits you?” he asked the house. 

Shritharan went on to narrate the last and final stages of the armed conflict leading to Mullivaikkal where tens and thousands of Tamils were massacred. “They were killed while they stood in queues to receive a coconut shell with boiled rice. There wasn't even a pinch of salt, there was no water, there was no rice, yet this meal kept so many Tamils alive,” he said showing the members of parliament a coconut shell. “This event is simply an act to recall those massacres, to relive their plight, to memorialize the experiences. You talk of reconciliation and peace, but you cannot accept these women boiling Kanji and sharing them.”

The MP went on to question the situation the country is in asking if it wants to be known to the international community as a country that punishes people in such a despicable and inhuman manner for the simple act of sharing a meal. “If this act is intolerable, if the act of mourning a death of loved ones is prohibited. I ask of you again, whose mindset needs changing? Whose mentality needs changing? For this country to progress.”

He also mentioned Gotabaya Rajapaksa and warned the house that no Rajapaksa family member would live in peace due to the wrath of the tens and thousands of Tamils who were massacred in broad daylight. “Gotabaya knew that people were coming towards the forces seeking refuge, they were fleeing. There were over 400,000 at one point and that was drastically reduced when they began to mercilessly fire and shell those feeling populations. We all know of the white flag incident. And it is this anger and vengeance which will haunt the Rajapaksas. He was forced to flee and neither will any other member of the Rajapaksa family be in peace.”

In a press release, the Sri Lankan police have claimed that the commemorations were organised as "celebration" of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam fighters who were killed in 2009. Therefore, the Sampur police filed a court order to prohibit the "celebration". 

The court order shown to the four individuals when they were preparing the kanji, however, stated that the commemorations could not go ahead due to concerns over the endangerment of public health. 




Tamils across the North-East however continue to defy these threats by holding events marking Remembrance Week leading up to the Mullivaikkal commemoration on May 18.


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