Amidst a Sri Lankan state crackdown of commemoration activities for Maaveerar Naal, Tamil families of the disappeared have asserted families' rights to remember their war dead.
‘‘No one can stop individuals from participating in the remembrance. The mothers will also commemorate in the same way’’ a representative of families protesting in Vavuniya said.
‘‘We have been carrying out the commemorative event for the last 8 years’’ he added, revealing that a restraining order was given in response to their request to use a town hall for the remembrance event. ‘‘We were called to Vavuniya police station and orders were issued, as well as the attainment of our signatures. Not only that, they also called me to the Vavuniya Puliyankulam police station in the area where I live and had me sign a letter saying that we should not commemorate Maaveerar Naal.’’
The police have warned the families that commemorations in violation of the restraining order will result in immediate arrest, as well as issuing a restraining order to the city council not to provide the town hall for the event.
‘‘We have reached a pitiful state of not being able to remember. Repression is being actively pursued on all sides and in all ways. Police are monitoring our protest tent until the 29th. Be that as it may, no-one can stop the memorials; the mothers will carry out the remembrance alike’’ affirmed the families.
The families of the disappeared called on America and the EU to provide a solution to the issue, adding that it is not a matter in which the court needs to intervene.
The statement comes as crackdowns intensify in the North-East opposing observing Maaveerar Naal, including a series of court bans across the Tamil homeland prohibiting Tamils from taking part in Maaveerar Naal commemorations. Earlier this week, Sri Lanka's army commander and alleged war criminal, Shavendra Silva threatened that any efforts taken to commemorate Maaveerar Naal will result in legal action and forced quarantine.
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