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Sri Lankan police prohibit use of Tamil national flower at Maaveerar Naal

Sri Lankan police have prohibited the use of the karthigai poo - the Tamil national flower - at Maaveerar Naal commemorations in Mullaitivu. 

Former Northern Provincial Council member Thurairasa Ravikaran alongside other Maaveerar Naal organiseers were at Iraddai Vaikkal Thuyilum Illam when they were approached by Sri Lankan police officers. 

Ravikaran told the police officers that "we haven't used Prabhakaran's photo, we haven't used any LTTE photos either. We are thinking about our relatives when we mark this day."

The police claimed that the karthigai poo is an "LTTE symbol" but Ravikaran highlighted that these are the same flowers that are used for worship at the temple. 

Ravikaran and Maaveerar Naal organiser Veerasingam were later ordered to go to the police station for questioning. 

Speaking outside Mullaitivu police station Ravikaran said:

"We were told that we cannot use the karthigai poo or the slogan 'Maaveerar Naal' on any banners for Maaveerar Naal. We argued the significance of the karthigai poo and Maaveerar."

"I told them that we have never violated any court orders and we won't now. However, the karthigai poo has existed before the LTTE was established. The karthigai poo is used when remembering those who died, therefore you cannot ban the use of this flower." 

"The word "Maaveerar" also existed before the LTTE. There were many Maaveerar before the LTTE."

Ravikaran went on to explain that Sri Lanka intend to disrupt Maaveerar Naal commemorations He noted that there have been disruptions in Thevipuram, Alampil, Mullaitivu, Mulliyawalai and in Mullivaikkal. 

He also highlighted that Sri Lanka has escalated its crackdown on Maaveerar Naal commemorations but 

"No matter how the state tries to disrupt us, we will continue to mark this day to remember those who died," Ravikaran said defiantly. 


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