Tamil parliamentarians and politicians have expressed their strong condemnation of the damage caused to the Mullivaikkal memorial monument and the stealing of a memorial stone by the army earlier this week.
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Selvam Adaikkalanathan visited the site of the vandalised memorial structure on Thursday and told the press that he was convinced that the memorial was damaged by the army.
“When our (Christian) Fathers arrived here yesterday to establish the memorial stone, the army had been heavily deployed and the police prevented them from doing so. Then, the memorial was found damaged. I say openly that it was the army that destroyed the monument,” Adaikkalanathan stated.
“This incident makes it absolutely clear that the country is divided into two; the Sinhalese nation and the Tamil nation,” he added.
Adaikkalanathan then called attention to the Buddhist religious ceremony that took place in Kurunthoormalai violating COVID-19 restrictions with army support earlier this week and suggested that laws apply unequally to the Tamils and Sinhalese in the country.
“The army is deployed heavily in Tamil areas where Buddhist monks chant the Pirith. How can those rituals take place without violating COVID-19 restrictions? But our Fathers were turned away from establishing the memorial stone on the grounds of coronavirus.”
“This demonstrates that this country has changed into a regime of Buddhist monks,” Adaikkalanathan added.
“Therefore, Buddhist monks, the army and police can do anything in the Tamil provinces. And law and order has been denied here,” he said.
Selvarasa Kajenthiran, parliamentarian from the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), also expressed his condemnation of the memorial monument and said, “...it is deeply condemnable that the army and police are causing hindrances not just to the commemoration but also to the establishment of a memorial stone.”
“The genocide took place in 2009 when Gotabaya Rajapaksa was Defence Secretary and Mahinda Rajapaksa was President. Tamils demanded an international investigation into the genocide,” Kajenthiran said.
“At this stage, it is deeply condemnable that the army and police are causing hindrances not just to the commemoration but also to the establishment of a memorial stone.”
“There are memorials throughout this street to the army that conducted the genocide against Tamils. But a grave situation exists alongside where Tamils cannot even pay respect to their relatives who were killed in their motherland,” he added.
Kajenthiran attributed this to a lack of international investigation into the genocide and said that ten years of internal investigation has given the state a confidence that it can get away with being unaccountable.
C.V. Wigneswaran, an MP from the Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kootani (TMTK), called the destruction of the Mullivaikkal memorial monument and the stealing of the memorial stone “a barbaric and uncivilized act of the government.”
“However, this does not cause me any surprise. Because, this government has undertaken similar barbarous acts against the Tamils in the past,” he added.
Wigneswaran drew attention to the destruction of the mass cemetery in Tamil areas by the Sri Lankan army that followed the Tamil genocide and said that the government continues to abuse the power it wields.
“The world is soon going to accept that what took place in Mullivaikkal constitutes genocide. The government’s foolish activities can never hide that fact. America has recognised that what took place in Armenia as genocide only now,” Wigneswaran said.
The TMTK MP expressed confidence that “despite the government’s barbarity,” Tamils would commemorate May 18 “without any fear” whilst also adhering to COVID-19 regulations.
Read Wigneswaran’s full statement in Tamil here.