A hunger strike urging the Sri Lankan government to be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) commenced in Nallur, Jaffna today morning.
Jaffna and Eastern University students and religious leaders - including Jaffna district’s archbishop priest, Jebaratnam Adigalar and Hindu clergy, Velan Swamigal came together to launch the first day of the hunger strike in front of the Nallur Kandasamy Temple.
Velan Swami stated that one of the demands from the hunger strike is that the international community, particularly the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), its constituent countries and the members of the core group including the UK, Canada, Germany, Montenegro and North Macedonia, refer Sri Lanka to the ICC.
“Students and youngsters have initiated a hunger-strike protest in a non-violent and peaceful manner. This peaceful, hunger-strike protest must emerge victorious. I pray to the Lord for blessings to achieve that goal. This protest is the need of the hour. As religious leaders, we urge all of us Eelam Tamils to participate in the protest by overcoming all internal differences, whether along party or religion or other lines, and on the basis that we are all Tamils,” he added.
The religious leader, who headed the Pottuvil to Polikandy (P2P) protest march earlier this month, also emphasised the peaceful and law-abiding nature of the hunger strike.
“This hunger-strike protest is a peaceful and moral one that abides by all health measures and adheres to all laws. This is also an opportunity for our youth community to vent their sentiments in a free and democratic manner. I urge all students, high-school students and college students, to participate in this hunger-strike protest on a rotating basis. Again, I pray to god for the victory of the protest. We will take all efforts to get Sri Lanka referred to the ICC.”
The hunger strike has been inspired by Tamil activist, Mrs Ambihai Selvakumar, who started her hunger strike in the UK earlier this week. Selvakumar noted that the UK’s failure to “Call for Decisive Action at the 46th Session of the UNHRC” as a reason to commence the strike, urging the UK government and international community to immediately address the “continuing genocide against Tamils since 1948”