Politicians from the UK, Canada and Finland have condemned the recent attack on Lt Col Thileepan's memorial float by a Sinhala mob in Trincomalee.
On Sunday, a memorial float commemorating 36 years since Lt Col Thileepan fasted unto death was attacked by a Sinhala mob who use batons and stones to damage the memorial. Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) MP Selvarajah Kajendren who was present at the time was also attacked by the mob although Sri Lankan police officers were present at the scene.
British politicians Theresa Villiers and Siobhain McDonagh both issued statements following the attack.
Theresa Villiers, MP for Chipping Barnet, said:
"I condemn yesterday’s mob attack on a Tamil memorial float Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, with very little apparently being done by the police to stop this.
I appreciate that memorials related to past conflicts can be divisive and controversial, but Tamils should have the right to set up memorials in honour of their loved ones.
I understand that Tamil MP Selvarajah Kajendran was also attacked and I condemn this attempt to intimidate an elected representative."
Siobhain McDonagh, MP for Mitcham and Morden tweeted:
I want to condemn the attack on Tamil MP Selvarajah Kajendran. The Police in Sri Lanka continue to stand idly by whilst these attacks take place
The international community should push for the right to memorialisation and protect elected Tamil representatives
— Siobhain McDonagh MP (@Siobhain_Mc) September 18, 2023
Gary Anandasangree, MP for Scarborough—Rouge Park and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations said that the incident "speaks to the continued impunity enjoyed by those who brazenly break the law."
Nikolaj Villumsen, a Member of European Parliament, also denounced the attack on Twitter. He stated that the attack was "totally unacceptable" and "clearly shows the oppression that Tamils suffer."
Totally unacceptable assault on Member of Parliament S. Kajendran and fellow Tamils.
A gang of extremist thugs attacked two vehicles displaying deceased hungerstriker Thilipan's portrait while the police watched passivly.
This clearly shows the oppression that Tamils suffer. https://t.co/Wrthnzevi1
— Nikolaj Villumsen (@nvillumsen) September 18, 2023
Former Finnish MP, Hussein al-Taee, said he was "deeply disturbed" by the incident and also noted that the Sri Lankan police "did nothing to prevent attacks."
He also called on "other lawmakers to take a firm solidarity action with the Tamil Community in these times."
Tamils in the North-East have faced harassment and surveillance for trying to remember those who lost their lives in the Tamil liberation struggle. Sri Lankan police often file injunctions to prevent commemorative activities from going ahead while the military intimidate those who choose to participate in any of these activities.