Tamils across the North-East remembered S.J.V Chelvanayakam, also fondly referred to as 'Thanthai Chelva' and the father of Tamil nationalism, to mark 44 years since his death.
Chelvanayakam was responsible for spear heading the Vaddukoddai resolution, which was overwhelmingly ratified by the Tamil votes in the 1976 parliamentary elections.
The memorial event had just begun at 8.00 AM at the Thanthai Chelva memorial statue near the Sivan Temple in Trincomalee before Sri Lankan police interrupted the proceedings.
Former Provincial Council Chairman K. Selvaraja and District Council member Senathiraja were laying a flower garland around the statue when police intervened and asked the participants to leave in the pretext of avoiding crowds due to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. The police threatened to arrest the participants if they failed to comply with their orders.
Under the guise of coronavirus, Sri Lanka's security forces have intensified their crackdown on Tamil remembrance events across the North-East, increasing their intimidation and harassment of Tamils.
Despite the threat of arrest, other ITAK members and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) notables paid individual tributes to Thanthai Chelva’s likeness.
Current ITAK chief Mavai Senathirajah led the memorial event in Jaffna at the Thanthai Chelva Memorial Square.
A floral wreath was laid around the statue of Thanthai Chelva and participants also offered flowers in tribute to the former Tamil leader.
A number of Tamil politicians took part in the event including parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran, Northern Provincial Council Chairman CVK. Sivagnanam and Jaffna Mayor V. Manivannan.
Jaffna municipal council officials, civil society members and other party leaders were also present in the commemoration and paid tributes in memory of Thanthai Chelva.
P. Sathiyalingam, ITAK secretary, led the commemoration in Vavuniya district this morning at the Thanthai Chelva memorial monument located near the clock tower.
Sathiyalingam inaugurated the memorial event as he laid a floral wreath around Thanthai Chelva’s statue following which other participants offered their tributes.
Vavuniya District Council members N. Senathiraja, R.K. Rajalingam and other ITAK members and followers were among those in attendance at the proceedings.
ITAK members paid tribute to Thanthai Chelva in Batticaloa at his memorial square located in the Vaavikarai Park.
In addition to offering flower garlands and floral tributes to his statue, a few minutes of silence was also observed in remembrance of Thanthai Chelva.
In addition to former ITAK MP Pon. Selvarasa who led the event, parliamentarians from Batticaloa including Govindhan Karunakaran, Ra. Shanakiyan, former MP P. Ariyenthiran and Batticaloa Mayor T. Saravanabawan were also among those in attendance at the commemoration.