all towns are one, all men our kin.
|Trans State Nation
Sri Lanka's Genocidal War - '95 to '01
Center for Justice and Peace in South Asia [CJPsa] reported on 29 March 2000:
"The All Ceylon Hindu Congress has written to the President Kumaratunga highlighting the harassment of ordinary Tamil citizens "on the basis that they are terrorists" and calling for "immediate and meaningful steps to stop this type of racial incidents".
The letter sets out a number of incidents that indicate that communal tensions are on the rise and calls for action to stop the communal attack on Tamils and make them feel that they can live in this country as citizens with equal rights and freedom". Copies of this letter have also been sent to the Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Minister of Posts and Telecom and Media Mangala Samaraweera and the Minister of Livestock Development and Estate Infrastructure Arumugam Thondaman.
Following is the full text of the letter:
Incidents, harassing Tamils on the basis that they are terrorists are on the increase. We wish to make specific mention of the following incidents:-
A Tamil student , M. Gopikrishna, of Hindu College Colombo (Bambalapitiya) who was travelling from Negombo in a train was assaulted by some Sinhalese passengers falsely alleging that he carried a bomb in his school bag and he was pushed down from the moving train. He was also abused by Sinhalese passengers on a communal basis.
In another incident Tamil passengers travelling from Puttalam to Colombo have been harassed on a communal basis.
When a Hindu Priest ran to catch a bus in Ingiriya he has been caught by some people and gave to the police and the priest had been remanded by the police.
In another incident at Wellawatte in a private bus coming from Moratuwa to Pettah a Tamil passenger was pushed out of the bus by its conductor just because he was a Tamil.
A Tamil lawyer, Mr. Raguraj, was stabbed at F. A. Coorey Mawatha, Wellawatte recently by people who were casting communal remarks.
At Slave Island in Colombo a woman had been stripped. Although there have been some denial by the authorities the Sunday Times of 26/3/2000 reveals the truth. The victim of the incident happened to be a Sinhalese but the news reports indicate that she was suspected as a `Tamil' terrorist. This unfortunate incident speaks of the unsafety for ladies , in particular Tamil ladies , in a democratic country.
Tuesday, on 28.3.2000 , a senior Tamil citizen who was reading a Tamil newspaper at a newspaper stall near Roxy Theatre Wellawatte was attacked by 3 unknown people who had snatched the Tamil newspaper and torn the same and abused him on a communal hatred basis.
It is unfortunate at the time when you and the Leader of the Opposition are engaged in talks to find a political solution to the ethnic problems because of which problems Tamils have been suffering for several years, these incidents of communal hatred victimizing Tamils are continuing. It is because of the communal hatred, Tamils in this country have lost the hopes in the successive governments.
We urge you to take immediate and meaningful steps to stop this type of racial incidents.
All these incidents have been reported in Virakesari, Thinakkural and Thinakaran (Tamil dailies).
We also wish to bring to your notice that the media also has been contributing to this unfortunate trend. English and Sinhala media refrain from highlighting the sufferings of Tamils. If that is cominued Sinhalese people cannot understand the plight of Tamils.
We wish to point out that even the English and Sinhala publications of the Lake House controlled by your Government has failed in this duty. We commend and applaud a constructive editorial written by the Chief Editor of Thinakaran (Tamil publication of Lake House) in its Sunday issue of the 26th March 2000 wherein he has highlighted some of the incidents referred to above and urged that the confidence of the Tamils should be won before placing the political solution before them and that incidents humiliating Tamils should be stopped.
The memorandum we sent to you dated the 23rd March 2000 bringing to your notice the treatment meted out to Hindu temples was duly published in Thinakaran. Why did not even the Daily News or the Observer publish it although we sent them also copies? Even privately owned media follows the same policy of communal bias.
We urge you and also the Minister of Posts, Telecommunications and Media to take immediate action to stop the communal attack on Tamils and to make them feel that they can live in this country as citizens with equal rights and freedom. We are sending a copy of this letter to Leader of the Opposition also in the hope that he will also urge you to take necessary action. Copies of this letter are being sent to the leaders of the other political parties also and we are confident that meaningful steps will be taken by your Govt., with the support of all of them.