"Stop the war in Srilanka" , the slogan raised in unison in New Delhi, by more than 100 strong activists of Voice for Eelam Tamils, representing Tamil Writers, Poets, Artists, Students, Human Rights Groups, Fishermen and women, Enuchs from Tamilnadu, Pondy and New Delhi. The activists sporting black T shirts reading "Stop War in Srilanka , Voice for Eelam Tamils" had descended on the streets of New Delhi to raise their concern and voice on the ongoing Genocidal war in Srilanka. Colorful and graphic placards and banners held high by the slogan raising activists surprised and struck the media and the people. "Gandhi's Nation waging war, Buddha's nation sinking in blood" , "War will continue after a short commercial break", "Arrest the No 1 War Criminal Rajapakshe" were some of the captions and graphics which would have moved the minds and hearts of any sensitive person. The songs and the drum beats by the cultural groups moved one and all. The colourful rally moved through the main thoroughfares of the capital, from Mandi house to the Parliament Street. No passers by walking or travelling, could have ignored. The rally culminated with an intensive demonstration held on the parliament street, and drew the attention of the national media.
The slogans raised in Hindi, English and Tamil reverberated in the minds of all who participated and witnessed. Fiery speeches rendered by the writers, poets and human rights activists say, Konangi(Writer), Prem(Writer, Scholar, Delhi University) Ponchandran(P U C L), Venkatachalam(Co ordinator, All Colleges Student Union, Tamilnadu), Lingan (South Indian Fishermen movement) demanded the immediate ceasure of war in Srilanka, abetted and aided by to India. The scintilliating speech made by Adhikesavan, a local Tamil Student Leader in Chaste Hindi, raised the eye brows of the locals. Solidarity expressed by the National Federation of Indian Women, the pioneer most women's movement who were at Janthar Manthar, (demanding implementation of 33% reservation for women) enthused the protesters. Ms.Annie Raja, NFIW offered total support from the women of India across to join the campaign against war. The unqualified support expressed by the Delhi and National Chapter of People Union of Civil Liberties boosted the morale of Participants
Though, any positive response from the Government is yet to be seen, the overwhelming response received from the simple folks of North India, who surrounded the dharna was a ray of hope on conscience of Humanity.
13th February 2009 at New Delhi will be a red letter day in the annals of history of Eelam struggle. A striking team of "Voice for Eelam Tamils" from Tamilnadu All Colleges Students Fedration, Tamil Poets movement, South Indian Fishermen movements, Pondicherry Fisherwomen actvists, PUCL friends and prominent Tamil Writers like Konangi, Yavanika Sriram, Ajayan Bala, Sureshwaran stormed before the Srilankan Embassy on 13th February around 3pm and held the local security and police personnel at bay by their vociferous gate crash protest demonstration demanding immediate stopping of war.
The Protestors burnt the effigy of Rajapakshe, demanding his arrest for waging the genocidal war in Srilanka and he be tried for his war crimes. Women Protestors Poet Filmmaker Leena Manimekalai, Malathi Maithri, Inba Subramanian, Human rights activist Dhanam and Assistant Film Director Living Smile Vidya sported banners reading "I am your mother come and rape me" "I am your sister come and rape me", which startled the press and the public alike. The protestors were arrested and removed from the high security zone and were detained in jail and were only left free late in the night. The national and the international media captured the entire event and aired it to the conscience of the world!
While a section of the "Voice of Eelam Tamils" stormed the Srilankan Embassy, the other section continued with their hunger strike at Janthar Manthar. In a surcharged milieu of slogan shouting, songs, and speeches, four students (Samuel, Ramesh, Vinod Kumar and Delhi Raj) and Lakshmi Saravanakumar, a poet, came forward to tonsure their head, a custom done by those who light the pyre fire, on the demise of his relative. The students lamented death of their "kith and kin" and paid last respects to those who lost their precious life in Srilanka. This not only denotes the death of justice, death of dignity, death of freedom and death of Press Freedom and the conscience of humanity. The students and the poet who tonsured their head deserve all appreciation.
The venue of hunger strike was visited by many leaders and eminent personalities and expressed their solidarity with the suffering Tamils in Srilanka and urged the Srilankan and Central Govt to stop the war and save the Tamils.
D.RAJA, the General Secretary of CPI and a member of Lok Sabha addressed the satyagrahis and explained in detail how this humanitarian crisis in Srilanka was precipitated by the indifference, callousness and chauvinist attitude of the successive Srilankan governments and the half hearted approach for lasting political solutions with in a democratic frame work. He warned the Central Government that if it does not do enough the stop the war immediately, India will see not only the uprising of the Tamils of India but also the freedom loving people from the rest of India, will dislodge the present anti-people government.
Shivaji Lingam, a sitting MP of Srilanka also addressed the protestors and explained the history of the struggle of Eelam Tamils and how it unfolded itself over six decades now. He emphasized that the students and youth of Eelam Tamils were constrained to resort to militant struggle only because all their peaceful and democratic struggle for dignity and justice were put down heavily by the brutal Srilankan forces. He said the so called political devolution now trumpeted with the 13th Constitution amendment, is only a farce and the Tamils are unable to exercise their rights even for their basic needs and self rule. He spent good lot of time with the protestors clarifying various questions raised on the issue. His visit the venue was mutually inspiring.
Mr. Kuldip Nayar, leading Columnist, Human Rights Activist, Ex Rajya Sabha Member and Retired British Ambassador of India, despite his advanced age, gave an inspiring talk and challenged that no one can muffle our democratic voice to support the just and democratic struggles all people, including Srilankan Tamils.
Justice Rajinder Sachar, who always expresses his pride to call himself as an Ex President of PUCL, joined the "Voice of Eelam Tamils" and reassured unqualified support to the cause of just struggles by the Srilankan Tamils and their supporters in India. He reiterated it is the duty of all freedom and peace loving people in India to urge the central government to stop the war in Srilanka.
Visit of several members of Parliament including Dr.Ramadoss, AK Murthy, Dr. Danraj, E.Ponnusamy, Krishnan,, Sipi Parai Ravichandran during the day helped the Protesters to keep up their morale.
The finale of the second day campaign was the rousing welcome given to the courageous activists who were arrested for protesting before the Srilankan embassy and paying rich tributes to Murugathasan, who laid his life by self-immolation in front of UN Head Quarters at Geneva demanding the intervention of the international community to save the suffering Tamils of Srilanka.
The relay fast continued and on the third day as well in Jantar Mantar and reserve police force also joined the fast as a result of the previous day's outreach.With the tight security, Voice for Eelam Tamils continued their protest, and this time, the struggle groups from various states on other political issues camped in the Parliament area visited, expressed solidarity and even raised slogans along with the cultural programs. Every member of the delegation from Tamilnadu All College Students Fedartion, South Indian Fishermen movement activists, PUCL friends, Transgenders, Advocates, Writers, Poets shared their concern, emotions and the further duty of taking the movement across the states and bringing all the struggle groups together in one platform in Tamilnadu and Pondicherry. Interaction with various regional and national media ended up always with a heated discussion and thus there was an opportunity to intervene the preoccupations and misunderstandings of the journalists across. The need for the mass media to unlearn a lot of things about the Eelam issue was pressing the time.
The rally, cultural programs and interaction with the Jawaharlal University students, the following evening was high spirited and enthusiastic. The criminal silence of the national communities towards the Eelam struggle and the Indian imperialistic hands in the Srilankan government's genocide were strongly condemned and the students expresses their conviction to continue to work and break the glass wall.
The lies under the cover of sovereignity were exposed and Student leaders of Revolutional Cultural Front who had arranged for the event expresses their concern that it is shameful to be an Indian under these circumstances. When the multi cultural, multi lingual student groups joined the thundering songs of friends of Voice for Eelam Tamils raised Tamil slogans saluting Muthu Kumar and other souls who lent their lives for Eelam liberation, there was a lot of hope and light on the vision of peace in Eelam not just as Tamil's issue but as a humanitarian conscience.
Co ordinator Leena Manimekalai, VET
leena manimekalai 3,brahathambal street nungambakkam chennai 600034 ph.