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North and East protest government actions to disallow memorials for war dead

CLOSED UP – Jaffna city was mostly shut today as was much of the North East as political parties protested government actions to prevent memorials to war dead

ECONOMYNEXT – Most schools, shops and businesses in many parts of the North and East remained closed today in protest against the authorities’ refusal to allow remembrance ceremonies for those who died in these areas during the separatist war.

Leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) former Member of Parliament Mavai Senathirajah told EconomyNext that the people of the North and East are demanding a basic Human Right to mourn their dead.

“The police have filed action against a number of people who tried to remember their dead,” Senathirajah said. “They have used all sorts of laws, including Covid Regulations to prevent memorial events.”

Around 100,000 people, combatants and civilians died during the war, Senathirajah said. “Their loved ones have the right to hold religious ceremonies and other events to remember them.”

September 26, is the day usually marked to remember the death of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) operative Rasiah Parthipan alias Thileepan who fasted unto death in 1987 to force the Indian government to accede to five demands being made by the Tamil population.

In Jaffna city, locals said, the Hartal was very successful as most people stayed home.

He said ten political parties have written a letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa asking the government to grant them this basic right. (Colombo, September 28, 2020)

Reported by Arjuna Ranawana