Protests gathering momentum against Rajapaksa’s Indian visit
Vol 3 | Issue 37
Senior Indian journalist Rajesh Sundaram, who has extensively covered the Sri Lankan civil war since 1999, has launched an online signature campaign against Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s upcoming Indian visit.
With blessings from the Congress led UPA Government, Rajapaksa has been invited to Sanchi in the BJP ruled state of Madhya Pradesh to inaugurate a Buddhist learning centre.
Protests are continuing in various parts of Tamil Nadu against Rajapaksa’s visit
Rajesh has urged Indians to sign his petition that he has posted on www.avaaz.org, to ensure that the “accused war criminal” does not get a warm welcome.
In a scathing attack against Rajapaksa, the journalist poses some hard questions to the government: “Does a man accused of running a genocidal regime that stonewalls international calls for investigations and accountability, deserve to come to the land of the Buddha...the universal icon for peace, brotherhood and righteous living? Does his regime deserve the support of the Indian people? Does India need to stoop to the depths that Pakistan and China are willing to, for the sake of a misplaced notion of Realpolitik?”
Posted a couple of days ago, the petition has got over 1400 signatures. Rajesh told The Weekend Leader, that he plans to submit the petition to senior BJP leader and Leader of Opposition, Sushma Swaraj, and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan.
He said by inviting Rajapaksa, who is facing charges of war crimes, India is giving legitimacy to his tainted regime.
His petition has pointed to the ongoing Sinhalisation of Tamil areas. “Since the war ended, Rajapaksa regime has a policy that actively encourages settlement of Sinhala population in what has been recognised as traditional homelands of the Tamils. Human rights abuses against the Tamil population and the continued denial of basic rights has only increased since the end of the war, in the absence of any international action,” the petition states.
Rajesh added that the creation of an independent Tamil homeland through democratic and peaceful means seemed to be the only foreseeable solution to end the decades old ethnic conflict.
Journalist Rajesh Sundaram (centre) supports demand for Tamil homeland
Meanwhile, protests are continuing in various parts of Tamil Nadu against Rajapaksa’s visit. A 26-year-old auto driver attempted self-immolation in Salem this morning and has been admitted to hospital in a critical condition.
Normal life has been affected in the union territory of Puducherry due to a bandh call given by Naam Thamizhar party opposing Rajapaksa’s visit.
MDMK leader Vaiko has already announced a black flag demonstration in Sanchi against Rajapaksa’s visit.
To sign petition against Rajapaksa’s visit click here.. - TWL Bureau