Campaign launched to demand end to war and to fight for democratic rights
There is ferment among Tamil-speaking people, worldwide, over the slaughter taking place in the north of Sri Lanka. Over 2,000 people have died already in recent weeks. All critics of the government are silenced. Nearly 200,000 Tamil people are still trapped in the warzone. The Rajapakse government of Sri Lanka refuses to co-operate in a ceasefire to evacuate them.
We have seen widespread protests in countries with a large Tamil population. Numerous protests are taking place in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. We have also seen the incredible action of the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) whose solid strike has been going on since 29 January.
Tamil Nadu (TN) police tried to stop the strike by brutally attacking the lawyers but they fought a pitched battle with the police for hours. As a result, they strengthened the strike even further. One senior advocate who has been a member of the ruling party DMK has resigned from the party. On 20 February, Delhi lawyers also observed a strike to support the Chennai strike. The strikers received support from throughout India.
After the police’s brutal attack on the advocates, anger and frustration has now turned against the TN government. Despite paying lip service to the ‘Tamil cause’, the TN government’s inaction has created anger among the masses.
Students and youth are involved in many spontaneous protests and blockades expressing their anger at the TN ruling elite and the warmongering Sri Lankan government. In a desperate attempt to control the students, police were stationed at key colleges where students are more politically active. Colleges have also told the students not to leaflet or get involved in any activities related to Sri Lankan Tamil issues.
With elections to be held in April and May, leading right-wing parties are struggling to control the anger against the war in Sri Lanka. They can already see the protest against the slaughter of Tamils spreading into anger against the right-wing parties and the Indian government.
False concern of Tamil Nadu government
The ruling TN government’s false pretence of concern for Tamils getting killed in Sri Lanka was fully exposed in TN media by Siritunga Jayasuriya, Secretary of the United Socialist Party (USP – Sri Lankan section of the CWI) who visited India, last month.
Siritunga gave interviews to almost all leading TV, newspapers, and magazines and spoke at several meetings with hundreds of people attending. This intervention in TN politics is historically important, as it raised awareness of the need for united struggle.
A Sinhala Left politician raising his voice for the Tamils was received warmly by the people, which led to several discussions of the politics of the USP. We have also urged the left-leaning forces to come together to unite the struggle to stop the war in Sri Lanka.
The meeting called on 7 March in Chennai, to unite the struggle to end the war, attracted leaders of more than 12 groups, students and advocates who have been fighting to end the killings of Tamils in Sri Lanka. An international campaign called ‘Stop the Slaughter of Tamils’ was launched from that meeting, which also elected a working committee to co-ordinate the work.
A mass public meeting is being organised in Chennai on 30 March. The campaign has also called for an international day of protest on 8 April against the Indian government and companies supporting the murderous Rajapakse regime. Amongst the demands of the campaign are:-
- Stop the war! For an immediate end to military operations in Sri Lanka!
- Not a rupee, not a bullet for the war-mongering Rajapakse regime!
- For workers’ action, including a boycott of arms shipments!
A campaign web-site is under construction (‘stoptheslaughteroftamils.org’)