Eastern Tamil protestors demand self-determination

Place: Batticaloa | Courtesy: TamilNet
| Date: 20010220

Eastern University Community, concluding 'Pongu Thamil' (Tamil Upsurge) programme on Tuesday declared that a solution to the island's ethnic conflict should recognise the Tamil people's right to self-determination, their traditional homeland and their distinct national identity. Until then the Tamil people would continue their agitation vigorously. More than three thousand students, staff and people took part in the event at the Eastern University in Batticaloa.

The East University ground was decorated with yellow and red flags. Deans and students of the university lit the 'freedom-flame' to inaugurate the event.

Vice Chancellor Professor M.S.Mookiah addressing the event said that it is high time that this war should be brought to an end. "Several foreign countries were working with keen interest to bring peace in Sri Lanka. But the Sri Lankan government is on war footing. The government is taking steps to continue the war vigorously.

He said the Sri Lankan government must respond favourably to the call for peace.

Mr.Pon.Selvarasa, Member of Parliament of the Batticaloa district, Rev.Fr.Joseph representing the Bishop of Trincomalee - Batticaloa Diocese and several others also spoke.

In the meantime, the security forces did not allow eight busloads of Tamil villagers who arrived from Porativu and Palugamam villages in the LTTE controlled areas to participate in the Pongu Thamil in Batticaloa.

The buses were stopped at the Paddiruppu bridge and the occupants were ordered by the security forces to return to their villages. Those villagers later conducted a procession in the LTTE controlled area in support of the Pongu Thamil programme.

Sources said all schools in the Batticaloa district were closed down due to the boycott by students responding to the call made by the Independent Students' Union.