Political groups in the North have decided to defy a ban on holding public events to commemorate the “Mullivaikal massacre” next Sunday.
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Northern Provincial Council Member M. K Sivajilingam told The Sunday Leader that public events to commemorate those killed during the final stages of the war in the North will be held to coincide with the fifth year anniversary since the end of the war.
“We will not be deterred by threats or intimidation and we will commemorate our dead. No one has the right to take away our right to commemorate our dead. Anyone can threaten us to stop such events, but no matter what they say we will stage these commemoration ceremonies.
If those in the south have the right to hold such commemoration ceremonies in the South, then we too have the right to hold such commemoration ceremonies in the North as well. The JVP had the right to commemorate their dead in November last year and also in April those killed in the 1970’s were also commemorated. That being the case, we believe that the Tamil people also have similar rights and we plan to exercise that right,” he said.
Meanwhile military spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya said that private commemoration ceremonies were not prohibited, but any public ceremony commemorating the LTTE or any other proscribed organization would be banned.
“The families of those who have lost their loved ones are not prohibited from commemorating their dead according to their religious beliefs privately. However even in private functions there cannot be flags or any insignia displayed of any proscribed organization including the LTTE. Public commemorations of any proscribed organizations or its members are not permitted.
The LTTE dragged the country down the road to destruction for almost 30 years. However we understand that the families of those dead may need to commemorate their deaths according to their religious beliefs and customs and we have no problem with that. Our problem is when it is politicized.
There cannot be any politicized commemorations of any kind using slogans, flags or any insignia of any proscribed organization, which could stir the sentiments of the public. Such ceremonies also do not serve any local purpose but only serves the external sentiments,” he said. The fifth year celebrations of the end of the war will be held in Matara next Sunday.