May 18th is a day that marks the genocide of the Tamil people, said the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF), criticising the government’s ban on remembrance events. “We have the right to remember our people who were killed in their masses,” said the TNPF, declaring the day as a Genocide Day.
“May 18th when the war came to an end through a genocide is a black day in a the Tamil people’s history. It cannot be forgotten.”
The Sri Lankan military ordered that no public events to commemorate the dead should take place, and those that defied the ban would be arrested.
See statement by TNPF here in Tamil. Translated in full below:
“Since the day the British left the island, the Sri Lankan rulers have increased their activity towards eradicating the Tamil nation’s presence. Democratic protests through peaceful means, carried out by Tamil leaders, to safeguard the Tamil nation from this destruction, completely failed. Therefore, in order to protect their homeland, the Tamil people were forced to take up arms and fight.
The Sri Lankan government portrayed the Tamil people’s armed struggle for political freedom as terrorism to the international community. Even when the international states knew the truth, for their own political interests, in order have Sri Lankan politicians under their influence, they choice to have one centre of power. In order to achieve this aim, they allowed the genocidal war by remaining silent.
In the 21st century, in the name of eradicating terrorism, the Sri Lankan government committed every crime against humanity, and carried out a genocide in Vaharai and Vanni, before the world’s eyes.
Aware of the destruction about to take place, the Tamil diaspora living around the world, Tamil Nadu counterparts, as well as Tamil people living in countries such Mauritius and South Africa, protested continuously for many months, for the on-going genocide to be stopped. Demanding for the war to stop, many sacrificed their lives through self-immolation. However, powerful states stayed silent for their own geopolitical interests.
The government designated No Fire Zones and invited the Tamil people into them. The government shelled the Tamil people, who came there in trust, killing them in masses. Innocent people, such as pregnant mothers, women, children, elderly and sick people were killed indiscriminately.
By the end of final conflict in Vanni, according to a UN report, 40,000 to 70,000 people were killed. However, what happened to 146,000 people remains unknown to this day. What happened to the Tamil people was not just human rights violations, war crimes or crimes against humanity, it was a planned genocide, justice should be done.
Not only did they kill our loved ones through mass slaughter, but the Sri Lankan government and its military have banned us from remembering those who they killed.
The government thinks they can hide the genocide they committed against the Tamil people by stopping remembrance. The Sri Lankan government is celebrating the day they killed our people and enslaved our nation as a victory.
May 18th when the war came to an end through a genocide is a black day in a the Tamil people’s history. It cannot be forgotten.
This day is a day when Tamils were subjected to a genocide. We declare this day, Genocide Day.
We have the right to remember our people who were killed in their masses. We request everyone to observe remembrance events peacefully for those that died in Mullivaikkal.”