Overture to Tamils

Army VictoryParade_9The Sri Lankan government, in yet another demonstration of its approach to provide healing touch to Tamils, on Thursday announced that May 19, regarded as Victory Day for the last five years to mark the LTTE’s defeat, would no longer be observed so.

Instead, it would be a day of remembrance for all those who died in the Eelam War-IV and who became disabled for the unity of this country, irrespective of ethnicity, said Rajitha Senaratne, Cabinet spokesperson. It would be a day that culminated the end of separatism. However, on the day, there would be a military parade to be held in Matara in the south.

Ever since the present regime took over in May, the theme of reconciliation has been its main plank. President Maithripala Sirisena, more than once, has shown that he is willing to go an extra mile to achieve reconciliation.

Asked about events held by certain groups as part of the observance of a “genocidal week,” the Minister said there were fringe elements everywhere and such elements were in a minority.

On Wednesday, Karu Jayasuria, Minister for Public Administration, Local Government and Democratic Goveranance, said there was nothing wrong in paying homage to the dead even though adulation of the LTTE could not be approved.

Supporting the government’s position, M.A. Sumanthiran, Tamil National Alliance leader, said the TNA, even in 2010, a year after the end of the War, had called upon people to remember the dead without any reference to the LTTE or religion. Its point was there should be “no sense of triumphalism” but a “feeling of regret and sadness.”

M.K. Shivajilingam, Member of the Northern Provincial Council and former Member of Parliament, said that as part of the “genocidal week,” beginning on May 12, he took part in functions in Mullivaikkal, Trincomalee and Point Pedro in the last three days to pay homage to all those who died in the War. “The dead included those who belonged to the LTTE,” said Mr Shivajilingam, who is the national organiser of the TELO, now a political party. (The Hindu)

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