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FeaturesNewsColombo treating us like ‘aborigines’, Tamils tell India

Colombo treating us like ‘aborigines’, Tamils tell India

| IANS –  Jun 13, 2011
New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Sri Lanka is treating people in its Tamil-majority northeast as ‘aborigines’, a Tamil delegation told a team of Indian officials in Colombo. ‘It is very unfortunate that the (Sri Lankan) government does not allow people and officials of the north and east to manage their affairs as done in all other seven provinces,’ they said in a memorandum given to National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon and Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao.

‘The government is treating these people like aborigines and goes on enforcing its own agenda without any consideration for their views,’ said the delegation of Tamil leaders V. Anandasangaree, T. Sritharan and D. Sitharthan.
While Anandasangaree heads the Tamil United Liberation Front, one of the oldest political parties in Sri Lanka, the other two are leaders of former Tamil militant groups that are now political parties.
The three met the Indian delegation in Colombo Saturday. Menon and Rao also held discussions with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa as well as other leaders.

They told Indians that ‘without allowing things to go out of control, the (Indian) delegates should explore the possibilities of persuading the Sri Lankan government to agree to the demands of the minorities’.
This, they said, includes resolving the ethnic problem, de-militarizing the northeast, freeing Tamils detained without trial over minor offences, and not constructing houses for the army in the north and east.
‘The government should not penalize the owners of properties for selling or giving their lands to the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) under threat,’ their memorandum said.

Sri Lanka crushed the Tamil Tigers militarily in May 2009, and since then has taken a belligerent stand on issues confronting the Tamil community.

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