We the ‘Christian Solidarity Movement’ are alarmed to be informed that Bishop Rayappu Joseph of the diocese of Mannar has been questioned by the CID about a statement made by him over the issue of deportation of asylum seekers, by the Australian government. This is not the first time that the Bishop has been interrogated by the CID.
It is no secret that Tamil people are constantly harassed by the military on suspicion for their links with the LTTE and as a result they are suffering at the hands of the military. The voiceless Tamil people are really condemned to suffer in silence as a result.
We are very much aware that the Bishop as a real Shepherd for his people is accessible to anyone and it is to him that people turn when in distress. He has now become a voice of the voiceless.
We as the Christian Solidarity Movement are proud to see him as a rare and extraordinary leader who is faithfully fulfilling his Christian mission by boldly speaking on behalf of the suffering Tamil people. Bishop Rayappu Joseph has always spoken about the current problems faced by his people and denounced some of the barbaric acts against the innocent.
Further he has always stood in the past, and will in future, for a just and peaceful political solution which does not dissolve the identity and the unique culture of the Tamils.
On many occasions, he has urged the authorities for the establishment of a civil administration to replace the present practice of involving the military in civil matters. Freedom to exercise their democratic rights, we believe is a prerequisite for a democracy. In fact establishment if civil administration is one of the recommendations of the LLRC report.
In this instance we remain in solidarity with Bishop Rayappu Joseph and pray that he be continually inspired by the Holy Spirit to endure these challenges.
According to the information we received he has been questioned regarding connections with the Tamil Diaspora. Linking any voice whether in the North or even in the South raised on Justice and Democracy and any attempt made to denounce the undemocratic rule, with the LTTE or Tamil Diaspora, is to silence the courageous voices. We see this as a dangerous trend. In this instance the questioning of Bishop Rayappu Joseph for long hours in our view is a sign of intimidation to silence the Tamil voice.