நேற்றய TORONRO SUN செய்தித்தாளில் இலங்கை தமிழர் பற்றிய செய்தி ஒரு முழுப்பக்கத்திற்கு வந்துள்ளது.
எம்மவர் நிகழ்வுகளை இருட்டடிப்பு செய்கின்றது என்றொரு குற்றச்சாட்டு உள்ள வேளையில், இது ஒரு வரவேற்கத்தக்க விடயம் தான்.
Tamils protest ‘genocide’
Shelling killing civilians in ‘safe zones’
Between 400 and 500 protesters clogged St. Clair Ave., near Yonge St., calling for “justice” and protesting the deaths and woundings of civilians caught in the middle of the civil war between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels.
The AP reported the Red Cross appealed to both sides yesterday to allow safe passage for what they estimated were 250,000 people trapped in the northern war zone.
Civilians gathered in a small “safe zone” on the edge of rebel territory, but a health official said yesterday at least 300 civilians were wounded and scores feared killed by shells fired into the zone.
While yesterday’s demonstration was peaceful, it was reflective of the conflict on the Indian Ocean: The protesters accused the government of genocide while the consul-general described the placard-waving crowd of at very least being sympathizers of the terrorist organization Tamil Tigers.
About 20 people launched the protest by rushing into the fourth-floor offices of the consulate offices of Sri Lanka on St. Clair., occupying it until police arrived.
‘MY PEOPLE DYING’
The recent spike in violence in so-called “safe zones” has left hundreds dead, said protest spokesman Thennavan Amuthan, 27. “My people are dying,” he said. “I don’t know what to do” to stop it.
He said the protest was spontaneous. “We’re here today because the genocide in Sri Lanka has reached epic proportions. I was educated in Canada and I have Canadian values and this cannot happen anywhere in the world, let alone Sri Lanka.”
He said the group asked consul general Bandula Jayasekara to get the government to allow health organizations back into the war-torn regions.
“This has become a war against Tamils,” Amuthan said. “My family is not trying to create (a separate country), they just want to live in peace and dignity.”
The consul told protesters that “I do not speak to terrorists,” Amuthan said.
Jayasekara said the protest was a front for terrorist organizations that are feeling the pressure of losing the civil war in Sri Lanka and its sources of income in the Toronto area.
“This group … they are members of the Tamil Tigers or Tamil Tigers sympathizers,” he said. “Tamils are wonderful people. All Tamils are not (members of terrorist groups).”
He accused the protesters of casing the offices before about 20 people “forcibly entered” around 10 a.m.
“They photographed and videotaped my staff in a very threatening manner.”
Jayasekara said the protest is based on the Tigers losing the civil war “and they are losing their money, their funds.” Toronto’s Tamil community is a major source of the Tigers’ financing, he said.
Once mighty Tiger town now deserted
But even with the rebels on the brink of defeat in the 25-year-old civil war, fighting still rages. Independent accounts of the fighting are not available because the government does not allow most journalists near the area.
But, in a rare trip into the sealed war zone, the military yesterday escorted a group of journalists into Mullaittivu, showing off the latest prize in its fight to crush the rebels.
Mullaittivu, once a bustling town of 37,000 deep in the rebel heartland, was silent except for the chirping of birds and the distant thunder of artillery and heavy machine-gun fire.
The Bank of Ceylon was stripped of everything except for a few wires hanging from the ceiling. A nearby preschool was abandoned.
Some power lines were down, the windows of a government building were shattered and several buildings had all their ceiling tiles removed, but the town showed more lingering damage from the 2004 tsunami than from the recent fighting.
The rebels, who have called for a separate state for ethnic Tamils, ran their de facto country as a virtual dictatorship that stretched across a wide swath of the north. Signs of their rule dotted the town.
A building, modelled on a Hindu temple, was apparently their local headquarters. Where the altar would be, the wall was emblazoned with their insignia, a roaring tiger.
Troops recounted how they fought for more than a year before breaking into the town on Sunday.
Once government troops took the last barricade outside the town, there was little resistance, Brig. Nandana Udawatte, said.
‘Caught in the crossfire’
TamilNet, a pro-rebel website, said more than 300 civilians were killed by the shelling on Monday. The military denied firing into the zone.
The Red Cross said yesterday that “hundreds” of people have been killed in Sri Lanka’s northern Vanni region.
“People are being caught in the crossfire, hospitals and ambulances have been hit by shelling and several aid workers have been injured while evacuating the wounded,” said Jacques de Maio of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva.
The Red Cross estimated 250,000 people were trapped in intense fighting and appealed to both sides to allow the safe movement of civilians out of danger.
“When the dust settles, we may see countless victims and a terrible humanitarian situation, unless civilians are protected and international humanitarian law is respected,” said de Maio.
ஏற்கனவே இந்தப் பத்திரிகையின் முகப்பு பக்கத்திலேயே எம் நேயர் ஒருவர் வந்துள்ளார். அதனைப்பார்க்க இங்கு கிளிக்பண்ணவும்.