We remember. Despite police threats of arrest and military intimidation Tamils across the North-East commemorated Maaveerar Naal.
Some held events in public whilst others held clandestine events in protest of the Sri Lankan government’s refusal to allow them to legally remember their war dead.
Memorial ceremonies took place across the North-East in homes, churches, universities, temples and at desecrated Liberation Tamil Tigers of Tamil (LTTE) cemetery sites.
Tamils across the world joined Tamils in the North-East in commemorating Maaveerar Naal in their respective countries of citizenship.
Preparations for events in all major diaspora centres were in full swing over recent days, where Tamils in the North-East clandestinely prepared for today with small-scale commemorations, despite the Sri Lanka’s police warning of legal action against anyone remembering the dead of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Several posters appeared in the University of Jaffna on Wednesday, despite an increased military presence. Students also held a blood donation drive, in memory of the dead combatants.
In the diaspora, several events have already been held by students in Canada and the UK.
Last week the Tamil National Alliance called on Sri Lanka to allow Tamils to commemorate their war dead freely, labelling the destruction of LTTE cemeteries as the “most uncivil act.”
The 27th of November marks the date when the first LTTE fighter, Lt Shankar, died of injuries sustained in combat, in 1982. Over 30,000 Tamils are estimated to have died for the Tamil liberation movement since.
Traditionally Tamils gathered at LTTE cemeteries and memorials on November 27, lighting candles and laying the Tamil Eelam national flower, the gloriosa lily. However all cemeteries and memorials were razed to the ground by the Sri Lankan state after the end of the armed conflict.
While tens of thousands of Tamils in the diaspora continue to gather at large venues to commemorate their dead, people on the island are warned and threatened against holding anything resembling a memorial event, forcing people to light candles in secret in the confines of their homes.
Previously security forces had even banned temples and churches from ringing their bells on the day. However every year since the end of the armed conflict, more and more Tamils have held underground events.
Source: Tamil Guardian