Tamil mourners say no going back on ‘Eelam’

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : More than 20,000 Canadian Tamils descended on the Ontario assembly here in black to mourn “innocent civilians killed in the genocide by Sri Lanka”.

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In their speeches Friday, Tamil leaders vowed not to rest till “Tamil Eelam (homeland) is achieved”.

The military defeat of the Tamil Tigers does not mean the end of the Tamil struggle for their independent homeland, they said, condemning the international community for standing by when “Sri Lankan forces massacred more than 25,000 innocent civilians”.

The red flag of the Tamil Tigers was unfurled alongside the Canadian flag at the beginning of the mourning on the lawns of the assembly, which were virtually turned black.

The Tamil leaders alleged that the Sri Lankan government was holding more than 250,000 displaced civilians “as prisoners” in camps.

“We have been massacred just because we demanded our right to live in dignity. The military defeat is only a setback, not the end of our dream. We will not rest till our dream of a homeland is realised,” said Tamil youth leader Araneemuru.

Criticising Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has so far refused comment on the Sri Lanka situation, Canadian Tamil Congress leader David Poopalapillai asked why the prime minister still does not consider Tamils as Canadians.

“The military defeat of our struggle is just the beginning of another phase in our struggle for a Tamil Eelam,” Poopalapillai said.

James Clark of the Canadian Peace Alliance, which is an umbrella body of more than a hundred Canadian organisations, said non-stop protests by Tamils have raised awareness about the Sri Lankan situation in Canada.

He said Canadians will stand by the Tamils in their just struggle for an independent homeland.

Canadian student federation leader Shelley Madelson vowed to support the Tamils in realising their dream of an independent homeland.

Later in the evening, a candle-light vigil was held on the assembly premises.