Jayalalithaa hailed for raising plight of Sri Lankan Tamils

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto: The Canadian Tamil Congress Wednesday hailed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa for the passage of a resolution by the state assembly demanding economic sanctions against Sri Lanka for its “war crimes”.

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The Toronto-based Canadian Tamil Congress, which claims to represent the Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, said the Indian government should take note of the resolution and join the international community in imposing sanctions on Colombo.

“Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has shown that she is a woman of action. She now stands apart as a leader for raising her voice against the plight of Sri Lankan Tamils. India now must act on her resolution,” Canadian Tamil Congress national spokesperson David Poopalapillai told IANS.

“We expected big changes from her and we are pleased by this action. We hope that under her leadership, the Sri Lankan Tamils will realize their long-term political aspirations and live in peace. Anyone who leads Tamil Nadu is the de facto leader of the global Tamil diaspora,” he said.

Poopalapillai said the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Canada had written to the AIADMK leader on her victory and sought some concrete action on the plights of the community in Sri Lanka.

“We congratulated her when she became the chief minister and requested that she do something for the Tamils in Sri Lanka. She has delivered on her promise and we see it as a great gesture for us,” the Canadian Tamil Congress leaders said.

Canada is to home to the largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora outside Sri Lanka. There are over 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in this country, with most of them concentrated in the Scarborough area of Toronto. Almost all of them came here after the ethnic war began in the early 1980s.

In fact, the Sri Lankan Tamils made their political debut in Canada last month when 29-year-old community activist Rathika Sitsabaiesan was elected to parliament in the May 2 polls.

Born in Jaffna, she was just five when her family took refuge in Canada.

(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])