Skip to main content

Inviting Rajapaksa to India "insult" to 1,40,000 Tamils killed by Sri Lankan army


Counterview Desk
In the context of Sri Lankan opposition leader Mahinda Rajapaksa being invited in India, about 75 human rights activists*, claiming to be concerned about rights violations during the civil war in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009, have joined together to express their dissent through a statement.
According to them, all those "who are concerned about human rights in India must remember that many innocent Tamil people, including women and children were killed, in the war." The statement calls Rajapaksa a war criminal and drclares: "No invite to Mahinda Rajapaksa! War criminal go back!" It adds, the issue concerns India also because many war victims are still in India, struggling for their basic human rights.

Text of the statement:

We the undersigned strongly condemn the invitation to Mahinda Rajapaksa, war criminal and former President of Sri Lanka, to deliver the inaugural address at the “The Huddle”, an annual conclave organized by The Hindu newspaper in Bangalore.
The conclave, according to The Hindu, is a “thoughts and ideas conclave, a platform that attempts to bring under a single roof some of the best minds from politics, academia, the entertainment industry, the corporate world, sports and civil society”.
Inviting Mahinda Rajapaksa to the event,is an insult to the memory of over 1,40,000 innocent Tamil civilians killed by Sri Lankan armed forces in the last few months of the civil war in 2009. Rajapaksa, was one of the main architects of the Eelam Tamil genocide, condemned by human rights groups around the world.
Nearly three Lakh Eelam Tamils(Tamils from the north and east of Sri Lanka) who were displaced by war were herded into concentration camps and underwent torture and abuse at the hands of the military. Many of those who surrendered have not been seen again. Thousands of victims of Rajapaksa’s war are still living in Tamil Nadu as refugees.
The Sri Lankan government headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa maintained that the war did not have any civilian casualties. But various independent accounts and UN reports have confirmed that the Sri Lankan military targeted civilian structures and ‘No Fire Zones’, with the only aim of maximizing the killings of Tamil civilians. The 2010, Permanent Peoples Tribunal session in Dublin was the first to charge the Sri Lankan government with war crimes, with the set of limited evidences that was available at that time.
The 2011 “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” concluded that “the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace” and also called for an independent international investigation by the UN Secretary General into the alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law.
The “The United Nations secretary-general’s internal review on UN action in Sri Lanka“ report submitted by Charles Petrie stated “From as early as 6 February 2009, the Sri Lankan Army continuously shelled within areas that became the second No Fire Zone, from all directions, including land, sea and air.
It is estimated that there were between 300,000 and 330,000 civilians in that small area”. In 2013, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal session in Bermen,concluded that “On the strength of the evidence presented, the tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the state of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils”.
Mahinda Rajapaksa also unleashed unprecedented media suppression in Sri Lanka. Under Rajapaksa dozens of news websites were blocked, media institutions attacked, dozens of journalists were abducted and killed with total impunity. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse gave death threats openly to the dissenting journalists.
Lasantha Wickrematunge, who posthumously received the World Press Freedom Prize awarded by UNESCO, was killed in broad day light for being critical of corruption of the Rajapaksa government, human rights violations and the war. In 2014 the Rajapaksa’s government went to the extent of issuing a circular in which it banned non-governmental organizations from holding press conferences, workshops, training courses for journalists.
Despite all these opinions from UN bodies and international human rights bodies, The Hindu has always shown open support to Mahinda Rajapaksain its editorials and columns. Mahinda Rajapaksa has blood on his hands, the blood of innocent Tamils, honest and brave journalists and uncompromising rights activists. To call him to deliver an inaugural address at The Huddle is an injustice to not just journalism but humanity itself and we strongly demand that The Hindu drop Rajapaksa from the list of invitees.
---
*Click HERE for list of signatories

Comments

TRENDING

Girl child education: 20 major states 'score' better than Gujarat, says GoI report

By Rajiv Shah
A Government of India report, released last month, has suggested that “model” Gujarat has failed to make any progress vis-à-vis other states in ensuring that girls continue to remain enrolled after they leave primary schools. The report finds that, in the age group 14-17, Gujarat’s 71% girls are enrolled at the secondary and higher secondary level, which is worse than 20 out of 22 major states for which data have been made available.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad "declared support" to two-nation theory in 1937, followed by Jinnah three years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

Hindutva founders, not Congress, were actual 'proponents' of two-nation theory

By Shamsul Islam*
No other organization, in the present world, can beat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in double-speak. In fact, what George Orwell termed as "doublespeak" would be an understatement in the case of RSS. The latest proof of this nasty case was provided by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, de facto Prime Minister and senior RSS leader in the Lok Sabha (akin to the House of Commons in England) on December 9, 2019.

Congress 'promises' cancellation of Adani power project: Jharkhand elections

Counterview Desk
Pointing out that people's issues take a backseat in Jharkhand's 2019 assembly elections, the state's civil rights organization, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a coalition of activists and people’s organisations, has said that political parties have largely ignored in their electoral manifestos the need to implement the fifth schedule of the Constitution in a predominantly tribal district.

Hindutva founders 'borrowed' Nazi, fascist idea of one flag, one leader, one ideology

By Shamsul Islam*
With the unleashing of the reign of terror by the RSS/BJP rulers against working-class, peasant organizations, women organizations, student movements, intellectuals, writers, poets and progressive social/political activists, India also witnessed a series of resistance programmes organized by the pro-people cultural organizations in different parts of the country. My address in some of these programmes is reproduced here... 
***  Before sharing my views on the tasks of artists-writers-intellectuals in the times of fascism, let me briefly define fascism and how it is different from totalitarianism. Totalitarianism is political concept, a dictatorship of an individual, family or group which prohibits opposition in any form, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life. It is also described as authoritarianism.
Whereas fascism, while retaining all these repressive characteristics, also believes in god-ordained superiority of race, cultur…

Ships recycling Bill 'allows' India to be turned into a landfill for foreign hazardous waste

Counterview Desk
In a letter to M Venkaiah Naidu, chairman, Rajya Sabha, senior activist Gopal Krishna of the Toxics Watch Alliance has said that the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 should be referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment, Forests and Climate Change to "safeguard country’s maritime environment from harmful and hazardous wastes and materials".

Ex-World Bank chief economist doubts spurt in India's ease of doing business rank

By Rajiv Shah
This is in continuation of my previous blog where I had quoted from a commentary which top economist Prof Kaushik Basu had written in the New York Times (NYT) a little less than a month ago, on November 6, to be exact. He recalled this article through a tweet on November 29, soon after it was made known that India's growth rate had slumped (officially!) to 4.5%.

Post-Balakot, danger that events might spiral out of control is 'greater, not less'

By Tapan Bose*
The fear of war in South Asia is increasing. Tensions are escalating between India and Pakistan after the Indian defence minister's announcement in August this year that India may revoke its current commitment to only use nuclear weapons in retaliation for a nuclear attack, known as ‘no first use’. According to some experts who are watching the situation the risk of a conflict between the two countries has never been greater since they both tested nuclear weapons in 1998.

With RSS around, does India need foreign enemy to undo its democratic-secular fabric?

By Shamsul Islam*
Many well-meaning liberal and secular political analysts are highly perturbed by sectarian policy decisions of RSS/BJP rulers led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, especially after starting his second inning. They are vocal in red-flagging lynching incidents, policies of the Modi government on Kashmir, the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the demand for 'Bharat Ratna' to Savarkar who submitted 6-7 mercy petitions to the British masters (getting remission of 40 years out of 50 years' sentence), and the murder of constitutional norms in Goa, Karnataka and now in Maharashtra.

80 RTI activists killed since 2014, yet Modi govt 'refuses' to implement whistleblowers Act

By Our Representative
Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took over power in 2014 at the Centre, more than 80 have been killed “in their quest for information and accountability” through the Right to Information (RTI) Act, a public hearing in Delhi has been told. Senior politicians from opposition parties, including Congress and Left, heard people express their anguish over the manner in which the government was treating the RTI Act, even as refusing to operationalise the Whistleblower Protection Act, passed in 2014.