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

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.

Election Commission suffering from worst-ever "credibility crisis": Ex-bureaucrats

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, a group of ex-bureaucrats have lamented ‘weak-kneed’ responses of the Election Commission of India (ECI) in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Citing various violations of the model code of conduct, and pointing towards how ECI has taken little action, the letter asks the President to tell ECI to “conduct itself in a manner where its independence, fairness, impartiality and efficiency are not questioned.”