Eluha Thamil protest march in Jaffna
Hundreds of party supporters and activists of a coalition of northern Tamil
political parties and social action groups marched in Jaffna yesterday morning
voicing several demands related to some immediate social problems and the
long-term settlement of the ethnic issue.
Businesses in the northern city remained closed in response to an appeal by the
protest movement, the Tamil People’s Council, for a ‘strike’ in their support,
according to reports from the peninsula.
The protest, by the Tamil People’s Council, which started at 9 yesterday
morning, commenced marched from two places of symbolic importance, according to
the organizers one from the Jaffna University compound and the other the
The marchers voiced seven demand slogans during the protest which was named
Eluha Tamil (Rise Tamils!) including a call for ‘self-rule’ with a merged north
and east. The slogans called for a federal system and opposed the unitary state.
The seven demands also included the demand that Tamil aspirations be recognized
in the new constitutional reforms, that an international inquiry be conducted on
the closing stages of the war, the pull-out of military units from the Nothern
province, the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, and the release of
Tamil detainees. There were also calls for an end to the government’s allegedly
intentional moves to reduce Tamil population density in the region.
The protesters also called on the Government to do more to combat the current
heavy consumption of drugs and alcohol among the Tamil youth.
When asked by Sunday Observer as to why they adopted Eluha Tamil name which is
similar in meaning to the ‘Pongu Tamil’ events regularly held by the LTTE, PLOTE
leader and TNA MP Dharmalingam Siddharthan said that it was that people were
emotionally attached to and was a way of mobilizing people.
When asked if Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) was also a stake
holder in the protest, he said numerous organizations had extended support who
were not necessarily directly members of the coalition. “We accept any support,
as we need it,” he said.