Colombo: Thousands of people in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-dominated northern province on Friday participated in a commemorative ceremony to observe the ninth anniversary of the brutal end to the 37-year long Eelam war, which had claimed the lives of more than one lakh people.
The main ceremony was held at Mullaivaikkal in the Mullaithivu district, the scene of the final battle between the government troops and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Jaffna University students arrived at the memorial ground in a long motorcade where oil lamps were lit in commemoration of the dead.
All businesses remained closed in the area as a mark of respect for those who died during the Eelam war.
The government has banned the commemoration of the fallen heroes of the LTTE, which remains a banned outfit in the island nation.
Around 5,000 people took part in the ceremony in which no other Tamil politician participated except northern Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran, according to local journalists covering the event. Wigneswaran saw the lighting of an oil lamp by a girl who had lost both her parents and three brothers during the final stage of the civil war battle, they said.
The pro-government stand of the main Tamil coalition, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), has angered the Tamil nationalists and CM Wigneswaran, a former judge of the Lankan Supreme Court at Colombo, is leading that anger.
Leading the Mullaivaikkal ceremony, the CM called upon all the Tamils across the world to observe May 18 as ‘Tamil genocide day’ and pleaded for international support for creating a mechanism that would deliver justice to the victims, though belated.
“Even though belated, we are sure that the clear conscience of the world community will open up at least now to the reality of the situation and seek to find justice for the genocide done here”, the CM said.
In the south dominated by the Sinhala majority, the government troops commemorated their fallen war heroes. The war ended this day in 2009 with the Lankan forces killing the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran at Mullaivaikkal.