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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2187

EPDP activists in Paris defy LTTE

Paris, 16 May, ( Enraged moderate Tamils in Paris pasted photographs of Jaffna peace activist Ms Maheswary Velautham in front of several Tamil shops in La Chappelle area in the Paris capital to protest against the brutal killing of Ms Velautham by the Tamil Tigers. The activists, though only less than two dozens of youths, ignored the objections by the LTTE supporters and pasted posters of Ms Velautham on the shop windows of La Chappelle, known as little Jaffna.

Moderate Tamils in Paris expressed profound regrets over the murder of Ms Velautham who was shot dead by LTTE gunmen when she visited Jaffna to see her sick mother. Maheswary has been described as an individual who, martyred to terrorist intransigence. The barbaric act occurred just after the election of a Provincial Council that should be able to fulfill the diverse demands of development in the East, whilst maintaining the unity of the country.

It occurred shortly after the appointment of a Task Force for the North, that would be able to promote the needs and aspirations of the people there who have suffered for too long from totalitarianism and terror, during which specific measures for development fell by the wayside, the Peace Secretariat said.

Maheswary's murder occurred too on the day when Sri Lanka was subject to the Universal Periodic Review with regard to Human Rights, for which the country had put itself forward in terms of its membership of the Human Rights Council. Ironically, it brought home to those worried about continuing violence in Sri Lanka the root cause of all this violence, the terrorism that victimizes everybody, but most obviously the vulnerable. Thus she was killed when she went up in haste to see her sick mother, leaving aside the security given to her because she believed that, amongst her own relations, she would not be in danger. We recall now what happened to Mr Kadirgamar, who did not allow the homes of his neighbors to be searched, in the belief that they were like him and could be relied upon.

The Peace Secretariat, in a statement said the courage of those who have taken the democratic path against all odds, those in the TULF, the EPDP, PLOTE, the EPRLF-P, the TMVP and other groups, and so many individuals, must never be forgotten. The commitment of the government that such moderate Tamils, groups and individuals, must never be abandoned again remains absolute, and it is the least that can be done for the brave lady of whom we are now bereft.

At a personal level, the Secretariat worked closely with Maheswary Velautham, as she is currently the nominee of the EPDP to the APRC. She was the legal adviser to the Hon Douglas Devananda, Leader of the EPDP, and was a lawyer and forceful Human Rights Activist. As the only woman member of the APRC, she was more than capable of holding her own in discussion, and was a strong, vibrant and enthusiastic participant at its deliberations.

She was deeply committed to a political resolution of the conflict and to a united Sri Lanka where all ethnic and religious communities would live together in peace and dignity. In a sense she was a true reflection of a multi cultural Sri Lanka, speaking all three languages - Tamil, Sinhala and English - and moving easily with people from all communities and districts.

Passionate in seeking to meet the aspirations of the people in the North and the East whom her party represented, within a context of democratic pluralism, she could speak poignantly and forcefully in Sinhalese too. She spoke eloquently for unity in diversity and for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, in a speech she made at a press conference the APRC gave following the presentation of its first report on the implementation of the 13th amendment to the President on 23 January 2008.

In addition to her deep and vibrant political and social commitment, Ms Velautham was closely involved in meditation and spiritualism and often said that this was an effective way to reach an understanding of one's self as well as others. It was also she thought a pathway to love and peace for all humanity. She was an admirable example of an accomplished, humane, articulate, courageous and professional Sri Lankan woman.

- Asian Tribune -

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