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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2760

Man sets himself on fire in front of Norwegian Embassy to protest against their "partiality"

By Walter Jayawardhana

Colombo, 08 October, (Asiantribune.com): A man who was agitated over Norway being Sri Lanka’s peace facilitator poured fuel over his body and set himself on fire to death in protest.Raymond Ferreira -45 year old trishaw cab driver  committed suicide in front of Colombo’s Norwegian embassy by setting himself on fire Raymond Ferreira -45 year old trishaw cab driver committed suicide in front of Colombo’s Norwegian embassy by setting himself on fire

The incident has occurred after the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) held a protest rally demanding that Norway be expelled from Sri Lanka accusing them of being partial to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a terrorist group fighting the government of Sri Lanka for a separate state .

Colombo’s Sunday Times which reported the incident revealed that the 45 year old trishaw cab driver who committed suicide in front of Colombo’s Norwegian embassy in the fashionable Cinnamon Gardens residential area of the elite was no member of the JVP but had participated in the protest rally a day earlier against the Norwegians. The rally accused the Norwegian negotiator Jon Hanssen Bauer of being a white Tiger- christened after the Tamil Tigers.

Reminiscent of the Vietnam era suicide protests by the Buddhist monks in South Vietnam against the Catholic regime of pro-US government of Din Diem in Saigon this is the first time committing suicide by setting fire to oneself as a political protest has taken place in Sri Lanka. In the past at least one protester a young lady called Vinitha Vitharana committed suicide by jumping off from the old secretariat building in Fort Colombo, when a trade union agitation for aid nurses was lost in the 1960’s.Prabhakaran, leader of LTTE, hiding his nakedness only with a triangular Norwegian flagPrabhakaran, leader of LTTE, hiding his nakedness only with a triangular Norwegian flag

The protest suicide has taken place at a time more and more people are disillusioned about the role of Norway working as the facilitator of Sri Lanka’s peace. Recently over the contentious issue the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna , the ruling party’s coalition partner in the parliament refused to join the cabinet of ministers. Immediately after breaking off the talks they took off to streets and marched to the Norwegian Embassy but police cordoned off the road leading to it. The demonstration of slogan shouting thousands symbolically burned an effigy of Prabhakaran, leader of LTTE, hiding his nakedness only with a triangular Norwegian flag.

Not only the ordinary men but even the intellectuals have started feeling dissatisfied about the Norwegian role. The Nordic envoys like Eric Solheim have become notorious for making pro-terrorist statements. An illegal parallel government the terrorist outfit runs in small enclaves in the country’s North and the East had been given a broadcasting and communicating facilities paid for by the Norwegian government. The Norwegians are suspected of having secret deals with the terrorists to tap into the petroleum deposits in the North that have not been drilled into so far. They are also accused of secretly training the Sea Tigers, the marine wing of the LTTE.Slogan shouting thousands  of demonstrators symbolically burned an effigy of PrabhakaranSlogan shouting thousands of demonstrators symbolically burned an effigy of Prabhakaran

President Rajapaksa’s government is believed to be keeping them mainly under the pressure of the Western nations like the USA and UK on whom the island nation‘s government is heavily dependent for aid. Another reason being cited is that Sri Lanka’s giant neighbor India has backed off from peace keeping responsibilities.

The Sunday Times newspaper said , the man who committed suicide, Raymond Ferreira, "a father of three from Ratmalana, had carried posters accusing the Norwegians of being white Tigers and telling them to get their paws off Sri Lanka."

"My father was critical of Norway," said his son Suresh Chamara," and believed it was betraying our country. He believed they should be expelled from Sri Lanka. He was a man who loved the country. He wanted me to join the army and said he would have definitely joined the army if he was not over-aged."

Eyewitnesses said the Police guarding the Norwegian Embassy with the help of passers by doused off the fire and rushed him to the nearby National Hospital but he died after admittance.

- Asian Tribune -

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