Tamil priest calls for solidarity


Tamil priest calls for solidarity

By Bronwyn Beechey

ADELAIDE — Fifty people attended a meeting organised by the Tamil community here on May 1. The guest speaker was Father Kasparaj, who hosts a Tamil-language show on Radio Veritas Asia, a social justice radio station associated with the Catholic church.

An Indian Tamil by birth, he told the meeting that his upbringing made him sceptical of the Tamil cause in Sri Lanka, but that the atrocities of the Sri Lankan government and the courage of those involved in the struggle for Tamil rights convinced him of the justice of the struggle.

Kasparaj outlined his experiences of the atrocities perpetrated by the Sri Lankan government against the Tamil population in the north and east of the island. He told the meeting that the atrocities were part of a "slow genocide perpetrated by the government of Sri Lanka".

He pointed out that the government denies basic food and medicine to the population in the north, with the result that hunger and diseases such as malaria and typhoid are becoming commonplace.

Kasparaj argued that Sri Lankan government claims that the "Tamil question" is one of terrorism are propaganda. He said, "... it is a political problem, which the Sri Lankan government is unwilling to face", adding, "The international community has an obligation to investigate state-based terrorism".

He finished the meeting by urging Tamils and their supporters to network with grassroots organisations in Australia and build solidarity for the Tamil struggle.