This article first appeared at TamilNet. * * * More than 10,000 Tamils in Australia registered to cast their votes in the referendum across Australia over April 17 and 18 on the creation of independent Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka, reported SBS Australia, citing organisers.
The Sri Lankan government claims that, after its military victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which was fighting for an independent homeland in the island’s north-east for the Tamil minority, Tamil “terrorism” has been crushed, and that the outlook for the country is rosy.
The article below is abridged from Tamilnet.com
On March 6, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) member of parliament K. Sivanesan was killed by a claymore mine while driving through a village in northern Sri Lanka on his way home from a parliamentary sitting in Colombo. Sivanesan had voted against a further extension of the state of emergency currently in place.
The Australian Federation of Tamil Associations (AFTA) has called on the Australian government to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka, following the Sri Lankan governments decision to abrogate the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
Twenty-four aircraft of the Sri Lankan air force were damaged or destroyed during an attack on the Anuradhapura air base, in Sri Lankas North Central Province, carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on October 22. The LTTE has for several decades been fighting for self-determination for Sri Lankas Tamil minority, in response to the discrimination and violent repression carried out against the Tamil people by a series of racist Sri Lankan governments that have drawn their support from the islands Sinhalese majority.
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) has met strong resistance in its attempts to seize areas of the island country that are controlled by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The LTTE are fighting for an independent state in the predominantly Tamil inhabited north and east of Sri Lanka.
The arrival in February of 85 refugees from Sri Lanka, most of them members of the island’s Tamil minority, in Australian waters near Christmas Island highlights the situation of war and racial oppression in Sri Lanka.
Intimidation of trade unionists escalated during February after union leaders protested the abduction early that month of three workers involved with railway workers union newspaper Akuna. One of the three was Sisira Priyankara, the papers editor, who had been involved in lodging complaints by unionists to the courts against salary hikes for senior government figures. Following the protests, the government announced that the three unionists were in custody and were being interrogated over suspicions of links with insurgents. Since then, posters targeting union leaders who protested the abductions have appeared in public places across the country, branding them terrorists and calling for their arrests. The International Trade Union Confederation is demanding an end to the harassment of and attacks on unionists. For more information visit <csi.org>.
Fifteen-thousand people fled from the town of Vaharai in eastern Sri Lanka following heavy shelling by the Sri Lankan army on January 18. According to the Tamilnet website, the shelling was intensified in the evening despite an urgent message sent to the International Committee of the Red Cross from Vaharai hospital authorities saying that the area around the hospital, where many displaced people had sought refuge, was under attack.