Chris Slee

The committal hearing for three Tamil men accused of offences under the “anti-terror” laws began in Melbourne on September 24. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, Sivarajah Yathavan and Arumugam Rajeevan were arrested in May and are accused of raising funds for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a group fighting for self-determination for the Tamil people who are oppressed by the racist Sri Lankan government.

About 400 Tamils gathered in the city square on July 25 to commemorate the death of an estimated 4000 people in the anti-Tamil riots that occurred throughout Sri Lanka in July 1983.

Two Tamil men, Sivarajah Yathavan and Aruran Vinayagamoorthy, who were arrested in Melbourne in May under the “anti-terrorism” laws, were granted bail by Justice Bernard Bongiorno on July 17.

Arumugam Rajeevan, an Australian cirizen of Sri Lankan Tamil origin, was arrested in Sydney on July 10 on terrorism charges. This follows the May 1 arrest of two Tamils in Melbourne on similar charges.

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.

Two leaders of Melbourne’s Tamil community have been arrested and charged with terrorism offenses. Aruran Vinayagamoorthy and Sivarajah Yathavan have been accused of diverting funds raised to help tsunami victims to assist the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

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.

Azad Arman, a socialist from the Kurdish region of northern Iraq who fled his homeland in 1991 and is now living in Australia, said life in Iraqi Kurdistan today is “miserable”.

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.

Workers at the Braeside bolt-making factory of Ajax Fasteners are waging a struggle to protect their redundancy entitlements. The company has gone into liquidation. The workers have been stood down and fear they will soon be sacked.

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