Wednesday, February 4, 2009

From Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall in Race Course Lane to British High Commission in Tanglin Road

Below is a report from Straits Times online. See also here, here and here for my posts from last year.
4 protest over Sri Lanka war
By Khushwant Singh, 4 Feb 2009

THERE were no placards, banners or chanting; and fortunately there were only four 'protestors' as five would have constituted an illegal assembly in the eyes of the law.

The march on Wednesday morning from Little India to the British High Commission in Tanglin Road was to appeal to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to try to stop the conflict in Sri Lanka.

Leading the group was Mr V. Thamizhmaraiyan. The 54-year-old bus driver said that recent media reports had highlighted that up to 250,000 non-combatants, many of them Tamils, are caught in the crossfire between Sri Lankan government troops and the Tamil Tigers, who have been fighting for an independent Tamil state since 1983.

'It was the British colonial government that arranged for Tamils to move to Sri Lanka so it's responsible,' he added.

Mr Tamizhmaraiyan and his friends started their 4km-walk from the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hall in Race Course Lane. Each said that it was a logical choice as Gandhi had championed non-violence.

They decided to 'express their concerns' on Wednesday as it was Sri Lanka's Independence Day but said that the motive was humanitarian and not political.

The group also comprised property agent K. Rathakrishnan, 36, and Mr P. Govindasamy, 44, also a bus-driver, and Indian farmer N.Gurumurthy, 54, who is on a visit here.

They were denied entry into the British High Commission but their appeal letter was handed to security staff to be passed to British High Commissioner Paul Madden.

Mr Tamizhmaraiyan said that he had the support of many Tamils here but they did not join in as they were afraid of being arrested.

'I assured them that we could not be carrying placards and banners and would not be doing anything illegal but they were still fearful,' he said.

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