In the build-up to Maaveerar Naal next week, a Sri Lankan parliamentarian claimed that there were “no martyrs” in the armed conflict, “only terrorists” and the army.
At parliament on Wednesday, General Secretary of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Anura Priyadarshana Yapa claimed that there were no martyrs, and stated that LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran “did a lot of harm to Tamils and not any good,” according to Colombo Gazette..
Yapa, who was just recently appointed as the Chairman on the Committee on Public Finance, was responding to a comment made by Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Sivagnanam Shritharan.
Shritharan spoke out and condemned the Sri Lankan Army’s killings of civilians in the North-East during the armed struggle.
Yapa though reportedly “insisted that the Army only took steps to protect the unity of the country and defeat terrorism”.
He went further and implied that the Sri Lankan state’s fight against terrorism had not ended and the government “is outraged over the steps taken by some people to push others to engage in terrorism”.
His comments come after Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa vowed tpo push ahead with increasing militarisation in the island, and as the security forces attempt to crack down on Maaveerar Naal commemoration events in the North-East.
Maaveerar Naal, which takes place on 27 November every year, commemorates those who gave their lives in the fight for the self-determination of the Tamil people.
In sharp contradiction to Yapa’s comment, Tamils across the North-East are braving Sri Lankan military intimidation to hold memorial services to commemorate the martyrs.
See more from Colombo Gazette here.