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We the undersigned strongly condemn the invitation to Mahinda Rajapaksa, war criminal and former President of Sri Lanka, to deliver the inaugural address at the “The Huddle”, an annual conclave organized by The Hindu, News Paper, in Bangalore.

The conclave, according to The Hindu, is a “thoughts and ideas conclave, a platform that attempts to bring under a single roof some of the best minds from politics, academia, the entertainment industry, the corporate world, sports and civil society”.

Inviting Mahinda Rajapaksa to the event,is an insult to the memory of over 1,40,000 innocent Tamil civilians killed by Sri Lankan armed forces in the last few months of the civil war in 2009. Rajapaksa, was one of the main architects of the Eelam Tamil genocide, condemned by human rights groups around the world.

Nearly three Lakh Eelam Tamils(Tamils from the north and east of Sri Lanka) who were displaced by war were herded into concentration camps and underwent torture and abuse at the hands of the military. Many of those who surrendered have not been seen again. Thousands of victims of Rajapaksa’s war are still living in Tamil Nadu as refugees.

The Sri Lankan government headed by Mahinda Rajapaksa maintained that the war did not have any civilian casualties. But various independent accounts and UN reports have confirmed that the Sri Lankan military targeted civilian structures and ‘No Fire Zones’, with the only aim of maximizing the killings of Tamil civilians. The 2010, Permanent Peoples Tribunal session in Dublin was the first to charge the Sri Lankan government with war crimes, with the set of limited evidences that was available at that time.

The 2011 “Report of the Secretary-General’s Panel of Experts on Accountability in Sri Lanka” concluded that “the conduct of the war represented a grave assault on the entire regime of international law designed to protect individual dignity during both war and peace” and also called for an independent international investigation by the UN Secretary General into the alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law. The “The United Nations secretary-general’s internal review on UN action in Sri Lanka “ report submitted by Charles Petrie stated “From as early as 6 February 2009, the Sri Lankan Army continuously shelled within areas that became the second No Fire Zone, from all directions, including land, sea and air. It is estimated that there were between 300,000 and 330,000 civilians in that small area”. In 2013, the Permanent Peoples Tribunal session in Bermen,concluded that “On the strength of the evidence presented, the tribunal reached the consensus ruling that the state of Sri Lanka is guilty of the crime of genocide against Eelam Tamils”.

Mahinda Rajapaksa also unleashed unprecedented media suppression in Sri Lanka. Under Rajapaksa dozens of news websites were blocked, media institutions attacked, dozens of journalists were abducted and killed with total impunity. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, defense secretary, Gotabaya Rajapakse gave death threats openly to the dissenting journalists. Lasantha Wickrematunge, who posthumously received the World Press Freedom Prize awarded by UNESCO, was killed in broad day light for being critical of corruption of the Rajapaksa government, human rights violations and the war. In 2014 the Rajapaksa’s government went to the extent of issuing a circular in which it banned non-governmental organizations from holding press conferences, workshops, training courses for journalists.

Despite all these opinions from UN bodies and international human rights bodies, The Hindu has always shown open support to Mahinda Rajapaksain its editorials and columns. Mahinda Rajapaksa has blood on his hands, the blood of innocent Tamils, honest and brave journalists and uncompromising rights activists. To call him to deliver an inaugural address at The Huddle is an injustice to not just journalism but humanity itself and we strongly demand that The Hindu drop Rajapaksa from the list of invitees.

Swami Agnivesh, Social Activist

Binoy Viswam M.P, Former Forest Minister in the Government of Kerala

Anand Patwardhan, Film Maker

Dr.Ram Puniyani: All India Secular Forum

Amit Bhaduri, Professor Emeritus, JNU

Dr Punyabrata Gun, Health Rights Activist, Kolkata

Thirumurugan Gandhi, May 17 Movement

DrApoorvanand, Delhi University, New Delhi

DrMadhumita Dutta, Ohio State University, USA

Amudhan RP, Film Maker

Kshithij Urs, India Head of Green peace

Anvar Ali, Poet

Baburaj, Film Maker

Dharmesh Shah, Environmentalist, Chennai

Satya Sivaraman, Journalist, New Delhi

Willy d’ Costa: INSAF

Shiva Sundar: writer, activist and journalist

Dr.Prabir Chatterjee, Raipur, Chattisgarh

Nityanand Jayaraman, Environmental activist, Chennai

Niranjan T G, Poet

K.P. Sasi, Film Maker

Joseph Xavier, Indian Social Institute, Bangalore

Joe Athialy, New Delhi

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ, Human Rights Activist

William Stanley, OIKOTREE

Stan Swamy

Dr Walter Fernandes, Senior Fellow, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Assam

Dhirendra Panda, Convener, Civil Society Forum on Human Rights (CSFHR), Secretary, Centre for the Sustainable Use of Natural and Social Resources (CSNR)

Ravishankar, Engineer, Bengaluru

Jagadish G Chandra, New Socialist Alternative (CWI-India)

RamdasRao, PUCL, Bangalore

Yemuna Sunny, Ekalavya, Madhya Pradesh

ArunKhote, PMARC

Civic Chandran, Poet,  Editior, Patabhedam Magazine

Roy David, President, National Adivasi Alliance

Anitha S, Tree Walk

Dr. Indu Prakash Singh, President, Forum Against Corruption & Threats (FACT)

Cheran Rudhramoorthy, Eelam Poet and Academician

Kalpana Manoharan

S V RAJADURAI,  WRITER,  Tamil Nadu

Ovais Sultan Khan, Human rights activist, Delhi

PradeepEsteves,Context India, Bangalore

Persis Ginwalla

Sukla Sen, Peace and Human Rights Activist

Yogesh Diwan, Activist, Madhya Pradesh

BRP Bhaskar, Journalist, Chennai

Shiva Shankar, Writer

Saravanaraja, President, ValamaanatamizhagaKatchi

Abha Saxena, Social Equality

Aloysius, IDEAS, Madurai

Sushovan Dhar, Radical Socialist, India

Manohar, Human Rights Activist, Bangalore

Rathinam Chandramohan

Binu Mathew, Editor, Countercurrents.org, Kochi

Sasikumar Vallikatta, Theatre activist

Firoz Khan,  Theatre activist

Abhlash Pillai,  Teacher & Theatre activist

Prince C G, Sculptor

Mustafa Desamangalam, Film Maker

Mano kumar Nayak

Kandhamal Nyaya Shanti Sadvabana Manch

Sandeep Pandey, Magsasy Award Winner, Social Activist

Arundhati Dhuru, Social Activist

Rekha Raj, Human Righst Activist

Tapan Bose, National Award Winning Film Maker, Human Rights Activist

Madhu Bhushan, women’s rights activist-writer, researcher, Bangalore

Yogesh Diwan, Social Activist

V.G. Thampy, Poet, Editor, Ezhuthu.

Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information & Action

Satinath Sarangi, Sambhavna Trust Clinic, Bhopal

Prof. S. Parasuraman, Former Director, TISS

Aruna Gnanadason, Feminist Theologian and Activist, Chennai

K. Sudhir,Architect,Peoples Architecture Commonwealth,Chennai

E. Deenadayalan, The Other MediA

 

One Comment

  1. Mahinda wiped out the Indian colonial parasites terrorist arm; armed, trained, financed, managed and branded Tamil Tigers by the Indian Imperialists. UNP did the same to the India’s Sinhala terrorist arm the JVP who killed Sinhalese and got Sinhalese killed.