(Text Of Statement Issued by Tamil Information Centre in London)
We have observed the recent attacks on Buddhist monks and other Sri Lankan visitors in Tamil Nadu with grave concern and extreme unease. These attacks are callous and disgraceful and will not help the Sri Lankan Tamils, but may cause them more harm. We offer our heartfelt sympathies to the victims.
Certainly, there is no justification for these acts from either a political perspective or, in truth, from the perspective of any other moral and freedom-loving people. These acts diminish the pride, dignity and freedom of Eelam Tamils.
Tamils have always prided themselves in their age old tradition of welcoming visitors. Pilgrims of all faiths should be permitted to pass without hindrance or harassment and such curtsy should be extended to all travelers from Sri Lanka.
While we recognize that heinous and immoral acts are being carried out by certain sections of the Buddhist clergy against Hindus, Christians and Muslims in Sri Lanka, we must emphasize the importance of identifying the perpetrators and desisting from accusing all Buddhist monks, many of whom speak out and campaign for tolerance and peace.
We respect and appreciate the profound sentiment and the immense support of the people of Tamil Nadu for the cause of the Tamils in Sri Lanka. But it is important that we work together towards the common goal of achieving justice for the Tamils and re-establishing democratic principles, freedoms and human rights for all people of Sri Lanka. We believe that attacks on Buddhist monks and pilgrims will only encourage further violence and will not contribute towards achieving justice and peace in Sri Lanka.
We urge the media to act responsibly when reporting on such attacks. The media must ensure reports are accurate and sensitive and do not encourage rifts between religions or communities.
TIC calls on the people of Tamil Nadu to offer all necessary assistance to the victims of the recent attacks and the political leaders to intervene to stop these attacks on civilians travelling from Sri Lanka.
The TIC also urges the authorities in Tamil Nadu to take all possible preventive measures and begin an immediate campaign through the media and other means to prevent such attacks in the future.