Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Cries from the Palmyra Grove

While we are sorry that we have lost another sincere, industrious, and courageous priest, we wish to assure you that we cannot give up serving our people in such dire need as they are in today. This is the calling given by the Lord to us and we will serve Him whatever dangers we may have to face.

CRIES FROM THE PALMYRA GROVE

(Weekly statement on the Local Developments – No. 16 - up to 2008-04-25)

We send herewith a copy of our memorandum to the CBCSL as our cry of this week:

2008-04-21

The President,
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka,
Colombo

Your  Lordship,

Silencing the Church

The killing of M.X. Karunaratnam yesterday confirms our fear of the systematic attempt of the Government at silencing the leadership of the Catholic Church and debarring her services to the down trodden, the voiceless and those whose rights have been violated or denied. 

Fr. Jimbrown, who after serving in Mannar for many years, had arrived at Allaipiddy only 2 weeks before he was made to disappear. He was targeted because he in spite of the reluctance of the Navy, personally stood for evacuating the beleaguered people of that village to Kayts along with the all the wounded in the previous night’s shelling. He was finally allowed to take them and especially also the youth after long pleading with the Navy on their behalf, begging on his knees and giving an assurance that they were all innocent youth. The area commander had later openly expressed his anger towards him at a meeting with the public.  Fr. Jimbrown disappeared a few days later after passing a navy check point on his way towards Allaipiddy. 

Fr. Pakiaranjith was the District coordinator of the JRS, a social service organization. He was targeted on 26. 09. 2007 while on his way to arrange emergency relief to people displaced by war. That too took place after he had registered his passing through the Omanthai Army check point.

It is evident that Fr. Karunaratnam too has been clearly and purposefully targeted while he was returning after Sunday mass along his normal route. Because his car was moving very slowly as it was being towed since it had broken down.

He volunteered to be a Human rights worker in the LTTE controlled area. Seeing his honesty of purpose and fortitude, he was appointed to be in charge of the Human Rights activities of the whole of North-East.

While we are sorry that we have lost another sincere, industrious, and courageous priest, we wish to assure you that we cannot give up serving our people in such dire need as they are in today. This is the calling given by the Lord to us and we will serve Him whatever dangers we may have to face.

On your part, may we entreat you to plead with the Government:

1.     To stop its present effort at finding a war solution to the dire problem of the ethic rights of the Tamils and the Muslims and to pursue the path of a negotiated peace as advised by many nations and quarters.

2.     Not to target civilians in this war as is done purposely through the claymore mines and especially the aerial bombings taking place almost daily over civilian targets.

3.     To stop killing, threatening, demoralizing and pressurizing social and religious leaders and volunteers, and instead,

4.     To encourage them and those who serve the war-torn people and to have communication with them so that at least through them the Government comes to know the true position and results of the war instead of depending on only the false information doled out purposely by the security forces as is clearly evident (to us who are here) when listening to the interviews given by them to the media.

Thanking you and assuring you of our sincere, full and fraternal co-operation to bring about a just and lasting peace in Sri Lanka,