Jaffna, February 4, 2019 (Tamil Guardian): While Sri Lanka’s independence day or National Day on Monday, was marked in Colombo and the rest of Southern Sri Lanka with celebrations and an impressive military parade in the capital city, with the Maldivian President Mohamed Ibrahim Solih as the Chief Guest, minority Tamils of the North and East observed the day as “Black Day”.
Led by the Students Union of Jaffna University, large numbers of men and women in several major towns wore black armbands or headscarves and demonstrated in public places demanding the release of lands occupied by the Sri Lankan army, information about the whereabouts of their missing kin, and justice to Tamils who were subjected to “war crimes” or human rights violations by the Security Forces during the last phase of the 30 year war.
One poster in Jaffna University called for “freedom” saying that in 1948 British colonialism was replaced not by freedom but chauvinism. Other posters called upon the army to leave the Tamil lands.
In the Jaffna University campus, the Sri Lankan national flag was brought down and in its place, a Black Flag was hoisted by the Students’ Union.
According to the Tamil Guardian all across the North-East people held black flags protesting against the celebrations by the Sri Lankan state, arguing that the Tamil nation is not free and lacked even basic rights such as land rights.
In Batticaloa, families of the disappeared protested by the Eastern University campus, rejecting the celebrations of independence, and calling for the government to provide answers for their disappeared loved ones.
Whilst the Sri Lankan military held several parades, including in the North and East, banners at the university denounced the military occupation.
“Army! Leave our native land,” read one banner.
The former Chief Minister of the Northern Province C.V.Wigneswaran who now aspires to be the overall leader of the Tamils after forming the Tamil Makkal Koottani (TMK), participated in a protest demonstration at the Kandaswami Hindu temple in Kilinochchi. Other leaders also marked the day as Black Day.
Of the leaders of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) only MP S.Sritharan participate. The rest of the TNA, according to MP, M.A.Sumanthiran, believes that Sri Lanka’s Independence Day could not be considered a Black Day.
(Photo credit: Tamil Guardian)