The Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in Canada has reacted angrily to Colombo's decision to scrap the Tamil version of the country's national anthem and alleged that the "Sri Lankan government is systematically destroying the statues of Tamil kings".
The Sri Lankan cabinet under President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided that "the current Tamil version (of the national anthem 'Sri Lanka Matha..' will no longer be played at any official or state functions", according to reports.
"It shows that Tamils have no place in that country and and it proves that what we have been saying all along that Sri Lankan ruling elite wants to make the country a Sinhala Buddhist nation. That's their ulterior motive," the Canadian Tamil Congress said in a statement Tuesday.
"Their decision is not surprising for us. We want the international community, including India, to take note of it, and help us achieve our freedom and let us live as free citizens in the island of Sri Lanka as equals to Sinhalese," Canadian Tamil Congress national spokesman David Poopalapillai said.
After the genocide of the Tamils, he said, the Rajapaksa government was now "bent upon destroying all symbols of Tamil identity to pave the way for a Sinhala country".
The Canadian Tamil leader said the Tamils will never get justice "so long as the present political set-up led by Rajapaksa was ruling Sri Lanka".
Apart from scrapping the Tamil version of the national anthem, Poopalapillai alleged that the "Sri Lankan government is also systematically destroying the statues of Tamil kings who ruled in the 18th century. This government is out to eliminate all traces of Tamil culture".
Poopalapillai, who has just returned from India, said he had appealed to the Indian government and the Karunanidhi government in Tamil Nadu state to stop "the on-going ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka".
He alleged that more than 40,000 Tamils were still being held in government camps even though the ethnic war ended last year. "These poor Tamils were living in hell, but the current oligarchy in Colombo is not willing to listen to the international community," he said.
There are more than 300,000 Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada, with most of them concentrated in the Scarborough area of Toronto.