Tamils write to Canadian PM, warn of civil war in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan Tamils who staged night-long protests here Monday have warned of a civil war on the island nation if Colombo does not reciprocate to the Tigers' call for a ceasefire.
In a strongly worded letter to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Monday, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) said: "Tamil Canadians are fearful that in the next 24 to 48 hours a civilian bloodbath will ensue if the government of Sri Lanka does not reciprocate the LTTE's (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) offer to a ceasefire."
Calling for immediate and strong action by the Canadian government, CTC president Sri Ranjan said in the letter, "Canada must force the government of Sri Lanka to reciprocate the immediate ceasefire by cutting all diplomatic and economic relations with Sri Lanka."
The Tamil organisation also urged the Canadian parliamentarians to put pressure on the government to intervene in the conflict immediately.
Colombo must be economically and politically isolated to compel it to negotiate a political resolution to the conflict so that "the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people" are fulfilled, it said.
Referring to the UN estimates of over 6,500 civilian deaths in the conflict zone, CTC spokesman David Poopalapillai said: "So far there have been only statements issued by the most powerful bodies in the world, the UN, the EU (European Union), G8, and western governments, but there has been no follow through in terms of action."
Poopalapillai said, "The international community has failed the Tamils in Sri Lanka by not fulfilling its obligation to protect civilians caught in this armed conflict."
He said though the LTTE has heeded "the calls by Canada, India, the UN, G8, the European Union, the US, and other western governments to unilaterally announce a ceasefire, Sri Lanka is determined to pursue its military assault to kill tens of thousands of innocent civilians under the pretext of 'wiping out the Tigers'."
Led by the Canadian Tamil Congress and other organisations, thousands of protesters marched in downtown Toronto Monday to seek international intervention to stop the "genocide'' by Sri Lanka.
Waving LTTE and Canadian flags, they urged Canada, the US and the UN to intervene to force Colombo to respond to the LTTE's unilateral ceasefire.
More than 300,000 of the around one million Sri Lankan Tamils displaced by the conflict are settled in Canada.