CHENNAI: “Are you shopping at Big Bazaar or Mega Mart or Spencers? Check the product label. If it is from Sri Lanka, it is made of the blood of Tamils,” reads a pamphlet distributed by activists of ‘May 17 Movement’.
On Saturday, members of the ‘May 17 Movement’ stood outside popular shopping malls to garner the support of the upper class for their campaign against genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The members, clad in white T-shirts, on which were printed slogans highlighting the human rights violation in Lanka, held placards which read - boycott Sri Lankan products, cricket matches, airlines, services and tourism.
Though some of them who received the pamphlets didn’t pay much heed to the protesters, a few gave them a patient hearing.
“They are fighting for genuine cause, we should support it by boycotting Sri Lankan products,” said Bharath and Anand, both businessmen.
Madhan, a B.Tech student, who accompanied his friend to a shopping mall, stopped after the slogan “Made with the Blood of Tamils” caught his attention. He took out his mobile phone and took snaps of the protest.
“I’ve heard about the injustice done to Tamils in Sri Lanka. Now, I will pass on these photographs to all my friends to garner support for the Eelam cause,” he said.
Athithan, 22, a Sri Lankan Tamil, who witnessed the campaign, was elated. “I came to watch a movie, but really felt happy on seeing the members of May 17 Movement mobilising support for us,” said Athithan, who had come to Puducherry for higher studies.
Athithan felt the protest was a significant one. “Hundreds of rich people purchase products without realising that is made in Sri Lanka. If the rich start boycotting the products made in Lanka, it will bring pressure on the international community,” he said.
“Those from the elite class will pay attention to human rights violations only in Egypt or Palestine, but they will not bother about what is happening to the Tamils in their neighbouring country. It is their attitude. I hope this protest will make an impact in their minds,” he added.