COLOMBO: Fearing a violent anti-Tamil backlash in Sri Lanka if it attended the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) beginning in Geneva on Monday, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has decided to stay away from it.
“The TNA genuinely fears that if the present unstable situation continues, violence could recur and the civilian population could again be the victims. The TNA considers it imperative that in the present situation calm should be maintained, and that nothing should be done which could exacerbate tensions. In these circumstances the TNA has decided not to be present in Geneva,” said R Sampanthan, leader of the TNA, in a statement.
Seeing a political opportunity in adversity, the Mahinda Rajapaksa government has decided to whip up nationalistic sentiments to a crescendo by holding country-wide protest rallies against the UNHRC for six weeks from February 27, the day on which the rights body begins its session.
To legitimise Lanka’s fight against separatism led by the LTTE, and spread the message to the masses, the government has also announced that admission rates for the war film ‘Maathaa’ will be slashed by 50 per cent. ‘Maathaa’ has thrilling and realistic war scenes, comparable to American war films, and brings out the brutality of the LTTE against the Tamils themselves.
Through an evocative narrative featuring the family of a Tamil school teacher, whose daughter Parvathi (played by Yasodha Radhakrishnan) joins the LTTE, the film brings out the helplessness and dilemmas of ordinary Tamils, which end only with the elimination of LTTE by Lankan army.