On Friday night, a war memorial/monument, in memory of Tamils killed in Mullivaikkal in Sri Lanka during the late stages of the civil war in 2009, was demolished at the University of Jaffna, according to various reports.
Once the news spread, students gathered at the spot and began a protest. There was massive outrage on social media too.
It is not officially known if the monument was destroyed by the University authorities or if outsiders' were involved. The Tamil Guardian, which broke the news, lay the blame entirely on the authorities.
The monument was erected in 2019 in the University in memory of thousands of Tamils killed in one of the bloody episodes of the final leg of the island nation's three-decade-old conflict in 2009.
Many politicians from different countries, Sri Lankan Tamils and others expressed their shock and condemned the attack.
Reacting to the news, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the demolition has pushed Tamils across the world into 'grief' and blamed the Sri Lankan government for bringing it down.
"It comes as a big shock that the memorial pillar, set up in memory of university students and people killed mercilessly in Mullivaikkal in the final stages of the war in Sri Lanka has been demolished overnight," the chief minister said in a tweet.
It was also condemned by the Deputy CM and Leader of Opposition MK Stalin.
This attack in Sri Lanka comes after a visit by India's External Affairs Minister Jaishanker to the island nation.
Jaishankar also met the Sri Lankan fisheries minister and followed up on the discussions held during the Joint Working Committee meeting on Fisheries on December 30.
"A productive meeting with Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda. Reviewed our cooperation in fisheries after the recent Joint Working Group session," he tweeted.
Jaishankar also met leaders of the Tamil community. On Wednesday, in a joint press conference with his Lankan counterpart Dinesh Gunawardena, he had urged Colombo to meet the aspirations of the Tamil community.
Here are some of the reactions, calling out the move by Sri Lankan authorities to stop Tamils from grieving the dead, from Twitter:
I strongly condemn the decision by the Sri Lankan State to destroy Tamil Memorial inside Jaffna Uni. A monument that honours the hundreds of thousands of Tamil people who were massacred in 2009 by the Sri Lankan state, was being bulldozed by the Sri Lankan authorities today. pic.twitter.com/mW78xMInh7— Vijay Thanigasalam (@VijayThaniMPP) January 8, 2021
Destroying memorials of Tamils commemorating tens of thousands of Tamils killed in #Mullivaikkal is another form of stuctural genocide by #SriLanka. #Canada & the international community should act to stop this senseless destruction.@FP_Champagne @MichaelChongMP @JackHarrisNDP https://t.co/KwDVBNJ8Ym— Patrick Brown (@patrickbrownont) January 8, 2021
This is extremely worrying, attempting to wipe away a people’s history is a part of Genocide. https://t.co/TsDktBki6L— Harkirat Singh (@iHarkiratSingh) January 8, 2021
Tearing down memorial commemorating tens of thousands of Tamils killed in #Mullivaikkal is a despicable act by the #SriLankan govt. Justice & accountability must prevail to stop this vicious cycle of erasure & annihilation of Tamil identities experiences & history on the island https://t.co/AdGfSsuX3s— Gary Anandasangaree (@gary_srp) January 8, 2021
I don't understand why this government has to create this much of unnecessary issues. Governments can go in 5 years, but these wounds they create will stay for a long time.#lka #SriLanka #Jaffna pic.twitter.com/AHLS8F7vqF— Prasad Welikumbura (@Welikumbura) January 8, 2021
1,2&3 Monuments for JVP and for those who were killed during JVP insurgence in university of jeyawaradanapura , wayamna and Peradeniya— Friends of Gajen (@friendsofgajen) January 9, 2021
4- monuments of Tamils who were massacred in mullivailkal - in University of Jaffna #one_country_two_laws #one_country_two_nations pic.twitter.com/4xmtQoD6n6
Why is the SL Government & Sinhala Military afraid of dead Tamils? Is it the guilt?— Mr.பழுவேட்டரையர் (@mrpaluvets) January 9, 2021
(With ENS, PTI inputs)