Student organisations, which were holding protests across the State demanding that India boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka later this month, have planned to intensify their stir.
Many students who tried to take out a rally to Thanjavur, where a ‘Mullivaikal Memorial’ is to be inaugurated on November 8, were arrested in different parts of the State.
Arputhammal, mother of A.G. Perarivalan, a convict on death row in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, who lighted a torch for the students, was among those taken into custody in Chennai.
The movement against India’s participation in CHOGM gained momentum after ‘Channel 4,’ a London-based television channel, exposed visuals showing the capture of LTTE cadre and journalist Isaipriya allegedly by Sri Lankan armed forces and later her battered dead body, police sources said.
“We will intensify our protests demanding India to honour Tamil Nadu Assembly’s resolution seeking boycott of CHOGM. Students owing allegiance to various Tamil organisations will take to the streets and sensitise the people to why Sri Lanka has no locus standi to host the event,” P. Karthik, State coordinator of the ‘Students Federation for Tamil Eelam’ told The Hindu on Monday.
He said students from almost all colleges in the city offered support to the demand. “Many student groups are arriving in Thanjavur to participate in the inauguration of ‘Mullivaikal Memorial’. We will coordinate with them and devise the next course of action,” he said.
When contacted Ms. Arputhammal said she was invited by the students to light the torch that would be taken to Thanjavur as a mark of respect to the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for Tamil Eelam. “I don’t know why police have arrested me now…the students say they gave a petition seeking police permission some 15 days ago,” she said.
V. Prabhakaran of the ‘Tamil Youths and Students Federation’ who was among a few others arrested in Gudalur (the Nilgiris) said the main objective of the student groups was to pressurise the international community to remove Sri Lanka from Commonwealth group of countries.
“India should end delaying tactics and spell out its decision on CHOGM. Many countries are eager to know India’s stand on the issue. Student agitations will be focused in Chennai and Coimbatore in the next few days,” Mr. Prabhakaran added.
Besides major political parties in the State, human rights organisations like the ‘Amnesty International’ have urged India to boycott CHOGM in Sri Lanka. In a statement, the ‘Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative,’ which has attended all the previous meetings, said it was not going to Colombo.
Early this year, student organisations resorted to agitations in Tamil Nadu against the participation of Sri Lankan cricketers in IPL, 2013. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying that IPL matches would not be allowed to be played in Tamil Nadu if they involved Sri Lankan players, umpires and officials.