Keeping aside party identities, religions and castes, more than 30,000 people of grass root Tamil Nadu gathered in Marina Beach of Chennai on Sunday to remember the genocide committed on Eezham Tamils and to call for independent and sovereign Tamil Eelam, sending a strong message to New Delhi and to the international community, the organisers of the event said. The congregation organised by Mr. Thirumurukan Gandhi of May 17 Movement, received massive support and participation of leaders cutting across party lines, similar grass root movements, civil society organisations, artists, social workers and the common public that has come with families bringing even their children.
The event was mobilised through social media and grass root organisations with little resources and within a short span of time.
The Tamil Nadu police anticipated participation of only around 500, media reports said.
The highlights of the event were paying homage to the Eezham Tamil victims of the genocide by lighting candlesticks and raising slogans calling for the independence of Tamil Eelam.
“We will never forget the genocide; Tamil Eelam is the only solution; New Delhi, stop betraying Tamils, and we in Tamil Nadu will stand with Eezham Tamils,” were the main slogans that were raised by the thousands who gathered at the Marina Beach.
Usually, the pattern in Tamil Nadu is that only mainstream political parties are capable of organising gatherings of mass participation. But, for the first time after a long time, the grass root Tamil Nadu gathered for such an event, in such a way as a mass uprising, responding to the call of a civil society movement.
Contrary to the usual practices of such gatherings, there were no lengthy speeches, except for a brief introduction by Mr. Pazha Nedumaran on the purpose of the gathering and a thanking speech at the end by the organiser, Mr. Thirumurukan Gandhi.
Mr. Umar Naina, a co-organiser said that he was inspired to involve in calling for mass uprisings after his exposure to the crisis of the fishermen of Tamil Nadu.
Displaying a folklore touch to the event were a programme of “Oppaari” (traditional way of wailing) and a folk theatre performance “Vamsa vatham” (the genocide) based on the Mahavamsa-minded genocide committed on Eezham Tamils.
Poet Kaasi Ananandan, Seeman, MDMK Mallai Sahthiya, Viduthalai Rajendran, Vel Murugan of Paattali Makkal Kadchi and artists Oaviyar Chanthaanam, Professor Saraswathy, Thileepan Manram Thiyaagu were some of the prominent activists and artists, who took part in the event that began at 5:45 p.m. and ended at 8:40 p.m.
“People have begun to realise the importance of forging united action beyond political or caste identities, as Muthukumar, who sacrificed his life for bringing awareness for a mass struggle in Tamil Nadu as a response to the genocide being committed on Eezham Tamils,” the organisers said.
“The gathering is a message to New Delhi that that the time has come for Tamils in Tamil Nadu to stand for the Eezham Tamil brethren’s fight for justice,” they further said.
Hereafter, people in Tamil Nadu should be prepared to rise up and show their peoples’ responses for all future oppressions committed against Tamils, Mr. Thirumurukan Gandhi said at the end of the event.
Similar memorial events expressing solidarity were also observed in Madurai, Coimbatore and other places in the State, sources in Chennai said.