A senior Sri Lankan parliamentarian has proposed setting up of a common memorial in the country to commemorate thousands of Tamils killed during the three-decade-long brutal civil war against the LTTE.
Tamil minority groups in Sri Lanka observe May 18 as the day of commemoration every year, it is the same day when the 30-year-old conflict ended in 2009 with the death of the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran.
Leader of the pro-government Eelam Democratic People’s Party (EPDP) Douglas Devananda called for setting up of a war memorial to remember the Tamils who were killed in the conflict.
He said the Sri Lankan government is not against setting up of the memorial.
“It is absolutely vital that we commemorate each and every person who died in the war. This should not be limited to one race or community. Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslim and Burghers were all affected by the war,” Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Defence said, responding to a private members’ motion by Devananda.
Devananda said since a majority of the victims came from north and eastern districts the defence ministry felt that the monument could be constructed at the north central capital of Anuradhapura. The third Friday of May could be kept as the day of commemoration.
The Sinhala majority groups resist such commemorations.
Reacting to the government’s willingness to set up a war memorial, Joint Opposition spokesman Ranjith Soysa said that the move would be harmful to reconciliation and peace among communities.
“This would only divide the communities,” Soysa said.
According to the government estimates, around 20,000 people are still missing due to various conflicts including the 30-year-long separatist war with Lankan Tamils in the north and east which claimed the lives of at least 100,000 people.