New Delhi, Nov 27 (IANS) Sri Lanka is not doing enough to win the hearts and minds of Tamils and achieve genuine ethnic harmony following the end of the war, says an Indian activist after visiting the island nation.
'It is an uphill journey. But the authorities are refusing to make even a beginning,' Sarvjeet Singh of the New Delhi Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) told IANS after returning from an October-November inter-faith conference in Sri Lanka.
He was one of three Indians who attended the meeting organised by the Asia Pacific Association of YMCAs and the Christian Conference of Asia. A total of 25 YMCA representatives took part in nearly three weeks of interactions, visiting places such as Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa, Matara and the Kandy region.
Besides India, representatives came from places like Cambodia, Myanmar, Palestine, Kenya, Sudan, the Philippines, Nepal, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
'There is a yawning gap between what needs to be done and what is being done,' Sarvjeet Singh told IANS. 'They must allow the world to help. Why are they not doing that? They took so much help after the tsunami...
'There has to be some kind of political initiative. The nation at large should show some concern for the Tamils who suffered the maximum in this war.
Ever since it crushed the Tamil Tigers last year, Sri Lanka has come under pressure to investigate large-scale civilian killings. Colombo had repeatedly brushed aside calls to probe human rights violations in the conflict zone.
Sarvjeet Singh said, 'All through its unfettered run, the LTTE is known to have killed and tormented scores of innocent Tamil civilians living in areas under its control.
'The same civilians were then bombed and strafed by the advancing Sri Lanka Army determined to deal a decisive blow to the LTTE.
'If that was the inevitable required to clinch victory, can anyone deny that the population in the war zone made this victory possible by sacrificing their lives?'
(M.R. Narayan Swamy can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)