Mullivaikal 2012 in Chennai

A remembrance event for the Mullivaikal massacre was held at the Chennai Marina beach on Sunday 20 May. Thousands of people participated to express their support and solidarity with the Tamil-speaking people in Eelam who suffered the brutal massacre of the Sri Lankan government. The event also brought together those who wish to continue the struggle for the rights of Tamils – both in Sri Lanka and in India.

However, it also exposed those who talk the talk but do not have any interest in actually making a stand. The current chief minister of Tamil Nadu and her party AIADMK and the other main right-wing party DMK paid no attention to this event despite their rhetoric of defending ‘Tamil Eelam’. These parties have been using the ‘Eelam issue’ to get their ‘Dravidian’ credentials back among voters. This explains the increased rhetoric and pretence of defending Eelam. But in reality they are not prepared to do anything in the interest of poor Tamils in Tamil Nadu – let alone defending the plight of Eelam Tamils. With the exception of Vaiko and Ram Vilas Paswan, the president of Lok Janshakthi Party from the state of Bihar who attended the event, none of the leading political figures who use the Eelam issue for their election purposes took part in the remembrance.

This remembrance was organised by the May 17 movement along with various other groups. Members and supporters of the New Socialist Alternative and Tamil Solidarity also took part. The May 17 movement was formed by young people after the so-called end of the war in 2009 May 17. This movement is now established as a key movement in Tamil Nadu which campaigns for the rights of Tamil-speaking people in Eelam and Tamil Nadu and attracts a number of young people.

The NSA and Tamil Solidarity have been in discussion with this movement in terms of how best to take the struggle forward. Tamil Solidarity’s participation was warmly welcomed by the activists. Leading member of NSA Jagadish travelled from Bangalore to participate as requested by the May 17 movement. The NSA leaflet was distributed and appeared to strike a chord with those who attended because it put forward a strategy for struggle by ordinary working and young people. Many young people are keen to get involved and to join Tamil Solidarity. The event showed the benefit of joint activity and campaigning and Tamil Solidarity looks forward to further work with May 17 and other serious campaigns.