Sri Lanka News

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Sinhalese Fishermen Rescue Tamil Refugees in the deep sea off Mannar

Sri Lanka never had a issue of racism but terrorism; exemplifying the reality in Sri Lankan conflict, a group of Sinhalese fisherman rescued fleeing Tamil villagers who were drowning in the middle of the sea on the  19th of May at around 11p.m. The group of Tamil refugees included members of three families who had been fleeing to India due to the increase of violence in the North and East.

Savarimuttu Subramanium, the leader of the fleeing families, said the group was   fleeing  their village, Thirikpadaloor in Trincomalle, since two villagers were hacked to death at the vegetable market, Trincomalee a few days ago.

The group of  18 civilians including two babies (two months), two little girls, three women and eleven men had fled their village on the 17th and came to MANNAR seeking refuge from possible violence creators . Later the group had joined another two civilians who seemed be engaged in human smuggling to India and left the MANNAR shore in a small fishing vessel around 4.p.m. on the  19th  of May. Due to the rough seas, usually experienced in Southwest monsoon, the boat had capsized after 7 hours of sailing and its 20 passengers were drowning when Sinhalese fishermen rescued them.

S Kumaleshan, who handled the boat said: "LTTE come and attack and flee away. Then the army, navy and police come and beat us. We hoped our children will be safe at least in India".

According to the rescued villagers, many villagers in the eastern part of the country have already left for Tamil Nadu in India hoping for a life without claymore mines and shell attacks.

The villagers blamed the LTTE for instigating violence and making them suffer from an unwanted war, and also to the government on its failure to stop violence against the Tamil community in the country.

A Sinhalese fisherman among the group of rescuers said, "We initially thought it was a LTTE boat. We were afraid. But we heard shouting for help and we saw the women and the children in the boat". The stark realty of the incident is that the reason for those innocent Tamil civilians to risk their lives in fleeing  their homeland, is the terrorism; the fear felt by those Sinhalese fishermen prior to rescuing  these Tamil people was also the same terrorism; but it is certainly not the "Sinhalese racism" that  enable the saving of 20 precious lives of innocent Tamil people .

It’s almost high time the world awoke to the reality that the Sinhalese people  are very much concern about their country’s Tamil brethren. What more glaring example than this very heart rendering rescue of so many precious lives; 20 hapless Tamil people destined to drown in the mighty Indian ocean. This is compassion, empathy and sympathy at its ever high, that which has throughout the ages of history been the hallmark of the traditional Sinhala people, the world always knew. Source: Ministry of Defence – Sri Lanka


May 22, 2006 - Posted by | Media Journalism, News and politics, South Asia, World News

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