Thirty-four years ago, LTTE’s Lt Col. Thiyagatheepam Thileepan began his hunger strike at Jaffna’s Nallur Kandaswamy Temple in protest against the failure of the Indian government to honour the pledges made to the Tamil people.
On September 13, 1987, Thileepan put forward five demands to the Indian government following the signing of the Indo-Lanka accord in July 1987:
1) All Tamils detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be released.
2) The colonisation by Sinhalese in Tamil areas under the guise of rehabilitation should be stopped.
3) All such rehabilitation should be stopped until an interim government is formed.
4) The Sri Lankan government should stop opening new Police stations and camps in the North-eastern province.
5) The Sri Lankan army and Police should withdraw from schools in Tamil villages and the weapons given by the Sri Lankan government to ‘homeguards’ should be withdrawn under the supervision of the Indian army.
Three decades have passed, but nothing has changed. Thileepan’s demands for the Tamil community are still alive and yet to be addressed.