Tamil Tigers push for independence

Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran says the peace process is now 'defunct'.


    The Tamil Tiger leader gave a speech commemorating dead fighters

    Prabhakaran added: "We ... ask the international community and the countries of the world that respect justice to recognise our freedom struggle."
     
    Cyanide capsule
     
    The Tigers spent much of their two-decade insurgency battling for independence, but scaled down their demands after a 2002 ceasefire that Prabhakaran described as "defunct."
     
    Sri Lanka's two-decade civil has killed more than 67,000 people since 1983, around 3,000 of those so far this year alone, despite the ceasefire.
     
    Prabhakaran made the annual speech, which commemorates the first killing of a Tamil Tiger by government forces in 1982, wearing combat fatigues and with his trademark cyanide capsule round his neck.
     
    "Tamils are recommencing their journey on the path of freedom." Prabhakaran said.
     
    "It is now crystal clear that the Sinhala leaders will never put forward a just resolution to the Tamil national question.
     
    "Therefore, we are not prepared to place our trust in the impossible and walk along the same old futile path," he said.
     
    "Appropriate measures"
     
    He also called on the 800,000 Tamils who have fled Sri Lanka since the conflict began in 1983 for help.
     
    The Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapakse, has ruled out a separate homeland, but says he is willing to consider widespread devolution of power within a united Sri Lanka.
     
    Dr. Palitha Kohona, a spokesman for the government's peace secretariat, said: "We have said very clearly we want to solve this problem by negotiations.
     
    "I don't have to listen to a terrorist in the jungle ... If they provoke us, we will take appropriate measures to counter that."

    SOURCE: Agencies


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