Ecumenical sit-in in New Delhi to stop Tamil genocide in Sri Lanka

New Delhi, India – Hundreds of people have been taking part since 9 am in an ecumenical sit-in in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar Park to protest against genocide in Sri Lanka, demanding their government and the United Nations intervene to immediately stop the fighting.

The Ecumenical Christian Forum for Human Rights (ECFOHR) took the initiative, drawing about 500 men and women religious, Catholic and Protestant, and seminarians.

Vincent M. Concessao, archbishop of New Delhi, opened the event by slamming the ongoing slaughter in Sri Lanka, expressing the solidarity of Indian Christians towards the victims of the war.

One of the sit-in organisers, Fr Benedict Barnabas, spoke to AsiaNews and accused the Indian government of hypocrisy.

“The Indian government is supplying personnel and technical assistance to the Sri Lanka army and simultaneously making vocal appeals” for an end to the war, he said.

Similarly, “political leaders in Tamil Nadu are only playing out a drama to ensure votes and a party victory at the general elections,” the Catholic priest added.

ECFOHR, which sponsored several initiatives across India over the past month, has called for access to Eelam, the predominantly Tamil areas of Sri Lanka, “especially the safe zone.”

India’s main Christian organisations have joined the initiative. They include the National Council of Churches of India, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the Association of Evangelical Churches and the Church of North India, which brings together several Protestant Churches.

Despite reassurances by the Sri Lankan government, Father Barnabas said military operations continue and constitute a serious and repeated violation of human rights.

“It was widely broadcast that the war had ended, but the reality on the ground is that only the bombing has stopped, the war continues and atrocities against the Tamils continue,” he said.

Only “a political solution to the problem is possible” because the Tamil population of Sri Lanka has been “humiliated, discriminated and treated as second class citizen for decades.”

For the clergyman, the Sri Lankan government is guilty of manipulating and twisting the history of the Tamil who are indigenous to Sri Lanka.

In view of this distortion of reality, Father Barnabas wants the international community to turn words into facts “to ensure Sri Lankan Tamil minorities their freedom.”