This Article is From Nov 02, 2013

Come, fight for our cause: Lankan Tamils to PM

Colombo: Sri Lanka is getting ready to host commonwealth leaders in just two weeks from now.

The island nation hopes that the massive multilateral summit will also help in its international branding, as the Mahinda Rajapaksa government still reels under charges of massive human rights violations against Tamils in the last phases of the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in 2009.

Ranjan, a Tamil boy from Lanka, says his life has changed since the war ended.

"Now we can travel anywhere in Sri Lanka," he says.

Tamils like him are being treated with less suspicion and life has improved as more jobs are now available to them, he says.

People like Rajan want Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to keep his date with the Commomwealth summit in spite of domestic political pressures from Tamil Nadu's top political parties and politicians. Last month, the Tamil Nadu assembly unanimously adopted a resolution that said India must boycott the session to register its protest against the Sri Lankan government's failure to investigate and punish those who allegedly persecuted the island's ethnic Tamils in 2009.

"The Indian PM should come here. India can help Sri Lanka," Rajan says.

But Rajan is one of the lucky ones. Another young Tamil boy, 21-year-old Jagat, has been missing for the last three years. His inconsolable mother says he was picked up in 2010 by unknown men in a white van and hasn't surfaced since.

"The Indian PM should come if he can take up the cause of people like us and help find those who have disappeared," says Jagat's mother.

New ports, new highways, a rising Sri Lanka - that's what Lankan government would like the world to see. But even though the guns have been silenced, the peace is deafening for those still searching for their loved ones. They are waiting to see how loudly will the commonwealth leaders, especially the Indian Prime Minister, will take up their cause.