I am really surprised that the People’s Kalari Dramatic Troupe is organizing a festival of Drama and Music for a period of 17 days commencing from the 21st of June. When the Vanni people are still mourning for the death of their dear ones and for the other losses and have not yet recovered from the shock, it is highly deplorable for the Jaffna people to engage themselves in merry making. While apologizing to the members of the troupe for pointing out this matter when all arrangements had been made, I kindly request them to make a trip to Vanni and travel through some of the cross roads in Kilinochchi and Mullaithevu, to see for themselves the devastation that had taken place and the pathetic plight those people are still in, even after one year had passed. They are not resettled. It appears as if they are re-displaced.
One can hardly find a smile on the faces of the Vanni people. They did not have a single day’s peaceful sleep since they left their homes last year, with whatever moveables each member of the household could carry. They have now returned to their homes to see their houses either razed to the ground or badly damaged. Many are without roofs doors and windows and also with nothing left inside.
There is a wide-spread feeling among the people of Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu that the people of Jaffna have no feeling for the people of Vanni, most of whom are now paupers and many had lost their dear ones. There are certain families in which all members had been killed and in some others the number of deaths varied. Some are still searching for their dear ones. Some have lost both their legs and hands. Some are crippled. Some have lost their only bread-winner. They are worried of building their houses and more worried of their children in detention. This is the time we should feel for them and go there in thousands to help them to clean their houses full of debris, clean their wells and help them to rebuild their shelters. Their main worry today is whether they can build their houses even if building materials are made available. Things had taken place enabling them for full compensation. Neither the Government nor the International Community had assured them compensation. Merely giving them assistance to do cultivation alone is not enough. I leave it to the good sense of the Members of the troupe to decide whether to have the festival or to cancel it. I am a great lover of drama and music. But in this case I am bringing it to the notice of the Jaffna people the real sentiments of the Vanni people. There had been some musical programmes earlier too. But they were beyond the control of the local people. In this instance the youths and other participants of the dramatic troupe can take a decision which they think is the best under the present circum stances. It is a pity that no proper advice had been given at the proper time to the organizers of this drama festival. I apologies to everyone involved in this programme to pardon me if I am wrong.
President – TULF.