We are demanding Hugh McDermott to rectify the false allegations made against Sri Lanka.

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Darshana Rathnayake
Darshana Rathnayake signed this petition

Hugh McDermott MP: State Member for Prospect – We are demanding you to delete the false allegations made in Facebook praising a terrorist group which is banned by many countries including Europe and USA.

Mr. Hugh McDermott who is the state member for Prospect, NSW has recently published a false allegation against a legally appointed Sri Lankan government, demanding ‘justice’ for a terrorist organisation which was defeated 11 years ago. It is an undisputed fact that the LTTE is a ruthless terrorist organization which has been justifiably banned by many countries due to atrocities committed against humanity.

Mr McDermott is an elected MP representing the Australian public and therefore has an obligation to uphold the values of Australians represented by him. It is therefore unfortunate that he has chosen to publish such unsubstantiated allegations against a democratically elected government with close ties to Australia. 

As Australian citizens and residents with a sri Lankan heritage, we are extremely concerned about this statement. We demand that he should acquaint himself of the facts and correct his mistake without delay.

The LTTE was formed by Velupillai Prabhakaran in 1975 and was just one of the numerous militant groups in the northern part of Sri Lanka. It came to prominence after assassinating a Mr Alfred Duraiappah, who was the Tamil speaking, democratically elected mayor of Jaffna. The LTTE then gained notoriety through ruthless elimination of other Tamil dissidents and militant groups over the next few decades. The LTTE was responsible for assassinating many Tamil political leaders as well as scholars such as Dr. Rajini Thiranagama, head of the Department of Anatomy at the University of Jaffna, Neelan Tiruchelvam, a prominent lawyer who compiled the Constitution of Maldives, Dr Lakshman Kadiragamar, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Jeyaraj Fernandupullai Minister of  Highways and Road Development of Sri Lanka. The LTTE was also guilty of the assassination of Hon Rajeev Gandhi Prime Minister of India via a suicide bombing. Most of these cases have been proven in the courts of law – both in Sri Lanka and in India. The LTTE also carried out other war crimes such as routing conscription of child soldiers as young as 9 years to fight in their unholy war.

Mr McDermott has described the conduct of genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka arbitrarily quoting a figure of 150,000. We would like to point out the following list of prominent Tamil politicians, public figures and scholars who were ruthlessly killed by the LTTE thereby creating the current vacuum of credible Tamil leaders that Sri Lanka faces today. It will be quite clear that the main victim of the LTTE tyranny was the Tamil population who suffered the brunt of their despicable aspirations.

  • A. Amirthalingam - Leading Sri Lankan Tamil politician and former Leader of the Opposition.
  • A. Thangathurai- Former Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Member of Parliament for Trincomalee District.
  • Alfred Duraiappah - Former Sri Lanka Freedom Party member of the parliament for Jaffna District and former mayor of Jaffna.
  • M. Canagaratnam Former Tamil United Liberation Front MP for Pottuvil
  • A. L. Abdul Majeed- Former Sri Lanka Freedom Party MP for Mutur
  • S. Shanmuganathan Former Democratic People's Liberation Front MP for Vanni District
  • Nimalan Soundaranayagam - Former Tamil United Liberation Front MP for Batticaloa District
  • Sam Tambimuttu Former Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front MP for Batticaloa District
  • Neelan Tiruchelvam - Scholar, international activist, legislator, lawyer, social scientist and politician. Former Member of the Sri Lanka Parliament from National List
  • G. Yogasangari - Former Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front MP for Jaffna District
  • V. Yogeswaran Former Tamil United Liberation Front MP for Jaffna district
  • Sivashri Kungaraja Kurukkal - Former head pandit of the Koneswaram temple of Trincomalee
  • Selliah Parameswaran Kurukkal - Chief Pujari of the Santhiveli Pilleyar Kovil, Batticaloa
  • Chelvy Thiyagarajah - Founder of feminist journal called Tholi, International PEN award winner in 1992
  • Balanadarajah Iyer - Sri Lankan Tamil activist, writer and poet
  • C. E. Anandarajah - Sri Lankan educationist and former principal of St. John's College, Jaffna.
  • V. M. Panchalingam - Leading Sri Lankan Tamil civil servant and former District Secretary of Jaffna
  • S. Nadarajah - Sri Lankan Tamil lawyer, politician and former member of the Senate of Ceylon.
  • Sarojini Yogeswaran - Former Mayor of Jaffna
  • Gopalaswamy Mahendraraja - Former Deputy leader of the LTTE
  • Uma Maheswaran - Founder of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam.
  • Kumaraswamy Nandagopan - Former president of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal
  • Kethesh Loganathan - Tamil political activist, Human Rights advocate and deputy secretary general of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP).
  • Rajani Thiranagama - University lecturer, Tamil human rights activist and feminist
  • Relangi Selvarajah - Tamil broadcaster and actress.
     

The fact that the LTTE exterminated the Tamil leadership of the country and impoverished the Tamil population in their control zone nullifies Mr McDermott’s assertion that the LTTE was fighting to protect Tamils in Sri Lanka. It resorted to open conscription of children and had brigades of child soldiers as young as 9 years of age. This is in violation of all UN and international regulations. These poor Tamil child soldiers were the preferred suicide cadres of the LTTE and proudly wore the cyanide capsule around their neck. It is well known that the LTTE mastered the art of the suicide bomber – which has been adopted by other terrorist groups over the past two decades.

It is this despicable organization that our member for Prospect is shamefully attempting to promote with this ill-timed message. It is a pathetic attempt to grab a few sympathetic votes at a time of unprecedented crisis violating the values that we Australians hold dear. Australia has had its share of terrorism related troubles and we abhor any attempt to whitewash any terrorist group – especially one as despised as the LTTE. Any attempt to defend such an organization by you runs the risk of being recognized as a representative of what was at one time the world’s worst terrorist organization.

Sri Lanka is a multicultural country which is still striving to rise from the 30-year-old campaign of terror unleashed by the LTTE. This terror campaign was funded by people like you and the Tamil diaspora who fought a proxy war sacrificing the lives of innocent men women and children to divide a united country. There has not been a single act of racially motivated violence against the Tamil population of Sri Lanka since the decimation of the LTTE and Tamils, Sinhalese and other races continue to exist peacefully in all parts of the island.

Mr. MP, your job is to protect Australians interests and values and help rebuild the economy and our society during the current crisis - not to represent a banned terrorist group and protect terrorists. It may be worthwhile visiting Sri Lanka and experiencing for yourself the truth of this letter once the current travel restrictions are lifted.

We are demanding that you remove your defamatory post against a legally appointed Sri Lankan government and to apologise to Australians of Sri Lankan descent who feel extremely disappointed in your lack of judgement.