COLOMBO: In an effort to achieve reconciliation with the ethnic minority community, the Srilankan national anthem was sung in Tamil at a ceremony held in Colombo to mark the 68th anniversary of the country’s Independence from Britain.
The Srilankan government’s approach is seen as a move to reach out to the Tamils, 28 years after the war with Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ended in 2009. More than 1 lakh people were killed during the civil war, which also attracted protests from the Tamils worldwide after a video footage describing the cruelty of the Srilankan army was leaked online. The video showcased army men killing children and women with AK 47.
However, the conditions have not been the same after the change of government in Srilanka. President Maithripala Sirisena has taken several measures to win back the Tamils in the reconciliation process. Deputy minister for public enterprise development Eran Wickramaratne said, “For the first time Tamil version of the National anthem has been sung on the Independence Day. This marks an important occasion in the history of Srilanka”.
In one of his Facebook posts, Deputy foreign minister Harsha de Silva wrote “For the first time in my life time, an Independence Day came to a close with the National anthem sung in Tamil. No doubt, we all are one and remain one forever”.
Celebrating Independence Day on February 4th, the Srilankan government has issued guidelines to higher authorities for facilitating the singing of National anthem in both Sinhalese and the Tamil versions, at various events organized by the government. Earlier, the Tamil version of the National anthem was unofficially banned from being rendered in the Srilankan Independence Day celebrations.