2013 Anti–Sri Lanka protests

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2013 Anti–Sri Lanka protests
Tamil Eelam Champion Seeman Speech Outside UN headquarters Geneva 003.jpg
Protests led by Tamil activists outside the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva
Date8 March 2013; 6 years ago (2013-03-08)[1]
Mainly in Tamil Nadu, Worldwide
MethodsHunger strike
Protest march
  • Arrests: 500+[2]
  • Injuries:
  • Deaths: 2[3]

The 2013 Anti–Sri Lanka protests are a series of student protests and agitations initiated by the Students Federation for Freedom of Tamil Eelam in Tamil Nadu, India, against war crimes committed against Sri Lankan Tamil people by Sri Lankan army during the Eelam War IV. The protesters demanded that the Government of India vote in support of a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution censuring the Government of Sri Lanka for war crimes.[4] Some radical groups even demanded the prosecution of the President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapakse for his role in the alleged genocide of Sri Lankan Tamils. Apart from college students, doctors, film personalities and employees of IT companies also participated in the protests.[5]

Protests in Tamil Nadu[edit]

The agitations started on 11 March 2013 when eight students of Loyola College, Chennai, who fasted in condemnation of alleged atrocities committed on Tamils in Sri Lanka were arrested by the Tamil Nadu police.[6] The arrest was criticised by student organisations as well as the Loyola College management and nine colleges across the city went on strike.[6] The following protests see students from all over Tamil Nadu take into streets, it was a massive outrage of Tamil Nadu people and students against sinhala government after 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom. From school to colleges a mass number of students participated in the protest. Students from other states lik who are studying in Tamil Nadu colleges too participated. Numerous protests, rallies held in marina beach which saw huge number of students. The anger and anguish of students turned against DMK and Congress which is the ruling party during 2009 Eelam war. A statewide general strike declared on 12 March 2013 by the Tamil Eelam Supporters Organisation (TESO) evoked a mixed response with most of the political parties in the state keeping aloof alleging inaction on the part of the main participant Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) which was in power during the decisive stages of Eelam War IV.[7][8] Student organisations called for statewide agitations on Monday, 18 March, forcing arts and science colleges in the state to close down for an indefinite period.[9] As colleges and schools remained closed student groups organised protest through social media, Tamilandu people who themselves are sympathetic towards Sri Lankan Tamils sent their children to take part in the protests. As protests peaked in Tamil Nadu national and international media provided good coverage. One remarkable effect of this protest is DMK chief Karuna fearing students outrage pulled out of congress alliance, On 19 March DMK chief announced withdrawal from UPA alliance citing Congress disregard to the suffering of Eelam Tamil.[10] When DMK pulled out of UPA it was well received by DMK supporters. Congress was isolated in Tamilnadu in 2014 general elections it contested in 40 seats alone and lost in all constituencies. But ironically DMK formed alliance with congress again in May 2016 Tamil Nadu state elections showing its own colors.[11]

On 18 March 2013, large-scale agitations were held outside Raj Bhavan, Chennai resulting in the arrest of over 500 students.[12][13] A Sri Lankan Buddhist monk was attacked in the Brihadeeswara Temple, Thanjavur on 16 March 2013[14] and another at Chennai Central on 17 March 2013.[15] The Government of Tamil Nadu declared the indefinite closure of 525 engineering colleges affiliated to the Anna University.[16]

Noted political leader and Tamil activist Seeman addressing a Tamil diaspora gathering in March 2013

On 2 April 2013, actors from Tamil film industry staged a one-day token fast in support of student protests in Tamil Nadu.[17]

Tamil Nadu Assembly Resolution[edit]

The Tamil Nadu State Legislative Council passed legislation on 27 March 2013 urging the Indian Government to slap economic sanctions on Sri Lanka and demand for the formation of a separate state for the Tamils of Sri Lanka.

The resolution which was proposed by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha was unanimously passed at the Assembly. The resolution was passed following the debate in the Council regarding the ongoing statewide students protests in Tamil Nadu.[18][19]

The resolution demanded the formation of a separate state in Sri Lanka, through the means of a referendum by a resolution at the UN Security Council which should be conducted among Tamils in Sri Lanka and other displaced Tamils across the world.[19]

Moving the resolution, Jayalalithaa said the ongoing students protest was reflective of her government's initiative on the Sri Lankan issue even as she requested them to withdraw the stir and resume classes.[20]

The resolution also called on the Indian Government to stop considering Sri Lanka as a 'friendly country' and impose economic sanctions, as well as calling for an international inquiry in "genocide and war crimes" against Sri Lankan Tamils.[18][19]

In United Kingdom[edit]

On 20 June 2013, during 2013 ICC Champions Trophy semi final match between India and Sri Lanka at the SWALEC Stadium in Cardiff, Tamil Eelam supporters invaded the pitch with the flags of the Tamil Eelam.[21] After the match, at least 400 protesters held up the Sri Lankan team bus and raised anti-Sri Lankan government slogans.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ TNN (20 March 2013). "Student protests prove acid test". The Times of India. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  2. ^ "Hundreds of students arrested in Chennai for anti-Lanka protests". NDTV.com. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Sri Lanka issue: Protests in Tamil Nadu claim another life : South, News - India Today". Indiatoday.intoday.in. 22 March 2013. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Students protest continues in Tamil Nadu to press Centre for UN resolution against Sri Lanka". Times of India. 16 March 2013.
  5. ^ "Techies swayed by anti-Sri Lanka stir". The Hindu. 19 March 2013.
  6. ^ a b Venugopal, Vasudha (12 March 2013). "Amidst drama, students end hunger strike". The Hindu.
  7. ^ "General strike evokes mixed response". The Hindu. 13 March 2013.
  8. ^ "All parties barring VCK keep away". The Hindu. 13 March 2013.
  9. ^ "Arts colleges closed". The Hindu. 16 March 2013.
  10. ^ "Karunanidhi clarifies why DMK pulled out of UPA". The Hindu. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  11. ^ PTI (16 May 2016). "DMK-Congress alliance sure to form next govt in TN: Chidambaram". The Indian Express. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Protests continue over Sri Lankan issue, over 500 students arrested". Times of India. 18 March 2013.
  13. ^ Chandrasekaran, Anupama (18 March 2013). "Tamil Nadu students protest alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "Lankan monk roughed up in Thanjavur temple". Deccan Chronicle. 17 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Sri Lankan monk attacked in Chennai". Deccan Herald. 18 March 2013.
  16. ^ "Tamil Nadu shuts engineering colleges as campus stir spreads". Times of India. 19 March 2013.
  17. ^ Special Correspondent (2 April 2013). "Film actors fast for Sri Lankan cause". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  18. ^ a b Uthayan Referendum for separate Tamil Eelam. Resolution unanimously passed at Tamil Nadu Assembly[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ a b c Tamil Guardian Tamil Nadu Assembly adopts resolution seeking Eelam referendum
  20. ^ Zee News TN Assembly demands referendum for separate Tamil Eelam
  21. ^ "Security breaches disrupt semi-final". espncricinfo.com. 20 June 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  22. ^ "Protesters hold up Sri Lankan team bus after supporters invade Cardiff pitch". NDTV. 21 June 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013.

External links[edit]