TN leaders hit out at Sri Lanka for ‘Sinhala only’ National Anthem

Tamil Nadu’s principal opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and BJP’s ally Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) have attacked the newly-elected Sri Lankan government under President Gottabaya Rajapaksa for suspending the playing of National Anthem of the island nation in Tamil on its Independence day in February.

In a tweet, DMK president M K Stalin said, “Disappointed and concerned to hear that Srilankan Government has decided to only sing National Anthem in Sinhala for their Independence Day.”

He added: “Such majoritarianism will only further exclude Tamils in Srilanka. I urge @PMOIndia and @DrSJaishankar to intervene immediately.”

PMK founder S Ramadoss in a statement said, “Gottabaya Rajapaksa’s government had declared that Tamil National Anthem of Sri Lanka would not be played in the upcoming Sri Lankan Independence Day on February 4, 2020. This is against 13th amendment of Sri Lanka’s constitution framed to give powers to Tamils and Tamil language as per India-Sri Lanka agreement,” Ramadoss noted.

He said the Lankan government’s decision to sing the National anthem only in Sinhalese during the country’s 72nd Independence Day celebration on 4 Feburary 2020, was an insult to Tamils and strongly condemned it. He said the Lankan government had taken such a decision to appease a majority of Sinhala people who voted in favour of them.

On 24 December, the Daily Mirror reported that, according to the Public Administration Ministry, the 72nd Independence Day celebrations will be held on 4 February at Independence Square in Colombo on a grand scale and the national anthem would be sung only in Sinhala.

This is a deviation from the practice followed by the previous government from 2016 that the National Anthem should be sung in Sinhala and Tamil at the Independence Day celebrations.