American Tamils Urge BJP Leaders to Avoid Rajapaksa

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When Mahinda Rajapaksa visits India this week, he is expected to call on Bharatiya Janata Party leaders. U.S. Tamils suggest that this is a meeting that will raise Mr. Rajapaksa's standing in the world and lower the standing of anyone who meets with him, and so the BJP leaders should stay away from Rajapaksa

When Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa visits India this week, he is expected to call on BJP leaders. American Tamils hope these leaders turn Rajapaksa away.

"This is a meeting that will elevate Rajapaksa's status and bring down the status of anyone who meets with him," a spokesman for the U.S. Tamil political group Tamils for Obama said.

In a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L.K.Advani and Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Tamils for Obama wrote "You are honored and admired around the world, including by us, and we expect that Mr. Rajapaksa anticipates sitting down with you and being photographed with you and gaining from sharing the glow of esteem and affection with which the world views you. We urge you not to receive him."

"As we all know," the American Tamil spokesman said, "in 2009, Mr. Rajapaksa's soldiers killed tens of thousands of Sri Lankan Tamil civilians. Disinterested observers put the number between 30,000 and 40,000 victims. The soldiers who pulled the triggers are the direct killers, but Mr. Rajapaksa gave the orders and is the principle criminal."

In their letter, Tamils for Obama notes that "Mr. Rajapaksa has visited Libya, Iran, and Myanmar. These are pariah countries, countries hostile to the west which can't be hurt by Mr. Rajapaksa's reputation as a lawless killer. He has rarely been able to visit what we regard as civilized and decent countries. The Commonwealth Heads of Government (CHOGM) meeting scheduled for Colombo next year has been moved to New Zealand because of the war crimes allegations against Sri Lanka and Mr. Rajapaksa."

The American Tamil spokesman said "There is an American expression that goes 'If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.' Whoever gets close to Rajapaksa will find themselves scratching at the fleas that jumped from Rajapaksa to them. Or, as we wrote to the BJP leaders in our letter, 'When Mr. Rajapaksa is able to visit India, he benefits from being seen with respected leaders like you. We guess that this meeting will raise his stature while diminishing yours, and we hope you will not meet with this man.'"

To see the whole letter go to:

Tamils are an ethnic group living mainly in the northeast of Sri Lanka and southern India. During the final weeks of the recent civil war, the Sri Lankan government killed about 1,000 Tamil civilians per day, according to the United Nations, and about 40,000 in 2009. The Tamil are a population in Sri Lanka has borne the brunt of a civil war they regard as genocide. One-third of the Tamil population has fled the island and formed a substantial diaspora overseas. Tamils for Obama is comprised of Tamils who have settled in the U.S. or who were born in the U.S.

To contact the group, call at (617) 765-4394 and speak to, or leave a message for, the Communication Director, Tamils for Obama.

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