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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Tuesday, 19 May 2009 14:36 UK

Voices: Tamil diaspora in shock

As Sri Lanka declares an end to its 26-year civil war, Tamils outside Sri Lanka describe their shock and disbelief at news of the military demise of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the death of its leader, Vellupillai Prabhakaran.

VASUKI MURUHATHAS, LAWYER, LONDON

Vasuki Muruhathas

We are very angry and every single Tamil is crying over this. Victory? The Sri Lankan government has merely made a territorial gain at the moment.

There are LTTE supporters all over the place and all over the world. Unless we have a solution for the Tamil people, this problem will continue. We need to recognise their lands. This is an unnecessary loss in our beautiful country.

The government should immediately give us a solution and show us regard, look after Tamils. We want innocent Tamil people to be saved immediately.

We don't believe in the death of Prabhakaran unless some proof is put forward. We have to wait and see. All the Tamils have faith in him. The Tigers have said that nothing has happened to him and they wanted the Tamil people to be calm.

I never felt so strongly about such issues before. What has happened has made me want to take action

I am very disappointed. I am helpless. We have been trying everywhere, with international organisations, campaigns. Innocent children have been killed. I never felt so strongly about such issues before.

What has happened has made me want to take action.

G ALLESGUNASEELAN, BUSINESSMAN, LONDON

I feel the Sinhalese want to raze the identity of Tamils

I left Sri Lanka when I was 20 and that was because of discrimination. I was not courageous enough to take a stand and do something.

There were reports of jubilant celebrations in Colombo where people were setting off firecrackers.

I still have family in Colombo. I know how can Sri Lankans can treat the Tamils. You have to be careful of what you say and what you do. As a consequence, if you want to get a real honest opinion about what is going on, you won't get it from Tamil society in the south.

Just because you are a Tamil, they would brand you a terrorist. I lived through the 1983 [anti-Tamil] riots.

I don't believe Prabhakaran has died. Without him we will be lost. That is honest. People brand him as this and that. They call him all sorts of names. If his death is true, it is devastating news to Tamils. We didn't have the motivation to stand up but he changed all of that.

But I feel the Sinhalese want to raze the identity of Tamils. They have occupied Kilinochchi. That is our place. In five years time they will change the name of that town to a Sinhalese name.

They will build Buddhist temples and take Sinhalese migrants to that area. They want the whole nation to be Buddhist and Sinhalese.

I feel terrible because we have struggled for 40 or 50 years.

SAM MUTHUVELOE, DOCTOR, LONDON

Sam Muthuveloe

I run a charity called Hope Outreach UK. We work across the ethnic and religious divide. We support four orphanages in Sri Lanka. One such orphanage in the north of the country was aerially bombed and destroyed completely on Christmas Day 2008.

I have recently returned from Sri Lanka. Access to the children on this occasion was denied. They were detained by the Sri Lankan army. I met with our charity workers who had visited the orphan children the previous week.

We feel devastated at what has happened to these innocent children. A lot of good work has been reduced to rubble. The children are in a numb state of shock, greatly distressed, often weeping, and suffering terrible nightmares.

There is a sense of hopelessness and despair. For their sakes we are remaining positive and hopeful.

As violence has increased people have been scared to talk.

Sri Lanka stands as a deeply divided nation; where, since independence from the British rule in 1948, ethnic loyalty has superseded national unity.

The opportunity for peace is being lost for lack of a credible, inclusive, just and fair political settlement. A war fought in a political vacuum does not deliver peace.

SIVA VASANDAN, DOCTOR AND CAMPAIGNER, NEW ZEALAND

Supporters of the Tigers show solidarity in London by painting their face as Tigers in London
Tamils, including supporters of the Tigers, have held rallies

The LTTE's defeat has had an effect on thousands of innocent Tamil civilians. We feel very sad and disappointed that the Sri Lankan government has no regard for innocent Tamil civilians.

The military victory over the LTTE is not the final solution. There should be a political solution to satisfy Tamil aspirations.

Tamils are shocked and dismayed at the government's total disregard for the lives of innocent Tamils.

The struggle will continue regardless of the LTTE. The LTTE came about as a result of the oppression of Tamils by the Sri Lankan government.

So the Tamil people's struggle for their rights will continue until Tamil aspirations are met.

JEEVANANTHAN, POSTMAN, LONDON

My three brothers and sisters are lost in the war zone. I last heard from them 12 days ago. My sister phoned. A doctor gave her the use of a satellite phone for two minutes.

She said there was no food there. Now we don't know what has happened to them.

I am staying at home worrying. My hands and legs are shaking. I follow the news. I don't know about my family.

We grew up with the LTTE. In 1992 I lost my father when the Sri Lankan army killed him. I support the LTTE and their aims. I don't worry about Eelam [the name for a Tamil homeland], I worry about the Tamil community and my family.

I'm very sad about the death of Prabhakaran. It is like the death of a family member. Who is going to bring peace now?

JAYABALAN, TAMIL NEWSPAPER EDITOR, LONDON

In a way this is a shock. Because the LTTE has its own myths. Most of the Tamils who really support the LTTE are in shock.

But their weakness is that if there is no leadership the organisation will end. I don't see them as freedom fighters. They seem like a limited company owned by a few individuals.

They don't have the norms of a liberation organisation. It's a one man-led army and it has come to a very bitter end.

But successive Sri Lankan governments have oppressed the Tamil community. Many thought the LTTE were the only option they had. If the Sri Lankan government keeps oppressing Tamils in IDP camps, that anger will come up again.



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