Thanks to YouTube, I listened to an interesting panel discussion on Sri Lanka, hosted by Michael Coran. The panellists were Mr. David Poopalsingham, Ms. Manjula Selvarajah, Ms. Ira De Silva and Mr. Lenin Benedict. You can watch the discussion through these five videos: I, II, III, IV and V.
Mr. David Poopalsingham, is the National Spokesperson of the Canadian Tamil Congress, while Ms. Manjula Selvarajah is the Media Coordinator of the Canadian Tamil Congress. Both spoke in favour of the LTTE. Mr. Lenin Benedict, a secretary of the Canadian Democratic Tamil Cultural Association, was critical of the LTTE. Ira De Silva is from the Sri Lanka United National Association of Canada.
There was one issue which Ms. Manjula Selvarajah raised, that I found very interesting. While trying to show how the Sri Lankan government is vehemently anti-minority, Selvarajah mentioned that Sri Lanka is trying to enact an anti-conversion bill which will prevent conversion of Sri Lankans to Christianity. ‘How could the Sri Lankan government be so nasty?’ Selvarajah wondered aloud. Michael Coran to his credit countered Selvarajah by saying that other countries like Israel, Russia, many of them democratic, also had similar laws.
Michael Coran may not have been aware of this, and Selvarajah chose to keep silent, but in 2002, the Indian state of Tamil Nadu passed a controversial anti-conversion bill, appropriately called the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Bill. Jayalalitha was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu at that time. Various other Indian states have passed such laws.
You can listen to Selvarajah make such an insightful comment on the anti-conversion law, around five minutes into the second part of the video series.
Tell me Ms. Selvarajah, do you still think it is atrocious for the poor, innocent Sri Lankan government to want to pass such a draconian piece of legislation? Would you also be willing to condemn Jayalalitha for having passed such a law? Jayalalitha has very recently come out in support of Tamil Eelam, though till now she used to be a staunch opponent of the LTTE. Would you now say that the Sri Lankan Tamil Community doesn’t care for Jayalalitha’s support?