Tamils protest against Amitabh's Sri Lankan visit

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Tamils protest against Amitabh's Sri Lankan visit
Mumbai, Apr 26: Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachachan is facing a lot of pressure from the Tamil community inside and outside India urging him to drop his plans of visiting Sri Lanka for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA).

The IIFA film festival is set to take place between Jun 3 and Jun 5 in Columbo. Bachchan, who is the chief guest for the IIFa awards function, visted Sri Lanka last week to promote IIFA. He was invited by the Rajapaksa government.

This association between Bollywood and Sri Lankan government, however, did not fit in well with the Tamils. On Sunday, Apr 25 hundreds of Tamils gathered outside Big B's Mumbai Bunglow to make their objection to his Sri Lankan visit heard.

The protesters marched from Bachchan's Pratiksha bungalow to his Jalsa residence, where a delegation met him and two IIFA office bearers.

The Tamil community are objecting to the senior Bollywood actor's decision to attend the film awards function in the view of the 'crimes' committed by the Rajapaksa government on the Sri Lankan Tamils.

C Rajendran, spokesperson of the protesters, told a news agency, "We urge him not to attend the function in Colombo as a symbol of solidarity for the Tamilian cause in Sri Lanka. Tamils have been subject to atrocities and war crimes perpetrated by the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in that country."

In 2009, Sri Lanka launched an offensive against the Tamil rebel group, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, and killed the LTTE chief Prabhakaran in the war.

There are have several reports of war crimes and abuse perpetrated by the army on the Tamils during and after the offensive.

Canadian Tamils too have expressed their disagreement over Bachchan's visit to Sri Lanka, where "Tamils continue to suffer".

In a statement released on Monday, Apr 26, Canadian Tamil Congress said, "Amitabh Bachchan is a great hero for us in the Tamil diaspora, but we are very disturbed and profoundly saddened by our hero's proposed visit to a regime which has perpetrated crimes against Tamils."

"By visiting Sri Lanka, Amitabh Bachchan will be lending credibility to a regime which has destroyed Tamils ruthlessly and committed horrendous human rights violations," it added.

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