Hindu Council UK (HCUK) has worked for several years with the British Tamil Forum (BTF) which represents 400,000 Tamils living in the UK. In the last HCUK Executive meeting the BTF made a presentation for the need now for positive measures to help the Tamils living in the northern parts of Sri Lanka.
These measures they felt they needed the help of the Indian Government and indeed they particularly feel aggrieved and hurt by the way the India Government has neglected their people who whilst are first Sri Lankan do have an affinity to India.
1. The people, particularly women, are traumatised and they need psychological and psychiatric help to cope with their traumas as otherwise it could lead to unrests in future also which they wish to avoid.
2. They would like education institutions from India to set up branches there as the Tamils lack basic places for further education, currently 1 in 10 places only goes to a Tamil.
3. They would like a Bridge built between Rameshwaram India and a northern Sri Lankan port, so there could be an easier movement of goods and services and people with the appropriate controls. This will help revive business and entrepreneurial-ship in their region.
4. A ferry service that existed before the war should be resumed between the northern regions as there is one now resumed in the southern region to Colombo.
Anil Bhanot arranged the meeting with Shri Sukhdev Sidhu the Minister of Co-ordination to introduce Shri Ravi Kumar the General Secretary of the BTF to establish a direct relationship with the Indian Government. The meeting went very well and whilst the Indian Government will be keen to help in partnership with the Sri Lankan Government for all such positive efforts the point was made and unanimously applauded that peaceful and diplomatic avenues only remain our work-ethic base.
Umesh Sharma the Chairman of HCUK and Mr Senthil Kumar Advocacy BTF contributed to the debate to help set up the link, which initially will be with the First Secretary Co-ordination Shri Pritam Lal.
Anil Bhanot OBE
Hindu Council UK