CLOMBO, June 27, India: Thousands of Sri Lankan Tamils in Jaffna have handed a petition to Indian Red Cross officials, urging India to recognize a separate Tamil State, Jaffna newspapers said today.

The Eelanadu and Eelamurasu newspapers said the petition was presented by “thousands of people” after a match in Jaffna city.

Independent confirmation of the reports was not possible. Telephone and telex links to the Jaffna peninsula have been cut off by the military since February.

Journa lists have been barred since late April.

Officials from the Indian Red Cross and Indian High Commission (Ambassador) have been in Jaffna since Thursday to help distribute Indian relief supplies to Jaffna Tamils under an agreement with the Sri Lankan government.

The Indians handed over to the Sri Lankan government more than 700 tonnes of food and medicine brought by two Indian ships that arrived on Thursday in Kankesanthurai port.

The Jaffna newspapers said the marchers’ petition asked Indian ‘to recognize the “Tamil speaking people’s motherland” and to “free the Tamils from the control of Sri Lanka”.

Jaffna city, home to about 150)000 Tamils, is controlled ‘by Tamil guerrillas fighting for a separate state in the Island’s north and ‘west.

The newspapers said many young women who joined’ the march cried out “Save Us. Do not leave us”, India, mediator in the four-year Tamil rebellion, sees itself as the protector of Sri Lanka’s minority Tamils.

Article extracted from this publication >>  July 3, 1987