Peaceful campaign in Melbourne on violence against Sri Lankans
‘Sri Lanka Week’ begins tomorrow

Only a handful of Sri Lankan expatriates in Australia are behind all the violence and the anti-Sri Lanka campaign to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka. A small group of patriotic Sri Lankans, domiciled in Australia, will be launching a peaceful campaign in Melbourne to convince the Australian public that some elements with vested interests are behind it, Susantha Katugampola, Attorney-at-law, and one of the key organisers of the campaign, said.

At a media conference in Colombo, organised by the Prime Minister’s Office, he said that some of the Australian media had given a totally negative picture about what was going on in Sri Lanka in the last few months "Hence we need to convince the Australian public that it was the now decimated LTTE and not the security forces who are responsible for these crimes."

"We need to completely change the negative attitude of the Australians towards Sri Lanka and win over every Tamil who doesn’t have a vested interest," Katugampola stressed.

"In order to achieve our goal, a group of five Sri Lankans have banded together and organised a five-day ‘Sri Lanka Week’ in Melbourne from June 10, where the Australian media, the public and the Sri Lankans living there will be invited to participate. Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayake will also participate at this event.

"There will be eminent scholars who will be addressing the gathering on the current issue," he said.

Education Minister Susil Premjayanth, who will be the keynote speaker on the final day at the festival, said Australia is one of the developed countries which has pledged assistance to Sri Lanka in the post war period and it is specialized in the spheres of development, health and education.

The Minister appreciated the campaign launched by the five Lankans in Melbourne and assured his fullest support.

Veteran film star Ravindra Randeniya, who will be one of the speakers at the event, said this is a trailblazer and similar events will be organised in Western countries where there is a large population of Sri Lankan expatriates.

We are one people with one identity from one country, he said.

"We must take our message to the main stream via a positive approach," he said. Katugampola said there have been attacks on Sri Lankans living in Australia by some Tamil groups and no action has been taken against them by law enforcement authorities.

There is an international conspiracy to destroy Sri Lanka and what is happening in Australia is part of it. However, we will not go on demonstrations and launch protest campaigns like them, but register our protest via peaceful means," he said.

Past students of German Technical School Katubedde, now domiciled in Melbourne numbering 1,600 are building a school in the north with the money collected among themselves.

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