On February 4 Sri Lanka marks its 70th year of independence from Britain. Historically, this day has been a painful one for the Tamils both who live in Sri Lanka and those who have been forced into exile by discrimination and anti-Tamil violence. Tamil dignitaries and politicians did not attend the ceremonies celebrating the event from 1972 to 2014 in protest for the exclusion of the Tamil population from the political, economic, and cultural life of the country and the elimination of protections for non-Sinhalese Buddhist communities left embedded in the constitution at independence.
For the first time in the history of the British parliament, Tamil Thai Pongal day was celebrated at the Jubilee Room, House of Parliament, Westminster, London, SW1A 0AA on the 17th of January 2018.This celebration was jointly hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPG T) and the British Tamils Forum (BTF).
A few thousand Tamils across Sutton will be getting ready to celebrate their harvest festival along with millions of Tamils in Sri Lanka, South India and across the world. As chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tamils, I will continue to shine a light on the ongoing issues in Sri Lanka. In the meantime, I wish you all a very happy Thai Pongal.