A fight to the death in Westminster
London student says he is starving himself to death outside Parliament in protest at Sri Lankan attacks on Tamils
At the age of 21, Sivatharsan Sivakumaravel is preparing to die. Lying under layers of damp duvets and surrounded by passionate and at times tearful supporters, Mr Sivakumaravel is one of two young Tamil men who have vowed to starve themselves to death outside the Houses of Parliament unless Britain forces the Sri Lankan government to call an immediate ceasefire in its war with Tamil Tiger rebels.
Mr Sivakumaravel should be like any other university fresher, enjoying the carefree existence of a first-year student. His family fled Sri Lanka eight years ago, settled in Mitcham in Surrey, and have pushed their three sons to earn themselves a university degree and to try to forget about the three decades of conflict that have blighted their homeland.
But instead of studying for upcoming exams, or exploring the town with his new university friends, Mr Sivakumaravel is voluntarily fasting to death.
The computer science student and his Sri Lankan university friend Parameswarn Subramaniyan, 28, have both been refusing food and water since 10am on Tuesday in protest at what they say is the international community's inaction over the ongoing conflict in their homeland.
Fears for Tamil hunger strike protesters in London
Fears are growing for the health of two protesters who have gone on hunger strike to draw attention to the plight of Tamils living in Sri Lanka.
The men, who are refusing to take even liquids, have been on hunger strike since Monday.
Yesterday, the pair - named as Sivatharsan Sivakumaraval, 21, and Prarameswaran Subramaniam, 28, both students from Mitcham in south London - were joined by 500 Tamil protesters who continued their occupation of London's Parliament Square as the rally entered its fifth day.
The group want the UK government to take action to help protect the Tamils in their homeland.
The Sri Lankan government has rejected international calls for a ceasefire, claiming it is on the verge of defeating the Tamil Tigers, a rebel group which is fighting for an independent homeland.
Police have made a number of arrests as the crowds protested against the Sri Lankan government's offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels and alleged human rights abuses.
"What we call the Tamil Tigers are actually carpenters, fishermen and normal people in society."
Friday, 10 April 2009
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