Tamil protester ends hunger strike after 23 days

May 1st, 2009 - 5:16 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 1 (IANS) A Tamil man, on a hunger strike for the past 23 days to support his demand for ceasefire in Sri Lanka, ended his protest here after requests from his friends and well-wishers, including Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes.
Parameswaran Subramanyam, 28, ended his fast Thursday minutes before Foreign Secretary David Miliband addressed MPs in the House of Commons over his visit to Sri Lanka.

Miliband returned from Sri Lanka earlier in the day where his calls for ceasefire and humanitarian access to civilian trapped in war zone were rejected by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Subramanyam had not eaten since April 7 to protest the ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka. He had also refused liquids for days at a time. Doctors gave warning that his kidneys could fail at any moment if he continued.

Subramanyam was applauded by protesters as he took a sip of orange juice from Hughes.

He began his strike after five members of his family were killed in bombing in Tamil Tiger held area in Sri Lanka’s north. He had vowed to fast until ceasefire or death.

Friends helped him to change into a suit and used a wheelchair to take him out of the makeshift tent where he has spent most of the last three weeks.

Speaking in front of the crowd of around 120 protesters who are continuing their vigil, Subramanyam was barely audible. He thanked the Tamil people, students and MPs for their support.

“Yesterday we have some news… I can’t say anything about that. We have put some seed in land and we have to wait for some days to check the fruits,” he said.

“I can say to everybody they must wait for some days for the answer and the ceasefire. When I finish my hospital treatment… I (will) come back and… put more water for the seeds.”

One of his friends, Bala, told the crowd: “He has been doing this fasting and hunger strike for a very long time and he has realised that at the moment he is not in a very good condition at all.”

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