Colombo accelerates Sinhala colonisation of coastal Vanni

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 March 2012, 15:08 GMT]
SL President's son and Hambantota district parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa has stepped up Sinhala occupation of coastal villages of Mullaiththeevu and Ma'nal Aa'ru (Weli Oya) districts of Vanni mainland this week, civil sources in Mullaiththeevu told TamilNet. Hundreds of Sinhala fishermen were brought from South on Wednesday morning in 20 lorries with their boats and fishing equipments to Chemmalai, a coastal village of Mullaiththeevu district. Local Tamil fishermen who objected the move were assaulted by the occupying Sri Lanka Army and chased away. The SL military officials told Tamils that the fishermen from South had obtained 8-month pass to settle in Chemmalai for fishing. In the meantime Tamil families that resettled in Kokku'laay after 23 years have come under assault by SL military and Sinhalese settlers.

Already 30 Sinhalese had encroached the coastal belt of Naayaa'ru and Chemmalai East, where 25 Tamil families are entirely dependent on fishing. Namal Rajapaksa has appointed his agents to run the fisheries societies, which provide necessary permits to the encroachers, the civil officials further said.

50 Sinhalese encroachers from Karukup-panai had applied for fishing rights in Chemmalai area on Sunday. The fisheries society, which was already hijacked by Rajapaksa administration, allowed 30 Sinhalese fishermen to settle in Chemmalai, amid protests by the local fishermen.

Under these circumstances, a new convoy of 20 lorries with hundreds of Sinhalese fishermen arrived on Wednesday to the same area.

The arrival of a large number of fishermen from South has seriously affected the livelihood of the 25 Tamil families that have not received any meaningful assistance in resettlement.

Sri Lankan military on Wednesday attacked the Tamil driver and conductor of the only mini-bus transporting mostly Tamil passengers between Mullaiththeevu and Kokku'laay. The SL soldiers attacked them when their bus met with a minor accident with a Canter vehicle belonging to a Sinhalese person from South around 2:30 p.m. The accident occurred at Naayaa'ru bridge when the Canter vehicle was refusing to provide space for the mini-bus. SL military personnel in the nearby post and soldiers coming back from vacation began attacking the Tamil driver and the conductor.

The 24-year-old driver, A. Tharusan, and the 27-year-old conductor, A. Sumiththiran, were admitted to Mullaiththevu hospital with injuries.

Tamil villagers took to the streets protesting against the attack on the only bus allowed to operate between Mullaiththeevu town and Kokku'laay.

Attacks on Tamils have increased in recent weeks in the area, according to Tamil villagers in Kokku'laay.

 

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