Tamil polity should face on-going communal dispute in Mannaar with statesmanship

[TamilNet, Monday, 08 August 2016, 23:30 GMT]
A conflict raging between Tamil-speaking Catholics and Muslims in Peasalai in Mannaar in recent weeks has again exposed serious lack of statesmanship on the part of secular Eezham Tamil political and civil activists, including Wigneswaran-led Northern Provincial Council, Sampanthan-led ITAK and the civil groups engaged in advancing the cause of Eezham Tamils in the North-East, particularly in the strategically-located Mannaar island, say independent and secular Tamil activists in Mannaar. Muslim leaders from Periya-karisal and Catholic leaders involved in TNA politics and civil activism on behalf of Eezham Tamils have been dragged into the communal dispute at Peasaalai, situated in the north-west of the Mannaar island.



The conflict between Catholics and Muslims at Periya-karisal and Chinna-karisal in Peasaalai started following the reports and allegations about a missing bell-structure of the colonial Dutch building at Periya-karisal.

Periya-karisal is a pre-dominant Muslim village and Chinna-karisal situated close to it constitutes largely of Catholics.

Tamil-speaking Saivites, Catholics and Islamic communities having equal historical roots in the district and who have been managed to co-exist amidst some isolated disruptions in the past.

After the criminal incident, which is believed to be the work of a ‘treasure hunter’ squad with financial motives, the religious communities have come into conflict with each other. There were claims of the Dutch building being ‘State’ property under the legal purview of the SL Archaeology Department and an attempt to clean up an access road or alleged expansion of a cemetery being opposed by the other community.

Politically motivated forces are using the dispute to recruit voters along religious lines, independent Tamil activists in Mannaar said.

The ‘Sri Lankan’ electoral politics, now mobilising towards elections for local government, is again being deployed as a tool to divide the Tamil-speaking voters, the activists commented urging unity-efforts going beyond religious groupings and the electoral politics of the occupying SL State.


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