Sinhala colonists step up hate crimes against Tamil fishermen in occupied Vanni

[TamilNet, Friday, 13 January 2017, 22:37 GMT]
A fishing boat, nets and a motorbike parked along Tha’n’ni-mu’rippu reservoir were destroyed by Sinhala colonists on Tuesday, allege the villagers of Tha’n’ni-mu’rippuk-ku’lam in Karai-thu’raip-pattu division of Mullaiththeevu district. There are only Tamil-speaking fishermen in all the villages surrounding the reservoir. The reservoir used for irrigation of agricultural lands during the cultivation seasons is also the source for fresh-water fishing for Tamil and Muslim villagers. They depend on fresh-water fishing in between the cultivation seasons. A systematic and large-scale invasion by intruding Sinhala fishermen, who come from distant Padawiya and Ma’nal-aa’ru (Sinhalicised into Weli-oya) has not only threatened the livelihood of the native villagers, but also destructive to the eco-system, the local fishermen complain.

The dispute was taken to the courts by the local villagers some time back. The verdict went in favour of the local villagers. Despite the verdict, the Sinhala colonists were continuing to fish in large numbers. Tamil-speaking fishermen communities say that the intruding fishermen account for 75% of fresh-water fishing in their reservoir.

Sinhala colonists, backed by Sinhala police and occupying military, started to agitate and exert pressure on public officials. The matter became a hot topic at the District Coordinating Committee meeting on 19 December 2016. The District Secretariat appointed a special committee to look into the issue. The committee also came with the findings that the native fishing communities were being severely marginalised by the activities of the fishermen who come from distant locations.

The Sinhala colonists who come in large numbers have issued veiled threats and destroyed properties of Tamil-speaking villagers. The latest hate-crime reported this week comes after the recommendation made by the special committee appointed to look into the matter by the District Secretariat.

The Fisheries Ministry of Northern Provincial Council is responsible to breed fishes in the lakes. The NPC, receiving inadequate funds from the Colombo Establishment, has been forced to prepare 3 lakes for freshwater fishing in Weli-oya region subjected to Sinhala colonisation. Tha'n'ni-mu'rippu lake is one of the 7 lakes in Tamil areas. 

In the meantime, UN and foreign development agencies are also being accused of abetting structural genocide against Eezham Tamils as the reservoirs that have been repaired and reconstructed with foreign ‘development’ assistance, have all gone into the hands of the Sinhala colonists in Vavuniyaa North.


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