2ND LEAD (Adds background details)

SL ‘national intelligence’ deployed to harass Tamil activists voicing for resettlement in Ampaa'rai

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 12 July 2017, 15:05 GMT]
The so-called National Intelligene Bureau based in Colombo has started to harass Eezham Tamil social activists who have been actively engaged in resettling uprooted Tamil villagers at 60th Mile Post, which is situated in the administrative division of Poththuvil in Ampaa'rai district. Tamil activists in Poththuvil say that the Sinhala military intelligence operatives have been visiting their houses warning them against their activism. The intelligence officers in civil uniform were also telling the social activists that it was ‘illegal’ to collect details of people in an attempt to silence their activism. The threats have come after a Sinhala NGO personality based in South had obtained the details including the documents of land deeds from the activists.

45 families were living in 60th Mile Post. While each family was given deed lands in 1982, there was a also a housing scheme, known as 30-houses scheme. All the people were chased out already after one year during the 1983 anti-Tamil pogroms.

The Tamil people were again uprooted from their settlement at 60th Mile Post during the war between the Indian military and the LTTE (1988 - 1990). Thereafter Sinhala military was blocking their resettlement during the times of Eezham war.

After 2007, the families managed to access their village with the help of social activists. However, the Colombo government was not prepared to assist the people to properly resettle in their own village.

The resettling people submitted documentary ownership of their lands to SL authorities.

Now, the documentation was inspected by the so-called ‘National Investigation Bureau’ which operates under SL Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe.

The intelligence officers were attempting to imply that the documents were fake and were questioning the activists who were behind the collection of these documents.

During the regime of Rajapaksa, armed Sinhala soldiers and intelligence operatives attached to camps of the occupying military were engaged in direct military threats.

The same threat is now being carried out by intelligence personalities coming from Colombo in civil suits, the activists further said.

Most of the families uprooted from 60th Mile Post owned more than 1 acre (160 perches) of residential and agricultural lands before they were uprooted from the village.

Now, the SL government officials are trying to limit the ownership to just 40 perches of lands per family, the villagers complain.

The SL authorities have therefore deployed an ‘intelligence’ operation to suppress the voices.

Not a single family has managed to resettle at 60th Mile Post so far.

60th Mile Post falls under Kanakar-kiraamam village (GS/GN) area, which is situated 7 km north of Poththuvil.

Kanakar-kiraamam was created in 1978 as a Tamil settlement. 113 acres of lands were allocated to the families numbering between 170 and 200.

Since Ampaa'rai district was carved out of Batticaloa district in 1961, a systematic demographic genocide was committed against Eezham Tamils reducing them from 23% of the district's population (1963 Census) into 17% (2012 Census).

At the same time, the Sinhalese population increased from 29% to 39%. Tamil-speaking Muslims remain as the majority constituting 43% of the population.


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