Fisheries society cautiously welcomes Court decision on fishing access to Naayaa'ru Tamils

[TamilNet, Monday, 09 April 2018, 11:40 GMT]
After dragging the case, filed by the intruding Sinhala fishermen against the rights of native Tamil fishermen accessing Kokku'laay fishing coast, for two years the courts in Mullaiththeevu has finally instructed the Divisional Secretariat to demarcate new points of access separate from those used by the Sinhala fishermen along the coast between Naayaa'ru and Mukaththuvvaaram on Friday.While welcoming the belated decision by the SL Court, St. Antony's Fisheries Society leaders, who have been defending the rights of Tamil fishers to the coast of Naayaa'ru, questioned the ability of the civil authorities to implement the decision. A similar instruction given by the Courts earlier was not respected, and the intruders went to the extent of filing yet another case. Until Tamil leaders manage to put an active end to the ongoing Sinhala occupation, the struggle will continue, they said.


Shown within the box is the target area of Colombo discussed in the feature
The location of Kokku'laay village and lagoon. [Satellite map courtesy: Google Earth]
The occupying Sinhala military and colonists chased away Tamil fishers from Kokku'laay in 1983.

The native Tamil fishermen were using more than 12 traditional fishing ‘Paadu’s (an area of coastal sea-bed falling within the scope of a draw-net at 10 feet length) between Naayaa'ru and Mukaththuvaaram before they were chased out from their village.

However, the Sinhala colonists were unable to seize the coast of Eezham Tamils during the times of war. But, after the war, the occupying SL Navy was promoting fishers from South to engage in fishing along the strategic coast of Kokku'laay.

When the Tamil people started to resettle in their villages in 2011 and wanted to resume their traditional livelihood of fishing, the colonists backed by the occupying military not only refused access to the coast but started to assault the Tamil fishermen.

In 2016, three Sinhala fishermen, with the backing of SL Fisheries Department, went to the extent of filing a case against Tamil fishers, who had started to use one their old Paadus, which is situated away from the coastal point used by the Sinhala colonists.

Upon taking the case for investigation, the courts in Mullaiththeevu initially came with an interim order. But, Sinhala fishers continued to engage in fishing with the backing of the occupying SL Navy and the police. The colonists continued to threaten the Tamil fishermen.

Even the Divisional Secretariat and GS officials were subjected to threat and harassment. The Tamil officials working under the SL Fisheries Department had no other option than collaborating with the Colombo Establishment against their fishermen.

After dragging the case for two years, the Courts has now instructed the same Divisional Secretariat to allocate a coastal Paadu (an area of 150 meters), which is not already in use by the Sinhala fishermen. The Sinhala fishermen have also been instructed not to harass the Tamil fishermen.

* * *

Following video recorded on 18 April 2017, exposes the belligerent conduct of Sinhala colonists, who went to the extent of violent threat against the Tamil officials from Mullaiththeevu District Secretariat, Land Commission and Village Officers (GS) of Kokku’laay East and West, when they were instructed by the courts to conduct surveying of a disputed Paadu.

A follow-up video recorded on 19 April 2017 documents the reaction of Tamil families and their provincial councillor T. Ravikaran:

“The countries that promoted SL State with giving more time and space at Geneva are complicit in the structural genocide against Eezham Tamils. You are all joining hands in destroying us. Tamils will be completely losing the coast of Mullaiththeevu within two years. The IC should not delay any further in bringing international justice,” Mr Ravikaran said in the video interview.

Following video, which narrates the experience of a Tamil fisherman, was recorded in January 2017:



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