SL Governor shuts down Heritage Centre, escalates militarisation in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 November 2018, 14:19 GMT]
Occupying Colombo's colonial Governor of the Northern Province, Reginald Cooray, has shut down the Heritage Centre in Jaffna, which was launched by the elected Northern Provincial Council under former Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran and NPC Minister of Education Dr K. Sarveswaran. The SL Governor has removed the heritage artefacts and pulled off the plaque on the wall. Only the board on the premises remains. In the meantime, Cooray has deployed the SL military to launch a garden (park) at the mass grave site of Chemma'ni. Mr Cooray has also convened meetings bringing SL military commanders in Jaffna and Jaffna and E. Arnold, the mayor of the elected Jaffna Municipal Council and instructed the Tamil civil servants in Jaffna to ‘liaise’ with the occupying Sinhala military, civil sources in Jaffna said.

Heritage Centre
Photo taken at the opening ceremony on 18 October 2018 when NPC Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran ceremonially declared the opening of the Heritage Centre. The plaque has now been pulled off the wall of the building.
Heritage Centre dismantled in Jaffna
Heritage Centre dismantled in Jaffna

The SL Governor was using a dispute of ownership of the building to dismantle the Tamil heritage centre, the civil sources further said.

Mr Cooray and the occupying Sinhala military in Jaffna is also exploiting the current turmoil prevailing in Colombo to step up the militarisation in the North.

Cooray meeting with military and civil
A meeting led by SL Governor bringing SL military, Tamil administrative officials and civic councillors in Jaffna

During the rape and murder trial of Krishanthy Kumarasamy, a Sri Lanka Army Corporal had admitted that hundreds of bodies were buried in this land. A large-scale excavation was conducted in 1998 and 1999.

However, the investigations have been severely hampered by the SL Justice system as well as by the militarised civil apparatus in Jaffna allowing the SL military to remove the traces.

The SL Governor has instructed the divisional council in Nalloor to allow the SL military to enter the Chemma'ni grounds, earlier identified as an area where Tamil civilians subjected to enforced disappearance during 1996/1997 were murdered and buried by the SL Army.

SL military was deployed to prepare the grounds for a tree planting project with heavy machinery on 17 November 2018

In September 2018, the SLA commander in Jaffna, who organised a PR meeting at Palaali was addressing the journalists. Initially, he was saying that the military was not intervening in the civil matters. Then, at the same meeting, he was contradicting himself stating that the SL military would continue providing humanitarian assistance to school students in Jaffna disregarding the opinion of the elected Tamil leaders who complain about such interference.

When a journalist questioned the SLA commander on military interfering with ‘heritage sites’ such as the Jaffna Fort, he said the military was dealing with the SL Department of Archaeology on reclaiming the Jaffna Fort to move the forces into the fort to release the lands elsewhere.

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