Occupying Colombo resumes Sinhala colonisation in Batticaloa’s interior

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 May 2020, 22:21 GMT]
Tamil dairy farmers in Batticaloa complain that SL Mahaweli ‘Development’ Authority has recently resumed Sinhala colonisation of Paduvaan-karai region of Batticaloa, particularly the pasturelands at Periya-maathava’nai and Mayilaththa-madu in the administrative divisions of Koa'ra'laip-pattu South (Kiraan) and Ea'raavoorpattu (Chengkalai). The Mahaweli authority has identified land plots to settle more than one thousand Sinhala colonists, and a preparatory meeting has taken place in this regard on Tuesday, said Nimalan Kandsamy, the president of the association of dairy farmers. Sinhala officials belonging to the Mahaweli authority have stepped up their visits into the region. Chamal Rajapaksa, a sibling of SL President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is the SL Minister of Mahaweli as well as the State Minister of Defence in the ‘caretaker’ cabinet of the Rajapaksa regime at the moment.

The dairy farmers have complained to SL Government Agent of Batticaloa, Mrs Kalamathy Pathmarajah, former provincial minister for agriculture Mr K Thurairajasingham and the Divisional Secretary of Ea'raavoor-pattu N Vilvaratnam.

However, Tamil administrative officials were unable to do anything as they are under constant pressure from Colombo to collaborate with the programme, officials who didn’t wish to be named told TamilNet on Wednesday.

The dairy farmers have been using Periya-maathava’nai and Mayilaththa-madu as pasturelands for their cattle for almost sixty years.

Dairy farming is one of the three main livelihoods of Tamils in the district.

The System B of Mahaweli programme claims to cover only one divisional secretariat division, Ko'ra'laip-pattu North (Vaakarai). However, the programme is expanded to two more divisional secretariats, the farmers complain.

Sinhala encroachers had put up around 175 huts during the previous Rajapaksa regime. Maithiripala Sirisena also continued the programme. However, due to stiff resistance from the farmers, the encroachment was stopped.

Sinhala colonisers from Polonnaruwa district and Dehiattakandiya in Ampaa'rai district, however, attempted to seize the lands twice this year, on 15 February and on 23 May.

Sinhala officials from Forest Department intervened to release the encroachers when Tamil officials acted against the landgrab in February.

The latest meeting on Tuesday comes in the wake of similar objection by Tamil officials on Saturday.

Earlier this month, Mr Gotabaya appointed retired Major General AKS Perera as the secretary to the SL Ministry of Mahaweli.

The so-called Mahaweli ‘Development’ Project with its Systems B and L is aimed at Sinhalicisation of Tamil homeland in the North and East.

‘System L’ of Mahaweli project targets the fertile areas in Mullaiththeevu and ‘System B’, the largest of the current projects under the Mahaweli scheme, aims to seize the resourceful interior lands of Batticaloa district.

Grazing lands Mailaththa-madu
The Tamil farmers say they have been using the grazing lands allocated for them for several years with the permits given to them through Sri Lanka’s state-owned dairy Milco (Pvt) Ltd
Mahaweli System B
System B of Mahaweli scheme targets to Sinhalicise and colonise the agricultural and grazelands of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa. The area being subjected to occupation was safeguarded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) till 2007 and is known as Paduvaan-karai


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