Feature Article

Maathakal protests Sri Lanka’s Naval base

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 December 2011, 23:22 GMT]
A major coastal village Maathakal in Jaffna staged a protest on Monday against occupying Sri Lanka building an extensive naval base there by confiscating private lands of Eezham Tamils. Maathakal is the closest point of Jaffna to Point Calimere (Koadikkarai) in the Tamil Nadu coast across the Palk Strait. The base is a security threat not only to Eezham Tamils but also to Tamil Nadu as well as to India, but New Delhi and Colombo seem to think Tamils on either side of the Palk Strait as ‘common enemies’, commented a geopolitical analyst in Jaffna. In recent times, occupying SL is silently expanding its naval bases in other points of the Palk Bay too, at Kaarainakar, Kayts, Ma’ndaitheevu, Delft and Oora’ni by confiscating private lands. Meanwhile Sri Lanka that has no claim over Bay of Bengal without the country of Eezham Tamils it occupies, is entertained in Indian dominated BIMSTEC.

[Satellite Image Courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth. Details & Legend: TamilNet]

Maathakal residents picketing at Piratheasa Chapai (PS) office at Maanippaay
Maathakal residents picketing at Piratheasa Chapai (PS) office at Maanippaay
People of Maathakal on Monday gathered at the civic body headquarters in Maanippaay to stage a protest against confiscation of their lands for the SL Naval base.

The SL military and police tried to prevent them from coming to Maanippaay, but people managed in various ways in coming and staging the protest. Later, the SL military surrounded the venue of the protest, but people didn’t care.

People demanded the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led civic body of the division to intervene into the matter saying that the right to intervene in matters related to their lands is vested with the civic body.

Since 1992, the SL military has occupied many parts of the Maathakal village and private lands of Tamils. Recently there was an announcement that people would be permitted to resettle. Excuses were said that demining was yet to be completed.

Now all of a sudden SL Navy has taken a decision to forcefully take over the lands without handing them back to the Tamil owners. SL Navy has started issuing forms to the owners to say in writing that they hand over the lands.

It is at this point people of Maathakal stage the protest.

Hundreds of men and women of the village said that they would never allow SL Naval base to annihilate their village. They demanded their resettlement in their traditional lands.

Earlier they made appeals to the Sri Lanka Government Agent in Jaffna and to the occupying military too, without any success.

Commenting on SL navy silently expanding naval bases by confiscating private lands of Tamils in Jaffna, the president of the confederation of fishermen associations in Jaffna, Mr Thavaratnam said that the act only demonstrates Sri Lanka’s ‘no trust’ approach towards Tamils.

The talk of resettlement is a deception, Mr. Thavaratnam further said.

He cited the example of Oora’ni in the northern coast of Jaffna, near Mayiliddi. Two months back, it was promised that there would be resettlement. But no action has so far taken place. In the meantime, even the remaining houses in the Mayiliddy village are being demolished by the occupying military, hinting that the village is going to be taken over by the Navy.

Earlier it became known that the coastal tract from Thiruvadi Nilai to KKS harbour has been given to a Malaysian corporate of Chinese connections to build windmills and solar panels to produce electricity. But now it is said that the tract is extended further up to Mayiliddi, which means that almost the entire northern coast is gone from the people.

Never to allow Tamils to have their coastline is the policy of occupying genocidal Sri Lanka, news sources in Jaffna said.

Close to Maathakal, colonial Sri Lanka has recently developed a Buddhist pilgrim cum tourist centre, claiming that it was the place where the first Buddhist emissaries sent by Mauryan emperor Asoka landed in the 3rd century BCE.

The name of the place, according to even the Pali chronicles is ‘Ko’la Patana’ a Tamil name Kozhu Paddinam which means the harbour at the tip. But genocidal Colombo today has made it into a Sinhala-Buddhist centre.

* * *

Without the country of Eezham Tamils, Sri Lanka has no claim over the Bay of Bengal.

Bay of Bengal part of the island’s coast technically begins from Mannaar and ends at the tip of Point Pedro. The entire Bay of Bengal coast in the island falls under the territory of Eezham Tamils.

But occupying Sri Lanka claims that it is a Bay of Bengal country. It has got membership in BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), a regional alliance of countries around the Bay of Bengal, dominated by India.

The Indian interest is to keep the alliance to check the inroads of China or the USA.

At the cost of the sovereignty of Eezham Tamils, India is entertaining Sri Lanka in the BIMSTEC.

The alliance of the Establishments, including rogue states like Sri Lanka and Myanmar, operates against the interests of the peoples who actually own the Bay of Bengal.

The case of Eezham Tamils and the militarisation as well as the Sinhala colonisation now taking place in their coastline is a classic example.

Peoples of the Bay of Bengal, including the fishermen communities of Tamil Nadu, should realise the danger and should think of forging an alternative alliance of peoples along the Bay of Bengal coast to face the onslaught of the Establishments, commented coastal community activists in Tamil Nadu.

The fishermen issue in Tamil Nadu, hither to studied and projected only by the agents of New Delhi and their institutions operating in Tamil Nadu, need a thorough re-cast from the people’s point of view, as focus on the coasts gains new perspectives, the activists further said.

Sri Lanka’s war crimes accused Defence Secretary and presidential sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has already announced on a programme to expand the Sinhala Navy. One of the presidential progeny also has recently joined the Navy.

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
SL Presidential sibling and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at Galle Dialogue 2011, elucidating on maritime plans of Sri Lanka [Photo courtesy: defence.lk]
Acting like pirates against Eezham Tamils, but citing Somali pirates and international maritime cooperation to justify its naval expansion, genocidal Sri Lanka’s entire focus is actually on sealing off Eezham Tamils and on training guns on Tamil Nadu.

But whether New Delhi and Colombo, guilty of the genocide of Eezham Tamils, have decided on a long-term policy of treating Tamils on either side of the Palk Bay as their ‘common enemies’ is the question looming large.

Everyone is now eyeing only on Sri Lanka’s bloated military for their geopolitical games, whether the military is genocidal or not. Gotabhaya understood it and that’s why he is confident of his survival. No one will care for the peoples unless the 70 million Tamils on either side of the Palk Bay, who have no military, prove their peoples' strength in a concerted way in a language understood by the powers.

Coastal military establishments in North
Sri Lanka's large military establishments that choke Jaffna peninsula and threaten Indian security. Sinhala colonisation is carried out in places no 11, 13, 14, and 16. The locations: 1. High Security Zone, Valikaamam North, 2. Kaarainakar naval base, 3. Vallan, Pungkudutheevu, 4. Periyathu'rai and Saamiththoadda-munai, Delft (Key location for Kachchatheevu and Rameswaram), 5. Kunthavadi, Delft, 6. Thalai-mannaar, 7. Mannaar Fort, 8. Tha'l'laadi, 9. Poonakari Fort, 10. Elephant Pass, 11. Vettilaikkea'ni, 12. Naakarkoayil, 13. Ariyaalai East and the opposite sandbar Ma'n'niththalai, 14. Naavatkuzhi, 15. Ma'ndaitheevu and 16. Jaffna city. The innumerable small military posts and the newly planned cantonments in Vanni are not shown in the map. [Satellite Image courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth. Legend by TamilNet]


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