Feature Article

Role of The Netherlands abetting Colombo's cultural genocide questioned in Mannaar

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 March 2016, 16:03 GMT]
The occupying Sinhala military of genocidal Sri Lanka has erected more than 20 Buddha statues in the Mannaar island to facilitate Sinhalicisation of the ancient urban port city of Eezham Tamils. As the SL military is engaged in consolidating its temporary structures with permanent walls in the recent days, the people were shocked to see the huge statues that have been erected inside the military fortifications across the district. At the same time, the SL military has already handed over a large area within the Dutch Fort to Colombo's Archaeology Department, which has been a key architect in conceiving and executing cultural genocide against Eezham Tamils. The Netherlands is about to launch renovation of the Fort through SL ‘Army and Archaeology’ paradigm. A huge Buddha statue raised by the SL Army is causing controversy in the predominantly Tamil-speaking city.

The role of The Netherlands, which has been pouring funds to renovate colonial forts in the North and East through Colombo-centric ‘Army and Archaeology’ paradigm operating as a tool of cultural genocide against Tamils has been called into question by the secular sections as well as by the Hindu, Catholic and Islamic sections of the people in the Mannaar island. There is no single Buddhist resident in the administrative division or the GS area. The Fort is situated at the entry to Mannaar island from the mainland within the urban limits in the Periya-kadai GS area.

Although the SL records display a small number of Sinhala residents who were settled in Mannaar long ago, these families have all converted to other religions and naturalised with the local population. None of them are Buddhists.

Although there are no Buddhists among the residents in the Mannaar island, there are already two Buddist Viharas that have been constructed three or four decades ago.

The SL ‘Army and Archaeology’ is now promoting Sinhalese from South to visit the Dutch Fort in an attempt to defend and promote the ‘significance’ of the occupying Buddha statue. The entire Fort is being transformed into a Sinhala-Buddhist venue violating the cultural and historical concerns of those native to the area and operating against the broader concerns of preserving a historical monument.

The question is therefore whether The Netherlands is having the guts to subject its continued assistance conditional to the broader concerns, Tamil academics from Mannaar said. The SL Education Ministry is also fully deployed in the project, the academics said asking TamilNet not to reveal their names.

“The Netherlands is turning a blind-eye to the Colombo-centric agenda being conceived and executed from outside the island for neo-colonial and geopolitical purposes,” a Tamil academic from Mannaar commented observing the trend from Puththa'lam to Jaffna Fort.

Earlier, the SL ‘Army and Archaeology’ was engaged in constructing a Buddha statue near the ancient Hindu temple of Thirukkeatheesvaram at Maanthai in the mainland of Mannaar district.

Following repeated objections from the people of Mannaar, the controversial project was halted during the regime of Rajapaksa. The statue at Thirukkeatheesvaram still remains covered in black cloth.

Buddha statues at Vangkaalai
A recent Tamil newspaper clipping on Buddha statues within the SL military camps causing reactions among the public
Recently, Tamil-speaking Muslim villagers in Erukkalam-piddi had to silently demolish and remove all the traces of couple of Buddha statues and Bo trees after the SL military and police had vacated from the houses they were occupying, as they feared ‘civil’ occupation from SL Archaeology Department.

The Catholic villagers in the coastal village of Vangkaalai in the mainland are also complaining about newly erected Buddha statues.

SL military is still occupying the main grounds of the Fort and the place where Buddha statue is situated is subjected to strict surveillance of the occupying SL military and police.

The Netherlands has also been criticised by human rights activists for interacting closely with the ‘military intelligence’ of genocidal Sri Lanka, especially during the Rajapaksa regime, jointly violating the human rights of Eezham Tamil refugees, who were trying to flee political prosecution in the island. Tamil diaspora activists were also harassed in The Netherlands during the regime of Rajapaksa.

Mannaar Fort
Mannaar Fort

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