Feature Article

Alienate lands to Sinhala colonists or face transfer: SL Governor warns Tamil DS in Vanni

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 12 September 2017, 23:17 GMT]
Occupying Colombo’s Sinhala Governor to North Reginald Cooray has threatened S. Gunabalan, the Tamil divisional secretary of Karai-thu’raip-pattu (Maritime-pattu) division of the Mullaiththeevu district to either face transfer to a remote station or find a way to alienate lands owned by uprooted Tamils at the coastal village of Mukaththuvaaram to 300 Sinhala colonists, informed civil sources in Jaffna said. The threat was issued in front of the representatives of the encroaching Sinhala fishermen, who were gathered last week at the secretariat of the SL governor for an exclusive ethnic Sinhala meeting. Colombo-based Director General of the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DFAR) MCL Fernando, who happens to be a relative of an influential colonist in Mukaththuvaaram and Ven Sri Thissapura Gunarathna Thero, the extremist Buddhist monk from Kokku’laay, attending the meeting.

Constant Jude, the leader of St. Anthony’s Fisheries Society leader, who represents the interests of uprooted Eezham Tamils told TamilNet on Tuesday that Tamil fishermen were shocked to learn the latest move by the SL Governor.

SL Governor is running his own agenda as it was taking place under the former SL President Mahnda Rajapaksa, Mr Jude said.

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, the chief minister of the elected Northern Provincial Council, with whom the powers should be vested with, has been completely ignored by the SL Governor who has gone to the extent of issuing ultimatum to the Divisional Secretary, he said.

The meeting seems to have come in the wake of a complaint made by the extremist monk at Kokku’laay to Warakagoda Dhammasiddhi Gnanarathanabhidhana, the chief prelate of Asgiriya Buddhist chapter, who visited North at the end of August.

The intruding monk at Kokku’laay was complaining to Mahanayake Thero of the Asgiriya chapter that the SL Governor’s performance in backing Sinhala colonisation at the strategic strip from Nayaa’ru to Mukaththuvaaram.

The move seeks to permanently wedge the demographic contiguity of the northern and eastern provinces of the country of Eezham Tamils.

Sinhala fishermen are occupying all the paadus (coastal sea-beds falling within the scope of a draw net) along the entire costal belt of 70 km in the division. A lawsuit has also been filed against Tamil fishermen by the DFAR when the Tamil fishermen attempted to reclaim one of the paadus with the backing of Tamil officials.

Mr Jude vowed to mobilze the Tamil fishermen families and protest against the latest move by the SL Governor and was urging the elected councillors of the NPC to address the problem.

* * *

NPC Chief Minister went to meet the two high priests of the Asgiriya and Malwatte chapters of Thervada Buddhism in the island’s South last weekend.

Justice Wigneswaran has also gone on record revealing the interactions that took place during his meeting with the Mahayake theros.

Following are some extracts from Justice Wigneswaran's Guest-Speaker address at the launch of the book “Rajapakse the Sinhala Selfie” which has been authored by veteran journalist Kusal Perera. The book launch has taken place in Colombo on Tuesday:

“The two High Priests are personifications of contrary characteristics. I am sure Mahinda would find himself closer in spirit to Asgiriya rather than Malwatte.

“The latter welcomed us cordially. The former was officious. One is not sure whether the Karaka Sabha constricts the Venerable Asgiriya Prelate’s freedom.

“The Malwatte Priest was humane and interested in alleviating the sufferings of the people. The Asgiriya Karaka Sabha members who would not allow me personal audience with the High Priest but made sure all of them sat at a higher pedestal while I and my group sat at cushions placed in lower positions, were interested in projecting their Sinhala Buddhist sentiments. They appeared conceited and almost offensively self assertive.

“They had made up their mind that federalism is separation. I did point out to them that a recent Supreme Court judgment had confirmed that federalism is not separation and it is a way to bring disparate units together.

“I pointed out it was the Kandyan elite who first opted for federalism before the British Commissioners in 1930-1940. The Kandyans had said that they wished to protect their individuality by opting for federalism.

“The Asgiriya Priest did not appear convinced. If we could get past the veil of hardline arrogance of the Asgiriya Priests I am sure we could solve the political problems of this Country soon. They seem to be a very powerful section among the Sinhala Buddhists. To that extent ours was a useful fact finding visit.

“I have always said that I like to meet the so called hardliners among the Sinhala Buddhists. In the Members of the Karaka Sabha I found some of them. I have 11 confidence that we could if given time, wean them from their hardline stance to transform them to become humanes like the Matwatte Priest,

“After all their arrogance is artificial. It is based on false beliefs, wrong presumptions and distorted perceptions. Once the truth is stated or is recognized they would return to their real fundamental Buddhistic base which is understanding and love, not hatred and suspiration.”

* * *

The location of Kokku'laay village and lagoon. [Satellite map courtesy: Google Earth]
Shown within the box is the target area of Colombo discussed in the feature
In 1983, the occupying Sinhala military forcibly evicted Eezham Tamils from the strategic Mukaththuvaaram, which is the northern tip of the lagoon-mouth of Kokku’laay.

During the times of the late Ranasinghe Premedasa who was an SL Prime Minister and later SL President, an attempt of was made to settle Sinhala colonists by allocating 50 houses. But, the settlement didn’t materialize due to the armed struggle that ensued throughout the Tamil homeland.

However, after the 2009 genocidal onslaught against Eezham Tamils, 350 Sinhala colonist families have encroached into Mukaththuvaaram.

Eezham Tamils who were attempting to regain their lands were blocked by the occupying SL military.

At the same time, Sri Thissapura Gunarathna Thero, the extremist Sinhala monk started the construction of a controversial Buddhist Vihare just 1 km north of Mukaththuvaaram with the active assistance by the SL military personnel. The monk advances Sinhalicization and Buddhicization through the establishment of a Buddhist Establishment at the locality.

The Buddhist Vihare is being built in part of the land that belongs to an Eezham Tamil family. The owner of the lands has been complaining against the illegal encroachment. Initially, the family was threatened and harassed by the SL military. Later, SL police also joined the process of harassment. They wanted the landowner to succumb to the pressure and accept an alternative land. But, the Tamil landowner, has declined the offer and demands return of his lands.

The monk and the SL military have been given with interim orders blocking construction activities. However, the construction of the Vihare continues unabated with SL military assistance.

The instructions given by Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, the chief minister of Northern Provincial Council, have also been completely discarded by the civil authorities that ultimately obey the instructions coming from the unitary State system of genocidal Sri Lanka.

Karai-thu'raip-pattu division has a costal belt of 70 km and four lagoons, Maaththa'lan, Kokkku'laay, Nanthik-kadal and Naayaa'ru, which are essential for the Tamil people for sustaining their livelihood.

Location of Ma'nalaa'ru
The location of the newly Sinhalicised division in the Mullaiththeevu district that will be wedging North and East, created after erasing out traditional Tamil villages and renaming it from Ma'nalaa'ru in Tamil to Weli-Oya in Sinhala. [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth. Legend by TamilNet]

* * *
Following video recorded on 18 April 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 fishing vaadi area.

A follow-up video recorded on 19 April, 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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