Feature Article

Jaffna Fort belongs to SL military, proclaims Commander of genocidal Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 August 2018, 10:55 GMT]
“When you say it is a fortress, it is military,” proclaimed Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake, the commander of the occupying military of genocidal Sri Lanka, who made a special appearance to make his point at the Fort of Jaffna on Wednesday. Currently, only 11 SLA personnel are stationed inside the premises, and that too under the cover of giving protection to the archaeological excavation site. However, Mahesh Senanayake dubbed the latest move to re-militarize the Jaffna Fort as a ‘battalion change’. The controversy comes as the British archaeologists and their funders abroad as well as the government of the Netherlands doing colonial-heritage reconstruction and geopolitics-driven archaeology at the Jaffna Fort in collaboration with the unitary State at a heightened paradigm of the cultural, developmental, educational, heritage and structural genocide against the nation of Eezham Tamils.

For a detailed narration and background of the subject, see TamilNet feature, titled "Coningham discovers Jaffna as premillennial maritime trade centre, but at which price?" and earlier articles on the topic of ‘Army and Archaeology’.

On Wednesday, the SL Commander was making a property claim by stating that all the forts in the island, including the Jaffna Fort, belonged to the ‘Sri Lankan’ military.

“[A]ny civilian or government agencies that come into the fold, we all welcome [them] and we are here to ensure work in co-existence, whether in terms of civilians or any other organisation,” Mahesh Senanayake said.

For a question whether the SL military is going to increase its presence above the current 11 personnel present at the site of archaeological excavations, he said: “No question of increasing [or reducing]. We are already here.”

 Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake
SL Commander Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake at Jaffna Fort on 02 August 2018. He was accompanied by Jaffna SLA Commander Major General Darshana Hettiarachchi

Extracts from his address follow:

“I would like to remind everybody that the Army had been here for many generations now. This is not the first time the Sri Lanka Army is staying inside the Jaffna Fort. Long back, we have been occupying.”

“When you say it is a fortress, it simply means that the fortress belongs to the military; it is nobody else. The army had been there for many years, and we have been continuing to stay here.

“There is nothing new about it, and there is nothing to get alarmed to say that army is going to occupy new. It is not true. The Army has already been here, and we are going to continue.

“There is no reason for us to go out, and even any civilian or the government agencies that come into the fold, we all welcome and we are here to ensure work in co-existence, whether in terms of civilians or any other organisation.

* * *

As reported by TamilNet earlier, Prof P Pushparatnam of the Department of History, Jaffna, went on record on Saturday as follows while responding to the questions from the journalists at a workshop cum press conference held at the University of Jaffna:

“It is a matter beyond our control,” he said and added that there was only a small number of Army personnel, numbering below 11, at present.

Since the latest archaeological findings were revealing the significance of the Jaffna Fort as a place of world heritage, the Government, which finds itself in a position to facilitate it as a heritage site, should also be concerned of keeping it fully de-militarised, Pushparatnam said.

“It is also our expectation that it [de-militarisation] would be beneficial for our region to achieve economic development,” he went on record.

“We have also brought this concern to the notice of the SL Department of Archaeology, the Central Cultural Fund and the SL Government. We also hope that the SL military would find itself to vacate from the locality realising the significance of the developments taking place here”, Pushparatnam further stated on Saturday.



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