Feature Article

Unprecedented P2P uprising paves the way for rights-oriented politics of Tamils and Muslims

[TamilNet, Sunday, 07 February 2021, 23:16 GMT]
The Tamil-speaking people in the North-East have waged an unprecedented post-2009 march from Poththuvil in Ampaa’rai in the East to Polika’ndi in Jaffna. Confronting the legal barriers and the roadblocks put up by the SL Police and the notorious Special Task Force (STF) commandos, the people across the eight districts of the North-East mobilised outmanoeuvring the ‘disciplining mechanisms’ of the Sinhala-Buddhist ethnocratic rulers in Colombo. The five-day march, named as “Poththuvil to Polika'ndi” (P2P), was organised ahead of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The rally concluded on Sunday demanding international justice for genocide reiterating the fundamental principles, the Right of Self-Determination and Eezham Tamils’ nationhood. The P2P mobilisation also demanded an immediate end to the discriminatory forced cremation of COVID-19 Muslim victims.

P2P


P2P


The protest also voiced for the rights of up-country Tamils, particularly their demand for higher wages.

The almost 700 km march, named “Poththuvil to Polika'ndi” (P2P), was organised ahead of the 46th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. It has mobilised at least 50,000 Tamil-speaking people throughout the eight districts.

The so-called Independence Day of genocidal Sri Lanka was marked as a Black Day by Tamils as usual, and the Tamil protesters carried black flags on 04 February.



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
Already on the first day, more than 500 Muslims attended the protest at Akkaraip-pattu in Ampaa'rai. The march drew more Muslim participation at Addaa'laich-cheanai, Ninthavoor and Chaayntha-maruthu. When the demonstration reached Batticaloa the following day, more than 2,000 Muslims joined the Tamils at Kaaththaan-kudi. At Ea'raavoor around 1,000 Muslims joined the protest. There were more than 2,000 participants at Vaazhaich-cheanai, including Tamils and Muslims. Around 2,500 took part at Oadda-maavadi, another hamlet of Tamil-speaking Muslims.

The burning issue of genocidal land grab in Batticaloa at Maathava'nai and Mayilaththa-madu pasturelands triggered the protest on Wednesday, 03 February. Tamil civil activists witnessing the continuous threat of Sinhala colonisation through the System-B of Mahaweli scheme were behind the march's East-to-North outlook, which has become an enormous success.

One of the main initiators of the protest, S. Sivayoganathan, the president of NGO Forum in Batticaloa, was subjected to SL Police harassment when he was involved in the planning of the march, already on 19 January.



P2P


The P2P, initiated in Poththuvil gained momentum as it progressed through the eight districts mobilising tens of thousands of people. The march was dynamic, with walking and vehicle-based stretches, and it went through the critical locations of structural, demographic, heritage, and physical genocide. The participants paid tribute to the victims of massacres and the heroes of the Tamil struggle.

P2P


On its final day on Sunday, the march mobilised more than 15,000 people in a 3 km long vehicle parade in Jaffna where the campaign concluded at Polika'ndi.

Although various actors with vested interest attempted to influence the mobilisation from the beginning from outside, the grassroots and civil activists shaped the protest and determined its outcome, commented the activists who took part in the long march.



Sinhala Police and the STF violently attempted to block the protesters in Ampaa'rai on Tuesday. However, Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, the young TNA Parliamentarian from Batticaloa, waged a courageous walk making the march possible while all other politicians and the civil society activists were at the edge of succumbing to the ban.

A few weeks ago, Rasamanickam's emotional speech at the SL Parliament along with the addresses by M.A. Sumanthiran and Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam condemning the forced cremation of COVID 19 victims, contributed to strengthening Tamil-Muslim solidarity.

Although the organisers were careful in avoiding the hotspots of Sinhala colonists, a group of colonist goons attacked the vehicles within the march that had passed 100 meters from Trincomalee Sivan temple. The locality has been Sinhalicised into “Srimapura”.

P2P


Further north near Pulmoaddai, another group of Sinhala goons had deliberately set nails as a booby trap to puncture the vehicles' tires.

The march continued into Mullaith-theevu paying tribute to Eezham Tamils who sacrificed their lives at Mu'l'livaaykkaal. The religious dignitaries who led the protest collected the sands from the genocidal grounds and handed it over to Jaffna University Student Union representatives to include it in the reconstruction of the destroyed Tamil Genocide Monument at the university.

Tamil national politicians and the politicians among the Muslims in the North-East, supported the mobilisation, which was symbolically led by a small group of religious dignitaries and civil activists.

The P2P has created a strong bond with the Tamil-speaking Muslims, who mobilised in their thousands against all forms of discrimination, including the forced cremation of COVID-19 victims and the heritage genocide waged by the exclusivist sections of Therevada Sinhala-Buddhist establishment that controls the unitary state apparatus.

There were also pro-Rajapaksa politicians' attempts, such as Douglas Devananda, Angajan Ramanathan in the North and Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) Sathasivam Viyalendiran in the East, who tried to stage counter-protests. However, such protests went futile.

The SL Police and Intelligence establishments worked hard to produce interim orders against the politicians and civil society members. In areas where court orders targeted individuals involved in the protest, other participants led the parade. At some courts, the Tamil lawyers managed to block the ban against the march. The people were firm in making the protest a big success by mobilising in their thousands despite the SL military intelligence and police recording photos and videos of those who took part in the march.

P2P
P2P


Chronology:

 

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