Convicts used as cover for Sinhala colonization in East- MP
[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 October 2007, 18:22 GMT]
Batticaloa District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian S.Jeyananthamoorthy in a letter addressed to the President of Sri lanka Mahinda Rajapakse condemned the move by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to employ Sinhala prisoners at Maangkea'ni cashew plantation owned by Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation(SLCC).
Mr.Jeyananthamoorthy pointed out in his letter that the move to bring on Sinhala convicts will result in Sinhala colonization in future and exarcerbate ethnic conflict in the area.
The full text of the letter follows:
"The cashew plantation located in Maangkea'ni, Batticaloa District has been long abandoned and is in an unusable state. There is a very large SLA camp constructed at that site and as a result the entire plantation has been destroyed. Those previously employed in the plantation are languishing without any income for the past many years.
"I now understand that steps are being taken to revamp the entire Cashew plantation at this location.
"Though it is not an appropriate step to be taken under the existing conditions, SLCC has decided to reactivate cashew cultivation in that location. At the same time I learn that the cashew corporation has entered into a contract with the Prisons department to employ Sinhala convicts at this location. I also learn that this scheme is being implemented by your advisor and parliamentarian Basil Rajapakse.
"In Vaakarai region, there are still a large number of former employees of Sri Lanka Cashew Corporation. Apart from this, when such an employment scheme is implemented, priority should be given to the youths residing in the region. To bring in Sinhala prisoners to be employed here, without taking into consideration these factors is an undemocratic act and should be condemned.
"Moreover I suspect that there are some ulterior motives behind bringing in Snhala convicts here under the guise of providing employment.
"This move could be a prelude to permanently keep these convicted prisoners here in order to create Sinhala colonization. In addition, allowing these convicts to move around freely in this Tamil area will instill fear among the Tamil population and may lead to ethnic conflicts in the future
"In view of the reasons listed above, I wish to appeal to you take necessary steps to drop the idea of bringing in Sinhala convicts into this region and provide employment for people from Vaakarai. In order to implement my request, I wish appeal to you to take the necessary steps to cancel the contract between the cashew corporation and the Prisons department and allow the cashew corporation to function independently," the MP said.