Feature Article

Current realities of demographic genocide in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Sunday, 26 January 2014, 22:52 GMT]
The demographic genocide of the East is carried out in determined and orchestrated ways by the occupying Sinhala military, Buddhist monks, Sinhala land-grab settlers, police, home guards, so-called civil coordinating officers of the military, SL Ministers and by a Provincial Council that is put into the scene by all the actors, both local and international, say farmers in Batticaloa on the lose of their pasture lands and cattle to the Sinhala genocidal settlers. The occupying Sinhala military is pivotal to all the miseries that are taking place, they complained. The height of the current genocidal realities could be seen in the example of a Tamil minister of Rajapaksa refusing to speak to them in Tamil and in demanding them to speak through translators at a meeting in Colombo, the Batticaloa farmers further said.

Following repeated complaints from Tamil farm owners in Batticaloa to the Sri Lankan Government Agent, a meeting was convened with the participation of the SL Minister of Lands and Land Development Janaka Bandara Tennakoon and his ministry officials on 21 January. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian P. Selvarasa also took part in the meeting.

At the meeting, the SL minister went on record in issuing immediate instruction to government officials to take action against the illegal settlements.

However, the occupying Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Batticaloa district and Ven. Ambitiya Sumanaratna Thera, the chief incumbent Buddhist monk of the Batticaloa Mangalaramaya vihara, continue to bring in settlers into the district, news sources in Batticaloa told TamilNet on Sunday.

The occupying Sinhala settlers have also started to expand their occupation by transforming the grazing lands into cultivation land with the backing of the SL military and the so-called ‘home guards’ paramilitary.

The Tamil farmers also complain that their cattle herds were being attacked, stolen and sold by the occupying Sinhalese.

In Maa-thava’nai, along Batticaloa – Ampaa’rai border, the Sinhala ‘home guards’ have shot and killed at least 10 cows and have stolen more than 30 within a few days at the end of last year.

When the Tamil farmers complained about this to the Sri Lankan police and the military officers, they told the farmers that they would not be taking any action as the Tamil farmers were not able to ‘identify’ the individual perpetrators.

The Sinhalese settlers also set up traps to capture the cattle. When the Tamil farmers approach the settlers to release their cattle, they demand ‘ransom money’ accusing that the cattle have entered into the paddy fields causing damage to their crops.

The Tamil farmers from Maa-thava'nai area say that the Sri Lankan military commander from the artillery base situated at Meeyang-ku’lam was spearheading the occupation project, while a ‘civil coordinating officer’ of the occupying SL military at Tharavai camp was pretending that he was taking action against the abuse.

The occupying Sinhalese settlers also run an industry supplying illicit brew to the SL military soldiers. The illicit breweries are run inside the jungles.

In addition, the Sinhala settlers also cause deforestation in the district by logging trees.

Tamil farmers and their political representatives have been taking up the issues of illegal occupation, the harassments being meted upon them and their livelihood problems at every District Development Committee meeting. However, nothing has been done to resolve their plight.

SL Environment Minister Susil Premajayantha ‘promised’ action at a meeting in Trincomalee on 19 November. However, nothing was done.

Approximately 50,000 acres of lands have been used as grazing land in the past in Batticaloa district for 250,000 cattle. According to official statistics, 30,000 acres of lands have been declared as grazing lands in five divisional secretariat divisions.

Since the milk production was threatened, the Tamil farmers and their trade union representatives approached a Tamil minister, Arumugam Thondaman, in Mahinda Rajapaksa’s cabinet through the SL government owned Milco company.

Mr Thondaman, the minister for Livestock and Rural Community Development gave an appointment to meet the representatives of cattle owners from Batticaloa on November 17.

At the meeting, the SL minister refused to communicate in Tamil. He was addressing the Batticaloa farmers in Sinhala and English. He further instructed the Tamil representatives to communicate with him through translators. Some of the 45 representatives who went to meet the minister immediately left the site in protest of the behaviour by the SL minister.

The minister didn’t have any solution other than telling the representatives of cattle owners to talk to the Government Agent and to deliberate through the Eastern Provincial Council.



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