Sinhala military suppresses protests in Vanni prior to Maithiripala visit
[TamilNet, Friday, 20 January 2017, 22:10 GMT]
The intelligence officers of the occupying Sinhala military, which is camped at Keappaa-pulavu, a village situated along Nanthik-kadal lagoon in Mullaiththeevu, have instructed the Rural Development Society leaders and a section of the uprooted people, stating that there should be no protests, especially during the visit of SL President Maithiripala Sirisena by the uprooted people who remain dumped in a slum-settlement created by the SL military, which has seized their village. The intelligence officers have even named the persons who could be protesting, the RDS representatives said. One of the named protestors, Mrs Inthirany Vivekananthan, narrates the story of the long protests by the villagers, who remain firm in their demand of resettling in Keappaa-pulavu.
The SL military is keeping hundreds of acres of lands along both the sides of the Nanthik-kadal lagoon that witnessed the last days of genocidal onslaught on Vanni.
On Wednesday, a road will be declared open and one land-owner will be getting back the land at the nearby Ko’ndai-madu junction when Mr Maithiripala visits the SL military.
While 99 families are demanding their lands back, only 42 families from an area situated away from the coast of the lagoon, are going to get back their lands. It is not known whether the 42 families would be getting the full extent of their lost lands.
The SL military has told the RDS representatives and the 42 families that are promised to get back their lands that they should make sure that no protest is waged by the people demanding their lands back on the coastal side. Even all of the 42 families getting their lands back depends on the absence of protest, they were told on 15 January.
The military is thus setting a section of people against the others, the RDS leaders said.
Mrs Inthirani Vivekananthan says that she has been languishing without her lands and livelihood in a military constructed “model village”, which has become a slum.
After a prolonged internment at barbed-wire Manik-farm camp in Vavuniyaa, they were taken to Mullaiththeevu and were stranded at a school building at Vattaap-pazhai, a village situated between Keappaa-pulavu and Tha’n’ni-yoottu.
The people of Keappaa-pulavu were told they could only expect alternative lands as their fertile village has been entirely militarized.
The uprooted people were protesting against the deceptive resettlement. But, they were only given a congested ‘sample-village’, constructed by SL military.
“We are unable to make a decent living in the so-called model-village. I am unable to earn even 1 rupee per day in the half an acre of lands. We complained about this to all actors. We remained firm in our demands and protests. After doing all the protests, we also decided to approach the military commander in the area to explain our situation,” Mrs Vivekananthan said.
“We have grown up girls in our families and people are even reluctant to marry our daughters as we are branded as those from the ‘sample village’. The ‘sample-village’ has become synonymous to a slum where kasippu (alcohol), kagnchaa (narcotics) and all kinds of other cultural deviations exist,” Mrs Vivekananthan said.
“We were crying when we complained about this to the SL military commander at Keappaa-pulavu on 22 October 2016. He promised to give an answer in one moth time. When we went back a month later he said one sector, comprising 235 acres would be released. But, the coastal side was not among the 235 acres. The coastal section is most important for us to resume our livelihood both in fisheries and in the agriculture,” Vivekananthan said.
SL President Maithiripala Sirisena was initially scheduled to visit Keappaa-pulavu on 08 January. But, the visit has been postponed to 25 January and the SL president will declare open the road and symbolically hand over one piece of the lands while a section of people is suppressed not to protest and continue to languish in the military constructed slum.