Tamil, Muslim fishermen protest against Colombo's Sinhalicisation of Musali in Mannaar
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 November 2016, 23:50 GMT] The Director General of Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources (DFAR), which functions under the purview of the Fisheries Ministry of occupying Colombo, has recently instructed the Divisional Secretary of Musali Division in Mannaar district and the Assistant Director of Fisheries Department in Mannaar to put up a colony with fishing huts, necessary housing and other infrastructural arrangements, informed civil sources in the district said. A list of more than 83 persons has been sent from Colombo. All the persons in the list were Sinhalese fishermen from Gampaha district. The Federation of Fishing Societies in Musali division, comprising of Tamil and Muslim fishermen across 10 villages, took to the streets on Wednesday demanding immediate end to the fishing colony. The protesting Tamil-speaking fishermen blamed Colombo for instigating ethnic tension in Musali division.
Last week, a group of Sinhalese fishermen were brought to Paampadichchaan-oadai, located close to Kaayaa-kuzhi, and they had put up fishing huts (Vaadis) and gone back to Gampaha district, while the civil officials have been instructed to collaborate with Sinhalicisation. Kaayaa-kuzhi is situated between Ma'richchuk-kaddi, a Muslim village and SL Navy occupied Mu'l'lik-ku'lam, which is a Tamil village. A section of the uprooted fishermen from Mu'l'lik-ku'lam are residing at Kaayaa-kuzhi.
Noor Alam Mohammed, the leader of Fisheries Societies in Mannaar, who earlier vowed to protest against the move, was also present with the protesting fishermen on Wednesday.
The Tamil and Muslim fishermen went from Kokkupp-padaiyaan to Muslai Divisional Secretariat in procession and handed over an appeal to stop the colony.
TNA Parliamentarian Selvam Adaikalanathan, who hails from the district was also present at the protest and was trying to console the protesters promising to take up their concerns with SL Minister for Fisheries.
The protesting fishermen said they were not opposed to fishermen from other districts engaing on fishing in the seas, but they were completely opposed to any fishing colony disturbing the ethnic harmony prevailing in the division.
While the lands of Tamil-speaking fishermen have been seized and transformed into a SL Navy and the SL Navy is operating against the Tamil fishermen in the division, the SL Police and civil officials coming under the Colombo government have also turned against the Tamil fishing families in Musali division as witnessed following the criminal conduct of SL Navy personnel at Arippu in recent days.
In the meantime, the elected Northern Provincial Council has been sidelined, not only by Colombo, but also by New Delhi and other external powers. The NPC has no say in shaping the affairs of the fishermen in the Northern Province, civil activists in Mannaar commented.
The coastal stretch of Musali division has become a strategic area of occupation to Colombo, which aims to Sinhalicise and colonise the land and the historic waters of Eezham Tamils.
Location of Mu'l'likku'lam [Map courtesy: Google Earth, Legend by TamilNet]
The river flowing and entering the Gulf of Mannaar at Mu'l'likku'lam is the boundary between the Northern and the North Western Provinces. The Vilpattu reserved forest south of the boundary was scattered with a number of Tamil villages before it was declared a reserved forest in 1903. The Tamil territory was contiguous up to Negombo in the Western Province at that time, before the Sinhalicisation of the Tamil Catholics of today's Puththa'lam and Gampaha districts. [Map courtesy: Google Earth, Legend by TamilNet]
Mu'l'likku'lam and other SL Navy and Army bases in the region [Map courtesy: Google Earth, Legend by TamilNet]