Uprooted Ezham Tamil women confront structural genocide in Mullaiththeevu
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 February 2017, 23:22 GMT] The uprooted Eezham Tamil families from Keappaa-pulavu in Mullaiththeevu have blamed the SL military of genocidal Sri Lanka for deploying all the mechanisms of the unitary State in Colombo to deprive them their lands. After a series of protests, SL President Maithiripala Sirisena was supposed to release 234 acres of lands in January as a temporary measure to contain the struggle of the uprooted people. But, only 142 acres are to be released, the people say. That too, not from the coastal and agricultural side along the Nanthik-kadal. The SL Air Force has stationed itself in the fertile lands. SL Forest Department was trying to add confusion by claiming the lands as coming under its purview. The Forest Department falls under Mahaweli Ministry, which is being run by none other than Mr Maithiripala.
The SL military intelligence was attempting to deploy divide-and-conquer tactic to suppress the protests.
As the people were firm in staging protests, the visit of Mr Sirisena was postponed and later his trip was cancelled citing bad weather conditions.
In the meantime, SL Forest Department, which comes under Sirisena’s ministerial purview, started to claim that the lands belonged to it. But, the department was unable to proceed with its claim as the uprooted people were having clear documentation of their lands.
Now, the uprooted people are on a continuous demonstration outside the SLAF camp, day and night.
“The Colombo government, its military and all government officials under them are deceiving us each time. They are asking us to wait. We are not prepared to wait anymore,” 34-year-old Gowsalya Sathees, an uprooted mother from Pulavuk-kudyiriuppu in Keapppa-pulavu told TamilNet.
After the Forest Department withdrew its claim of surveying lands for its purpose, the survey officials promised to survey the lands that in fact belongs to uprooted people so that they can rightfully resettle there. The survey department officials were supposed to come on Tuesday. But, they didn’t show up as promised. The SLAF has intervened to block the move, the uprooted people allege.
“When we called the Divisional Secretary, the answer we received was that we have to wait for another 3 months. Then, we decided to protest in front of the SLAF camp. The GA showed up and talked to military. We don't know what they really discussed. But, she was also asking us more time. Tamil politicians and youth were also asking one-week time. But, we are not prepared to abandon our struggle,” Gowsaly Sathees told TamilNet on Wednesday.
Keappaa-pulavu is a village situated along Nanthik-kadal lagoon in Mullaiththeevu where the last stage of genocidal onslaught took place. The LTTE was having an airstrip in the interior lands and the occupying SL Air Force is not willing to relocate itself from the lands of the people, even 7 years after the end of war.
The military has been trying to dump the people into alternative lands creating so-called ‘model-village’ as a settlement. But, this model-village has become a slum. Nobody is willing to marry the girls from this slum. Structural and social destruction is witnessed by the people. Alcohol and narcotic usage is also observed at the ‘model’ village, according to Mrs Inthirany Vivekananthan, another mother who was also taking part in the protests. In an interview to TamilNet in January, she narrated the story of the long protests by the villagers, who remain firm in their demand of resettling in Keappaa-pulavu. Inthirany’s interview is reproduced below:
The main challenge of the uprooted people is regaining their livelihood. It is not possible for them to take control of their lives without gaining access to their coastal and agricultural lands.