Increasing reports of Sinhala colonists gunning down cattle belonging Tamil dairy farmers in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 February 2018, 19:18 GMT]
Armed Sinhala colonisers have again stepped up the killing of cattle owned by Tamil dairy farmers in Koa'ra'laip-pattu South (Kiraan) division of Batticaloa district. The intruders have gunned down six cows and caused injuries to two since January 01 2018, the dairy farmers complain. Between 2013 and 2016, more than 1,000 cows, owned by Tamil dairy farmers were shot and killed. The process accelerated after Maithiripala Sirisena coming to power. However, due to relentless protests and complaints, the menace was temporarily halted from the end of 2016. Now, it has resumed in full force again, the farmers further said. The SL Police at Karadiyan-aa'ru doesn't act against the activities of illegal settlers but collaborate with SL Forest Department against the interests of Tamil dairy farmers.

Paduvaan-karai was protected by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before the end of the war in the East in 2007.

Armed Sinhala colonists launched a large-scale encroachment into Paduvaan-karai after the end of the genocidal war on Eezham Tamils.

Thousands of acres lands, traditionally used by Eezham Tamil dairy farmers as pasturelands for their cattle, were taken over by SL military-backed Sinhala ‘home guards’, who were converting the grazing lands into their farming lands.

The Sinhala ‘home-guards’ were also harassing and assaulting the cattle herders. SL Forest Department guards were supportive of the Sinhala settlers.

Following repeated complaints, legal suits and finally Tamil dairy farmers going to the extent of waging a continued protest of boycotting milk supplies to SL government-owned Milco company, the encroachments came to an end towards the end of 2016.

Around 300 Sinhala colonists were instructed to vacate from the pasturelands, and their huts dismantled.

However, the SL State is now planning to legally transform two pastureland areas of Eezham Tamils in at least two of the administrative divisions of Paduvaankarai region through a so-called ‘development’ programme which comes under SL President Maithiripala Sirisena's Mahaweli Ministry.

Sirisena's ministry has sketched out a plan in mid-2017 to distribute 49 acres per Sinhala colonist family through a long-term ‘leasing’ programme.

It is under these circumstances, the remaining Sinhala colonists from the previous settlement have stepped up the slaying of cattle owned by Tamils. The SL Police and SL Forest Department are also working against the dairy farmers.

The farmers complained to the Police about unknown persons laying animal traps against their cattle. The police told the farmers to remove such traps and keep them in their possession. After a few hours after their complaints, guards from SL Forest Department appeared at their huts and charged the Tamil farmers for being in possession of such traps. The SL Forest officials got the farmers punished by an SL court in Polonnaruwa district later.

Around 320 Tamil dairy farmers from the two divisions of Ea'raavoor-pattu (Chengkaladi) and Koa'ra'laippattu South (Kiraan) are already struggling without adequate pasturelands for their cattle.

The Tamil farmers allege that the Sinhala colonists were killing their cattle when they move towards drinking water sources.


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