Feature Article

8 Tamil workers quit, ethnic harassment at SL State-run Coconut Garden in East

[TamilNet, Friday, 30 March 2018, 22:32 GMT]
Eight Tamil workers at Paasikkudaa Coconut Model Garden have quit their jobs unable to tolerate the harassment meted out on them by the Sinhala-controlled management of the SL State-owned garden, which comes under the Batticaloa Regional Office of the Coconut Cultivation Board (CCB). The Sinhala administration of the CCB office in Batticaloa and its Paasikkudaa Garden management have moved on to appoint Sinhala workers to the positions of the permanent cadre after successfully evicting the Tamil workers from the garden. Only two of the positions have gone to a Tamil and a Tamil-spaking Muslim. The Sinhala officials have stepped up harassments on the Tamil workers since 2015 with the hidden agenda of evicting them from the Model Garden. A co-worker, who was previously a military soldier, was also deployed against them, the Tamil workers who have quit their jobs told TamilNet on Friday.

Among the eight Tamil workers, 4 males are from Ampaa'rai district. Two of them are from Thampiluvil in Thirukkoayil and the other two are from Paa'ndiruppu. Among the four workers from Batticaloa, one is a female from Kaarai-theevu, and the remaining three are males from Thu'rai-neelaava'nai, Vavu'na-theevu and Natpiddi-munai.

The Tamil workers who have quit the jobs say they were working at the Model Garden despite the low wage for years with the hope of permanency.

There is also an accusation of Sinhala officials supplying Tamil women to high ranking Sinhala police officers. The officials were also providing the rental rooms at free of cost to high ranking Sinhala officials and the officers.

The Police Officer-in-Charge at Paasikkudaa station receives coconuts free of charge through the Sinhala CCD officials, the workers who have quit from their jobs said.

The Paaiskkudaa garden is one of the 12 model gardens in the island. It supplies the products to the regional office, which is situated at Mayilampaa-ve'li in Batticaloa. The CCB regional operation disseminates its services to 14 divisional secretariat divisions through 6 CDO offices covering 19 Agrarian Service Divisions. There are around 550,000 coconut palms in the region.

Colombo is also promoting a Coconut Cultural Park in Paasik-kudaa involving various ministries.

The CCB operations come under the SL Ministry of Plantations.

UNP Politician Navin Dissanayake, the son of late Gamini Dissanayake, is the current Minister of Plantation Industries. He was previously minister of tourism.

Tamil officials within his ministry have alleged Mr Dissanayake of discriminating Eezham Tamils like his father, who was one of the notorious SL ministers blamed of being complicit in the burning of Jaffna Library in 1981. A Tamil woman, believed to be a Black Tiger, assassinated Mr Gamini Dissanayake during an election campaign in the South in 1994.

Navin Dissanayake has been committing structural genocide against Eezham Tamils through various ministerial positions under Mahinda Rajapaksa's UPFA regime as well as under the UNP-SLFP collaboration of so-called good-governance.

Countries like the Netherlands and Germany have been promoting the cultural genocide of anti-Tamil ministers such as Navin Dissanayake under the pretext of promoting eco-tourism.

The Sinhala political parties which talk of ‘reconciliation’ with Tamils to escape international investigations will not change their ethnic chuavinistic discourse as all these parties continue to compete with fellow Sinhala chauvinistic forces in the electoral politics.

The UNP was vowing to erect 1,000 Buddhist viharas in the North-East in its electoral manifesto to the civic elections held in February 2018.

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