Increasing pattern of Sinhala officials controlling civil affairs in North-East: Wigneswaran, Mavai

[TamilNet, Thursday, 05 March 2020, 23:21 GMT]
The previous regime in Colombo was employing Sinhalese from the South to the vacancies of unskilled labourers in the North. For example, Sinhala youth were deployed in large numbers for the job of electricity meter reading in households in the North. However, the present regime has gone a step further installing Sinhalese also in the top positions of the civil administration in the North-East, observed former Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran. He was responding to a question from TamilNet on the recent trends of Sinhalicisation and militarisation of the civil administration in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils at the prolonged absence of the elected provincial councils.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa's administration has installed Sinhala Government Agents for Vavuniyaa and Trincomalee districts as well as issued sudden transfer of some officials who were serving the people in the North and East. Some transfers were reported even as there were only a few months before their retirement.

Such postings and transfers must be seen in conjunction with the postponement of the elections to the Provincial Councils, the former NPC Chief Minister said.

However, the regime of Gotabaya Rajapaksa may be doing this with the forthcoming parliamentary elections in mind to woo the support of Sinhala voters. It remains to be seen whether this would be the case also after the elections, he added.

Vavuniyaa and Trincomalee districts have a significant number of Sinhala colonists.

Three of the eight districts in the North-East have Sinhala Government Agents at the moment. S.M.Saman Bandulasena assumed duty in Vavuniya on 27 January 2020. J.S.D.M.Asanka Abeywardena, a former secretary to Eastern Governor, was appointed the GA of Trincomalee in February. The Governor of the Eastern Province is also a Sinhalese, appointed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Meanwhile, D.M.L.Bandaranayake is serving as the GA of the Muslim majority Ampaa'rai district since August 2018.

Apart from the few politicians such as Wickramabahu Karunaratne who express solidarity with Tamils, other Sinhala politicians seek votes whipping up Sinhala sentiments. The journalists should, however, clarify the position of the mainstream opposition politicians, Ranil Wickramasinghe, Sajith Premadasa and the JVP on the subject, Wigneswaran said. At least one could expose that they are birds of a feather and enlighten the people on the ground, he said.

The former chief minister also blamed Tamil politicians [of the TNA] who collaborated with the previous regime as failing to expose the trend.

However, ITAK Leader Mavai Senathiraja had taken up the issue at the SL Parliament on 20 February 2020 openly condemning the trend. Mr Senathiraja also revealed that the complaints from his party to SL Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa had gone in vain.

Justice Wigneswaran said that the matter should be taken up with the SL President and reported to the United Nations as well as to the wider international community.

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