Feature Article

Violence intensified in Sinhala military-driven demographic genocide in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Friday, 29 May 2015, 22:45 GMT]
The Rural Development Society (RDS) of Kachchat-kodi Swami-malai GS division is a grassroots-level attempt by the villagers to sustain the livelihood of the people who face a systematic demographic genocide along the border of Batticaloa and Ampaa'rai districts for a long time. In an in-depth interview to TamilNet, Secretary of the RDS, Mr Paramanatham, exposes the details behind the demographic genocide and the role played by the Buddhist monks, Sri Lankan Police and the ‘Sinhala home guards,’ which is an armed paramilitary operated by the occupying SL military. Mr Paramantham also details the institutionalised non-responsive governance of the Sri Lankan system, including Colombo's departments, provincial, district and divisional offices, all operating with one single aim of driving Tamils away and Sinhalicising the native villages of Eezham Tamils.

The interview to TamilNet comes after a violent attack by the occupying Sinhala paramilitary on RDS President Yogarasa Jeganathan on 24 May, when the RDS representatives wanted to protect the only means of livelihood of the villagers.

Kachchat-kodi is a GS division of 14.8 sq. km of extent, comprising three villages – Kachchat-kodi, Swami-malai and Kevu'liyaa-madu. With 448 families of a total population of 1,533 individuals, 901 individuals are now Sinhalese, according to the statistics from the DS office at Paddip-pazhai. The entire GS division has been subjected to Sinhalicisation and colonisation by the Sinhala encroachers from Ampaa'rai district.

The three representatives of the RDS were assaulted by the ‘Sinhala home guards’ when they politely urged a group of 9 Sinhala encroachers from the 36 Colony, a Sinhala settlement located 2 km away in the bordering Ampaa'rai district, not to engage in fishing using illegal methods.

A Sinhala policeman from 36 Colony, known as Gonasinghe, his son Soranga Gonasinghe and another relative of Gonasinghe, were among the 9-member armed paramilitary squad that engaged in the fishing deploying illegal fishing methods in Kangkaa'niyaar-ku'lam tank, which is the only means of livelihood to 68 Tamil families dependent in freshwater fishing assisted and managed by the RDS.

One of the attackers was riding a motorbike with the registration number BAW 8350, the RDS representatives told TamilNet.

The Sinhala paramilitary men were instigating ethno-nationalist violence by shouting: “This is our country. If you raise your voice, we will not hesitate to shoot and kill you all.”

In 1990, there were 168 Tamil families living in the vicinity of Kangkaa'niyaar-ku'lam. The villagers were all dependent on freshwater fishing in the tank. During the rainy seasons they also engaged in cultivation of nuts and soya.

During the war, many of these families have become women-headed households as the men have perished or reported missing. They are now displaced in Makizhoor, Ma'ndoor, Ka'luvaagnchik-kudi and Ka'ndaava'lai. The women-headed families have left the area due to security reasons as well as due to the lack of livelihood recovery.

Only 68 families live in the area now. They are determined to sustain their livelihood through the RDS, Mr Paramanatham told TamilNet.

Tamil villagers on two or three occasions in recent times caught the intruding Sinhalese from 36 Colony. The police Officer In Charge (OIC) from the police station from 36 Colony came and promised that they would control the intruders in future. But, the policemen and paramilitary guards are all interconnected and relatives. Within a few days they started to come again with arms. There have been at least 10 violent assaults by the armed intruders, according to RDS Secretary.

Kevu'liyaa-madu, another village in the same GS division, is also subjected to Sinhalicisation.

Although a few Sinhala families were residing in the GS division, they were all living together harmoniously. But, the armed Sinhala colonists are part of a systematic programme driven by intruding Buddhist monks, armed paramilitary outfit known as home guards, Sinhala politicians and civil officers from Ampaa'rai district.

57 additional Sinhala settlers brought after 2002 to Kevu'liyaa-madu also behave in a confronting manner and are deployed in exploiting the resources and harassing the Tamil villagers in the GS division.

A Buddhist temple was built on the lands belonging to three Tamil families after bulldozing their houses, he said. The Sinhala home guard paramilitary has been using the Buddhist temple as one of their bases in the area, he further said adding that the Buddhist monk of the temple was harassing the GS officer almost threatening him and the Divisional Secretary.

All complaints made to District Secretariat through GS and DS Secretary have not been useful to the Eezham Tamil villagers, the RDS Secretary from Kachchat-kodi further said.

The Tamil villagers have been systematically neglected, not only from the housing schemes managed through the SL ministries, but also in the delivery of Indian Housing Scheme, Mr Paramanatham told TamilNet.

Potable water is a serious problem faced by the people in the village, especially after July month every year, he says.

In addition, wild elephants also harass the residents. Although the Wildlife Department of Colombo chased away the elephants couple of times into the jungle, there is no systematic effort to hinder the threat posed by the wild elephants, Mr Paramanthan says.

“There is a clear intention of driving us away from our villages,” Paramantham says.

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