Feature Article

Sirisena's Mahaweli Ministry continues demographic genocide in East

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 January 2016, 22:13 GMT]
The UNP government in 1984 kicked off a genocidal project of settling Sinhalese in large numbers in the Tamil-speaking district of Batticaloa in East with the same agenda of Sinhaliciation that took place in Trincomalee district earlier. Eezham Tamils were chased out of their villages as more than ten thousand Sinhalese were almost moved overnight by the SL Ministry of ‘Mahaweli Development’ to occupy the key areas in Batticaloa coming under the so-called Left bank of the B System. The SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, who is also the SL Minister of ‘Mahaweli Development’, is now carrying out the same project in a sophisticated manner, Tamil civil officials in Batticaloa said. 30,400 Sinhalese and have been settled under the Mahaweli programme in the district, which is predominantly Tamil-speaking while only 1,281 Tamil-speaking Muslims and 34 Tamils have been given lands, they said.

Mahaweli System B is the largest of Mahaweli ‘Development’ programme, consisting of 75,441 ha., including 27,179 ha of irrigable lands. The entire B system is located within the two administrative districts of Polonnaruwa (North Central Province) and Batticaloa (Eastern Province).

Sinhalese settlers from Polonnaruwa and Ampaa'rai districts have been brought into the lands coming under the ‘B System’, the Tamil officials further said.

Hailing from Polonnaruwa, Mr Sirisena has been implementing a long-term Sinhalicisiation agenda within the System B.

Maithiripala Sirisena's ministry has been operating against conducting land Kachcheari's to issue land licenses and deeds in Maathava'nai, Vadamunai-Tharavai regions.

After becoming SL President, Sirisena merged the ministries of Mahaweli Development and Environment into one and brought them under his direct supervision as the minister in charge of the new ministry in order to carry out a sophisticated demographic change in the border area of Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Ampaa'rai, the Tamil officials from Batticaloa said.

Mr Sirisena was the minister of ‘Mahaweli Development’ between 1997 and 2001 and between April 2004 and November 2005 under the regime of Chandrika Kumaratunga.

He continued with the same position also under Mahinda Rajapaksa till April 2010.

Under the UNP and SLFP regimes, foreign governments have been funding the Mahaweli ‘development’ programme, while Colombo government was wedging the territorial integrity of Tamil homeland at several key locations as at Ma'nal-Aa'ru (Sinhalicised into Weli Oya) and Kokku'laay in Mullaiththeevu district, Pulmoaddai, Moothoor and Kantha'laay in Trincomalee district. Sinhala settlers were also being brought into Ampaa'rai and Batticaloa districts under the Mahaweli project.

However, the scheme of demographic genocide was effectively halted during the times of the LTTE.

But, the entire northeastern coastal belt in the Tamil homeland has been subjected to demographic change in an accelerated manner after 2009 during the regimes of Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

The SL State was also violating its own constitutional provisions and procedures, the Tamil officials said.

In the first place, the Tamils were not even given the so-called ‘national ethnic ratio’ in the distribution of lands. Secondly, the Mahaweli Ministry was completely ignoring the Tamils in the allocation of lands. Thirdly, most of the lands being seized in the border areas of the three districts are pasturelands. The farming activities of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa have been severely affected by the occupation of pasturelands.

The 13th Amendment to the SL Constitution states that "[t]he distribution of all allotments of such land in such projects will be on the basis of national ethnic ratio. In the distribution of allotments according to such ratios, priority will be given to persons who are displaced by the project, landless of the District in which the project is situated and thereafter the landless of the Province.”


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