Feature Article

Multi-pronged structural genocide targets Periya-mu’rippu in Mannaar

[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 May 2016, 23:45 GMT]
Eezham Tamil villagers from Periya-mu'rippu, a remote hamlet situated 65 km southwest of Mannaar city and 18 km south from Mannaar - Medawachiya A-14 Road in Madu division, narrated to TamilNet this week how they were facing a multi-pronged structural annihilation coming through the hierarchy of genocidal Sri Lanka. While Colombo's structural and demographic annihilation continues unabated in the country of Eezham Tamils, Washington and New Delhi remain adamant in upholding the genocidal unitary State through their imperialist outlook shaped by geopolitics. The ultimate culprits have not only denied Tamils international justice, they also continue to impose a Colombo-centric ‘development’ agenda, which is coupled to their ‘counter insurgency’ operations at a trans-national level, Tamil political activists in Mannaar said, urging Tamils to understand where their responsibility lies.

The story of Periya-mu'rippu is not an isolated one. It represents the collective narration of all the interior hamlets of Eezham Tamils, from the remote villages of Ampaa'rai in the East to Mannaar and Chilaapam in the North-West.

On one side these villages, surrounded by jungles, face the threat of demographic invasion coming from the ‘empowered’ Sinhala districts bordering the country of Eezham Tamils.

On the other, the Tamil villagers are subjected to various discriminations coming from Colombo’s administration and its militarization. Occasionally, the nature and wild animals also turn against the villages.


Rev Fr Anton Sosai, the parish priest at Kungchuk-ku'lam, says that the SL Wildlife Department was causing immense problems to the people. The villagers of Periya-mu'rippu, having land deeds and permits, are not being allowed to enter their lands, he says.

The Sinhala officials of North Central Province, with Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa as their centres, play an important role in the demographic genocide with an active role played by various SL ministries in Colombo. The SL Governors in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the military establishment provide necessary facilitation to the project.

350 families, most of them Catholics, are living in the hamlet constituted by Periya-mu’rippu, a GS division itself and Maathaa-kiraamam, another GS division, that also includes the village of Kugnchuk-ku’lam.

The three villages situated in the south of Madu district lie sandwiched between the militarized Musali division in the west of Mannaar district and the Anuradhapura district in the east.

There is a hidden agenda to annex these GS divisions with Anuradhapura district, informed civil sources in Madu DS division told TamilNet.

The villagers also complain that the Sinhalese are claiming ownership to the lands despite the Tamil owners having land deeds and permits.

The Sinhalese intruders are claiming that they were living in Madu before 1984 and that they had purchased these lands.

The people of the village are dependent on honey collecting, hunting, slash-and-burn (Cheanai) cultivation, small-scale animal farming, agriculture of millets, green chilli and cultivation of peanuts for their livelihood. The area is famous for peanut cultivation.

* * *

Periya-mu’rippu village, with very fertile lands, is intentionally kept deprived of electricity supply, hospital and other infrastructural facilities.

However, the villagers remain sharp in getting their children educated, says 26-year-old Thamilini Thiruchelvam. She adds that lack of electricity is a major problem for the students. Even to send an email or to charge a phone, they have to walk for 2 km and find someone in the nearby village to help them, she says.

Gravel scooping carried out by Sinhala contractors from South was brought to an end in December 2015 after Periyamu'rippu villagers vehemently opposed it through protests [TamilNet Library Photo]
Protest against illegal scooping of gravel in December 2015
Fr Anton Sosai says that it is pathetic to see the parents from Periya-mu'rippu carrying their children to school on their shoulders during the floods.

50-year-old Anton Arulanantham, a farmer and father of three, says that the families dependent on agriculture only rely upon on rainfalls. The repeated requests to renovate the irrigation system from Kallaa’ru tank have been completely ignored, he says.

Until December 2015 Sinhalese contractors from South, deployed in building constructions in the North, were engaged in illegal scooping of red gravel in the GS division. They also started to scoop the gravel for sale in South. Following intense protests from the villagers, the illegal activity came to an end.

SL Wild Life Department, Forest Department, SL Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, SL Ministry of Agriculture and the Archaeological Department have all joined hands in seizing the lands and depriving the Tamil villagers in an attempt to chase the Tamils away from their villages.

Every year, during the monsoon floods the bridge is over flooded with spill water coming through Aruvi-aa’ru (Malwaththu Oya). This happens three times a year. Often, the communication would remain cut for almost a month, says a farmer.

The SL administration had put up a bridge after repeated requests, but ignored the demand by people to construct the bridge at 10 feet height. But, the request was ignored. The bridge remained submerged in floods last time, the villagers say.

The three main complaints coming from almost all the people of Periya-mu’rippu are the continued discrimination of not supplying electricity to the village, systematic ignorance in sabotaging the transportation and road development and the land grab.

There are 80 families in Periya-mu’rippu. Only 30 of these families have lands. The others are deprived of lands despite repeated requests, the villagers say.

Farmer Anton Arulanantham and Thamilni Thiruchelvam say wild elephants were also harassing the people.

The area was under the administration of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam until SL military seized the area in 1997 through ‘Operation Edibala’. The occupying SL military subjected the villagers to a brutal counter-insurgency campaign as the villages were situated on the jungle passage used by the Tamil fighters until Musali division remained under the LTTE administration.

* * *

The same pattern of structural genocide is observed along the borders of Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Ampaa'rai district.

The people from Kangkuveali in Trincomalee and Pazhave'li in Ampaa'rai have revealed how vast number of farm lands are being seized from Tamils at both the localities and how the trend of demographic genocide is continuing under the regime of Sirisena and Ranil.

In Ampaa’rai, SLA units occupied public and private lands situated in residential areas to establish additional camps at Aalaiyadi-vempu, Thirukkoayil, Koamaari, Kaaraitheevu and Naavithan-ve’li.

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