Feature Article

Genocidal Colombo deploys Tamils against Muslims in Ampaa'rai

[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 November 2016, 20:46 GMT]
Colombo's colonial Governor to Eastern Province and a section of Sinhala officials in the district accompanied with extremist Buddhist monks are co-ordinately deployed in a dangerous plot to set the numerically less Tamils in the district against the majority Tamil-speaking Muslim population, according to concerned Tamil social activists in Ampaa'rai. A number of recent incidents in the district are also proving their concerns. While deploying ‘Army and Archaeology’ as well as Mahaweli, Forest, Wildlife and Tourism related SL ministries, authorities and departments in seizing lands from uprooted Tamils throughout the Eastern Province, the representatives of uprooted Tamils and a section of elected politicians at various levels in Ampaa'rai district are being coerced into ‘engagements’ with extremist Sinhala-Buddhist monks.

The Sinhala-extremist monks, who have been working against Eezham Tamils since 1950s are now telling the Tamils, who have lost almost everything, that it was not Sinhalese, but Muslims who have seized most of their lands. The monks further tell the Tamil villagers that Sinhalese were at least willing to return some of the agricultural lands seized by them in the past. What about the Muslims, they ask the Tamils with the intention of inciting communal tension between Tamils and Muslims in the district.

In the meantime, a section of elected Tamil politicians and journalists are being coerced by the Governor of the Eastern Province.

Cremation and burial grounds of Tamils at Periyaa-neelaava'nai subjected to destruction by unknown persons after some Tamil youth engaged in voluntary work had ‘accidentally’ removed the trees planted by Muslims marking a border line within the cemetery

A group of Tamil youth who engaged in a voluntary (shramadana) work at the cemetery located in Periya-neelaava’nai village had cut the trees planted by Muslims. The youth engaged at voluntary work at the cemetery describe the felling of the trees as an accident. In the meantime, a group of unknown men have destroyed gravestones of Tamils and a 5-meter long wall has also been smashed. It is being alleged as a retaliatory violent act carried out by Muslims. The episode has caused tension between the two communities.

Periya-neelaava'nai, located 34 km south of Batticaloa city at the border between the Ampaa'rai and Batticaloa districts, has traditionally been a Tamil village. The village has been facing encroachment by Muslims from Maruthamunai and from the coastal side, say local Tamil politicians.

There have been no efforts to facilitate community level engagement among the Tamil-speaking population, concerned Tamil activists in the district say blaming the Tamil politicians as being influenced by the governor to East, Mr Austin Fernando, who is a Sinhalese.

Last Saturday, a group of Buddhist monks, who entered the hillock of Maayakkalli in I’rakkaamam division of Ampaa’rai district placed a Buddha statue with the backing of SL Archaeology Department.

The hillock is located between a Tamil village, known as Maa’nikka-madu and a Muslim village known as Varip-paddaang-cheanai.

Buddha statue placed by Sinhala Monks at the hilltop of Ma'nikka-madu on 29 October, 2016

The monks moved the statue into a land belonging to a Muslim villager. Later, the group of monks, led by Ambagahapitiye Seelarathana Thero, moved the statue to the top of the hillock, 500 meters close to Pi’l’laiyaar temple.

Tamil villagers were first to protest against the move. However, the villagers were advised by interfering Tamil politicians to leave the struggle at the hands of the Muslims.

The Chief Minister of Eastern Province, a Muslim, and SL Minister Rauf Hakeem along with other Muslim politicians from the district and in the province have condemned the installation of Buddha statue.

At the same time, a group of Tamil villagers, who lost their agricultural lands to Sinhala colonists in the early 1980s, are being ‘advised’ to meet with the Sinhala Buddhist monks at Kalmunai. The uprooted Tamils have been demanding back their agricultural lands at Thoddaat-churungki Puthukkaadduk-ka'ndam and they have proper LDO permits given to them as part of the Gal Oya scheme in early 1950s.

The Tamil politicians, who welcome this engagement have also come with remarks accusing Muslim leaders for having failed to undertake similar engagement with Tamils.

There is a calculated move on the part of Colombo to cause further divisions among the Tamil-speaking communities in the East. The Tamil National Alliance, particularly the ITAK hierarchy, has failed to act in forging a constructive and conducive environment between the Tamil-speaking communities. The ITAK hierarchy seems to be more aligned with the Sinhala Establishment in Colombo than with the Tamil-speaking sections among the grassroots in the East, particularly in Ampaa'rai, Tamil activists in the East commented.

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