The mass rally in Jaffna last month that drew tens of thousands of protestors, was a move by the people of the North-East to “show their resistance” to acts such as Sinhala Buddhist colonisation to the international community, said Batticaloa District Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian Gnanamuttu Srinesan.
In an interview with Ceylon Today, Mr Srinesan said the change of government last year had led to the people of the North-East hoping the Sri Lankan state would “fulfil their demands”.
“They expected the government of good governance to release the political prisoners,” he said. “The war widows trusted good governance and believed that they will be provided with proper support. Even the disabled expected a rehabilitated new life with facilities that support them.
“People strongly believed that planned colonisations from the South will not occur in the North and East during the period of good governance,” he added. “They did not also expect for Buddhist monuments to be built in places where a Buddhist population did not exist.”
“Therefore people made use of the Ezhuga Thamil procession to show their resistance on these planned activities. These people had the necessity to show that they are against such moves to the locals as well as to the international community.”
Mr Srinesan went on to detail Sri Lankan colonisation projects in the Eastern province, where even an LTTE cemetery has been taken over by Sri Lankan security forces.
“In Gandhiyady a Maaveerar cemetery has been taken over by the Special Task Force to put up their camp,” he said. “Leave aside the LTTE, it is generally a cemetery and it should be given due respect, instead it is being trampled on and not maintained. We don't do the same thing in other cemeteries. It is place where bodies are buried and as humans we must give respect but that has not happened in this instance. I have stressed on this issue in Parliament.”
Meanwhile the military continues to occupy huge swathes of land and has set up camps in private land he added, as he detailed further colonisation projects set up by Colombo.
“Around 42 houses of private owners in Mandoor- Palamunai in Wellaveli DS Division are under the control of the Police. Even in Kurukkal Madam a naval base had been functioning in the post war period; near the old school building. Why should they maintain a naval base in the post war period?”
“Illegal colonization is taking place on the boundary of Maduru Oya, where quarrels and battles are taking place between those who are already living in the Batticaloa District on the edge of the boundary of Maduru Oya and others who have illegally settled.”
“Even the Kamatchi Amman Kovil land is being taken by the security forces for their use. Although the camp has been reduced, the land completely belongs to the temple. Similar situations prevail in Thuraineelavanai- Batticaloa, where lands belonging to State institutions are used by the Police and Army.”
“Morakkoththanchenai had 52 houses and these lands belonged to private owners. However, since the 1990s these lands are under the control of the military. These 52 families have been displaced from their own lands and are currently living in temporary shelters or in houses of relatives. They are living a difficult life at the Morakkoththanchenai Welfare Centre. These lands have not been released to date.”
“Even a preschool in Morakkothanchenai is under the control of the military.”
See the full text of his interview here.