27 October, 2020

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Credible And Immediate Resettlement Policy Needed For Northern Muslims: Friday Forum

“For both the Jaffna Muslims and the Northern Muslim community as a whole, what is needed first and foremost is a credible and immediate resettlement policy. ” says the Friday Forum.

Issuing a statement the Friday Forum said;”This is a right for all those displaced during the war. Unfortunately, for the Northern Muslim community, when it comes to forging a resettlement process, they have for the most part been abandoned by the State and by the Muslim and Tamil political parties.”

We publish below the statement in full;

Remembering the Eviction of the Northern Muslims: Reconciliation and the Challenges of Resettlement

Manouri Muttetuwegama

Manouri Muttetuwegama

On the 30th of October 1990 the entire Muslim population of close to 75,000 people living in the North were evicted by the LTTE. It is now 25 years since the Muslim community fled the North fearing for their lives and leaving behind their homes, livelihoods and histories. Compelled to leave without most of their belongings, they were allowed to take only 500 rupees and no jewellery. As the country attempts to move towards reconciliation and a political solution, the Friday Forum calls for reflection about this tragic eviction. This is not merely about condemning the LTTE’s ruthless dispossession of an entire community. Rather, it serves as a crucial reminder of the deep divisions within our society that need to be recognised and addressed. Injustice against any community requires all of us to reflect and together find solutions.

Despite the war having ended over six years ago, in places like Jaffna the Muslims are in limbo, and their resettlement has for the most part been a failure. Of the close to 8,000 families that originate from Jaffna Town over 2,000 families registered for resettlement soon after the end of the war. However, only about six hundred families now remain in Jaffna, and that amidst tremendous social and economic problems. The loss of their original land and houses, most of which were destroyed, has complicated the resettlement of the Muslim community, and many are on the verge of giving up on their resettlement and returning to the camps in Puttalam.

There still seems to be little acknowledgement of their economic and infrastructure needs. They lack housing, land, jobs and even decent schooling for their children. When resettlement fails and families move between Puttalam and their places of return in Jaffna, the children’s education is a major casualty. In the Muslim quarter of Jaffna town, where a section of Muslims still live in camp-like conditions, problems of water, drainage and flooding during the monsoon rains add to their travails.

For both the Jaffna Muslims and the Northern Muslim community as a whole, what is needed first and foremost is a credible and immediate resettlement policy. This is a right for all those displaced during the war. Unfortunately, for the Northern Muslim community, when it comes to forging a resettlement process, they have for the most part been abandoned by the State and by the Muslim and Tamil political parties.

The Northern Muslim community needs resources, but with the process of return it also has to rebuild relations with neighbouring communities. Rebuilding Tamil-Muslim relations is a priority to ensure successful resettlement as well as for future coexistence. The Tamil community in the North, in particular, should reflect on the suffering endured by the Northern Muslims and extend their support to the Muslim community. Moreover, as the Government prepares to initiate the long overdue process of reconciliation and a political solution, it needs to realise that such processes are inextricably linked to rebuilding relations between communities. The Friday Forum believes that addressing the problems of the Northern Muslim community is an essential and urgent part of working towards meaningful reconciliation throughout our country.

Manouri Muttetuwegama and Ahilan Kadirgamar

On behalf of Friday Forum, the Group of Concerned Citizens

Ms. Manouri Muttetuwegama, Mr. Ahilan Kadirgamar, Ms. Suriya Wickremasinghe, Professor Savitri Goonesekere, Professor Gananath Obeyesekere, Mr. Danesh Casie-Chetty, Bishop Duleep de Chickera, Ms. Shanthi Dias, Professor Camena Guneratne, Dr.Upatissa Pethiyagoda,Professor Ranjini Obeyesekere , Mr. S.C.C. Elankovan, Dr. Selvy Thiruchandran, Dr A.C.Visvalingam, Professor Gameela Samarasinghe, Professor Arjuna Aluwihare, Mr. D Wijayanandana, Mr. Priyantha Gamage, Mr. Javid Yusuf, Mr. Ananda Galappatti, Rev. Dr. Jayasiri Peiris,  Mr. J. C. Weliamuna, Mr. Faiz-ur Rahman, Ms, Damaris Wickremesekera, Mr. Chandra Jayaratne.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    3

    Excellent! One of the best so far by Friday Forum. Long overdue.

    What’s exactly GOSL waiting for:
    1. Sitting around for BBS to outline their racist fanaticism?
    2. Waiting for religious Whackos from Qatar to come in with dubious funding for housing?

    GOSL should take charge in professional manner. Swing into action. Resolve this festering problem now.

    Cheers!

    • 1
      1

      Manouri Muttetuwegama

      RE: Credible And Immediate Resettlement Policy Needed For Northern Muslims: Friday Forum

      “For both the Jaffna Muslims and the Northern Muslim community as a whole, what is needed first and foremost is a credible and immediate resettlement policy. ” says the Friday Forum.

      Absolutely!

      The expulsion of the Northern Muslim community was a war crime.That should be addressed immediately, by the GOSL.

      Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property

      Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer
      Taking hostages

      War crimes are defined in the statute that established the International Criminal Court, which includes:

      Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, such as:

      Willful killing, or causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health
      Torture or inhumane treatment

      Unlawful wanton destruction or appropriation of property

      Forcing a prisoner of war to serve in the forces of a hostile power

      Depriving a prisoner of war of a fair trial

      Unlawful deportation, confinement or transfer
      Taking hostages

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_crime

  • 6
    7

    I condemn what LTTE did to Muslims In North and Eastern provinces BUT

    What about Tamils thrown out from their villages by Muslims, Muslims and STF, and Muslim Home Guards, in the Batticaloa Amparai and Trincomalee districts. Do you want to know the Tamil schools that have been renamed and become Muslim schools; the number of Tamil villages that have become Muslim villages; names of Hindu temples destroyed by Muslims; names of temples where bakery and mosque were built upon destruction; rape of Tamil girls in Amparai etc.

    All these incidents were carried out with the help of politicians and their names are recorded in a tamil book titled Destroyed Tamil Villages. It all started from 1965 when there was no LTTE in the scene.

    It was stated in an article that during the 1983 racial riots Muslims too joined with Sinhalese.

    Will Friday Forum condemn these and release a statement on behalf of Eastern Province Tamils who equally deserves support and relief ?

    • 1
      3

      MR, your emotions are running high for no reason. What the Friday Forum highlights is the lack of policy or focus and total abandonment of the entire community of muslims driven out by the tigers. In the case of Settlement of Tamils all over including in India and any other cases that you mention during the scoped time frame is covered under the war affected tamil resettlement policy. If there are other additional issues, it has to be accommodated under the existing process. The other option is to have a muslim representation in the existing resettlement program which is totally focussed on tamils.

    • 4
      1

      Correct all these Sinhalese and Muslim politicians writers and so called human rights activists have all come out of the wood works but were very quiet when thousands for Tamils in the east were ethnically cleansed by the Muslim home guards and the illegal Sinhalese settlers with the help of the Sinhalese armed forces. These people still have not been settled in their villages but they are mum about this. These eastern Tamils have not settled and I do not see any concern for them from these Sinhalese and Muslim politicians and commentators.
      What about the hundreds of thousands of Tamils still not settled in their homes and villages due to the large scale eviction and the army stealing their lands. These Sinhalese and Muslim so called do gooders are very quiet about this too. All of a sudden they have become very concerned about these evicted northern Muslims but were never concerned when a nasty Muslim politician was illegally settling southern Muslims in Mannar/Vanni. First evict all these illegal Sinhalese and Muslim settlers and settle all the ethnically cleansed eastern Tamils in their original lands and villages , before settling any Northern Muslims. You cannot have one without the other.
      There was no concern shown to the 100000 innocent Tamil civilians who were largely killed the government and 1.2 million Tamils who were chased out of the country.
      It is the Tamil people who suffered immensely at the hands of everyone, what the others suffered pales in to insignificance. These people are cunningly trying to divert and belittle the attention from what the Tamils suffered by trying to equate the suffering of the Tamils with the miniscule suffering of the other communities and sabotage everything. This is like the Nazis trying to equate the suffering of the Jews with what the Germans suffered.
      All this happened due to Sinhalese racist policies towards the Tamils from the time of independence by all the governments including the present one. The Muslims in the island despite being ethnically Tamil, denied this heritage and aided and abetted the Sinhalese in this genocidal ones. This includes these northern Muslims. If these Muslims want to live in the north and east, they should admit to their real Tamil Hindu heritage and learn to live as Tamils who are Muslims, just like their ancestors in Tamil Nadu do. However if they want to discard and deny this 1000 year old Tamil Sufi Muslim heritage, claim a fake Arab origin, become Salafist Islamic fanatics and want to join hands with the Sinhalese to de3stroy the ancient Tamil language culture and heritage in the island. Then they should get out. If they hate their Tamil Hindu ancestry heritage language and culture so much and want to destroy it and claim a fake Arab origin and take up an extremist Wahhabi Salafist Islamic identity and ideology why should they live amongst the Tamils and Tamil lands? They can live amongst the Sinhalese who they love and support. After all almost 70% of them already live amongst the Sinhalese. Remember the North and East of the island is Tamil land and it is the Tamils who are indigenous to this land and have lived here from prehistoric times and ruled these lands. The Portuguese the Dutch and British the BC pact the Dudley Senanayake Chelvanayagam Pace and the 1987 Indo Sri Lanka agreement that is an international agreement also recognised this. These fake Arab Dravidian Muslim immigrants from South India only came to the North and East a few centuries ago , as refugees fleeing persecution in India and then from the Europeans and the Sinhalese. We Tamils gave them refuge, as they were fellow Tamil Muslims. However they have repaid us by denying and denouncing their Tamil origins and joining with the Sinhalese to destroy everything Tamil, with the intention of stealing our land to ultimately build some Islamic Salafist haven. If they want to be Tamil Muslims and treasure their Tamil origin and heritage they can return. If they want to deny this create some imagines Wahhabi Salafist Islamic identity, create chaos and ultimately with Sinhalese help steal our lands they can get out. This what this nasty Muslim Politician from Mannar was aiming to do

  • 4
    0

    Why this great concern for the Muslims? There are still Tamils in detention camps. They are still tortured. There are displaced persons whose lands are in the occupation of the army and the navy.You were human rights commissioner during relevant periods but kept mum about the atrocities and violations that were being committed by the friends who appointed you. Your credibility is a bit low for you to show such concern now. No one can condone the dispossession of the Muslims. This is a situation that has to be rectified. When you ignore others who are in a worse plight for longer, there is discrimination on your part which in itself is in breach of norms.

  • 0
    2

    Sensible Citizen

    Do you honestly believe that there is a ” war affected Tamil resettlement policy” or programme or focus in force. I could not find anywhere, even when Karuna was Deputy Minister of settlement or now under Swaminathan. Please visit camps and interior villages in North and East to see how this ” policy or programme” works, if there is one as you say. If you could read any Tamil news paper you will find how tamils suffer in few places released to them. . Half the village is given to Tamils to settle and the other half is retained by Army in such a way destroyed houses will be on Tamils’ side and well temple school on Army’ s side, prohibiting access. There are many more obstacles, lack of basic facilities, which officials or Parliamentarians don’t want to know. I would not blame you because English and Sinhala media which you read do not carry these news.

    ,Don’t you know a Muslim is appointed as a State Minister of resettlement by the present govt. Why do you need another Muslim representation. We had a few Muslim ministers, half and full, in previous governments and now in present govt. Did they do anything good to ordinary Muslim civilians? Even if you appoint hundred muslim ministers there would not be any change in the ordinary Muslims’ lives. May be ministers’ kith and kin will be benefitted.

    Let the academics come out of their air conditioned offices and universities and pay a visit to interior Tamil and Muslim villages and camps, stay with them a few days at least, learn and share their difficulties, alleviate their sufferings, and thereafter release a statement.

  • 1
    1

    MR–Paul.

    Plato is in full agreement with your views.

  • 0
    2

    Skills of muslims needed in the north. Control of some practices. Urdary.

  • 3
    3

    manori

    your late husband and your father were decent persons please don’t spoil their names . I suspect as pointed out by other Tamil readers that there must be some ulterior motive in you and people like you shedding crocodile tears for the so – called Northern Muslims . Tamils were ethnically cleansed by the muslims where ever they( muslims) are in a majority in the east. A bastard called Risath Bathiyudin is using this muslim refugee pretext to grab the Tamil lands in the north particularly in the Vanni.

    • 2
      1

      Pirana is living proof that the killing off of the Tigers is the best thing that ever happened to this country.

  • 0
    1

    Sarath Muttetuwegama was a Gentleman Politician. He remained steadfast to his Principles right to the end.
    Unfortunately,Dr.Colvin R.de Silva,remained a brilliant Criminal Lawyer only right to the end.In 1956,he said one language two nations:Two languages one nation.By the 70s he was towing a different line.He proudly claimed that he was the Architect of the 1972 Republican constitution.Buddhism state religion and the safeguards that was incorporated in the Soulbury constitution-Section29 did not find a place in his ARCHITECTURE!

  • 1
    1

    This morning I found an article in TamilNation. Org under speeches and writings of Nadesan Satyendra titled ” The forced evacuation of Muslims in 1989 – some reflections” written in 1996. Anyone interested in Muslims & Tamil Eelam, specially Friday Forum activists must read.

  • 0
    0

    Yes, that’s true Muslims should back to their places. But the most pathetic situation is that no body talks about Sihalese who were removed from the North and the East during the war by LTTE. Sinhalese comprised with the largest percentage of the victims in terms of brutally murdered and drive away from their homes. So, I think the same forum should look at the issues of Sinhales as well.

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