22 April, 2021

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Loss Of The Tamil Homeland; Identifying Issues & Creating Strategies To Preserve Tamil Land

By C.V. Wigneswaran

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP

It is A.M in Canada, Noon in Britain and P.M in Sri Lanka. Hence I am not greeting you in reference to the meridian. Transcending the meridian let me welcome sincerely  from the bottom of my heart each and every one of you to this important Zoom Conference.

My friends in UK and elsewhere have done a marvelous job in organizing this Zoom Conference. My initial idea before Covid 19 struck us, was to have an internal Seminar either in Mullaithivu, Vavuniya or Trincomalee to discuss Land Grabbing taking place mainly in those districts. Covid 19 completely changed the scenario. Then my friends abroad, suggested an International E – Conference. After much hard work here we are today together ready to participate at this Conference  though living in different parts of this Globe.

Every one of my indefatigable colleagues deserve our thanks and laudations.

It is appropriate that we have Hon’ Rajavarodayam Sambandan, a Senior Member of Parliament, indeed the oldest in Parliament today, Veteran Politician, Leader of the Tamil National Alliance and the former Leader of the Opposition of the Parliament of Sri Lanka joining us to inaugurate this important event which discusses the loss of the Tamil Homeland identifying issues in this regard and creating strategies to preserve Tamil Land. I am happy the one who brought me into politics determined and doggedly is inaugurating this Conference with me.

I welcome the eminent Keynote Speakers who have consented to participate in this historical Conference. We have Dr.Navaneetham Pillai, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, we have Madam Cherie Blair CBE, QC. Founder of Omnia Strategy LLP and Mr.David Matas CM, 2010 Nobel Peace Prize nominee and Member of the Order of Canada, all of whom I wholeheartedly and thankfully welcome. It is indeed our privilege to have them as our Keynote speakers today.

Then we have the Panelists participating in the four Panel sittings. We have Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute, USA, we have Wiley Nickel, State Senator of North Carolina, USA, we have Dr.Ibrahim Seaga Shaw, Chairman and Information Commissioner of the Rights to Access Information Commission in Sierra Leone, we have our own Bhavani Fonseka, Senior Researcher of the Centre for Policy Alternatives, Sri Lanka, we have my friend and College mate Dr. M. Sornarajah, Emeritus Professor of Law, National University of Singapore, we have Dr.V. Nithiyanandam, Retired Professor of Economics, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka presently living in New Zealand, then we have Dr. Thamil Ananthavinayagan, Teaching Associate in International Human Rights Law, University of Nottingham, UK, we have Veronika Pavlovskaya, Senior Associate, Arzinger Law Firm, Belarus, we have Mr. Kathirgamathamby Kurunathan, former Land Commissioner, Sri Lanka, now retired and living in Batticaloa, East of Sri Lanka, we have Lorenzo Fiorito, Human Rights Advisor, Fundraising Co – ordinator, British Tamil Conservatives who has been very helpful to me, then we have Sowjeya Joseph, Lawyer and Diaspora Activist, UK, who too has been of immense help to me, then we have Mr.K.S.Ratnavel, Senior Attorney at Law and Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Development, Sri Lanka, we have Mr.R.T.Vignarajah former High Court Judge, Jaffna, Sri Lanka, a former student of mine at Ceylon Law College, we have His Holiness Velan Swamigal an Engineer by Profession and now a Hindu Swami who led the P2P of the People’s Uprising Movement, Sri Lanka, we have Dr.Kandiah Sarveswaran former Minister of Northern Provincial Council, Sri Lanka and we have Kabilini Ratnasingham from UK, Abiramy Logeswaran from US, Eelavan Karikalan from Switzerland, Barbara Vencilas from UK and Dr Kumuthini Kunaratnam from Canada representing the Youth. I welcome all of you wholeheartedly.

The Tamils of Sri Lanka are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. They have continued to live in this Island for over 3000 years. Professor Pathmanathan, Historian, Academic, Author and the current Vice Chancellor of the Jaffna University has brought out very cogent evidence in this regard. The Sinhalese Language on the other hand  is only 1300 to 1400 years old. Their first grammar, Sidat Sangarawa, was brought out in the 13th Century AD, only 700 years ago.

Until the Portuguese set foot on this Island in 1505 AD, North and East of this Island were ruled by Tamil Kings continuously. In 1833 for administrative purposes the British amalgamated the Tamil areas with the Sinhalese areas. In 1948, at Independence, the British believing the words of the Sinhala leaders who said that they would look after the minorities especially the Tamils as their own siblings handed over power into the hands of the Sinhala Leaders under a Unitary Constitution. From, that day our traditional Tamil homelands have been in jeopardy. The successive majoritarian Sinhala Governments began in earnest to expropriate the traditional Tamil homelands in the North and East. The process has gained momentum in recent times.

By about 1975 before our youth took up to arms almost 1/3rd of the traditional Tamil Lands in the East had been expropriated by the Sinhala majority governments.

Today the silent expropriation of traditional Tamil Lands has reached a high degree of sophistication and urgency. Very imperceptibly but doggedly the present government with all the resources at its command, is bent on taking over to the Sinhalese the traditional Tamil homelands in Tamil speaking areas.

Various ruses are used to usurp our lands. Our people are fast losing their traditional life style, identity and history. Sinhala life styles, identities and perverted distorted history are being mounted upon our people in these areas with the help of the Military. This is a serious violation of Human Rights. It was to put a stop to such perverse activities by successive governments that the Tamil Youth took up to arms. 

Even though in 2009 the armed struggle by our youth was brought to a brutal end the expropriation of our lands in the North and East has not stopped. In fact it has become worse. The Military who were involved in the most brutal, hideous crimes against our people have now started in earnest to expropriate our traditional Tamil Lands. The ruses used include Economic development, Archaeological excavations, Forest preservation, Wild Life sanctuaries and Bird sanctuaries respectively by Mahaweli Authority, Archaeological Department, Forest Department, Wild Life Department and Housing Departments. Many other Departments are also bent on grabbing lands in the North and East. The recent Oakland Institute Report captioned “Endless War” brings out these matters with evidence.

The latest land grabbing and resources grabbing, centre around the collection of Ilmenite sand, the Primary ore of Titanium along the Eastern coast in Tamil areas and mining of Ilmenite lands too in those areas. The Ilmenite collected, it is understood is exported to China. Tons and Tons of sand from which Ilmenite has been extracted are to be seen in Pulmoddai in the Eastern Province. The coastal areas where sand had been dug and taken away for extraction of Ilmenite are in danger of sea erosion. Internal Mining of Ilmenite disregard rights of local land owners.

The Israeli Professor Oren Yiftachel who has researched into the Land Grabbing taking place in Sri Lanka has called Sri Lanka an Ethnocratic State which means hegemony by a single race over the entire country. He has identified six areas in which such hegemony is clamped upon other races. They are –

1. by demography

2. by Armed Forces

3. by the Spatial System which includes land settlements and planning

4. by Constitutional settings

5. by the flow of Capital and

6. the Culture of the Public sphere

From the time of Independence from the British in 1948 the Ethnocratic State is fast being set up in Sri Lanka. Successive Governments’ desire to set up such an Ethnocratic State has led to political turmoils, racial contradictions, armed insurrections and severe Human Rights’ violations.

Unless this background is understood it would be difficult to bring about reconciliation and peace , accountability and Judicial settlements. International Community must recognize this fact. Without preservation of Human Rights, peace and reconciliation would be farfetched. Similarly to uphold and preserve Human Rights’ peace is necessary. Both are interlinked.

Land rights are part of Human Rights. A community’s identity, way of life and progress are dependent basically on its traditional living areas and lands. Land is the identity of the group of people who occupy it.

North and East of Sri Lanka are our traditional Homelands for over 3000 years. To expropriate such lands amounts to the destruction of our community. The Indo Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 recognized the North and East of Sri Lanka as the traditional homelands of the Tamils. Thus expropriation of our lands amount to genocide.

This is why we have arranged this International Zoom Conference to identify issues pertaining to the Loss of  Tamil Homeland and to discuss ways and means of preserving our traditional Tamil Homelands.

This Conference is our initial attempt. But we would continue to educate the locals and the International Community of what is taking place in Sri Lanka. The International Community is duty bound to help us to retrieve our traditional homelands from the successive rapacious Sinhala Governments.

I welcome all of you once again and wish a successful Conference.

*2021 March 20th at 12.30 pm London Time; 6 pm Colombo Time and 8.30 am Toronto Time – Zoom Meeting ID – 925 7244 2450, opening Speech by Justice C.V. Wigneswaran

 

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Latest comments

  • 11
    3

    Dear former Judge,
    Thank you for organising such a educative international conference at a time Sri Lanka is moving towards a dictatorial Buddhist Sinhala fundamentalism which is dangerous to the people of Sri Lanka including Sinhala speaking people. I am not against to the Sinhala people coming to live in any part of island or Tamil people coming to live in any part of he island. Multi cultural , multi lingual, multi religions should be welcomed under a common rule of law and unbiased judiciary. The island of Sri Lanka exercised such a civilised culture before the so called independence in 1948. What happened in Sri Lanka was in the seven decade governance is genocide of the people of this island who are in less number by the people who are in more number under the rule of Fundamentalism. It has to to be stopped.

    • 2
      6

      No point fighting over this.

      Divide the island equitably into 3 mono ethnic nations. Sinhala Only Nation, Tamil Elam and Muslim Elam. That is the only solution.

      Until then riots, wars, discrimination and violence will continue.

      Greed is the root cause of all misery. Don’t be greedy for the entire island. No one can have it. Divide it and relocate.

      • 8
        1

        Muslims are not an ethnicity but a religious Identity. They are recent immigrants and are of Thamizh ethnicity. No history of homeland or ancient history in the island. If they want Islamic homeland can relocate to Porikistan or to Saudi Arabia. Two nations and people these low caste converted recently migrated fake Arab Thullkans from South India love. You also can relocate with your veil and Burkha Pathima. Instead of constantly advocating for an Islamic homeland on other people’s land, where you arrived as refugees.

  • 3
    16

    What a bunch of lies and distortion of history. Tamil racists are of the same caliber as Sinhalese one. Tamils are immigrants to this land as Sinhalese. Any modern molecular anthropology studies would prove that. Indigenous people of Sri Lanka that lived here were not directly related to neither Sinhalese nor Tamil. Those hunter-gathers were different people. When the Portuguese came to Sri Lanka, the east was under Sinhalese rule. No Tamil king was controlling those parts. The Modern State of Sri Lanka was created in 1948. All this history is irrelevant and Sri Lankans from any race have the right to lives anywhere in the country. There is no Tamil exclusive land here. People were given land in the North and east because those areas have had most of the empty land that needed to be developed. Sinhalese lost land due to plantations during the British era and they rightfully need land elsewhere. Tamils don’t have any specific right to land in any part of the country.

    • 6
      1

      When the Portuguese arrived what is now Trincomallee district was part of the Jaffna kingdom. The rest of the east was 100% occupied by Eezham Thamizh and were ruled by Thamizh Vannmai chiefs, who were paying tribute to the king of Jaffna. Once the Jaffna kingdom fell to the Portuguese, these Southern Thamizh Vannimai chiefs, with no one to protect requested the Thamizh/Chingkallam kings of Kandy to protect them and they came under the loose protection of the kingdom of Kandy , that was ruled by Thamizh kings. This does not mean the east was Chingkallam or Chingkallam occupied or ruled by Chingkallams. The king of Kandy was a Thamizh and the eastern Thamizh considered and saw him as a Thamizh and he dealt with them in Thamizh. However soon the Portuguese captured the whole of the east and joined it with the rest of the Thamizh homeland to north and Trincomallee and ruled these Thamizh lands as a separate colony , from the coastal Chingkalla lands that they captured So did the Dutch . Stop posting fake and misleading history.

  • 6
    5

    An Israel professor researching land grabbing in Sri Lanka!
    Who on earth could be more qualified for the job?
    The organisers of the zoom event are doing a marvellous job.

    Soma

    • 3
      1

      He does not reflect the views of Israel. So do NOT drag Israel into this.

      Even in SL you get people with crazy views that are against the views of SL the nation.

      Misery loves company!

  • 5
    10

    ‘Until the Portuguese set foot on this Island in 1505 AD, North and East of this Island were ruled by Tamil Kings continuously. ‘

    An outright lie, not even a half-truth. The bleeding heart Westerners will swallow it wholesale. CVW should be ashamed of himself. Is this what it takes to support Tamil claims?

    • 2
      1

      Svenson,
      Was Parakrama Bahu a Sinhalese?

      • 1
        1

        No he was not. Being Sinhalese is an attitude not a race.

    • 1
      5

      I see that none of the vociferous diaspora Eelam patriots dares to contradict me.

    • 3
      1

      Ah the black Chingkalla Viking sex slave Svenson. How is your master? Is this your entertainment when you do not serve your master and lie on your back?

      • 1
        2

        Pandi Kuuti when you cannot dispute the facts you resort to vulgarity. Just what I expected.

  • 4
    5

    I hope this Conference will enlighten the international community over the demographic distribution of Tamils scattered across the island and how the separatists are trying to fool them.

    I also hope that the big guys are ready to answer the fundamental question who are Tamils?
    Are they ALL Tamil speaking people scattered across the island irrespective of their religion or the date of arrival?
    ( Some Tamils are as ancient as the Sinhalese, some arrived during the Dutch, some arrived during the British, some practise Hinduism, some Christianity and others Islam)
    OR
    Only Hindu/ Christian Tamil language speakers in Jaffna ( EXCLUDING those in Colombo and upcountry and those who practise Islam scattered all over) ?

    Soma

    • 2
      1

      Who is Choma ? A silly moronic person constantly asking stupid racist questions. Pretending to some reasonable Chingkallam but in fact a diabolical card carrying Chingkalla Poutha Fascist. Now second question. Who is a Chingkallam? Are they the descendants of a so called part lion part human exile from North East India and his rowdy friends and their Pandian Thamizh wives? Or are they the descendants of the local Dravidian Yakkas who were speaking local Thamizh dialect Elu and got converted to Buddhism or mixture of part lion part human Pandians and these Yakka peasants? Or are the Chingkallams are mixture of all these and later Thamizh immigrants and invaders ? A real pickle just like the Chingkalla language a mixture of native Thamizh , Pali, Samaskirutham and everything else. What about all those low caste and untouchable Thamizh slaves who were imported into the island by the Portuguese and Dutch and settled along the western and southern parts of the island now speaking Chingkallam and calling them selves, Pear, rotten Pear, stewed Pear, Toni. Sevenson, Choma, Eagle Blind, Chenali , Komalika , Weerakundi, Ramona and many other Iberian names like Fernando, Ferdinando, Soyza, Alwis . These low caste /untouchable Indian Thamizh imports of the Portuguese/Dutch era now make up half the Chingkallams and almost 1005 of the Coastal Chingkallams.

      • 2
        1

        Then come the Thamizh who came to rule like the Pandadanayakams, Senai Nayakams , Thambi Mudaliars , Wickremasinghams, and all the Pandas and Radalas. are they all Chingkallams or Thamizh who speak Chingkallam and dancing to an anti Thamizh Portuguese Baila( dance) . Please answer Choma. Me very confused Thamizh comes from India becomes Chingkallam and want to kill and destroy Thamizh, Who is Chingkallam a part lion? A Yakka? Ancient or Medieval Thamizh immigrant now speaking Chingkallam or low caste. untochable Thamizh imported from South India by the Portuguese and Dutch now speaking Chingkallam or all these South Indian Thamizh rulers and aristocracy who came to rule , remained behind and now speaking Chingkallam. Goodness Gracious Me . No wonder my heart goes boombidy Boombidy Chomu Chom. Me confused

        • 1
          2

          Pandi Kutti expert historian, please tell us why the Tamils have been losers for over 70 years. Don’t wait for the next 70 years to reply.

  • 10
    4

    As long as there is no demand for a separate state and every one including those Tamils in the North and the East agree to a Undivided, and Un-divisible country giving land powers to every PC should not be an issue.

    Further its time the Buddhist Monks accept the fact that the Buddhist ruins and artifacts found in the North and East are of Tamil Buddhists.

    Until these two are not done there will be no peace in Sri Lanka.

    • 3
      0

      The Sinhala Buddhist unitary character of the Sri Lankan state is the crux of the problem Tamil people are facing. How would there be peace when you want to preserve it?

    • 2
      6

      Buddhist1,
      Sinhalayo who are the Native people in Sinhale sacrificed hundreds and thousands of lives from 3rd Century BC to prevent land grabbing of their country by Dravida invaders from Hindusthan. So, do you expect Sinhalayo to give land rights to descendants of Dravida coolies brought by Portuguese and Dutch to Yapanaya who live in the North?

      Demalu who rely on Gobble’s Theory keep on repeating this blatant lie that Buddhist ruins and artifacts found in the North and East are of Tamil Buddhists. Ven. Ellawala Medhananda who has done extensive research on archeological sites in North and East say they are Sinhala Buddhist heritage sites. He has identified several sites that have been vandalized by Demalu and built Kovils on top of them so that Sinhala archeologists cannot excavate those sites. If they are Tamil heritage sites why the hell they vandalized them and built Kovils instead of protecting them to show case as Tamil Buddhist ruins and artifacts.

      • 1
        1

        Eagle Eye,

        Once again, as usual you are displaying your ignorance. No point in arguing with an ignorant person. As my Grand Mother would have said “its like falling rain on a buffalo” to enlighten an ignorant person.

        However, I would say this, go and get a DNA test done and you will find that the result based on blood analysis would show that part of your blood is also “Demalus” blood.

  • 6
    9

    “The Tamils of Sri Lanka are the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. They have continued to live in this Island for over 3000 years.”

    Why the hell these Demala Tamils who claim they are indigenous people and lived for over 3000 years in this country were confined to the most arid part of the country Yapanaya peninsula until British dragged them out of Yapanaya and settled them in coastal areas in the East. The reason was these Dravidians brought to Yapanaya by Portuguese and Dutch as coolies from Hindusthan to work in tobacco plantations were scared of Malaria.
    After Sinhale gained Independence, under the guidance of Hon.D.S.Senanayake brave Sinhalayo from South went and developed these areas facing the threat from malaria. Now ‘Para’ Demalu say those are Tamil land. What a joke!
    Sinhale is the Land of Sinhalayo. Sinhalayo who evolved in this country developed their country from scratch. Every inch of this country belong to Sinhalayo. Demala Tamils grabbed Sinhala land through Portuguese, Dutch and British.

  • 4
    8

    No question that North and part of East was ruled by Dravida invaders but not by Tamil Kings. Before Dravida invaders ruled North and part of the East, Sinhala Kings had their Kingdoms Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa in the North and East of the country. Even at the time Yapanaya was occupied by Portuguese that part of the country was under King of Kandy and Sinhalayo were the majority. Yapanaya became a Demala Tamil dominant place after Portuguese and Dutch brought Dravidians as coolies from Hindusthan.
    I simply can’t understand why Tamils do not feel ashamed to tell blatant lies.

    “Until the Portuguese set foot on this Island in 1505 AD, North and East of this Island were ruled by Tamil Kings continuously.”

    • 3
      0

      I hope you are not immortal … So can you explain how you confidently saying the history about 1505 AD and pre-history with confident without divulge the scientific evidence and sources for anyone to refer. Otherwise it is your own imagination that we all rely on rather difficult for us.

      For me if we dig deeper .. somehow human settlement happen by migration from one place to other .. Very early settlers called indigenous people. The people came later either enslave them or mingle with them. There is no pure gene talk possible anywhere in the world. Minority protection mindset and fear comes from what they experience in the past due to wrong political decisions in this country.

      The modern day civilization should embrace all beliefs and races and move forward as one country rather than supremacy/indigenous mad talk. Always rainbows are beautiful than a white ray of light.

    • 5
      0

      Eagle,
      “Portuguese and Dutch brought Dravidians as coolies from Hindusthan.”
      What about all those coolies settled from Puttalam to Matara?
      “I simply can’t understand why Sinhalayo do not feel ashamed to tell blatant lies”

    • 2
      1

      Eagle Thaattha please take your tablets to stop your hallucination. Very bad to smoke pot at your old age .

  • 2
    5

    Loss of the Sinhala Homeland in Northern and Eastern provinces; identifying issues & creating strategies to preserve Sinhala homeland……
    /
    Sinhalese must counter the lies of Malabaris pretending to be Tamils. Tamil ethnicity coined in the early 1900s. The Dutch brought the Malabaris as slaves for their tobacco plantations in the 17th century.
    /
    South Indian invaders massacred the Sinhalese in North and East, destroyed their Buddhist temples till the 15th century and the Portuguese and the Dutch invaders continued the same till the 18th century.
    /
    Since 13th century Sinhala language has progressed dramatically.
    /
    There were no Tamil kings, but chieftains in Jaffna. Arya Chakrawarthi and other Jaffna chieftains were of central Indian origin. According to Indian historians, when South Indian rulers were inter-fighting, they sought refuge from Sinhala kings, and hid their wealth in Sri Lanka. They did not rule the land but their own people. That’s why no Tamil chieftain had ever built a civilisation in Sri Lanka.
    /
    Except in Jaffna, notice that Tamils are living in the villages by the sea. Their livelihood is fishing.
    /
    British politicised the Tamils(Malabaris) and Muslims for their dived and rule ploy in the late 19th century.

    • 5
      1

      Yes the Dutch as well as the Portuguese brought in a lot of Malabaris and other Thamizh from what is modern Thamizh Nadu. All low castes to work as menials and slaves in the huge southern spice estates. They all converted themselves to Chingkallams Buddhist or Catholic and many took Portuguese family and other names like Antonio/Tonino/Toni to hide their low caste/untouchable Indian Thamizh origin from Malabar or Thamizh Nadu. Now all beating the anti Thamizh Chingkalla Aryan Para Melam and posting all sorts of lies and rubbish. You are one of them

  • 2
    0

    [The reason was these Dravidians brought to Yapanaya by Portuguese and Dutch as coolies from Hindusthan to work in tobacco plantations were scared of Malaria.]

    Blind Eagle alias Gona HLD, you bugger notorius for cooking up history. Mahavamsa was started by a pali speaking native vedda. Why you guys led by Nande is having a pan sinhala archeology expert team? So that they can just tell lies or bury and take out artefacts. This is what you guys were doing from independence. You know that tamils can’t lie or cheat. This is how you fools with severe inferiority complex and fear psychosis creating a history to change the Tamil history of Lanka. Your assistant racist Balu dosthara Jayasumana told at the UN about the tobacco cultivation that was coached by you. HLD fool change your ways and however you lie you cant even convince foolish sinhalas. See what happened at the UN and see the countries that supported Dukka Deepa. What a shame, what a disgrace. When you guys parangiyas arrived in 1605 we were already a nation in SL.

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