15 July, 2020

Blog

People In The North Should Have The Same Rights

By Laksiri Fernando –

Dr. Laksiri Fernando

The discriminatory application of rights of the people in the North and the South came into sharp focus, when the police prohibited peaceful protests to be launched in front of the Jaffna bus stand on 19th Tuesday, as the police hurriedly obtained a court order the previous day. The same day, protests took place in Colombo in front of the Fort Railway Station, and four days before, in front of the University Grants Commission (UGC), of course on different issues.

Protests have been a recurrent scene in Colombo even during the height of the war in many places; Lipton Circus and the Fort Railway Station or even Parliament junction, Battaramulla, being quite famous. It is a fundamental human right, exercised by trade unions, political parties or citizen’s organizations, that should be employed of course, peacefully, whether in Colombo or Jaffna. But even three years after the war, the people in Jaffna are not allowed to stage a peaceful protest on a matter quite fundamental to their day to day life.

The protests were mainly by the families of Valikaamam North, who have been displaced by the High Security Zone in the area since around 1990, who are now eager to get back to their original private land. Instead of giving them back their own land, the military is reported to be using the land to build permanent structures including Buddhist temples, the Asian Tribune reported (21 June 2012) quoting Mavai Senathirajah, TNA MP for Jaffna. Nearly 12,000 families have applied for resettlement to the Divisional Secretariat.

The Asian Tribune (AT) is not an anti-government website. Its editor, K. T. Rajasingham, is one of the living senior most SLFP members in the country. The AT reported that the matter will be brought before the UN, seeking redress, as the government seems to be quite oblivious to the demands of the people of Jaffna.

When the bus stand area was declared a prohibited zone for the protest, the protesters gathered near the Tellipalai Thurkka Amman Temple to air their grievances, with a religious flavour. Even they were not allowed to enter the temple premises to have a meeting. However, the protesters were determined to go to the Divisional Secretariat to hand over a petition. The procession was dispersed by the riot police and only four persons were allowed to meet the Divisional Secretary, at the Secretariat, where land matters in the area are currently handled. It was reported by other sources that when some of the protesters from Vadamarachchi area were on their way back in a bus, it was attacked, but physical harm was averted, thanks to timely action by the bus driver.

Although the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, claims that High Security Zones have been ‘drastically’ reduced, that is in fact not the case. Even according to his own figures, out of a previous 4,096 hectares, 2,582 hectares are still under the military for HSZs (Colombo Page, 19 June 2012). Most of them are not state land, but private land belonging to ordinary citizens.

Perhaps the military officials in charge of high security zones in Jaffna, rightly ask the question: “Where can the army go?” because the Defence Ministry wants them to stay. There are some clear recommendations by the LLRC, both in the final and the interim reports, after fairly investigating all sides of the matter. But these recommendations are not being implemented. For example, the LLRC recommended payments in the form of rents or fees for the period that the lands have been used in the past, since around 1990. Instead of doing so, the military or the Defence Ministry is offering rent to retain land for the future, thus distorting and aggravating the whole process.

There is no question that unravelling the land or the HSZ issue is a complicated matter. But there should be a clear ‘political will’ to do so, without letting it drag on for far too long, even complicating security issues in the country again. If the government needs rational solutions in this respect, the best thing to do is to involve some of the key members of the LLRC to serve as a ‘Land or HSZ Reconciliation Committee’ and resolve the matters as fast as possible. They are the best people, who are knowledgeable about these issues now.

Even if the government believes that there can be future security issues, although this is hardly the case, the deployment of the army is not a complicated matter, given the available technology, transport and ‘normalcy’ in the country. Most of the soldiers and officers are keen to come back home after the end of the war. But keeping the people of Jaffna continuously under the ‘military jackboot’ can be a harbinger for new security issues, or a factor to disturb the prevailing normalcy.

There have been some people who were asking me, as regards my previous articles, ‘what are the rights that the Tamil people don’t exercise, that are not common to the Sinhalese?’ Well, I have given some answers, and the ‘denial of the right to peaceful protest’ is another. Most blatant is the withholding of the Provincial Council elections in the North. Under the 13th Amendment (of the present Constitution), land is a matter that comes under the provincial councils. This is the very reason why the government should have discussed and negotiated land issues in the high security zones at least with the elected representatives to Parliament from the North, without taking unilateral or dictatorial decisions.

It may be the case that the government would soon move to curtail the peaceful protests in the South as well. An indication of this trend was shown when the police obtained permission from the judiciary to curtail the burial rituals of the slain JVP members in Hambantota, on exaggerated security grounds. The cynics might argue that in that sense, the government could level or equalize the rights of the North and the South! That may well be the case soon, but those are not the ‘rights exercised,’ but the ‘rights denied or suppressed.’

What is increasingly apparent is the interconnection between the human rights issues in the North and the South. When a government denies the rights of one section, it eventually denies the rights of the other sections as well. One positive feature of the protests in Jaffna on the 19th was at least the symbolic participation of some organizations from the South. Although the exercise of rights is unequal, the denial of rights is equal.

 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    Super stuff — keep up the nice work! Also we need to prepare for a Syria situation in Lanka fairly soon. The economy is crashing, people are fed up and will be on the streets of Colombo soon, but Rajapakse will not go or give up power without a fight. The post-war militarization of Lanka is all about Gota keeping his job (he would be unemployed and unemployable in California with out little bro mr.)and mahinda his presidency. What is going on in the Jaffna is spreading like a virus called Gotabaya throughout the country.
    Gota is a code name for a par-military virus. The guy must be white vanned and sent off for war crimes trial to the Hague soon before he contaminates more people!

  • 0
    0

    As a Sri Lankan, I am saddened by this situation.

    People of the north of Sri Lanka should not be harrassed in this way anymore.

    We are one country. Our struggles are common.

    If the state violates their rights in the north, they violate our rights in south as well.

    Sri Lanka as a nation should show more solidarity with long suffering fellow citizens in the north.

    Military can provide security in the interim. that is fine. But, quit being so intrusive on civilian life. Return their land. It is private property.

  • 0
    0

    An e-mail from a Diaspora Tamil

    You Sinhalese killed us, broke our limbs, and burnt our houses and properties to the ground, overnight we were reduced to the state of beggars. You drove us from our homeland and we became refugees begging for alms we lived on the handouts given by foreign governments there was no sense of shame left in us. But you could not do one thing. That was to remove our indomitable spirits and our work ethic. Within a matter of thirty years we have become one of the most powerful Diaspora in the world. Today, with our money and vote bank we are able to influence and lobby the western politics/politicians. We have only become second to the Jews, who were driven out by that monster Hitler. We and our children have become millionaires in our host countries. Our children have achieved what they could have never achieved in Sri Lanka. Most of them are top most professionals in their chosen field, whether it is medicine, science, engineering, IT technology or even space travel. We have become an important partner in the development and the progress of our host countries. How did we achieve this status from being beggars? To transform ourselves from Tamil refugees into such a powerful block, into top businessmen and professionals? We are stronger and more determined to achieve our goal; we will not give up this struggle until we have our own country in our own motherland.

    • 0
      0

      Well, now all this talk about “you Sinhalas” – I accuse.. etc. is a bit extreme, after all Laksiri is a Sinhala defending Tamil’s rights, and not all Sinhalas are racist. Nor do Tamils have a monopoly on victimhood in Sri Lanka. It really is mostly the Sinhala and one might add Tamil POLITICIANS who have used racist politics to build up vote banks by appealing to the under-educated people’s emotions that are the real racists. While this kind of diaspora rhetoric is understandable from recent refugees who are angry and upset having to flee their country, it’s also counter-productive to a negotiated solution in the long run.. A separate state would be too messy since Sri Lanka is a cultural mosaic and there are minorities settled all over.. better to negotiate but for that responsible politicians are needed on both sides..

    • 0
      0

      What emotional, racist garbage! We global LTTE Diaspora is out to get you, big, Sinhalese philosophy!

      This will not resolve anything. Will only make matters worse.

      Sri Lanka defeated the ruthless LTTE at a very high cost to all her citizens. Specially her Tamil citizens in the north paid a terrible price.

      Now Sri Lanka must defeat racists like yourself whether Tamil, Sinhalese or Muslim. And she will!

      Go ahaed and imitate Zionists. Waste your time trying to build a racially segregated pure Tamil ethnic enclave in tiny Sri Lanka. Where boarder skirmishing will last forever.

      We Sri Lankans on the otherhand, will build a multi-ethnic, multi-religous and multi-lingual nation governed by rule-of-law. At peace and properous. Where all citizens are equal before the law. We will prevail. Make no mistake.

      • 0
        0

        You Sinhalese looted us, burned our houses, killed our people in racial riots, you even attacked the unarmed non violent Tamil protesters from the days of independence. But we didn’t stop demanding our rightful share in our historic habitat in Sri Lanka, our native homeland culturally evolved by innumerable generations of our people, that our forefathers lived and defended for many centuries. It is our duty to protect and preserve it for our future generations.

        You Sinhalese killed and maimed our people using chemical weapons with the help of the foreigners who have nothing to do with Sri Lanka. You herded our people like animals in the concentration camps, raped and terrorized Tamil mothers, sisters and innocent children. You colonized and are continuingly colonizing our homes and villages with Sinhala thugs. You are permanently settling the Sinhala thugs in uniform in our towns and cities to intimidate us forever.

        Do you really think all these terror tactics will deter the Tamils from defending our historic habitat in Sri Lanka and demanding our rightful share in our country, where our history goes back to more than two millennia? The land that was once ruled by our king Ellalan and Sangilian?

        Our language, culture, and way of living were shaped by the history, climate, traditions and natural resources of Sri Lanka. We Tamils also have the same will and determination like you Sinhalese, because the Sri Lankan Tamils also drank the same Sri Lankan water as you. So, we will also not give up our demands. Let’s see where this will lead to.

        The majority of Tamils support and others sympathize with the Tamil youth who took arms to defend our homeland. Some powerful countries joined the Sinhalese, to defeat the Tamils armed struggle for self determination, to protect their own selfish geopolitical interests.

        The Sinhalese mortgaged the independence and sovereignty of Sri Lanka to defeat their own Tamil countrymen who asked them to let them live in peace and dignity, without the interference of Sinhala Buddhist hegemony, in their traditional habitat to protect their Tamil identity and culture. But the inherent Sinhala racism of Sinhalese didn’t allow them to accommodate the Tamil’s reasonable request. At the end the Sinhalese and Tamils will lose the entire island to the Indians or Chinese, or both.

    • 0
      0

      Let’s not be so modest here. We Thamizh have also become world class fraudsters, ghetto gangsters, benefit thieves, people smugglers and associated criminals. Quite an achievement for such a small minority, to dominate nearly every headline regarding ‘Sri Lankan’ criminals in the west, and a testament to our high IQs.

      • 0
        0

        You are right. The Tamils have become experts in everything good as well as bad, jack of all trades. Today there are more than a million Sri Lankan Tamils (Diaspora) around the Western World from North America to Australia/New Zealand doing extremely well. All their children are attending the top class universities in the World. You made us beggars and refugees but it only took us a very short time for us to bounce back and become millionaires in our host land. Today we have become rich and strong, just like the rich Jews controlling the American politics; the rich Tamil (Diaspora) are now capable of financing election campaigns in the West. In another few years we will be as powerful as the Jews.

        When the Jews were thrown out from their land and humiliated and killed in tens of thousands, they migrated to the West as refugees. Today they are not only one of the richest nations all over the world but they are also manipulating and controlling the Western politics and the World politics. The Tamil Diaspora is following exactly what the Jews did. They are determined to achieve their goal. We have seen how finally India helped the Muslim part of its East Bengal to separate into Bangladesh. We have seen what happened in Kosovo. We have seen what happened to Sudan. This is not an internal domestic SL issue anymore. It is a globalized/internationalized issue where Uncle Sam and the Western powers are influenced by the Tamil Diaspora to interfere. The entire world is realizing now that the LTTE is only the byproduct of SL Tamils struggle against Sinhala racism.

        • 0
          0

          Right. Very good plan.

          Do not forget the Jewish people returned after 2500 years.

          LTTE Die-ass-pora has really a lot of time to waste.

          Use that time to set Tamls up against Sinhalese rather than building bridges.

          Good luck!

        • 0
          0

          While you are at it please do not forget to inform your so called fiends in the West about LTTE die-ass-pora’s extreme version of ethno-nationalism.

          Please tell them you hate to share anything with anyone. That you are dreaming of a ethnicaly cleansed enclave for believers of the Ealam project.

          Keep the dream alive!

    • 0
      0

      Yes this is the undeniable fact. There is a saying in Sinhalese, ‘Wanse handiganawa’. The same will happen to the Sinhalese one day. They will be the paupers while the Tamils will be the educated and wealthy. My blessing for them as a Sinhalese Aristocrat.

  • 0
    0

    Way to go Laksiri! Be of good courage and keep writing..

  • 0
    0

    Very good Article.Sinhala and Tamil people can live together it is proven.I believe also in the future we can live together Most of the Sinhala people are not racist.It is only the political Elite in Sri Lanka keeps this racial fire burning for the last 60 years their own gains.And they will keep it as long as possible because the ethnic problem has become a milking cow for them.It is very sad that so many life’s (Sinhala &Tamil) been lost in the name of this ”MURDEROUS ETHNIC ” problem.

    • 0
      0

      We do need a true Stateman to knock some heads together and make decisions that benefits the country in the long term however unpopular in may seem in the short term.
      Regret to say, MR was on the right path but some how he has lost the plot.

      • 0
        0

        Chandra, yes MR was on the right path, embezzling Tsunami Funds as a starter. Using Wambottas to eliminate who stood in his way then and now Juliyampitiye Amare and a number of innocent lives as that of Lasantha Wickrematunge paid for. What a ‘right path’ as you suggest?

  • 0
    0

    Guys like Laksiri and all those other Sri Lanka-Tamils(Tamils of Tamil Nadu orign-a self-evident fact) need to go on the basic lesson of National Sovereignty. Every square inch of land of the Island of Heladiva (authentic name)rests and upheld by the Sovereignty of the NATION of Helas. Helas are INCLUSIVE of all non indigenous races settled in Heladiva, including Tamils of Tamil Nadu racial origin. Presently, all lands in the north or anywhere else ownned privately by the SL-Tamils and others are ONLY private and can NEVER be “Tamil national lands” or any other national lands. Tamil lands are found ONLY in Tamil Nadu(Tamil country). In a sovereign country the whole land mass is upheld by the inviolable National Sovereignty irrespective of private land ownership. Based on the major threat to national Hela sovereignty in the north by certain “SL-Tamils'” attempted invasive terror, the land right can be solely held or changed in Upholding the Island’s inalienable National sovereignty for posterity. As the siuation in the north is an exceptional circumstance – eternal vigilance or high alert is also the order or time.

    The fundamnetal self-evident fact of the already existent Tamil Nadu is totally ignored by ALL, in this ongoing “National Crisis” fervour is ludicrous and an insult to Justice & Truth! This imbecillic factor prevailing in the Hela/Sinhela mindset is the result of brainwashing the Hela Nation by most of the past pseudo-Sinhlea rulers who masqueraded as our national leaders.

    All Tamil diaspora are FROM Tamil Nadu and their notion that Hela-Tamils cannot achieve the same what they can achieve in Western countries is nonsense. What in their warped mindset are shamefully saying is that a part of the tiny Hela/Sinhela National Country of Heladiva, is also a second Tamil Nadu. Because they have not the guts, intelligence and panache to free their ONLY Tamil country of Tamil Nadu from Indian Colonialism!

    The final solution is to correct the greatest injustice in history of this bogus Sri Lanka nation into its rightful Hela Nation and the country to Heladiva, where all races become INCLUSIVE Hela nationals, the universal concept practised in all national countries. This artificially named country of SL – unlike any other national country, has recognised settler races as separate “small nations”, is the prime cause of the national problem. The national problem of the Island is the Hela National problem and there are no other nations within Heladiva and there is only ONE nation within every sovereign country!

    • 0
      0

      This poor ignorant fellow seems to have never read even his own history. Who are these so called Helas? Which history says Helas were Sinhalese? The Mahavamsa very clearly says the Sinhalese are the decedents of Sinhabahu of Sinhapura in India. The Sinhalese are immigrants from India who came in a boat (Vijaya and his people). The Tamils occupied South India (presently called Tamil Nadu after the British) and Sri Lanka (also called Eelam) at the same time many thousands of years ago. The NASA satellite image shows that both South India and Sri Lanka were linked by the Adam’s bridge (Ram Setu) during the ancient period. Once upon a time in the ancient past, both South India and Sri Lanka were one Tamil country linked by the Ram Setu Bridge and the aboriginals of Sri Lanka were Veddas. The original people of Sri Lanka were Veddas and Tamils. The history says the Sinhalese (Sinhabahu’s decedents) came from India (Sinhapura) in a boat only around 2500 years ago, The Tamils of India who live in Tamil Nadu are called Indian Tamils. The Tamils of Sri Lanka who live in Tamil Eelam are called Sri Lankan Tamils. They both occupied South India and Sri Lanka at the same time and they both follow the same language, religion and culture.

      This fellow must be talking about the Tamils of Tamil Nadu that the British brought to Sri Lanka and settled in the upcountry or Tea plantation. They have also lived in Sri Lanka for more than a hundred years. They also deserve to have every right that the Sinhalese who came from India have.

  • 0
    0

    Guys like Laksiri and all those other Sri Lanka-Tamils(Tamils of Tamil Nadu orign-a self-evident fact) need to go on the basic lesson of National Sovereignty. Every square inch of land of the Island of Heladiva (authentic name)rests and upheld by the Sovereignty of the NATION of Helas. Helas are INCLUSIVE of all non indigenous races settled in Heladiva, including Tamils of Tamil Nadu racial origin. Presently, all lands in the north or anywhere else owned privately by the SL-Tamils and others are ONLY private and can NEVER be “Tamil national lands” or any other national lands. Tamil lands are found ONLY in Tamil Nadu(Tamil country). In a sovereign country the whole land mass is upheld by the inviolable National Sovereignty irrespective of private land ownership. Based on the major threat to national Hela sovereignty in the north by certain “SL-Tamils'” attempted invasive terror, the land right can be solely held or changed in Upholding the Island’s inalienable National sovereignty for posterity. As the situation in the north is an exceptional circumstance – eternal vigilance or high alert is also the order or time.

    The fundamental self-evident fact of the already existent Tamil Nadu is totally ignored by ALL, in this ongoing “National Crisis” fervour is ludicrous and an insult to Justice & Truth! This imbecilic factor prevailing in the Hela/Sinhela mindset is the result of brainwashing the Hela Nation by most of the past pseudo-Sinhela rulers who masqueraded as our national leaders.

    All Tamil diaspora are FROM Tamil Nadu and their notion that Hela-Tamils cannot achieve the same what they can achieve in Western countries is nonsense. What in their warped mindset are shamefully saying is that a part of the tiny Hela/Sinhela National Country of Heladiva, is also a second Tamil Nadu. Because they have not the guts, intelligence and panache to free their ONLY Tamil country of Tamil Nadu from Indian Colonialism!

    The final solution is to correct the greatest injustice in history of this bogus Sri Lanka nation into its rightful Hela Nation and the country to Heladiva, where all races become INCLUSIVE Hela nationals, the universal concept practised in all national countries. This artificially named country of SL – unlike any other national country, has recognised settler races as separate “small nations”, is the prime cause of the national problem. The national problem of the Island is the Hela National problem and there are no other nations within Heladiva and there is only ONE nation within every sovereign country!

    • 0
      0

      This ignorant idiot does not know even the basic general knowledge.

      The Tamils of South India who live in Tamil Nadu are called Indian Tamils. The Tamils of Sri Lanka who live in Tamil Eelam are called Sri Lankan Tamils. Tamil Nadu belongs to the Tamils of South India where as Tamil Eelam belongs to the Tamils of Sri Lanka.
      Both Indian Tamils of South India (presently known as Tamil Nadu) and the Sri Lankan Tamils of Tamil Eelam (N & E) occupied South India and Sri Lanka at the same time thousands of years ago and they both follow the same language, religion and culture.

    • 0
      0

      During the ancient past, South India and Sri Lanka were one region separated by a narrow and shallow sea but linked by a bridge called Rama Setu. Even though we are still not sure from where these people came, the ancient people (tribes) who occupied South India also occupied Sri Lanka (Nagas, Yakshas,Rakshasas and Devas). These people were also freely moving to and fro in the common South India – Sri Lanka region (says historian Prof. Indrapala). At a later stage, the people of South India were known as Cholas, Pandyans and Cheras where as the people in Sri Lanka were known as Hela and Demada. Today the Tamils in South India (Tamil Nadu is a recent name adopted after the British) are the decedents of Cholas, Pandyans and Cheras. Similarly, today the Sinhalese and Sri Lankan Tamils are the decedents of both Hela and Demada (with mix from North Indians and many others).

      Prof. Senerath Paranavithana (Archeologist and historian) wrote ‘The vast majority of the people who today speak SINHALESE or TAMIL must have ultimately been descended from those autochthonous people of whom we know next to nothing.’

  • 0
    0

    The people should have the same rights as the Tamils who are able to purchase and own lands in the South. The racist and infamous “Thesawalami” law must be abolished immediately and those from the South and non-Tamils must be permitted to buy and own land in Jaffna.

    • 0
      0

      Appuhamy, if Tamils are given recognition and the two ethnic groups are allowed to mix, with passage of time there will be intermarriage and this Thesawallamai Law will automatically lose it’s importance as property will change hands. Bafoons who do not have a vission see no end to problems.

  • 0
    0

    The Sinhala people should have the same rights as the Tamils who are able to purchase and own lands in the South. The racist and infamous “Thesawalami” law must be abolished immediately and those from the South and non-Tamils must be permitted to buy and own land in Jaffna.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 7 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.