22 October, 2017

The Wilpattu Controversy: Open Letter To The President

Prof. Shahul Hasbullah

Appeal to withhold the Gazette notification (Friday, 24th March 2017) declaring as forest area vast tracks of traditional lands owned by the people of Musali in Mannar District

Hon. President Maithripala Sirisena Presidential Secretariat,
Colombo.
31/03/2017

Your Excellency,

Appeal to withhold the Gazette notification (Friday, 24th March 2017) declaring as forest area vast tracks of traditional lands owned by the people of Musali in Mannar District

I write this appeal to you to revoke the gazette notification which declares as forest area the vast tracks of traditional lands owned by the people of Musali in Mannar District, knowing that you will protect the rights of the displaced people. You have already proven this by similar actions, giving relief to thousands of war affected people, elsewhere in the conflict affected areas of the country.

I support my appeal based on my intimate knowledge and personal experience about the people and the land of Musali. As an academic, I have written a document titled Denying the Right to Return: Resettlement in Musali South and the Wilpattu Controversy, which was based on intensive research and observation, and providing factual information about the claims made in this appeal.

  1. The people of Musali (Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese) have been living in this area for more than 500 years as historical evidences indicate, except for a 30 year absence when they were living elsewhere, because of forcible expulsion by the LTTE in 1990.
  2. The people are peasant farmers and fully dependent on a land based economy that includes paddy, chena and cattle farming.
  3. Recently declared forest boundary denies the access and use of their paddy lands, chena lands and areas of cattle farming located in “declared forest area”.
  4. Recent forest demarcation is done in a manner that is disconnected from the historical continuity of the communities of North and South Musali, of both Tamils and Muslims. It artificially creates enclaves which would restrict mobility and social interactions of the people of the region.
  5. With the forest demarcation, returnees are living in fear as to what would be their future in a place where watchful forest guards and other security activities may take place.
  6. The forest boundary goes along the fences of the houses of the people and make them feel like living in a cadged situation.
  7. A forest reserve going along the settlement invites human-elephant conflicts closer to home. Settlers would be affected by the treats of other types of wildlife.
  8. The action by the state has already caused a negative impact on the returnees and displacement from their homes again.
  9. Future IDPs returning to this and other areas will be hampered by the declaration and implementation of the newly declared forest reserve.

I would be grateful if you would kindly consider the above appeal and take a wise decision that will give justice and durable solution to the people of Musali, who have been affected by the three decade long war.

Thank you, Yours faithfully,

Professor Shahul H. Hasbullah

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 6
    13

    Thank you very much Professor for your timely written appeal to his excellency president. As you are more capable scholar from concerned area and for the last three decades you had been voicing the truthfulness of this issue. Therefore it’s much valuable information to authority and to public too.

    • 5
      1

      Dear Prof. Shahul Hasbullah,

      Thanks for the write up and appeal.

      While on January 9, 2015, he was Hon. President Maithripala Sirisena, and His excellency, the Hon. and Excellency have rapidly eroded since then, even before the Muslim IDP issues came up, and he has earned new Titles, based on his other actions, below.

      The new Titles are Turncoat, Traitor, Gona (whore in colloquial Sinhala), Mala Perethaya ( living off the dead who were killed by Mahinda Rajapaksa and cronies), and Sevalaya (sleaze), to those who voted for him.

      Anyway, it is good to make an appeal despite his new titles, in the hope that he will see the light.

    • 4
      1

      LTTE did well to protect Srilanka’s forest cover. If LTTE was around, this forest would be protected.

      At least Mother Nature weeps LTTE’s demise!

  • 7
    15

    Total bullshit

    • 8
      9

      Great! What a typical ass of a response to a write up by an academic…. truly reflects your beginnings and upbringing!

  • 4
    8

    The people of Musali are merely undergoing what people of the north have been experiencing, since the end of the war.
    The president must reconsider the matter.
    Else, this matter will influence votes at the next presidential and parliamentary elections.
    The ruling caucus will regret.

  • 11
    7

    I love how the professor claims to speak for the Tamils too (when it is in his interest). LOL

    Where did this no. 500 years come from ?

    • 15
      8

      As a former soldier who was actively engaged in the War front, I am fully aware how Muslim Home guards took pride in killing Tamils and destroying their property. We Sinhalese soldiers in the Army had to keep a constant check on these Muslim Home guards because they were bringing a bad name to the Army. Our platoon once initiated a strict code of conduct specifically for Muslim Home guards.

      While Sinhalese Home guards were simply trying to protect them and their families from the LTTE, the Muslim Home guards had bigger ideas. Land appropriation was their number one target seconded by Gold procurement.

      In a way, Prabahakaran’s decision to confiscate Muslim belongings can be somewhat justified because the amount of Gold Muslim HGs stole from Tamils were far bigger in quantities than Prabha’s heist. Gold coins, gold teeth, jewellery, nothing was spared.

      For this reason, Tamils should never unite with Muslims. Even if they were to unite with us.

      And, yes, 500 years. Where does that number come from? In year 1517, Wilpattu was uninhabited jungles while the surrounding riparian forests were inhabited by the Veddhas.

      These Muslim claims are slowly becoming like the Eelam land claims.

      For every one letter written to the President, I will write two to ask him to stay put with his decision.

      • 12
        7

        “In a way, Prabahakaran’s decision to confiscate Muslim belongings can be somewhat justified because the amount of Gold Muslim HGs stole from Tamils were far bigger in quantities than Prabha’s heist. Gold coins, gold teeth, jewellery, nothing was spared.”

        This comment is a disgrace. Not even the LTTE made such allegations when it drove out the northern Muslims.

        Would the good soldier tell us a little about the gold and goods that went missing in the post-war context.

      • 7
        4

        Thanks for the first hand accounts of the culprits!

        This is the plight of the country for not having strong leaders!
        Every dick is fishing in the troubled water!
        Every dick now has a traditional lands!
        Under this doctrine, No one else can go there?
        Wonder what we do to all lands Sinhalese lost and had been occupying for 2500 years. Guess then all are our traditional land and we can kick everyone out?

        This is why we need to bring back someone like Gotabhaya to remind everyone that land/country belongs to everyone and not open for negotiations.

        You could blame me a conspiracy theorist, look how the Muslim and Tamil articles being published on this them in this CT!

        Everyone should be mixed with everyone, so no one has special rights for any land.

        The game plan was to start with the small extent they had originally and to expand from that to Wilpattu reserve.

        Traditional grazing land!
        Traditional firewood land!
        Traditional worship land!
        Traditional your mother’s land!

        What a state we are in!

      • 1
        3

        Dear officer,

        There is no LTTE today and we have a free hand. Some of your allegations are obviously wrong. Did you know that some army people were in LTTE’s payroll?

    • 4
      0

      Simple.

      Current year is 2017. Minus 17 for non-Buddhist and non-Hindu percentage. Then you get 2,000. That divided by four for the four major religions in SL and you get 500.

      You don’t need history to claim a homeland. Some unbelievable theory is sufficient. Ever heard the lion theory, the tiger theory and the dog theory?

  • 4
    7

    I support the writer’s plea. The State should protect the commons, which form part of the livelihood and cultural space of the people of the area.It must not acquire them for partisan purposes.

    I also trust the writer would take greater care and exercise the same objectivity and show the same dedication to the public good, and the future of education in the North, in discharging his duties as a council member of the University of Jaffna.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 4
    12

    Thank you Prof. Hasbullah. Your authorship of this gives credibility to what you have asked for.

    Anyway, refugees returning to their homes should have priority over animals and trees, although animals and trees too need to be saved from our development.

  • 5
    3

    I fully endorse the timely plea of Professor Hasbulla

  • 7
    1

    While I endorse the plea unreservedly, there are specifics which need to be seriously addressed. Most of these are better not discussed in fora where serious discussion yields to trivia or even sensationalism.

    I hope that you are making (if you have not already made) specific recommendations comprising concrete proposals that will address legal, humanitarian and environmental concerns which are seen to be in conflict.
    Such approach is essential to pleading just cases.
    I hope that your good work continues out of the limelight as well, to gather reasoned support.

  • 1
    1

    I think the professor is providing opportunities to idiots who in turn falsify figures to make the racists happy. This very important subject brought forth after lots of research is wasted, like pearls among swine, who are ready to pounce with utter disregard to the welfare of all those displaced. I shall therefore recommend this matter taken up with much vigor in a different forum with the assistance of more of your caliber to support your honest and sincere notion.

    Good luck

    • 2
      1

      Subject, Brought forth after lots of research, summarized into 9 points!

      I guess you must be at the same caliber of the good old professor here that you understand what we all do not understand this honest and sincere notion!

      I guess pigs are also flying in your universe!

  • 5
    3

    The article with lies is mixture of Al-Taqiyya, Al-Kitman, Al-Muruna, Al-Tawriya,etc,etc.

    There are no Muslim IDPs in Sri Lanka. So called Muslim IDPs are all hoax. Muslim IDP drama was choreographed by then MR government to get votes at UN, MR even donated US$ 1 million in financial assistance to Palestine.

    Nobody lives in the poorly built huts which were build the the most corrupt politician whose family members own 5000 or so acres. The corrupt politician’s henchmen are patrolling in the Wilpattuwa jungle.

    As the LTTE terrorism began, Muslim people in north went back home to Tamil Nadu. Few families may have settled in Puttalama. Besides those Muslims’s previous generation were known as Kallathonies/ illegal immigrants, they got their fraudulent Sri Lankan birth certificates and land deeds through corrupt Muslim lawyers and corrupt Muslim Justices of peace. 90% Muslims are recent illegal immigrants.

    Halal certificate issue is a bid fraud, even non-Muslims have to pay extra for goods, and where do the ill gotten Halal money go?

    SL government must serve native Sinhalese’s interests before serving these invasive Kallathonies. Sinhala village youth who don’t have a square inch of land in their own motherland joined the Army and defeated the LTTE terrorists, at the time Muslims couldn’t be bothered to join the Army, they kept Muslimising Sri Lanka and now thousands of Sri Lankan Muslim youths have joined various Jihadi/ISIS terrorists groups across the world.

    The way Muslim things are happening in Sri Lanka, don’t be surprised if your next door neighbor is Al-Baghdadi who will invite you to his house warming party with plenty of pork chops, beacon sandwiches, hotdogs, etc.

  • 4
    1

    first you guys should explain how there are IDPs even 7 years after the chasing out of muslims.

    I think your plan is to get into Tamil areas for conversion and it is completely political. In no time, you will have so many Tamil- muslim villages.

    • 0
      5

      Tamils are Muslims. Out of fear of LTTE they converted to Hinduism. They used to be Muslims.

      • 2
        3

        Iqbal,

        Jim wouldn’t understand you. He only understands cross dressing by monks. talk to him in terms of why monks cross dress, he will understand

    • 1
      4

      You should explain why there are over 15 million SInhala IDPS in the south thousands of years after arriving in a boat 700 men.?? I thought only monks cross dress and a homo erotic but even their history is homoerotic that they arrived with 700 men. I am sure Vijaya’s 700 men had lot of fun in that ship.

  • 3
    1

    Traditional grazing land!
    Traditional firewood land!
    Traditional worship land!
    Traditional your mother’s land!
    Many agree with Srinath! At the end these so-called minorities may say we had our traditional land (with shrubs and bushes) for sexual intercourse too so that ‘our’ culture and/or religious beliefs will not mix up with any others’. They needed such extra hidden spots because of the number of women (even before puberty) they could keep according to their religion!
    Srinath foresees: “This is why we need to bring back someone like Gotabhaya to remind everyone that land/country belongs to everyone and not open for negotiations.”
    My vote and many more votes from my family members and colleagues are already for Gota!

  • 0
    1

    it reflects our voice in an academic way, thanks prof. Hasbullah.
    by the way i wonder why some of you asking like // how there are IDPs even 7 years after the chasing out of muslims.//

    this is not an overnight task to overcome, Musali is shadow of itself, it’s somehow long term process. IDPs are still scattered around SL especially in North West. that’s why we are clamming the president to oil the system to boost up.

    yes there are still a Ministry for Resettlement and people for resettled

  • 1
    2

    500 years ago means somewhere in 1517.The Portugese arrived in 1505 and a few years after that in the 16th century King Senerat[Kandyan Kingdom] settled around 6000 Muslims in the Batticaloa region.This region then extended along the coastal belt of the present day Amparai District.Wilpattu and its environs would not have had any Human settlements of either Muslim,Tamil or for that matter Sinhala.Most probably it was the abode and Habitat of wild animals with a Veddah population hunting for their food!Virgin forest.Perhaps we need to know when Wilpattu was designated as a wild life sanctuary.

    • 3
      2

      Muslims settled along the western coast a few centuries before the Portuguese set foot.

      Although no historian, I am aware that the north western part of the island was among the early centres of the island’s agricultural economy.
      Agricultural land can become forested in a matter of a few centuries as explained by Prof. K. Indrapala in his major work of a decade ago, in connection with the geographical segregation of the North from the South.

      I am aware of a more detailed work by the author of the article, written over an year ago, on which I cannot lay my hands immediately.
      Prof Hasbullah is not a person who speculates wildly.

  • 2
    0

    there is a buddhist monk who completed a MAster’s thesis on the same subject and he exposed what rishad Bathiuddin doung was in a TV debate. This Professor should address his concerns with that monk.

    AS a professor you haven’t made a good presentation. YOU just make some claims without any evidence to support it.

    • 0
      1

      As you indicated in your previous post there are universities where you can pay to get your degree. That is how monks get their degree by paying from donation given to the temple. Rest of the donation goes towards their sarees.

      • 0
        0

        This man(?) AJ is always insulting Buddhists and Buddhist monks in the most disgusting manner . He must be a real low life from a very
        uneducated , servant class background .

  • 0
    0

    Hello prof. Hasbullah, many appreciate your timely intervention. This problem cant be left with politician. They will politicize the matter and make it worse. You know far better than others about the harmonious life between communities. People already lost their lives due to displacement and another predicament now. We are worried about the gazette notification culture. In Ampara area, govt. used religious reasons to confiscates the land and here forest preservation. We all give our solidarity to resolve this matter amicably.

  • 1
    0

    Has Dr Batalnda Ranil’s Wahabi Faction mobilized the Muslims to roll the President?.

    If the President does not withdraw the Gazette Notice all Mosques in the Island will rise against the President.

    It is the latest Fatwa, according to Colombo Media.

    Bathudeen has already reclaimed thousands of acres of the National Forest and settled his Muslim brothers and sisters.

    Now the Inland wide Muslims community want total control of the National Park.

    Go for it boys.

    Dr Batalanda Ranil is not interested in National Parks, Flora and Fauna .

    He only wants to hand over North to Tamils and the East to Tamils and Muslims .

    As far wild life and nature is concerned, Dr Ranil only wants Folks Wagon Plants and Italian Radial Tyre Plants.

  • 1
    0

    Prof. Shahul Hasbullah:

    what if, some one does a survey about these IDPs’ and prove that all the IDPs were settled long ago and your political party or your group of muslims are trying to cheat the govt and the whole country ?

    • 0
      0

      WHAT IF SOMEONE DOES A SURVEY AND PROVE ALL THE sINHALESE CAME FROM WHAT IS IT USED TO BE CALLED NOTHERN INDIA AT THE TIME, WILL YOU RETURN TO YOUR HOME COUNTRY WITH YOU SAREE WEARING CREW OF MONKS?

  • 0
    0

    SJ/sekera/sivasekeram.

    ….Muslims settled along the Western Coast a few centuries before the Portugese set foot….
    These are the Muslims who were settled by King Senerat in the Batticaloa region since they were harassed by the Portugese.
    This was my my response to the essay above.
    This issue is about Muslims in the North-Western region!
    Prof:Hasbullah is not a person who speculates wildly you say.
    Maybe true,how about you?

    • 0
      0

      Pygs, you say:
      “Wilpattu and its environs would not have had any Human settlements of either Muslim,Tamil or for that matter Sinhala.”
      I wonder if one could be more wildly speculative than that.

      Historians have noted that Pompirrppu (Ilavankulam) in the North West was among the earliest agricultural settlements in the island.
      Kudiraimalai on the coast between Mannar and Puttalam is an early human settlement; and then the Giant’s Tank (Sothaiyankattu) close to Mannar.
      The Wilpattu region seems to have had a large number of tanks (not military tanks) rediscovered in later years.
      Demarcation of Wilpattu as a wild life sanctuary was a late 19th Century idea of a batch of white men to arrive here.

      I suppose that the likes of RL Brohier did not indulge in speculation– wild or otherwise.

  • 1
    3

    Prof has demonstrated his total practical ignorance of the matter .Muslims breed like rats and Muslim ministers destroy the Forest reserves at will changing and distorting the entire environment . Empty bull ah must understand that Sinhalese saved Muslims from total annihilation twice from Portuguese. Muslims destroy the environment at will and and bribing Sinhalese Politicians , they forcibly encroach even Buddhist lands . Deegawaapi which had 12000 acres gazetted reserve now has only 600 odd acres . You and your kind please go and stay in Middle East , if you cant live here according to Govt rules. You ran like dogs with tails between legs when LTTE ordered you . How many joined the Army to rescue your areas , when the war was on . Don talk bull shit. I know plenty of profs who are total bums like you .

    • 2
      1

      Paul S..

      Sorry, it is April 1st.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

  • 1
    0

    SJ.

    The IRRIGATION TANKS would have been there.After all Dr.R.L.Brohier,an authority on the subject has rediscovered this in his book.The question here is the 500 year occupation of these lands by the Muslims.It is a well established fact that practically all irrigation tanks in the country was the work of Sinhala Kings.

  • 0
    0

    Pygs, you said:
    “Wilpattu and its environs would not have had any Human settlements of either Muslim,Tamil or for that matter Sinhala.”

  • 0
    0

    sj/sekera/sivasekaram.

    The Sinhala settlements went into jungle.Naturally,after that there were no other settlements of either Sinhala,Tamil or Muslim!
    You have not answered that claim of 500 years!

    • 0
      0

      I did not claim anything more than point to the existence of Muslims along the west coast before Portuguese arrival.

      I cannot continue discussion on more of wild guesswork.

      Cheers.

  • 1
    2

    What is the issue here? Find land for our erstwhile Animal Population or large plots of land for the refugee who may have settled elsewhere too .Animals too deserve to live like us and land is running out .Hambantota down south where there were Muslim settlements of Merchants was a sleepy town undisturbed and idyllic where man and beast YALA and Wirawila but now disturbed in an incredible manner . .Just because we got on top of the food chain by using weaponry to kill animals does not mean that we have a right to deprive them and endangering them …God whom all people from the ME believe wanted animals saved even when the deluge happened as quoted in the holy books ., We can only appeal to the Muslim people who believe in Gods creation spare your thoughts for tha animals and find a place for them too when making demands for 100,000 acres of land .if I read right. Live their life in the open not behind bars in a Zoo. Discuss and debate how best we could solve this problem without too much greed to have large plots of acres .the land that was allowed to be settled due to the goodness of our rulers in compassion and care ..Wilpattu is the only real Abaya bhumi that we cherish as all SrIlankans and so proud that we have land for animals unlike most small countries of the west ..

  • 0
    0

    SJ.

    Oh!
    You are unable to defend any further your Hunting mate of the Council-UOJ!

  • 0
    2

    Dot.
    I agree.Wilpattu and its environs need to be protected at any cost!

  • 2
    2

    Wilpattu sanctuary is a national treasure! It is not something that is on the table for negotiations! Period.
    If you have a resettlement problem speak to the government and find out a suitable place; but not at the expense of the diminishing forest cover.
    If you are a learned fellow you should understand the pros and cons of this issue as a Sri Lankan (not as a Muslim) and look for optional solutions, bring them up to this forum, and the government. However,encroaching Wilpattu and its catchment areas is not the solution!
    And also don’t bring up your own ‘divine’ laws when it comes to national issues like deforestation! You may say Almighty God created Muslims to live wherever they like to live! Agreed (not with the creation part but with the individual freedom to move anywhere you like as a human); but you should know as a Prof, that there are restrictions and those restrictions are for the benefit of all of us!

  • 1
    1

    I very much doubt your credentials if you argue this way . You and your 500 history . It has been proven beyond doubt,scientifically that Sinhalese ancestors landed on this island more than 100,000 years ago as opposed to Mythological Wijaya from India story .
    Also bear in mind Constantine De Zousa , found this Island , not due to exploration , but Portuguese were seeking to Annihilate Muslims from the world after rescuing Spain. They tried to do this twice. It was the Sinhalese Kings who protected the Muslims .
    While saluting the dead heroes ,it must be mentioned only 93 odd Muslim soldiers died during the entire duration of the war. And most of them were Malay Muslims from Colombo. Radical Islam has become a scourge to the whole world.
    Destruction of Wilpaththu forest has put the entire country at an environmental Disaster . Those who gave you that title P , MUST BE PUT BEHIND BARS .This is not the only place. They have invaded the Temple lands by force, while destroying world heritage ruins. One can argue , that it is a small group , compared to silent Muslim Majority . Majority of the Germans were peaceful too. But Hitler butchered some 25 Millions . In 70 s 50 guerillas , controlled the entire Italy for 2 weeks . P.M. was Aldo Moro.
    Hisbullah , you have to understand that this country belongs to Sinhalese . But minorities are allowed to live peacefully. Still the Sinhalese are divided . But the day they come together , you will be history. There is a limit to tolerance.

    • 1
      1

      Paul Smith
      100,000 years?
      With it you will put to shame Baron Von Munchausen.

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.