For the past twenty-eight days, Tamil people of Keppapilavu and Puthukkudiyiruppu in Mullaitivu district including women and children have been protesting against the authoritarian occupation of their homelands by the Sri Lankan military and Air Force. These people who were displaced during the civil war wish to go back to their homes and lands. To return to and resettle in places where they had been living for decades is not just these people’s wish but it is their right too. The state and the military cannot encroach on this right and deny the people their homes, lands and the environment that had been an integral part of their lives prior to their displacement. Eighty-four families, of which thirty are women-headed, have been denied entry into their lands in Keppapilavu by the military.
At the protest, a woman, one of the dwellers says (through a video film): “the leader fought for a separate state but gave our country to the Sinhalese. Now the Sinhalese are ruling our country and we are wandering the streets.” The landlessness that the people are facing today is also an outcome of the LTTE’s ill-conceived insurgency against the state that put the lives and livelihood of these people under great risk. The LTTE dragged the people down the road to doom and destruction during the last stages of the war in 2008/2009. Lacking strategy and concern for the thousands of lives trapped in the war zone, the LTTE continued its assault on a rapidly advancing military. In the absence of any alternative routes to save their lives from the military onslaught, the people including those in Keppapilavu and Puthukkudiyiruppu left their homes and lands and moved out further east towards the coast. Later the military to brought these lands under their control and prevented the displaced people from resettling in them. The LTTE leadership’s suicidal politics and mindless militarism also contributed to the plight of these people today.
The displaced people were transferred to various IDP camps and later given alternative lands where the military built houses for them. But the people find these houses unsuitable and unhygienic. Above all, the people like to go back to their village where the community, as one of the protestors describes, “had lived happily like one extended family till 2008” (people’s narratives about their displacement, resettlement and the struggle to reclaim their lands appear in a recent Tamil publication by the Vithai Group).
Freed from the totalitarian and militarized culture that had dominated Tamil politics till May 2009, the Tamil community today is able to choose modes of resistance that are constructive and creative. The relatively freer civic space opened up post-2015 also facilitated the people to launch their protests fearlessly. The classes conducted at the protest venue for the school children mark a resistance that is cognizant of the needs and aspirations of the future generations, forming a sharp contrast to the land reclamation struggle waged by the LTTE where many child recruits from the rural North and East were given guns and cyanide capsules against their wish and despite their parents’ opposition. At the forefront of the struggle are women from the community. The songs of solidarity sung by women of different ethnic communities outside the tents where the women and children are living and the paintings by the children depicting their present predicament have breathed fresh air into the culture of people’s resistance in post-war North.
The Sri Lankan state has confiscated lands belonging to its polity in the name of national security, development, urban planning and environmentalism in various parts of the country. In the North and East, many areas including parts of Valikamam North, Sampur and Musali and Morakotanchenai, Keppapilavu and Puthukkudiyiruppu continue to be occupied by the military. The moves to build a coal power plant in the land expropriated in this manner in Sampur in the East and the attempts by the state to alienate land for development initiatives including tourism and urban development in places like Panama in Ampara district and Slave Island in Colombo in the past confirm that land alienation in the country is also linked to the class-based interests of powerful national and international forces.
The continuing presence of the military in the North and East indicates that the different regimes that have ruled Sri Lanka for the past three decades have treated this Tamil-majority region as their internal colony. Militarization keeps the people of this region under constant surveillance and fear curtailing their movement and activism. The confiscation of the lands in the North and East that belong to the people should therefore be seen as a part of the ongoing militarization. Giving protection to a majoritarian state that conquers the lands belonging to and used by the predominantly minority communities and constructing Buddhist structures and symbols in some of those lands, the military is actively involved in a certain form of Buddhisization in the North and East.
The state’s attempt to declare lands belonging to Musali in Mannar district as an environmental protection zone when the people evicted by the LTTE in 1990 were trying to resettle in those lands after the war demonstrates that land alienation in the North and East is a problem that affects the Muslim community too. In Panama, the lands acquired by the military and later used for tourism purposes had belonged to a community of mixed ethnic origins in the region. The lack of interest on the part of the Tamil bureaucrats and politicians in the North in supporting the resettlement of the Muslims suggests that the Tamil elite are hardly any different from the Sinhala-Buddhist state in their treatment of the minorities and their problems related to resettlement and landlessness.
While land grab in the North and East by the military and the state is inflected by ethnicity and religion, over-emphasizing the ethno-religious dimension of the problem may not allow us to understand the multi-vocality of the resistance coming from the people who have lost their lands and homes. The protestors in Keppapilavu view the military that occupies their homeland not just as the guardians of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism but also as forces that embody class power and male authority. In a video film circulated online, a crying man whose land was taken away appeals to the Air Force to release the lands to the poor people (Elaikal) like him who are its rightful owners. The word “Elaikal” could be heard at least twice in his verbal protest that blurred the boundaries of speech and lament. He also says that the people and the military should live with one another peacefully. Activists and outsiders may find this remark strange but one has to understand it as an articulation of his agency under present conditions and the needs that he wants to prioritize at present.
A female protestor spoke of the fear that she as a woman goes through at night when she has to sleep under the temporary shelter placed outside the Air Force camp. Another protestor spoke about the difficulty that women and children face when using the bathing wells in the land allocated by the government that are eight times deeper than the wells in the lands where they used to live. While it is important to understand the economic and gendered dimensions of this issue and the protests, one should also raise the question of whether the protestors have the space and freedom to channel their anger and opposition to the military or the state in ethnic terms too. One has to acknowledge that the militarized environment created by the state in the North and East, and the memories of the terror wreaked upon the people in the North and East and the rest of the country in the name of ethnicity during the civil war force us to mute ethnicity in our conversations and resistance. On the other hand, it is not altogether wrong to say that some within the Tamil community are hesitant to frame their resistance in ethnic terms in the public space as Tamil resistance waged in the name of ethnicity and nation have only left the economically marginalized sections of the Tamil community dispirited and disillusioned at the end of the thirty-year war. Instead of making reductive proclamations about what this struggle is about in the larger scheme of things (of course, it goes without saying that the women and their families want their lands back) and where the women of Keppapilavu stand politically, those of us, Tamils and others, who are extending our solidarity to the protestors should acknowledge that we can only partially grasp the subaltern’s lament and her silence which stem from the physical and psychological wounds that she has suffered under militarization, Tamil nationalist violence, economic oppression and patriarchy for several decades.
Different ethno-religious communities have historically cohabited the North and East of the island. This cohabitation was not always peaceful. Pre-colonial notions of community based on culture and religion and the colonial and post-colonial processes of transforming these people into ethnicities often created antagonisms among these groups. History is replete with stories about wars and counter-wars waged over land and water. A sharp increase in the population of the rural peasantry in the wet zone around the time of Ceylon’s Independence led to scarcity of land in the region. The post-Independence regimes that initiated colonization schemes in the dry zone as a remedy to the problem of landlessness in the west zone failed to take into consideration the ramifications of these schemes to ethnic cohabitation in the Tamil-majority regions in the dry zone. A section of the Sinhala leadership cunningly promoted these colonization schemes as a way of asserting the dominance of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism over the entire island. In the Manal-Aru region, the paddy lands of the Tamils evicted from the region by the military in the 1980s was later distributed to the Sinhalese settlers. In the larger context of the increasing Sinhalaization and Buddhisization of the Sri Lankan state, these settlements deepened the ethnic antagonisms in the North and East
The Tamils’ demand for self-rule in the North and East, on the other hand, framed these settler populations as the ‘Other’ or illegitimate and excluded them from the political narratives of self-determination. Paradigmatically similar to the majoritarian and Sinhala nationalist Sri Lankan state, the self-determination movement in the North and East remains Tamil-centric and has failed to come up with an inclusive vision for the future of the regions that would accommodate the settler populations instead of alienating them. Today when the military and the state refuse to release Tamils and Muslims’ homes and the lands that these communities had used for cultivation and other purposes from generation to generation in the North and East, many in the communities justifiably fear whether this is another attempt on the part of the majoritarian state to alter the demography of the region and undermine their communities’ political, economic and cultural existence.
The lands that belong to the people of Keppapilavu and Puthukkudiyiruppu should immediately be returned to their rightful owners. The government’s indifference to these protests and its failure to deliver justice to these economically underprivileged Tamils crystalize the Sri Lankan state’s ethnic and class-based biases. Yet, hearteningly, the will of the protestors to continue their struggle until their demands are met and the growing support to these protests from various sections of the Sri Lankan polity, not just the Tamils, show that democratic resistance in the North is becoming multi-ethnic and gaining new momentum.
The author would like to note with gratitude that ideas and questions shared by Sivamohan Sumathy during various online discussions on the Keppapilavu protests helped the author in revising this piece which was originally written as a statement for a solidarity protest held in Jaffna. The author is responsible for any flaws or errors in the article.
*The writer is a member of the Collective for Economic Democratization in Sri Lanka
sinhalese buddhist / February 28, 2017
While I usually agree with most of what you write, I think your point that the SL military does not have a legitimate right to have camps and be present in the Northern and Eastern provinces if blatantly unfair and impractical.
Sri Lanka is still one country and such her military has every right to be present in all parts. Given the fact that these areas experienced a civil war in the not so distant past, makes it logical that a higher percentage of military presence in these areas than in other areas. However, it should be expected that these numbers should go down progressively with time, until such time that the presence of the military is not disproportionate in these 2 provinces.
Mahendran Thiruvarangan / February 28, 2017
Dear sinhalese buddhist,
If the military presence in the North and East is not significantly high compared to other regions in the country, I would not describe it as “militarization.” Also, it is not just the presence of the military that is seen as a problem here but what they are doing too: their interference in civil administration, schools, etc and occupying the (private) lands that belong to the people, their involvement in constructing Buddhist structures in people’s private lands, etc – I see all these activities and processes as militarization.
It has been more than seven years since the civil war ended. Has the government started to demilitarize the regions progressively? We should not naturalize the heavy presence of the military in the region for a long period of time.
The government’s failure to offer a political solution also makes some to see the heavy presence of the military in the regions as a form of oppression and colonization.
Thanks for engaging!
jim softy / February 28, 2017
Sinhala buddhist is a Tamil.
Sinhala_Man / March 2, 2017
I have no time to read this article today.
But, Jim, I’ve scrolled down at the comments and thought this sounded familiar.
You’ve been accusing me also of being a Tamil.
I don’t take offence at that, we are all human beings. As such I’m a bit concerned about your sanity – or rather your lack of it.
Sumanasiri Liyanage / February 28, 2017
A great piece. Link it with the similar struggles like, Telecom Manpower strike (2500 workers), Fisherfolk struggle against Colombo Port City project, Land right issue in Hambantota, student campaign against privatization and commodification of education and many many other struggles against oppression.
sach / February 28, 2017
And it begins the Sinhala leftists still living in la la land.
When Prabhakaran started the separatist fascist war to create a mono ethnic tribal Tamil eelam, the leftist idiots who have no sense of reality in South dreamed of creating a collaboration between Sinhala left and LTTE ( and other tamil militant organisations) to form a unified marxist struggle against so called Sri Lankan elite and government by ‘liberating’ the working class from the clutches of the ‘evil’ government.
It is this misunderstanding and total inability of the Sinhala leftists to grasp the reality that created vikalpa buruwas, Wickramabahus in Sri Lankan society. LTTE is not a marxist business, it is capitalist to the very core.
Not only LTTE, even tamil militant groups that was supposed to have based their ideology in marxist ideology (PLOTE) turned up nationalist and racist. There was nothing marxist about it. Many former Sinhala people who romaticies with marxism for a period of time like Dayan J, Nalin De Silva, Thilak Karunaratne understood that later and left marxism.
So it is the misfortune of the country we have several Sinhala Marxists who are unable to realise the root cause of the problem.
Don Stanley / February 28, 2017
Very good article! Keep up the good work of The Collective for Economic Democratization in Sri Lanka, which has a lot of work to do as Sri Lanka nears default due to massive debt and the IMF wants state assets to be sold off. T
hese lands taken over by the military may also be sold off to the US military for bases in the Indian Ocean at IMF behest. IMF’s Christine Legard, who faces corruption trials in France, will be in Sri Lanka to push for sale of national assets to pay off debt caused by IMF-China debt traps due to corrupt politicians – MR, Sira and Ranil are all in the Jara-Palanay game of corruption and looting the people of Sri Lanka for their political power game while using racism and hate speech to cover up their Financial Crimes against people of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s economic policy making process has been driven by corrupt political interests working with networks of foreign Economic Hit men consultants of IMF and the Washington Consensus that advocates Money Laundering rather than catching the theives. There is no EVIDENCE BASED National policy making for economic development.
The IMF Debt trap that Ranil Wickramasinghe has put Sri Lanka in will mean that the last vestige of economic freedom will be gone in Sri Lanka!
Look what has happened to Greece that is caught in the EU – IMF debt trap!
Sri Lanka is in the China-IMF debt trap because of Ranil’s and Ravi K.s corruption, bond scam and STUPIDITY, and things will get worse. IMF wants clients in Asia so Sri Lanka is screwed now with Moda Ranil putting SL more and more into IMF debt trap.
Christine Blackguard is going to be in Sri Lanka to screw poor Sri Lankans over – first it was VAT tax to make IMF happy so that the poor subsidize the corrupt rich and now sell off of national assets to pay off debt. Just like IMF did to Greece.
The is very dangerous and must be stopped at all costs. There should be massive PROTESTS against IMF this week by civil society.
IMF which is supposed to do global financial governance, should be asked by the GoSL to trace and return funds looted by MR and corrupt politicians, that are kept in secret banks accounts overseas , so Sri Lanka can pay off some of the national debt caused by political corruption and FAKE DEVELOPMENT projects, rather than borrowing more from IMF and dancing to its tunes and loading VAT onto poor people.
sach / February 28, 2017
In any country government will confiscate lands for countries national interests be it military, economic. Sinhala poeple have been subject to this most.
When Sirimavo B brought a law limiting land ownership to 50 acres per person, a lot of Sinhala landowners had to give up their lands.
When Mahaweli scheme was carried out a lot SInhala villages were abandoned and people were relocated to make way for large scale hydro electricity generation. And the whole country benefited regardless of ethnicity.
And again due to recent Moragahakanda scheme another set of Sinhala villages were lost. people I personally know have lost their homes and they have acted responsibly towards the country though with sadness.
Many developmental schemes staring from developing highway projects to hydro electricity generation have made many Sinhala villages to be eradicated and relocation of people. And everyone benefited from this.
If the Sinhala people too took a tough stand and protest that under NO circumstance they will leave their lands this country would be stuck in 60s with no electricity, road systems and development of irrigation.
And now the poeple who were settled in government OWNED lands in north by the LTTE cannot vacate the places even after the government has provided them with other villages to relocate. They have been given houses built by the military. But strangely a community who had lived in a battle zone for 30 years find the houses built by military unhygienic and hence government should give up country’s defence interests. I have never known such a selfish community.
The community which is blaming LTTE for giving their country to Sinhalese ( who are actually estate population internally migrated by Norwegian aided projects) were living in houses given by the government since 2013. But in 2016 they have a sudden interest for the lands the ltte gave them.
The Sinhala idiots who still support yahapalanaya should understand the change in northern environment under this governance. I am all for granting reasonable demands of any community but not utter selfishness.
According to military sources those who instigate these agitations do so with the objective of releasing the area Prabhakaran was killed for memorial purposes. So government and yahapalana fools should understand the real purpose of these agitations even after the government have given these people lands.
Hela / February 28, 2017
Agree with the counter points of sach. Ordinary people are being used again for narrow separatist agenda.
What this article also does not mention is the massive ethnic/demographic re-engineering took place during colonial occupation due to indentured labour being brought to Sri Lanka. It’s effects continue to impact the native population for generations.
Therefore the need is to examine these situations outside the ethnic dimension and not to use them for narrow ethnic based agenda.
Native Vedda / February 28, 2017
Please relocate to your Hela Province in Papua New Guinea let us ourselves deal with our problems.
When you go take Dayan with you.
Rajan Hoole / March 1, 2017
Your starting point and that of Sach are wrong. Our starting point has to be that of the rule of law. If you prioritise a hypothetical threat to security as a pretext for the security forces occupying private and common lands in peace time, you destroy that peace. Security forces without work, planting vegetables for sale in occupied lands is a bizarre way to think about security.
If there is not a system of law that is common to us all, we can say goodbye to a united Lanka. Classifying common lands used for the livelihood of locals as Government-owned, under our majoritarian political dispensation, becomes a prelude to robbery.
Don’t misrepresent the position of Indian Tamils settled in the North to give substance to your security fears. They were primarily victims of the 1977 communal violence, who came to the North in search of livelihood and security. They were mostly settled on permit lands and were repeatedly displaced, first by the security forces in 1983 (Arrogance of Power) and then by the war. Tamil administrators have widely discriminated against them in allocation of lands that come under them. Let us not build security fantasies on a people who have been so badly treated since our Coffee Days. Now, at least, you should realise the importance of the rule of law over brigades and brigadiers, who are a symbol of our wasted years.
Sinhala_Man / March 1, 2017
It is difficult for us, Sinhalese, to really know, in detail, the sufferings of people whose language even we don’t know. I have yet to read the article carefully.
However, this comment, from Rajan Hoole comes from a man who doesn’t intervene in arguments unless he thinks it really necessary.
Please pay heed to every word of his!
sach / March 1, 2017
1. Threat to security is not hypothetical. It is a real threat. What you are referring to is a former battle zone which was occupied by separatists for 30 years. And no country would ignore security after paying huge sacrifices to end war. And again NPC and TNA talks in separatist language. The SLG has every reason to stay on alert. This is especially true given that there were numerous attempts for violence in north.
2. If need arises, for national interests the state can occupy land. While it is true we have to consider the difficulties faced by civilians in that area, that cannot be the sole factor to determine. As I said there are numerous instances where private lands belonging to Sinhala people being taken away by the government for government projects. Therefore, there is no ethnic angle to this.
3. Sri Lanka has a large security force thanks to the 30-year war. And some of our best labour force is stuck in armed forces. Therefore it is good that government use them for economic activities. It is not only in North, SLA plant vegetables.
4. The system is common to everyone. That is the point of my argument. Sinhala people have given up their lands for national interests way more than Tamils have ever done.
5. It is not the security fears that I pointed out when referring to indian tamils, but it was hilarious when indian tamils accuse Sinhalese of occupying their country.
6. We could get past the wasted years thanks to brigades and brigadiers as well.
sach / March 1, 2017
My point is state can confiscate lands for national interests if the people are sufficiently compensated. And they have done that repeatedly in south
Hela / March 1, 2017
Lot more powerful elements have been trying to chase and relocate Helayas out of this country for 3,000+ years in vain.
A solitary veddek can only dream of it.
Having said that the vedi sanuhare are with Helyas as they lived together for thousands of years. Vedi language has been a huge beneficiary of Sinhala. Those links are much stronger for a deranged solitary veddek to disrupt.
By the way I have been to Papua New Guinea few times and they are a very nice bunch of people.
Native Vedda / March 1, 2017
Does not matter if you have been living in a parallel universe. What matter most is whether you and your noisy fellow noisy minority Sinhala/Buddhists earned the right to live on this island.
When the time is right, on the judgement day everything will ready for us to deal with the descendants of Kallthonies.
“Vedi language has been a huge beneficiary of Sinhala. Those links are much stronger for a deranged solitary veddek to disrupt.”
Please stop typing on subjects you haven’t got a clue.
If you remove Dravidian and Aryan linguistic elements from Sinhala language it would not have two legs to stand.
“By the way I have been to Papua New Guinea few times and they are a very nice bunch of people.”
Why did you come back?
Hela / March 2, 2017
By the way we are the majority. Don’t think few blog spaces where your ilk can make noises and play gymnastics is the universe. Go to school again if you cannot count or ask maha hura how to count because I know general vedi population can count.
Every language has evolved over millions of years since humans started communicating with each other. That applies to Dravidian, Aryan linguistic elements too. Some early languages became extinct while others and more new languages have blossomed. The birth and evolution of a language is a remarkable process, Sinhala has gone through that process and has developed it’s uniqueness which is remarkable given the geographic location and the presence of highly developed other languages existing in the vicinity. Whether you accept it or not is immaterial. It is again an accepted fact that vedi language benefitted from Sinhala. The self denial of an anti Sinhala veddek cannot alter that.
P. U. K / March 1, 2017
Dreams of Sri Lankans MUST take precedent to all whims and fancies of Tamil Terrorist Diaspora now smearing the whole Internet with their BS propaganda with a vicious goal to weaken the Sri Lankans its leaders and create all Tamil racist federal area in Sri Lanka.
We must never allow that.
Who the hell TTD think they are to dictate to our valiant troops where when and how they can serve and protect all Sri Lankans?
TTD is testing the waters… we must pass that test with flying colours!
Thanga / March 1, 2017
A well written article, but there are a few factual errors. Thesituation in Keppapulavu has been overtaken by events. On the orders of president Sirisena the army has commenced handing over lands to 84 families who had proper deeds to the land. This is not LTTE handed over lands. The problem is the government is willing to hand over private lands to the rightful owners, but the armed forces are resisting. Army/Navy/Air-force camps must be built away from villages not right under nose of the villagers. The people feel insecure. In Sampur the 818 acres of land confiscated by Mahinda Rajapaksa after the war has been returned to the rightful owners. Previously Rajapaksa has given the said land to Gateway Industries for an industrial complex. Additionally 237 acres of land occupied by the Navy too has been released. As for the coal fired thermal plant, Indian National Thermal Power Corporation and Sri Lanka Electricity Board have agreed to look for another site away from villages. LTTE did not start the war for fun. The war was forced on them. So let us stop the blame game. The dry zone colonization schemes were undertaken by successive governments to alter the demography of the North and East. It is not a humanitarian or altruistic venture to help the landless Sinhalese. There were plenty of lands in the Anuradhapura district for settling landless peasants from the south. Eighteen out of 20 army divisions are deployed in the North (16) and East (2) under the cloak of national security. National security cannot be secured at the point of the gun. It must evolve naturally. The hearts and minds of the Tamil people must be won. Colonization of North and East must be stopped.
Thanga / March 1, 2017
I do not know from where the writer got the crazy idea “Different ethno-religious communities have historically cohabited the North and East of the island. This cohabitation was not always peaceful.” .From the beginning of 13th century till the end of 17th century Northeast was peopled by Tamils. The Muslims in the eastern province were settled by King Senarath of the Kandyan Kingdom. In 1626 he settled nearly 4,000 Muslims in the East of Sri Lanka following their expulsion from the island’s Western coastal belt by the Portuguese led by Captain de Saa.
This expulsion was due to trade rivalry between the Muslims and Portuguese. According to 1881 census Tamils accounted for 75,318 (58.96%) Muslims 43,001(33.66%) and Sinhalese 5,947 (4.66%) in the eastern province. Today (2012 census) Tamils in the eastern province has been reduced to a minority due to systematic government sponsored colonization by Sinhalese settlers. The population of Sinhalese has dramatically increased from 5,947 (4.66% ) to 359,136 (23.15%) a five-fold increase!
Mahendran Thiruvarangan / March 1, 2017
Yaalpaanavaipava Maalai says that Sankiliyan evicted the Sinhalese who were living in Jaffna when the Dutch were involved in commercial activities in Mannar.
Also the communities in the past would not have had an ethnic consciousness in the same way as we do today.
Who lived in these areas before the 13th century? Where does history start? The idea of the North and East as traditional Tamil homelands is a 20th century political construction by Tamil nationalists.
Dagmar Hellman Rajanayagam’s work shows that parts of Batticoala were first under the Ruhuna Kingdom. Some parts of the East were tributaries of the Kandyan kingdom.
What is important here is that the North and East were multi-ethnic provinces when Ceylon got its Independence.
Thaiposam / March 1, 2017
Those who had been agitating for the return of the Mullaitivu SLAF station/Keppapulavu conveniently refrained from referring to the wartime High Security Zone (HSZ) maintained by the LTTE. The LTTE had two fortified and fully camouflaged hangars, adjoining the airfield. At least two light aircraft had operated from Mullaitivu, an area deep inside the the LTTE held territory was not vulnerable to ground forces advance. However, the hangars had been fortified to such an extent to face possible air strikes by jets and infiltration by Special Forces and Commandos operating behind the lines.
So Wigi and TNA choir boys for LTTE back then, why did you not protest the LTTE? HSZs are needed so that your LTTE boys will not start regrouping. Why are you not accepting alternative land?
soma / March 1, 2017
Existing market level financial compensation or alternative land depending on the preferences of the owners must be provided.
jim softy / March 2, 2017
Some where else, it sud, it is one political party attached to TNA doing this thing to get more publicity.
So, this author comes and write crap. Accoring to Tamil Sinhala people can not live in yapanaya pr suburbs.
Backlash / March 2, 2017
Let us face it. The war was over 7 years ago. The LTTE was obliterated. The Sinhala State won overwhelmingly. There is absolutely no threat from the LTTE or Tamil armed youth to the State.
Tamil people of the area, once owners of good houses, farming land, cattle etc have been living in the open all these years.
We cannot deny sections of the Officer sections of the army are having a comfortable life in the occupied land. The longer the misery of the Tamils continue they benefit. Farming, small business in the regions should be done by the poor folk of the area – but the soldiers are doing this. Why? Because, if they get back to the Sinhala south they will have hardly any
productive jobs. The Army/State fears the soldiers who leave will join underworld gangs. The fact is the alarming increase in armed robbery and crime is committed by army deserters and de-mobbed soldiers has gone beyond control. Look at the brazen attack on the Prison lorry at Kalutara last week..
The Govt is caught in a trap. Tamils should not be made the scapegoats. Their lands should be released to them forthwith – with due compensation paid for the time these lands were illegally expropriated. At least
such funds can prove as a source for these poor folk to start life anew. Please show compassion – at the core of Buddhism. Where is the magnanimity in victory?
Sinhala_Man / March 3, 2017
There was this war, which I certainly did not like, and reading between the lines of the reports that were coming in during the month of May 2009, I was able to read between the lines and sense the human tragedies that were being played out in those Mullaitivu jungles. Keppapilavu is a place that I hadn’t heard of until I read this article.
Many Sinhalese are demanding that we draw a line across all that happened before the 18th of May 2009. Let us suppose that this is possible. What Mahendran Thiruvarangan has done is to force us to face up to the fact that the people of these places who ought to have been the FIRST concern of the State have been shamefully neglected. I notice also that author Thiruvarangan himself has intervened twice already to set the facts right. In doing so, he has stressed that neither set of warmongers was innocent.
Thank you, Thiruvarangan, for forcing us to face up to the reality of the suffering that we are still allowing to go on in this remote area. You have identified the immediate need is clearly wanting normalisation of life. Death has put many (some innocent, others guilty) beyond our reach, but we should have acted by now to re-settle these people in what were their lands.
I know little of this area of our island, and I understand nothing of the wailing laments, but we have been clearly shocked in to realising that we must put an early end to all this suffering among those who are stuck in this horrible situation There can be no excuse for keeping people in this shocking situation any longer.