3 December, 2022

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What Made Me Take Part In The Demonstration By Tamil MPs Opposite The President’s Office

By C.V. Wigneswaran

Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP

The question for this month posed in English to me, is as follows;

Question – At your age and with your background what made you take part in the demonstration by Tamil MPs recently opposite the President’s Office at Galle Face?

Response- The urgency of our request! I organized an International Virtual Conference on Land Grabbing some time ago with International Experts taking part, apart from our own Senior Parliamentarian Hon’ Mr. Sambanthan and others.

A significant statement was made by an International Expert from Israel by name Professor Yiftachel who participated in the Conference. He is a highly cited Israeli Scholar in geography and urban studies. He formulated over two decades ago the theory of ethnocratic regimes. He did research into the nature of land grabbing taking place against Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka by the successive majority Sinhala Governments and came to the conclusion that Sri Lanka too like Israel is an ethnocratic regime.

This reference to Sri Lanka as an ethnocratic regime is very significant. The successive Sri Lankan Governments in recent times have all been ethnocratic in their nature and attitude towards the Tamils especially, and against the Muslims in recent times.

An ethnocracy is a type of political structure in which the state apparatus is controlled by a dominant ethnic group to further its interests, power and resources. From the time of Independence the Sinhalese leaders have been plotting and planning against the Tamils to drive them out of the regions they had occupied in Sinhala majority areas during British times and to then take control of areas within the traditional homelands of the Tamils.

There is now sufficient evidence to show the Tamils occupied these traditional homelands for more than 3000 years continuously. In fact the original inhabitants of this Country were Tamils. The original Tamil inhabitants swelled up subsequently with the coming of the Pandyas, Pallavas, Cholas, Cheras and the Arya Chakrawarthy group, all leaving behind Tamil speaking people to add up to the numbers of the original Tamils who occupied the areas now identified as Northern, Eastern and parts of Western, North Central and North Western Provinces. If you look at the old title deeds of many a Sinhala family of those who lived along the coast from Colombo to Puttalam they would be found to be in the Tamil language. When I visited Munneswaram Temple during my childhood, the area was full of Hindu Tamils. Now hardly any noticeable Hindu Tamils live there.

Sri Lankan state-sponsored colonization schemes were the successive Sinhala majority governments’ program of settling mostly persons from the South in the North and the East and elsewhere. Within predominantly Tamil speaking areas, persons from outside the said Provinces were brought and settled. This is taking place since the 1950s. According to International Law principles people of the area of settlement should be given first preference. Not only that. They should reflect the racial demography of the area.

Since irrigation settlements occurred under direct state sponsorship, most of those who were settled in the North and East were ethnic Sinhalese . It was no doubt a deliberate attempt of the Sinhalese-dominated state to marginalize the Tamils further by decreasing their numbers in their own areas. This no doubt was one of the reasons if not perhaps the most immediate cause of inter-communal violence in the early days.

Shortly after independence, the government of Ceylon started a program to settle Sinhalese in the jungles of the Trincomalee District. The forests were cleared and water tanks restored. As a consequence of these schemes the Sinhalese population of the Trincomalee District which was quite low rose to 33% in 1981.In the 1980s the government extended the colonization schemes into the Dry Zone area of the Northern Province, drawing up plans to settle up to 30,000 Sinhalese in the area. Colonization schemes also took place in the areas of Ampara and Batticaloa districts. The Sinhalese population rose in the combined Batticaloa and Amparai Districts to numbers far in excess of the natural projected growth.

The notion of the “traditional Tamil homeland” became a potent component of popular Tamil political agitations while the Sinhalese nationalist groups viewed the resettlement schemes in these areas as “reclamation and recreation in the present of the glorious Sinhalese Buddhist past”. But the Sinhalese were wrongly advised by their Politicians and others about their past.

Tamils were the original inhabitants of this Island. When Buddhism was introduced there were no Sinhalese. It were the Tamils who were converted to Buddhism. All the Buddhist remains now found in the North and East going back to 2000 years are the remnants from the time of the Tamil Buddhists. (Demala Baudhayo as Professor Sunil Ariaratne refers to them). Sinhala language came into being in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. There were no Sinhala speaking people before that. Their first grammar book Sidath Sangaraya came out in the 13th century AD.

The Mahawansa was a fiction written in the Pali language. Atta Katha also was written in Pali though some Sinhalese try to make out that it was written in Sinhalese. In recent times there is an insidious habit among the Sinhalese to translate ancient Tamil names used in the areas in the North East, into Sinhalese and claim those translated names were the original Sinhala names used in Sinhala areas of yore which predated Tamils’ occupation!

Coming back to the Colonisation schemes of the successive Governments the first colonisation scheme was in the Gal Oya Valley in the Batticaloa District in 1952. Tens of thousands of Sinhalese peasants from the Kegalle and Kandy districts were given fertile land in the upstream end of Gal Oya. Gal Oya became later the site of the first major anti-Tamil riot in 1956.

The next colonisation scheme was around the Kanthalai tank where peasants from outside of the Trincomalee District were settled in the then Tamil dominant village of Kanthalai, 39 km south-west of the Trincomalee town. Almost all the settlers were Sinhalese. When I was a child Kantalai was a Tamil speaking area.

Another colonisation scheme was set up at the areas surrounding the Kantalai Tank, 25 km south of Trincomalee town. 65% of settlers were Sinhalese and the rest were Muslims.

A scheme was started at Pathavik Kulam 65 km North-East of Anuradhapura town. The scheme lay in Trincomalee District but was administered by the Sinhalese majority Anuradhapura District. Land Development Department employees from this scheme took part in the 1958 anti-Tamil riots.

In 1961 a colonisation scheme was started at Muthali Kulam, 24 km west of the Trincomalee town. There too Sinhalese were settled.

In the 1980s, funded by aid received from the European Community, a Sinhala colonisation scheme was started at Periya Vilankulam (Mahadiulwewa) tank, 30 km North-West of Trincomalee town.

This colonisation scheme was extended into the Northern Province with the introduction of the Manal Aru (Weli Oya) scheme, which covered the districts of Mullaitivu, Trincomalee, Vavuniya and Anuradhapura.  Sinhalese were settled in lands that were formerly populated by ethnic Tamils, given land, money to build homes and security provided by the Special Task Force. Although the scheme covered four districts, administration was handled by the Anuradhapura district, which constituted a Sinhalese majority demography. The Weli Oya scheme aroused much anger amongst the Tamils.[19] This anger boiled over into violence when the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam attacked the Kent and Dollar Farm settlements at Weli Oya.

When the Indian Peace Keeping Forces were withdrawn in 1990, Tamil homes in the suburbs of Trincomalee were occupied by Sinhalese settlers. Tens of thousands of Sinhalese were reported to have been brought in by the advancing government forces and made to occupy local villages and lands, denying resettlement to its original inhabitants who had earlier fled to the jungles due to the murder of Tamil civilians at the hands of the Army.

After May 2009 several settlement programmes were initiated by the government that extended towards the Northern Province. In the Vavuniya district 3000 acres in Madukulam were cleared for a village, while work of a settlement is underway in Othiyamalai Kaadu. A settlement is being created in Rampaveddi bordering a minor tank area and new settlement of approximately 2500 ethnic Sinhala families (about 6000 people) from the South have been settled in the village of Kokkachaankulam and the Hindu temple in the village was demolished and replaced with a Buddhist Stupa. Tamils in Barathypuram in the Kilinochchi District were evicted and a Muslim settlement is being created in the area due to the large economic opportunities provided by an apparels’ factory built there.

Several new settlements are also being built in Mullaitivu District while the Manal Aru (Weli Oya) settlement is being expanded as well. Several fishing colonies are being built in the Mannar district and Muslim settlements have been built in lands previously owned by Tamils that fled to India during the war.

‘Navatkuli Housing Project’ is being built in Navatkuli, Jaffna District to house 135 Sinhalese families, including 54 families who had, in 2010, attempted to set up temporary residences at the Jaffna Railway Station with funding from Buddhist Organizations and Political parties.

Tamils are being ethnically cleansed in the Jaffna peninsula and Mullativu districts, and this was being supplemented with the construction of Buddhist stupas and Sinhalisation of names of streets and places. Over 400 Sinhala families were reported to have been settled in Nelukkulam in Mullativu district recently .The Tamil populace had been reduced to a fourth, based on Government figures. Tamil locals also complained of the State waging an accelerated campaign of Sinhala Buddhist colonisation by destroying historic Hindu shrines in the East.

Another incident of State colonization before the Final Eelam War was reported by Muslim residents of the Pulmoddai village in the Trincomalee District who claimed that several acres of their traditional land had been annexed by the Government for settlements from South on the pretext of industrial development.

The settlements are made easy to the Government due to the large presence of its Military who hold 65000 acres of State Land apart from the private lands held.

Now to answer your question. My age and background need not be barriers when the Traditional Homelands of the Tamils of this Country are being misappropriated under several guises through several Government Departments like the Mahaweli Authority, Forest Department, Wild Life Department and the Archaeology Department. The recent One Country One Law project seems to be a deliberate attempt to erase our identity and individuality. The chances are the Government is trying to bring in a new Constitution sans Federalism, sans Thirteenth amendment, sans Indian intervention through the Indo Sri Lankan Agreement and restrict unit of Local Authority to Districts instead of Provinces under a centralized Unitary constitution.

Why do you expect me to think of my background, age and the inconvenience of sitting on the roadside at the Galle Face, when the entire Sri Lankan Tamil population are facing slow extinction at the hands of the Sri Lankan Government?

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Latest comments

  • 10
    2

    Justice C.V. Wigneswaran MP,

    In your heart of hearts, do you really believe the little “protest” you did will achieve anything …….. bring Tamils liberation, justice, fair-play or whatever else you desire?

    There are politicians on both sides, Sinhala and Tamil …….. who won’t let wounds heal ……. they won’t let a scab form ……. will keep on pricking on the scab to keep the wound open and fresh. That’s the only means to their survival in many ways than one ………


    In this world there are doers and lifelong talkers/marchers/”protesters.”

    Velupillai Prabakaran wasn’t a talker he was a doer …….. he gave his best shot to liberate the Tamils ……… and came damn near close ……. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

    How many “conventional” Tamil politicians did he kill?

    His hatred of the “conventional” Tamil politicians wasn’t second to my hatred of the Sinhalese politicians/religious-leaders/journalists/writers/society-shapers/voters/”Buddhists”/”Christians”/”Hindus”/”Muslims”/”Communists”/”leftists” ………..

    Now, I’ve come to realize he was a soul mate.

    My only regret is, that he wasn’t a Sinhalese! ………. The once revolutionary JVP has now discovered middle-age and turned into no-do talkers ……… a bunch of pussies ………

    I’m all for violent revolution ……. as long as someone else carries out the violence.

    I’m a pacifist. No.

    • 4
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      Dear nf,
      .
      Things are getting desperate in Sri Lanka, but we still cope from moment to moment. When I will have to turn off this computer owing to the failure of electricity, I don’t know.
      .
      What I know is that there are only a handful of people in the country still trying to make sense of happening in the World. Yes, it is now the World, not just Lanka. Your spreading cynicism about every person voicing concerns about the integrity of every person getting involved in so-called politics is destructive action. Most are rogues, is true, but not every single person.
      .
      It is not difficult to scoff at everything whilst being abroad, as you do. If you continue like this, and you continue to undermine confidence in every single person who tries to do something, I shudder to think what will happen when mobs who don’t think at all resort to violence. There is hardly any other message that I can send to you.
      .
      Panini Edirisinhe in Bandarawela

      • 5
        0

        Dear Panini
        While appreciating your frustration, NF is only venting the sheer hopelessness of the situation in SL, I guess.
        VP was a killing machine, with nihilistic ideology. The nation is awash with time wasters. But NF at least shows his contempt plainly. We must give him credit for that

      • 2
        0

        Sinhala_Man,

        I don’t have a lot of time, I’m watching share-markets around the world ………. I bought coal shares at rock bottom when everyone was going Green and selling them like crazy …….. I sold them just now for more than 4 times what I bought them for ………. people are piling into them again because of Powell’s reassuring words a few hours ago ………. the prices will fall again tomorrow …….. that’s how people’s minds work.

        I have a lot of oil stocks I bought at rock bottom in 2020 ……… I will hang on to them for a while yet ………

        I know how the world/peoples-minds work ………. you don’t! …….. So, please stop trying to tell me what to do. You get upset when I dis the JVP/NPP ……. too bad …….. learn to live with it.

        I have nothing against the JVP. JVP won’t be as bad as the Rajapakses – no one would! – but they haven’t a frigging clue about how to run an economy. Running an economy cannot be “ideologically bound” …… it’s strictly a practical real-world endeavour – more about this later.

        • 0
          0

          continued

          “Your spreading cynicism about every person voicing concerns about the integrity of every person getting involved in so-called politics is destructive action.”

          Geeze man …….. listen to what people on the street say on you tube …… am I more cynical than them?

          “If you continue like this, and you continue to undermine confidence in every single person who tries to do something”


          I’m trying to prevent people from falling into another trap (remember I tried to stop the last one: just ask DrJanapriya and Sunil!) ……. and wasting another 5 years again ………

          Overcome your lotus-eating stupor …….. believing/trusting and blindly following people ……..

    • 0
      6

      nimal fernando,
      “I’m all for violent revolution ……. as long as someone else carries out the violence.”
      —-
      Like VT politicians in Yapanaya who passed Vaddukkodai Resolution to create a separate State, declared war against the Government of Sri Lanka and Sinhala Nation and outsourced fighting to Dalits in Yapanaya.

    • 1
      0

      Not just Tamil MPs but it is high time even domestic pets to break the silence and protest against stupid Rajapakshe politics and their total ignorance to the basic rights of the rights of the people in this country/
      .
      They came or grabbed the power not to serve the people but to exonerate from their crime investigations/
      .
      If people would fearlessly stand and trace how each sibling in that brutal family earned their wealth/ it much easy to give saline to this economy and people/.
      .
      My only wish to see justice for high crimes they deliberately perpetrated prior to 2015 and since November 2019/.
      .
      People should get together to hang them by their balls/if not today when? 🐃😶😌🐕🤔🤥🙂😡😡😡😡🤩😡😡

  • 11
    2

    Well replied CVW
    Better late than never.Its high time Tamil leadership take the bull by the horn
    Galoya dam in Amparai was the first major of the colonisation schemes by successive regimes. This is not a crime per se but the shear size of some of the schemes are and is planned to dislodge the local population and upset the apple cart

    By sitting at Galleface once is not going to give the Tamils their due place. A constant wave of actions by the combined Tamil political parties , civil societies led by young and dynamic leaders must be the mantra
    What the majority of the minority want is equally rights .and not second-class citizenship or treatment by the authorities..This is a sickening affair

    • 2
      0

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    • 2
      0

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    • 4
      7

      RN
      Has the FP/TULF/TNA ever planned anything even half a step ahead?
      They never counted on the people, and now pin their hopes on foreign meddling.

      • 4
        2

        SJ
        You are very right. These so-called leaders sitting in their armchairs in Colombo 7 or wherever they live have not done anything tangible to the people they supposed to represent. Will they ever change their tracks is a loaded question? It’s all-hot air and BS
        Why don’t they change their leaders to young and dynamic leaders among them? I am sure there are able and willing people who could do a better job.

        • 1
          5

          RN
          Tamil nationalist thinking is bankrupt.
          So bankrupt that even the likes of Sumanthiran and Shanakiyan who are a little more articulate count on foreign intervention to solve our problems.
          There is no younger generation there with fresh ideas.
          The only hope is for a Tamil nationalism with a progressive outlook: social justice among Tamils, ability to appreciate difficulties of other communities, tel the difference between friend and enemy, be it among Sinhalese or Muslims, or for that matter foreign forces.

    • 2
      8

      Ratnam Nadarajah,
      “Galoya dam in Amparai was the first major of the colonisation schemes by successive regimes.”

      Galoya was not a colonization scheme but a settlement scheme designed to settle both Sinhalayo and Tamils. B.H. Farmer who was misled by Tamil bureaucrats used the term ‘Colonization Schemes’. Tamils who were scared of malaria refused to come but Sinhalayo cleared the forests facing the challenge from malaria and converted them to paddy fields.

      Sinhale is the Land of Sinhalayo and Vedda Eththo. Indigenous people do not colonize their own land. Colonization is done by people from other countries. Tamils from Hindusthan, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonized land in Sinhale.

      • 1
        0

        EE,
        “Indigenous people do not colonize their own land. Colonization is done by people from other countries. Tamils from Hindusthan, Portuguese, Dutch and British colonized land in Sinhale.”
        Absolute truth indeed, if the part of the South Indian migration to SL around 600 years ago.
        Settled down on the slopes of Hills in present day Sabaragamuwa, Southern and Western provinces.
        Embraced Buddhism and adopted the Sinhalese Language as spoken – Meritorious act
        Went on to become exemplary citizens. Good on them.
        Not colonisation: it is SETTLEMENT!
        A new caste of Sinhalese was thus born!!
        Swell concept.
        Fully agree with you!!!

      • 1
        0

        Eagle BP/

        Dried pumpkin Vasidewa and Wigie have much in common than u guys feel about them. They both have done nothing to the nation/ only hang on their egos. Wiggie could do lot more if he understood what that young man Shanikan does/ these men only wasted their precious times/ not being able to see out of box/ yet today Wiggie remains as he was before/ not having done little to the nation 🤔🐕😌🐃😶🙂🤥🤔🐕😌🐃

    • 3
      0

      “A constant wave of actions by the combined Tamil political parties , civil societies led by young and dynamic leaders must be the mantra”

      It looks smart idea but how can you expect young Tamil dynamic leaders to come forward to lead the struggle when even the Sinhalese youth cannot or come forward to lead the civil societies and political parties. Do you know how many Tamil young leaders were arrested under the PTA?

  • 3
    0

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  • 2
    7

    C.V. Wigneswaran MP,

    You said ‘Sinhalayo are not welcome in the North’; ‘Buddhist temples cannot be built in the North’; ‘Buddha statues cannot be erected in the North’. To say these things do you think you own the North of Sinhale/Sri Lanka?

  • 2
    8

    “There is now sufficient evidence to show the Tamils occupied these traditional homelands for more than 3000 years continuously.”

    Who provided these evidences?
    Tamil politicians in Yapanaya have a difficult time to crawl out of Vaddukkodai Resolution mud hole.

    • 7
      1

      Eagle,
      “Who provided these evidences?”
      Ask the Attorney General. He’s the expert.

  • 2
    8

    C.V. Wigneswaran MP,

    Have you heard of Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura (377 BC to 1017 AD) and Polonnaruwa (1056–1232) destroyed by Dravida invaders from Hindusthan who invaded Sinhale from 3rd Century BC?

    • 6
      3

      Eagle
      “Have you heard of Sinhala Kingdoms Anuradhapura (377 BC to 1017 AD) and Polonnaruwa (1056–1232) destroyed by Dravida invaders from Hindusthan who invaded Sinhale from 3rd Century BC?”
      So what?

  • 2
    4

    “Tamils were the original inhabitants of this Island. When Buddhism was introduced there were no Sinhalese.”
    He can give the author the Vijaya legend a good run for money in presenting history as fiction.

  • 2
    1

    Dear Panini
    While appreciating your frustration, NF is only venting the sheer hopelessness of the situation in SL, I guess.
    VP was a killing machine, with nihilistic ideology. The nation is awash with time wasters. But NF at least shows his contempt plainly. We must give him credit for that

  • 1
    0

    The hen came first or the egg came first? The Cock Came First or the Hen came first? It appears the hen & cock came together by fortuitous circumstances. God came first or the man came first?. I think man came first and created god. eg. Jesus Christ & Lord Buddha. – Both were born to human beings. However, Lord Buddha is not considered a God, though Some Srilankan Buddhists give Buddha a godly status. Even Rama and Sita together with Hanuman are given godly status by some Hindus including MODI, in order to Justify the Take over of Ayodhya. What purpose does it serve to analyze this except to build up political power? I won’t be surprised if Sitha Eliya is also taken over to be ‘Modi’-fied as the Welikada Prison of Sitha. Beware! A survey has already been done recently by Raman’s disciples from India. Oh! God.

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