Sirisena’s Mahaweli Ministry Spearheads Massive-scale Sinhala Colonisation in Batticaloa

In the first place, the Tamils were not even given the so-called ‘national ethnic ratio’ in the distribution of lands. Secondly, the Mahaweli Ministry was completely ignoring the Tamils in the allocation of lands. Thirdly, most of the lands being seized in the border areas of the three districts are pasturelands.  The farming activities of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa have been severely affected by the occupation of pasturelands.

The 13th Amendment to the SL Constitution states that “[t]he distribution of all allotments of such land in such projects will be on the basis of national ethnic ratio. In the distribution of allotments according to such ratios, priority will be given to persons who are displaced by the project, landless of the District in which the project is situated and thereafter the landless of the Province.”

by TamilNet, September 6, 2016

Under Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime, it was Colombo’s SL Forest Department, engineering the demographic genocide of big-scale land grab of pasturelands and converting the pasturelands in Batticaloa into Sinhala colonies. But now, SL President Maithiripala Sirisena’s so-called Mahaweli ‘Development’ Ministry is spearheading the structural genocide against Eezham Tamil dairy farmers by stepping up the Sinhala colonisation in 2016 with more than 1,000 hectares of forest and pasture lands, deploying retired Sinhala military men, armed ‘home guards’ paramilitary, Sinhalese traders from the South, Buddhist monks and poor Sinhala daily-wage labourers, says the secretary of Dairy Farmers Association in Kiraan and Chengka’ladi, Mr Nimalan Kanthasamy, who was interviewed by TamilNet this week.

The big-scale seizure of pasturelands is taking place at Mayilaththa-madu and Maathava’nai, Koa’ra’laip-pattu South division, where several thousands of acres have already been seized by the encroaching Sinhalese.

More than 1,000 cows, owned by Eezham Tamil dairy farmers have been shot and killed within the last 3 years. The process has accelerated after Sirisena coming to power with Tamil votes according to the US designs.

Obviously, the modus operandi is in the model of ‘Yankee Cowboys’ seizing Red Indian lands, commented political observers in the East.

Kanthasamy continues to list the destruction, as 500 cows sustaining injuries and another 45 being taken away within the last three years by the armed men, who operate with the backing of retired SL military personnel, Buddhist monks and the Governor of the Eastern Province, who is an advisor to SL President on so-called reconciliation.

The Sinhala colonial governor is sitting on the repeated promises extended by the SL Government Agent and the Deputy Inspector General of SL Police in the district, according Mr Kanthasamy.

The structural genocide of appropriating the lands within the Batticaloa district started after the end of the genocidal war on Eezham Tamils living in the LTTE-controlled areas in Batticaloa.

Grazing lands Mailaththa-madu

The Tamil farmers say they have been using the grazing lands allocated for them for more than 3 years with the permits given to them through Sri Lanka’s state-owned dairy Milco (Pvt) Ltd

Following repeated protests and complaints, the Tamil dairy farmers decided to wage a continued struggle by boycotting milk supplies to SL government-owned Milco company in May.

The milk supplies from Batticaloa district constitute 22% of the milk consumption in the entire island, says Mr Kanthasamy.

But, the explanation from Milco was that it has nothing to do with the encroachments and that it was only engaging in a commercial relationship with the farmers. The SL State-owned corporation was buying the milk at lower rate from Tamils than from the ‘Government fixed’ rate in the South, he further complained.

However, due to the repeated protests the SL Government Agent and various other administrative officials were forced to visit the area and inspect the situation in May 2016.

Mahaweli System B

The location of System B across Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts

The officials, including the GA and the SL Police officials, agreed that the settlements were illegal and sent their reports to SL Governor in the East, Kalupage Austin Fernando, who was a former Defence Secretary of Colombo during the previous UNP regime.

There has been no action from the Governor’s office so far, the Tamil farmers from Kiraan complain.

The SL Government officials initially promised an answer before 26 May, but we are reaching 26 September. Nothing has happened, they say.

According to Mr Kanthasamy, there is a clear intention on the part of occupying Sinhalese to deprive Tamil farmers from accessing the pasturelands.

In the meantime, the SL Forest Department was involved in filing lawsuits with false charges against Tamil cattle herders in 2010. Still the Forest Department officials are demanding the farmers to plead guilty in order to relieve them from continuing their cases with the SL Judiciary.

“Why should we plead guilty for crimes that we didn’t commit while they are the ones who commit crimes against us,” asks Kanthasamy.

The SL Police at Ea’raavoor has also not acted against the encroaching culprits who had gunned down the cattle belonging to Tamil farmers. “Even when the farmers had supplied photographic evidence of the killers and the incidents, there was no action by the SL police,” Mr Kanthasamy said.

Despite the repeated complaints and agitations, a Buddhist temple has been constructed and several Sinhalese, who have encroached into the area are about to seize more lands now.

Mahaweli System B

System B of Mahaweli scheme targets to Sinhalicise and colonise the agricultural and grazelands of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa. The area being subjected to occupation was safeguarded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) till 2007 and is known as Paduvaan-karai.

They are converting the forest land and even the rocky lands for cultivation, after adding layers of agriculture soil using the poverty stricken workers brought from the South. These lands are not fit for agriculture, but their real intention is something else, Mr Kanthasamy says. The intruders also engage in several illegal activities, he says.

Hailing from Polonnaruwa, Mr Sirisena has been implementing a long-term Sinhalicisiation agenda within the so-called System B, which is the largest of Mahaweli ‘Development’ programme, consisting of 75,441 ha., including 27,179 ha of irrigable lands in Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts under the pretext of ‘development’. Foreign countries are standing in queue to help his structural genocide with the approval and participation of the ultra big powers seeking geostrategic inroads into the island, the political observers in the East further commented.

Chronology:


Sirisena’s Mahaweli Ministry continues demographic genocide in East

[TamilNet, Saturday, 16 January 2016, 22:13 GMT]
The UNP government in 1984 kicked off a genocidal project of settling Sinhalese in large numbers in the Tamil-speaking district of Batticaloa in East with the same agenda of Sinhaliciation that took place in Trincomalee district earlier. Eezham Tamils were chased out of their villages as more than ten thousand Sinhalese were almost moved overnight by the SL Ministry of ‘Mahaweli Development’ to occupy the key areas in Batticaloa coming under the so-called Left bank of the B System. The SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, who is also the SL Minister of ‘Mahaweli Development’, is now carrying out the same project in a sophisticated manner, Tamil civil officials in Batticaloa said. 30,400 Sinhalese and have been settled under the Mahaweli programme in the district, which is predominantly Tamil-speaking while only 1,281 Tamil-speaking Muslims and 34 Tamils have been given lands, they said.

Mahaweli System B is the largest of Mahaweli ‘Development’ programme, consisting of 75,441 ha., including 27,179 ha of irrigable lands. The entire B system is located within the two administrative districts of Polonnaruwa (North Central Province) and Batticaloa (Eastern Province).

Sinhalese settlers from Polonnaruwa and Ampaa’rai districts have been brought into the lands coming under the ‘B System’, the Tamil officials further said.

Hailing from Polonnaruwa, Mr Sirisena has been implementing a long-term Sinhalicisiation agenda within the System B.

Maithiripala Sirisena’s ministry has been operating against conducting land Kachcheari’s to issue land licenses and deeds in Maathava’nai, Vadamunai-Tharavai regions.

After becoming SL President, Sirisena merged the ministries of Mahaweli Development and Environment into one and brought them under his direct supervision as the minister in charge of the new ministry in order to carry out a sophisticated demographic change in the border area of Batticaloa, Polonnaruwa and Ampaa’rai, the Tamil officials from Batticaloa said.

Mr Sirisena was the minister of ‘Mahaweli Development’ between 1997 and 2001 and between April 2004 and November 2005 under the regime of Chandrika Kumaratunga.

He continued with the same position also under Mahinda Rajapaksa till April 2010.

Under the UNP and SLFP regimes, foreign governments have been funding the Mahaweli ‘development’ programme, while Colombo government was wedging the territorial integrity of Tamil homeland at several key locations as at Ma’nal-Aa’ru (Sinhalicised into Weli Oya) and Kokku’laay in Mullaiththeevu district, Pulmoaddai, Moothoor and Kantha’laay in Trincomalee district. Sinhala settlers were also being brought into Ampaa’rai and Batticaloa districts under the Mahaweli project.

However, the scheme of demographic genocide was effectively halted during the times of the LTTE.

But, the entire northeastern coastal belt in the Tamil homeland has been subjected to demographic change in an accelerated manner after 2009 during the regimes of Rajapaksa and Sirisena.

The SL State was also violating its own constitutional provisions and procedures, the Tamil officials said.

In the first place, the Tamils were not even given the so-called ‘national ethnic ratio’ in the distribution of lands. Secondly, the Mahaweli Ministry was completely ignoring the Tamils in the allocation of lands. Thirdly, most of the lands being seized in the border areas of the three districts are pasturelands. The farming activities of Eezham Tamils in Batticaloa have been severely affected by the occupation of pasturelands.

The 13th Amendment to the SL Constitution states that “[t]he distribution of all allotments of such land in such projects will be on the basis of national ethnic ratio. In the distribution of allotments according to such ratios, priority will be given to persons who are displaced by the project, landless of the District in which the project is situated and thereafter the landless of the Province.”

http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=38091

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