Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

The Sinhalisation Agenda of the Govt.

by Lankanewspapers.com, July 30, 2008

The President says that people are being liberated from the LTTE. By reason of your intense military onslaught both from the air and the land to capture territory under the control of the LTTE, you ruthlessly and recklessly inflict immense harm on the Tamil civilian population, and you thereafter leave them in the lurch, and proclaim with glee, that they have been liberated.

How can these people who led normal lives, who led contented lives, ever get on their feet again? How long will it take for that to happen? Are you in the least concerned? These Tamil families, Sir, have lived in these areas, their historical habitation for generations and centuries.

Their lives had economic, social and cultural underpinnings in these areas, all of which have been destroyed by your intense military action. You have reduced them to a state of utter penury and destitution. These people who led a respectable, peaceful life have now been reduced to the state of abject refugees.

Below we publish parts of the speech delivered by Trincomalee District Member of Parliament and Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (Tamil National Alliance) Parliamentary Group Leader, R. Sampanthan, on the adjournment motion debate in parliament on July 23.

"THE war is prosecuted as if it is being waged against an alien enemy and in total violation of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Laws.

Construction of bridge for circular road in Trincomalee by PDA & Sri Lankan army 2009

The war psychosis is so severe that even Tamil civilians in other parts of the country, outside the north-east are treated as if they did not belong to this country.

This Sir, is very largely the feeling of total alienation experienced by the Tamil people in this country today.

They face the worst in the theatre of war, as happened to the Tamil people in the Eastern Province sometime ago, and as is happening to the Tamil people in the Wanni now, or they live in perpetual fear, uncertain of even their lives, as is happening within the Jaffna Peninsula and in other parts of the country.

In the theatre of war, the Tamil people are bombed from the air, they have to face indiscriminate heavy artillery attacks, they have to face claymore mines set off by deep penetration units, all carried out by the Sri Lankan state.

They are killed, they are maimed, their houses are destroyed or damaged, their farming equipment, their fishing equipment, their animal husbandry and their plantations are destroyed, they are displaced, they are deprived of their livelihood, they are impoverished, they have to seek refuge in various places, sometimes even under trees.

Those who can flee the country are fleeing the country. They do not have the bare necessities of life, food, shelter, medicine and clothing. Fortunately, some non-governmental organisations help them to the extent possible, but the government which inflicts such immense harm on the people, is not concerned.

The government only gives them food supplies available under the World Food Programme.

Government pretends

However, the government pretends as if everything is being done by the government. Have the families of around 300 persons killed during the military operations in the Eastern Province been paid compensation? I tabled names of over 250 persons killed, in parliament in September last year.

Have the displaced Tamil families been paid compensation for the destruction and damage caused to their houses, their assets, their farming and fishing equipment, animal husbandry and plantations?

Nothing whatever has been done by this government, and the only reason can be that they are all Tamil people and the same will happen to the Tamil people who now face the same situation in the Wanni.

The President says that people are being liberated from the LTTE. By reason of your intense military onslaught both from the air and the land to capture territory under the control of the LTTE, you ruthlessly and recklessly inflict immense harm on the Tamil civilian population, and you thereafter leave them in the lurch, and proclaim with glee, that they have been liberated.

How can these people who led normal lives, who led contented lives, ever get on their feet again? How long will it take for that to happen? Are you in the least concerned? These Tamil families, Sir, have lived in these areas, their historical habitation for generations and centuries.

Their lives had economic, social and cultural underpinnings in these areas, all of which have been destroyed by your intense military action. You have reduced them to a state of utter penury and destitution. These people who led a respectable, peaceful life have now been reduced to the state of abject refugees.

This is not all, Sir. A large number of families have not yet returned to their original lands. I propose to demonstrate this by dealing with the situation in the Trincomalee District. Seventy- four families in the Echchilampattai village are not able to resettle in their lands as their lands are now occupied by the army who have established an army camp on these lands after these people were evicted in 2006.

The army can surely relocate in some other place and permit these families to occupy their land? In the Mutur-East area of the Muttur Divisional Secretary`s Division where the war was prosecuted and from which area all civilians, all Tamils fled, the position is as follows.

There are 11 Grama Sevaka Divisions in that area. This entire area has been declared as a high security zone.

In the division of Pallikudieruppu comprising 539 families, in the division of Nallur comprising 237 families and in the division of Paddalipuram comprising 400 families, people have commenced resettling on their lands despite all the deficiencies but the people have not yet fully returned. Similarly, in the division of Kaddaiparichchan South comprising 374 families, people have returned partly. In the divisions of Navaratnapuram comprising 240 families and Chanaiyoor comprising 425 families, no resettlement has taken place and the position is unclear.

No coordinated programme

It is two years since these people were evicted from their lands. There has been no concerted, coordinated programme by the government to resettle these people.

The Nation, March 15, 2009

The fact that the government which is responsible for the eviction of these people does not make a major contribution towards their resettlement is undoubtedly a major cause for the delay in their resettlement.

In the divisions of Koonitheevu, Sir, comprising 192 families, Sampur West comprising 398 families, Sampur East comprising 338 families, Kadatkaraichchenai comprising 595 families, and Kaddaiparichan North comprising 343 families totalling to 1,866 families, it would appear that resettlement is not to be allowed.

These are ancient Tamil villages in which these Tamil people have lived for generations and centuries. In all, only under 1000 families have been resettled in the whole of this area thus far over 3,000 families are yet to be resettled. I would refer in particular, Mr. Speaker, to the position pertaining to the 1,866 families in the five Grama Sevaka Divisions last referred to by me.

The government states that the LTTE has been evicted from this area with their weapons. There can be no justification for the government to deny these people the right to resettle in their lands, particularly, given the fact that they are historical inhabitants of these areas.

These people lived there long before the LTTE came into being. The LTTE came into being on account of the lapses of the Sri Lankan state.

Why should these poor people be punished now? Surely civilians, mostly Sinhala civilians live in other areas which have been declared high security zones, such as Katunayake, Kolonnawa and Ratmalana. Why should there be such severe discrimination against 1,866 Tamil families. If the government persists in this harsh decision against such a large number of Tamil families, the conclusion would be irresistible that even in regard to the right to live on your own land, the government does not mete out equal treatment to both Sinhala and Tamil civilians.

I want to appeal to the government that there should be a balance between the security concerns and the fundamental rights of these Tamil people. The government should understand that this is a humanitarian concern affecting the rights of people who have lived on these lands for very long. Considerations of security surely cannot be an all time concern in such matters.

There must surely come a time, when the war must and will come to an end. Then there will surely be no need for high security zones. The greater part of this High Security Zone, Sir, is not accessible to these people.

I am informed that even civilian officials cannot have access to these areas. I have information that buildings including houses in the areas where resettlement is not to be permitted, as presently contemplated, have been destroyed. Building materials, roof timber, doors, windows and other valuables from these areas have been transported out in lorries.

This has been seen by the people in different areas. Why should there be such great secrecy about what is going on in these areas? If something sinister is not happening why should everything be so opaque?

Disturbing developments


There are some disturbing developments. Construction is said to have commenced on a new circular road. The purpose of this new road is not known. It is said that this road will link Sampur in the south to Kuchavelli in the north.

The proposed road is presently visible at Saradhapuram before entering Trincomalee town and near Kiranthimunai along the Muttur road. Without any consultation with the owners and without proper procedures being observed, both residential and agricultural lands belonging to both Tamil and Muslim people have been taken over for the construction of this road.

How can a government act in such a blatantly unjust and illegal manner without consulting the owners and without adopting any procedures to take over both agricultural and farm lands and residential lands belonging to both Tamil people and the Muslim people unless the government`s attitude is that it does not care two hoots for the rights of Tamilspeaking people?

Objective not clean

When things are done, Sir, in such a high-handed way, the objective cannot be clean. It is said that this road will have a buffer zone on either side. The width of the buffer zone is expected to be between 100 metres and 500 metres.

No one is quite certain yet. Private land is being taken over for the buffer zone also without any consultation with the owners and as desired by the government.

Yet another new road is said to be under construction from Seruwila to Polonnaruwa through Mavil Aru. There is information that the land on either side of the road is to be colonised with about thousand Sinhala families.

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The Nation, Colombo, March 15, 2009

Roads

The following Roads and Highways are now under construction in the Trincomalee district.
• Thambalagamuwa-Kinniya Road
- Length: 7.1 km out of 15.6 km
- Estimated cost: Rs 413 million (Saudi)
- 12.6 % completed
• Outer Circular Highway - Trincomalee
- Length: 67 km.
- Estimated cost: Rs 10,500 million
- Allocation for 2007: Rs 200 million
- Construction commenced
• Palathoppu-Seruwila Road
- Length: 2.5 km out of 7.82 km
- Estimated cost: Rs 27.8 million (JBIC)
- Allocation for 2007: Rs 3 million
- 85 % completed
• Trincomalee-Thirukkondiadimadu Road
- Length: 99 km.
- Estimated cost: Rs 3,452 million (AFD)
- Allocation for 2007: Rs 1,026 million
- Bids invited
• Mavadichchena-Kaddaiparichchena Road (Provincial)
- Length: 33 km.
- Estimated cost: Rs 390 million (AFD)
- Bids invited
• Alla-Kanthale Road
- Length: 41 km.
- Estimated cost: -Pulmode Road
- Length: 55.3 km.
- Estimated cost: Rs 1,203.9 million (ADB)
- Allocation for 2007: Rs 3,22.5 million
- 20 % completed
• Bogaha Handiya-Pulmode Road
- Length: 17 km out of 27.76 km
- Estimated cost: Rs 450 million (ADB)
- Allocation for 2007: Rs 122.5 million
- Tender to be awarded
• Habarana-Trincomalee Road
- Length: 83 km.
- Estimated cost: Rs 4,340 million (ADB)
- Allocation for 2007: Rs 122.5 million
- Tender to be awarded for Habarana-Kantale section of 44 km