Sri Lanka: Tamils protest new ethnic cleansing

A Tamils protest against land grabs in the Northern Province in June.

Tamil and Muslim fisherpeople marched on the Musali Divisional Secretariat on November 9. They were protesting against plans to establish a settlement by the Sinhalese ethnic majority in their coastal area of Sri Lanka's Northern Province.

The Sri Lankan government has long had a policy of establishing Sinhalese settlements in traditionally Tamil areas of the northern and eastern parts of the island. Just as Jewish settlements in the West Bank are intended to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, Sinhalese settlements are intended to prevent the creation of the Tamil state.

The government also maintains military bases throughout these areas for the same purpose.

The government is proposing to establish a Sinhalese fishing village at Paampadichchaan-oadai in the Musali area, with fisherpeople brought from the Gampaha district in the south of Sri Lanka. The location of the proposed Sinhalese village is close to Mullikulam, a Tamil village taken over by the Sri Lankan navy, displacing its inhabitants.

Demonstrators included Noor Alam Mohammed, leader of the Manaar Federation of Fishing Societies, and Tamil National Alliance MP Selvam Adaikalanathan.