Sri Lanka: Tamils seek end to occupation

The historic land of Tamil Eelam in green.

In December 1984, the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) expelled Tamil farmers from three villages in the Ma'nalaa'ru region in the northeast of the island of Sri Lanka and seized 1500 acres of land.

The land has been occupied by the SLA ever since. The displaced farmers told two Tamil National Alliance members of the Sri Lankan parliament who recently visited the area that the army still bans them from returning. They are not even allowed to look at their land.

The pretext given by the SLA for preventing the return of the farmers is the alleged presence of land mines. But the farmers deny this, pointing out that the SLA has controlled the area since 1984.

The farmers believe their land may be targeted for settlement by Sinhalese from the south of Sri Lanka, as has happened with other nearby areas.

The situation at Ma'nalaa'ru is typical of what is happening in many parts of northeastern Sri Lanka. Sinhalese settlements are being established in traditional Tamil areas, with the goal of breaking up the contiguity of the Tamil homeland and rendering a Tamil state impossible.

This is similar to the Israeli policy of using Jewish settlements to break up the contiguity of Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Even though the war between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ended with the defeat of the LTTE in May 2009, the SLA continues to occupy large areas of the northeast.

For example, 30% of the Jaffna district remains under military control. Military bases are being expanded. There is one member of the SLA for every 10 civilians in the Jaffna peninsula.

Tamils are subject to repression and harassment by the army and Sinhalese settlers.

Hindu temples have been demolished or damaged. Buddhist temples have been built for the settlers. Most Tamils are Hindus and most Sinhalese Buddhist.

Economic discontent is growing in the predominantly Sinhalese south of Sri Lanka. Students have protested against the privatisation of education, leading to violent clashes with the police. Workers have protested against the failure of their pay to keep up with inflation, and against attacks on their pension schemes.

In June last year, a worker was shot dead and many others injured during a protest against a new pension law.

One reason for poverty in the south is the huge government spending on the military occupation of the Tamil areas. New Socialist Party leader Vickramabhu Karunaratne said there was a possibility of building links between the economic stuggle in the south and the Tamil struggle.

He says: "Agitation for justice to the Tamil people should be tied to the anger of the people at the economic misery.

“It is time a powerful democratic movement is formed to bring out the power of all oppressed communities.”

Comments

The comparison to the palestine problem and fragmentation of Arab lands is very apt. And so are close ties to Israel 's policy of land grabs. Even though the green map reflects the old traditional claims it is more realistic to have the year of indepondence-1948- as the reference point. Even this has been grossly violated as has the inalienable basic political, social,civic,human and even security rights of the Tamil population by the state in what has been an ethnic and religious war over decades by none other than a majoritarian state adopting intolerant Sinhala Only Buddhist policies. The misgovernance has also caught up with its own people in the south in every aspect of life from security of persons to their economic needs. How can it be otherwise while maintainig a huge military even after the end of an atrocious war with the highest budget in history accorded to Defence. The grim reason is perhaps that a bloated military recruited largely of caders from the south cannot afford to be demobilised as it will add not only to the economic woes of such people but further aggravate the security situation by adding to the numbers of absconding military deserters supposedly in the tens of thousands.The poverty situation pf people in the north and east without any employment prospects sans their agricultural lands absorbed into so-called security zones has added to their economic woes. Even worse is that the MPs representing such adversely affected populations being in the political Opposition have zero voice in intervening on their behalf with government as it falls on deaf ears reflecting a failed democracy over decades.

The occupying speaks Sinhalese language and the local population Tamil. The military support paramilitaries that rob, abduct, torture and extra judicially execute anyone perceived as the opponent of government policies. Journalists and student leaders are threatened, assaulted and abducted for no apparent reason. Many women were raped and no action taken against the rapists, most of whom are soldiers.

The primary objective of these crimes seems to be to keep the population in fear psychosis. The military insists its presence in all the civil functions, festivals, sports meets and meetings to prevent anything said against the government, themselves or paramilitaries and to spy the on Tamils and Muslims.

This Map completely gives a wrong impression. This is a map the tamils have been brandishing as theirs for the last so many years without any proof. This map includes an area outside North and East of the country. In the East tamil live in a stretch of 10 miles along with the muslims. The tamils never govered east in history. They governed an area smaller than the current Northern province for 200 years out of a history of 2500 yeras. Sinhalese were never settled in tamil land they were resettled in neglected sinhala lands (During Colonial period). In South africa the black man is slowly getting his place back from the white man. That is not colonisisng my friend.

Pls proove the traditional Tamil Homeland theory first then you will not have trouble in securinga seperate state.