Sri Lankan Army demolishes Tamil homes

The Sri Lankan army has demolished hundreds of houses inside its “high security zone” (HSZ) at Valikaamam on the Jaffna peninsula in the north of Sri Lanka, a February 11 Tamilnet report said.

The houses belonged to Tamils who had been driven from their homes 20 years ago when the HSZ was established.

The Tamils had hoped that after the end of the war in May 2009, they would be allowed to return to their homes and farmlands. This did not happen, despite repeated promises. Now the army has admitted it intends to keep the land permanently.

It has also been announced that Tamil fisherpeople will no longer be allowed to use the port of Mayaliddi. Tamil fisherpeople already face severe restrictions.

The huge Valikaamam base complex is one of many military bases scattered throughout the predominantly Tamil areas of the north and east of the island of Sri Lanka.

Another example is at Poonakari, where Tamilnet reports that 31,000 troops are stationed in and around this small town. The district is inhabited by about 6000 Tamil families. There are five troops for every family in this area.

One reason for this huge concentration of troops around Poonakari is the town’s location on one of the two roads from the Jaffna peninsula to other Tamil-inhabited areas.

Like some of the other military bases, those at Poonakari are intended to help in breaking up the Tamil homeland into smaller fragments, and make it impossible to establish an independent Tamil state.

Along with the military bases, Tamil land is being taken over by the Sri Lankan government for Sinhalese settlements, and for Sri Lankan or overseas business interests.

Tamilnet said the aim is to, “create new militarized and Sinhalicised cities, corporate enclaves and townships in the whole of the conquered country” of the Tamils.

This is similar to the Israeli policy of using Jewish settlements to break up Palestine into small fragments. The Sri Lankan government received Israeli military aid, including military aircraft and patrol boats, during the war against the Tamil independence movement. Sri Lanka also received aid from the US, Britain, China and India, among others.

The military occupation of the Tamil homeland by the Sri Lankan army results in severe repression, including murders, disappearances, detention without trial, torture and rape.

Two of the student leaders arrested in November, after students at Jaffna University lit candles to commemorate those who died fighting for an independent Tamil homeland, remain in detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. They are Jaffna University Student Union secretary P Darshananth and Arts Faculty student union president K Jenamejeyan.