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EPC member urges Sri Lankan government to stop ‘premeditated Sinhala occupations’ in Batticaloa

File photo: R. Thurairatnam - Tharakai/Wordpress

Eastern Provincial Councillor (EPC) and Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front member, R. Thurairatnam made a public appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate action to stop the unopposed “premeditated Sinhala occupation” and warned that failure to do so risks ethnic tensions arising in the area.

Thurairatnam stated at the end of last month that funds were disproportionally distributed to the people of Batticaloa. “While in the Eastern Province, 40% are Tamil, 37% are Muslims and 23% are Sinhalese, in the Batticaloa district 75% are Tamils, 23% are Muslims and approximately 1.10% Sinhalese. The funds were not proportionately allocated for developmental work by the ministers that were elected during the wartime when Sinhalese people were suffering,” he said.

He also highlighted the ethnicity bias in recruitment of governing positions in the Eastern province. “Government forces are also biased in recruitment. Tamils are not accepted in higher positions, it is clear that Tamils from the East have been excluded.”

“As a result, the premeditated Sinhala occupations are illegally arising in Kachai Kodiswamy, Manmunai, Keviliyamadu border area, Eerakulam, Mathavanai, Periyamathavanai, Mayilathamadu border areas, Chenkalady, Kudumbimalai, Cron, Chinnamathavanai border area and Punanai border area,” he added.

Thurairatnam also slammed the incidents of Sinhalisation led by Buddhist religious figures and ‘apparent cooperation’ from government officials.

“Last week there was pressure from a Buddhist religious figure to expel [Tamil] fishermen from the Thalavai beach area. The entire planned Sinhala occupation is being implemented with the aid of the central government and Buddhist religious figures. Doubts are growing among the Tamil people as to whether the security forces are accommodating these illegal settlements to occur,” he claimed.

He added, “In this situation, the newly elected governor is also implicated in the promotion of farmers in the Maathavanai and Mayilathamadu districts. Such planned resettlement projects in the district boundaries in the name of encouraging farmers should be seen as an attempt to intensify the abundance of the Sinhala ethnicity.

This is not a healthy thing to do.”

Thurairatnam fears the increasing unopposed Sinhala occupation will lead to ethnic tensions. “The governor's planned Sinhala settlement under the direct administration of the president creates the possibility for ethnic conflict against Muslims. This will start to spread among the community and among other departments and create an environment where one ethnicity will be suspiciously perceived by another ethnicity. The fact that the governor of the Eastern Province, where the three ethnicities live, is carrying out an ethnic settlement highlights the governor's misguided policies.”

He stressed this as a pressing issue that needs immediate government addressing.

“I make a public appeal to the Government of Sri Lanka to stop racial tensions within the country and to prevent the deliberate Sinhala occupation.”

Read more here (Tamil). 

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