More than 600 Sinhala fishermen have now settled in 9 different coastal areas across Mullativiu said Northern Provincial Council member T Ravikaran, as he outlined details of state-sponsored colonisation of the Tamil North-East.
Mr Ravikaran also stated that at least 9 Buddhist viharas had been constructed in the Mullaitivu district in the last 6 years alone, all of which have been aided by the Sri Lankan armed forces.
The councillor detailed the long history of state-sponsored colonisation, recalling that in 1981 12 to 14 fishermen had been granted temporary permits to settle in Kokkilai and fish. Now the number in that village alone is 300.
Post-armed conflict colonisation has continued, he added, stating that in 2012 78 fishermen were granted permits to fish in Nayaru in Mullaitivu. There are more than 290 fishermen in that area today he said, continuing that there were more Sinhala families settling in Mukathuvaaram, Chemmalai, Kokkuthoduvai, Pulipaaynthakal, Kokkuthoduvai-North, and about 4 different areas in Mathalan Road,
Recently Sri Lanka's fisheries minister pledged to build homes for the Sinhala families living in the district.
“How can the minister give our lands to others?” asked Mr Ravikaran. “These people have encroached upon our lands. How can one donate our lands to the intruders?”