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Tamil Heritage Forum slams Sinhalisation of Vavuniya

The Tamil Heritage Forum has slammed the Sri Lankan government for its aggressive Sinhalisation of Vavuniya North, as well as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) for failing to speak up against the issues.

In a statement on the sudden clearing of forests in Ootrukulam, Nedunkeni to make way for a Buddhist shrine and Sinhala settlement last week, the forum accused the government of hypocrisy stating that the Forest Department “forbids the displaced Tamils to clean their own lands” but “provides full support for forest clearing for Sinhalese settlements”.

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“These activities are well-planned and are being done with the full support of the central government,” the forum said.

The forum also criticised the TNA as complicit in the colonisation, pointing out that the party had “accepted and supported this by backing the budget that included all these encroachment plans for the last four years.”

“It is a curse for the Tamil people that the Tamil parliamentarians could not question and stop the anti-Tamil measures of the government which is retaining power with their support,” the forum said.

Many Sinhalese settlements have been established in the Northern and Eastern Provinces throughout the history with the goal of reshaping Tamils’ population distribution. Planned Buddhistisation activities with the aim of disrupting the Tamils’ heritage and with the full support of central government institutions, and the Tamils’ fight against these activities have become regular events.

A Buddha statue was erected urgently in the dense forests of Ootrukkulam of Vavuniya North Division of Vavuniya District and efforts are being made to establish a Sinhalese settlement in the area surrounding it. The Department of Agrarian Services, Department of Archeology, and Forest Department of the central government are providing full support to this scheme. Ministry of Agriculture of Anuradhapura District conducting programmes in a place that falls under Vavuniya District shows the deceptive nature of this activity.

People of Vavuniya North Division have been weakened politically and economically because of the Sinhalese settlements that were established in the past in the region.

The Forest Department which forbids the displaced Tamils to clean their own lands, provides full support for forest clearing for Sinhalese settlements. Buddhist monks have been engaged in activities to strengthen the Sinhalese settlement while homeguards provide protection.

These activities are well-planned and are being done with the full support of the central government. Tamil politicians who boast that they have defended democracy at the centre, have not given enough pressure to the government to prevent the Sinhalese settlements and Buddhistisation activities aimed at destroying the Tamils’ heritage and cultural symbols. The preliminary measures for this settlement have been initiated some time back. It is sad that this matter was ignored even after the people realised that a settlement is going to be established and directly informed all the parliamentarians who represent the Tamil people when Kachchal Samalankulam of this region was reconstructed in a grand manner through Ministry of Agriculture of Anuradhapura. On the contrary, politicians of Tamil National Alliance have accepted and supported this by backing the budget that included all these encroachment plans for the last four years. In truth, it is a curse for the Tamil people that the Tamil parliamentarians could not question and stop the anti-Tamil measures of the government which is retaining power with their support.

We respectfully urge those concerned to immediately act to stop the Buddhistisation activities and planned Sinhalese settlements that affect racial reconciliation badly.

Tamil Heritage Forum