Sinhala colonization continues unabated in pasturelands of Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Thursday, 16 April 2015, 20:18 GMT]
Sinhala settlers are encroaching into the lands used for grazing of livestock owned by the farmers in Batticaloa. The encroachment is increasing unabated month after month during the 100-day programme of the new regime led by SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, Tamil farmers from Periya-maathava'nai in Koa'ra'laip-pattu South (Kiraan) division told TamilNet on Thursday. The Sinhala settlers target the lands surrounding the water tanks and ponds in the demarcated zones of pastureland. The intruders have slain more than 25 cows that belong to Tamil farmers earlier this year. The Sinhala guards from the SL forest department and the occupying SL military and the police keep fining the cattle owners. “We are targeted by the Sinhala intruders, home guards, military and police because of our ethnicity,” a farmer said describing the illegal fining as extortion.

The Tamil farmers lodged complaints at all the ruling levels of the SL State, from the divisional secretary to SL ministers in Colombo during the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa. They had several meetings with divisional secretaries in Batticaloa to SL ministers in Colombo. There was no change in the situation.

All the local officials, including some of the occupying Sinhala military officers in Batticaloa, were explaining that the Sinhala colonisation was taking place with the backing of the powerful regime in Colombo.

“We thought the situation would change after the new regime has come to power with its 100-day programme with the propaganda of good-governance. But, all our complaints have been ignored. Even the Provincial Minister of Agriculture, who is a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) politician collaborating with the new regime, is unable to put a stop to the encroachment and the occupation,” the farmer, who did not wish to be identified in fear of repercussions from the occupying SL military, said.

A Tamil official from Batticaloa District Secretariat admitted that the complaints of the Tamil farmers were being systematically ignored. “When it comes to North and East, all the regimes of South operate with the same genocidal instinct against Eezham Tamils. There is no change in the attitude,” the official told TamilNet.

“The extremist Sinhala Buddhist monks in the South go to the extent of self-immolating themselves to protest against cattle slaughter. But, here in Batticaloa, the Buddhist monks encourage the Sinhala settlers to kill the cattle owned by Tamils in order to seize our pasturelands,” the official said.

The commander of the SL military camp at Mazha-ma'ndi is doing agriculture in 25 acres of pasturelands.

The Sinhala settlers who have encroached into the lands in Periya-maathava'nai area are illegally cutting the trees in the nearby jungles and transport the trees to South. This is taking place with the backing of the forest department, which is supposed to protect the jungles from the environment destruction.

The encroachers are running underground and illegal brewery. They also transport narcotics to consumption of SL military men, the informed official further said.

Meanwhile, the Tamil farmers from Maathava'nai said they had been fined large sums of money between 400,000 and 600,000 rupees in January and February alone.

If this large-scale encroachment is not blocked before this August, it would not be possible to contain the Sinhala colonizers, the Tamil farmers said. The Sinhala colonisers would be carving out large tracts of lands for Maha Season by that time, the Tamil farmers complain.

More than one thousand Sinhala families have already encroached into the pasturelands in Periya-maathava'nai area, they further said.

“There is a sinister attempt to carve out a Sinhala division in Batticaloa district in the long run,” the District Secretariat official told TamilNet.

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