Feature Article

Uprooted Tamils reject Colombo's crores of bribes for naval seizure of Pa'l'li-munai in Mannaar

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 August 2016, 23:50 GMT]
The Tamil fishermen belonging to Pa'l'li-munai in Mannaar city, whose houses, lands and the fishing market, have been occupied by the SL military since November 1990 moved 19 cases against the SL Navy and the SL State in February 2013 after they were thoroughly disappointed by the political inaction inside the island and after seeing the Geneva discourse not bringing any solutions home. The case has been scheduled for hearings 21 times and postponed each time citing requests or absence from the respondents. Despite the pending case against the SL Navy, Colombo's Survey Department officials were attempting to survey the lands for permanent seizure on 02 July. The poverty-stricken fishermen told TamilNet on Thursday that they have not yielded to the pressure from Colombo, including the offer of crores of rupees to abandon their case and settle for alternative arrangements.

The Sinhala lawyers, representing the navy of the SL State, have been attempting to offer two crores of rupees as a ‘settlement fee’ and as ‘compensation’ to the 19 complainants. In the conversations held outside the SL Court proceedings, the lawyers have been telling the fishermen that nothing would work in the favour of the uprooted Tamils. As the SL Navy was in a hurry to complete their ‘Detachment’ status consolidation, Colombo was prepared to offer two crores of rupees for an off-the-record settlement.

But, the Tamil fishermen have been firm in denouncing the deceptive offer and continuing their struggle.

People confront SL officials surveying Pa'l'li-munai
SL Military has seized the area from 23 Tamil families since 1990. On 20 July 2016, the uprooted Tamils confronted the SL Survey Department officials who were brought silently to survey the lands for permanent seizure. The SL Navy is trying to consolidate its ‘Naval Detachment’ and several other points along the coast of Mannaar, which is commanding both the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannaar as well as commanding the closest communication line with the Tamil Nadu coast.

The coastal village of Pa'l'li-munai is located within the urban limits of Mannaar city.

The occupying Army of genocidal Sri Lanka (SLA) seized more than 25 houses and the fish market belonging to the poverty-stricken fishermen at the locality on 30 November 1990.

SL Police was also deployed, together with the SLA, at the coastal village of Eezham Tamils.

The coastal lands were brought under the SL Navy in year 2000 and the SL Police accompanied.

Militarisation in Mannaar
While the territory under red circles mark the Sinhala military consolidation under Mahinda Rajapaksa seen as ‘pro China’, the coast under yellow circle mark the expansion of the consolidation started by Rajapaksa and continued by Ranil-Maithiri regime viewed as ‘pro USA’. New Delhi continues to have military-to-military relations with genocidal Sinhala military. The ultimate target is land and waters of Tamils in the Indian-Ocean. The places mentioned in the feature come under the yellow circle. [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth. Legend by TamilNet]

After the end of genocidal onslaught in May 2009, the uprooted Tamil fishermen were expecting that the occupying military would vacate from their lands.

However, their repeated appeals went on deaf ears.

Their complaints to the then UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navanetham Pillay, also didn't work, they say.

The fishermen also complain that all shades of the Tamil polity have failed to fight for the retrieval of their lands seized by the SL Navy.

They were forced to file legal suits against the continued illegal seizure of their lands and the fish market. The cases were filed on 11 February 2013.

After Maithiripala Sirisena was sworn in the SL President and the UNP and SLFP politicians behind the decades long genocide against Eezham Tamils were joining hands claiming ‘good governance’, the fishermen hoped there might be a chance for resettling in their own lands if they appealed through the SL Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs Mr D. M. Swaminathan.

It didn't take long for them to realise that Mr Swaminathan couldn't deliver anything on the case. “Swaminathan is Sellaak-kaasu [invalid currency], and he can't do anything in the cases of the occupying navy in Mannaar,” a Pa'l'li-munai fisherman described.

Since January 2016, the occupying Sinhala military has been silently consolidating its temporary positions and camps into permanent structures.

The strategic part of the district, commanding both the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannaar as well as commanding the closest communication line with the Tamil Nadu coast, has become a hive of intense Sinhala militarisation and demographic changes in recent times.

The SL military manoeuvrings in the strategic part of the Eezham Tamil country facing the Tamil Nadu coast is viewed as long term preparations jointly undertaken by Washington and New Delhi, accompanied by shielding operations by the UN outfits such as the OHCHR headed by military minds in the guise of human rights, Tamil political activists commented.

SL coastal bases in North
Sri Lanka's large military establishments that choke Jaffna peninsula and threaten Indian security. Sinhala colonisation is carried out in places no 11, 13, 14, and 16. The locations: 1. High Security Zone, Valikaamam North, 2. Kaarainakar naval base, 3. Vallan, Pungkudutheevu, 4. Periyathu'rai and Saamiththoadda-munai, Delft (Key location for Kachchatheevu and Rameswaram), 5. Kunthavadi, Delft, 6. Thalai-mannaar, 7. Mannaar Fort, 8. Tha'l'laadi, 9. Poonakari Fort, 10. Elephant Pass, 11. Vettilaikkea'ni, 12. Naakarkoayil, 13. Ariyaalai East and the opposite sandbar Ma'n'niththalai, 14. Naavatkuzhi, 15. Ma'ndaitheevu,16. Jaffna city, 17. Kachcha-theevu and 18. Naachchik-kudaa. The innumerable small military posts and the newly planned cantonments in Vanni are not shown in the map. [Satellite Image courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth. Legend by TamilNet]

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