Uprooted Tamils in Ampaa’rai question SL Minister’s statement on resettlement
Tamil people have been systematically evicted from forty villages in fifteen different DS divisions in Ampaa’rai district, Tamil civil officials in the district say. Since 13 April 1967 to date, at least 3,500 Tamil families have been uprooted from these villages. Recently, Rauf Hakim, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) who holds the portfolio of Minister of Justice in Mahinda Rajapakse regime has told a foreign envoy in Colombo that steps would be taken to return the lands and properties lost by people in the past decades. Tamil civil officials questioned whether the Tamil people who were systematically uprooted from their traditional villages could get their lands appropriated by Sinhalese and Muslims during the conflict.
Around 6,500 acres of paddy fields, 3,500 acres of coconut lands and about 2,000 acres of lands used for sugar cane cultivation have been appropriated from the Tamils during the systematic eviction, the officials told TamilNet.
Tamils have been uprooted from the DS divisions of Chammaanthu’rai, Ninthavoor, Adda’laich-cheanai, Akkaraippattu, Poththuvil, Kalmunai, Chaainthamaruthu, I’rakkaamam, Ampaa’rai, Aalaiyadivempu, Kaaraitheevu, Naavithanve’li, Thirukkoayil, Uhana and Lahugala in the Ampaa’rai district.
Tamils were first driven out during the Ceylon-state aided colonization that took place under the Gal Oya colonization scheme.
In 1983, Tamils were chased away during state-sponsored pogrom.
Later, in 1985 and in 1990, following Muslim – Tamil riots, Sri Lankan elite commando Special Task Force (STF) evicted Tamils by engineering massacres against Tamils.
Due to fear and pressure, some Tamil families had sold their lands for low prices before fleeing their villages to save their lives.
The Eastern Province was fully occupied by the Sri Lanka Army in 2007. Thereafter, SL-state sponsored Sinhalicisation of Tamil villages has been stepped up.
More than 20 Hindu shrines have been destroyed in these villages.
New Buddhist Viharas have mushroomed and new highways and roads have been put up to facilitate the Sinhala colonisation.