Sinhalese occupy grazing lands of Tamil cattle breeders in East
Tamil cattle breeders face threat and intimidation from the occupying Sri Lanka Army to use their grazing grounds in Periya Maathava’nai and Mayilaththa-madu areas situated in Koara’laip-pattu South DS division of Batticaloa district. Eezham Tamils are being chased away from the area with their cattle by the occupying Sri Lanka Army that only allows the Sinhala cattle breeders to enter the grazing lands. A group of Tamil cattle breeders led by K.Thurairajasingham, a former Batticaloa district parliamentarian who is an elected member to the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), went to the site on October 4 to see the ground situation. They were told by the occupying Sri Lanka Army camped in the area that more than one hundred Sinhalese had been settled down in the area and are preparing for the Maha paddy cultivation.
The occupying Sinhala military personnel claimed that the area, prior to 1980, was inhabited by Sinhalese and that the region comes under the Ampaa’rai district. Therefore, the area belonged to Sinhalese, the military had told the Tamil politician, who went there on a fact-finding mission.
Tamil cattle breeders say that a former Kalkuda parliamentarian late K.W.Devanayagam who was also a Minister of Justice under in the then United National Party government at that time had chased away a group of Sinhalese when they illegally occupied the land in 1978.
However, the land now occupied by the Sinhalese had been declared grazing ground for Tamil cattle breeders already in 1972 by an extra gazette notification. The gazette notification is still in force even after 2009, Tamils say.
Already about 7,500 acres in Neluk-ku’lam, 7,500 acres in Ampu-mu’rai and 7,500 areas in Tharavai area gazetted as grazing grounds for Tamil cattle breeders in Koara’laip-pattu South DS division have been brought under paddy cultivation. Now only 1,800 areas are available in Periya Maathava’nai and Mayilaththamadu as grazing grounds.
Since the capture of the area by the occupying Sri Lanka Army in 2007 army cantonments have been established in the area and Sinhalese are being brought down from the south and being settled and allowed to cultivate.
The occupying Sinhalese villagers are also alleged of killing cattle belong to Tamils for consumption and for sale.
Complaints made by the affected Tamil cattle breeders against illegal encroachment to the Tamil government politicians have not been entertained.
Meanwhile, the order made by the Batticaloa District Court for the eviction of the illegal occupants in Kevu’liya-madu Swamimalai area has not been carried out yet.
Instead, more Sinhala settlers are being brought down from South and are being settled down in the area.
No action has been taken even after complaints made at District Co-ordinating Committee meetings, Tamil civil officials told TamilNet.