SL Forest Department lets loose wild elephants on resettled Tamils in Ampaa’rai
Wild elephants in large numbers are systematically driven into villages where Tamils predominantly live in the Ampaa’rai district by a section of Sinhalese connected to the Sri Lankan Forest Department, presumably to prevent the uprooted Eezham Tamils from returning and resettling in their places of origin, sources in Ampaa’rai said. The Colombo government that exploits the poverty status of these people, while not providing them with the basic amenities, sponsors Sinhala colonisation schemes that also include settlement of SL military men in the area. So far, after 2009, seven new Sri Lanka Army camps have been established in Ampaa’rai district.
Members of 514 displaced Tamil families whose native villages are Kagnchi-kudichchaa’ru and Thangka-vealaayuthapuram of Thirukkoayil DS division of the Ampaa’rai district are presently settled on a temporary basis at residences of relatives in Thirukkoayil, Vinaayaka-puram, Thu’rai-neelaava’nai, Cho’rikal-munai, Cheanaik-kudiyiruppu, and Ma’ndoor villages.
These families were driven out of their places in the years of 1987, 1990, 2006 by the harassment and violence let loose on them by the Sinhala military and the paramilitary operated by the SL forces and known as Muslim Home Guards at that time.
However, the Tamil families still carry on their living, despite having lost everything they owned earlier. The Colombo government simply does not want to look into their plights. The SL government ignores provision of relief materials to these families, Tamil civil sources Ampa’rai said.
These innocent victims facing new forms of harassments are mostly farmers and fishermen whose livelihood depends on petty income earned by collecting firewood etc., from the nearby forests. They are people of below the poverty line and not financially capable to resettle themselves in their native villages.
To prevent as much as possible, the resettling efforts of these displaced Tamil families, herd of elephants from the adjoining forests are driven into these villages.
With the same ulterior motive crocodiles in large numbers are also inducted into ponds of these areas, the fishermen allege.
Not all fishermen use boats, but many of them walk into the ponds to fish. Thus the many fishermen who want to escape from the man-eating crocodiles keep away from fishing into the ponds and thereby are deprived of their daily income.
During the times of the Liberation Tigers in the area, there was necessary checks and balance that ensured livelihood for the Tamil families in this area including safety from wild elephants. Today the safety and security of the people of these areas is endangered mostly due to the underhand activities of the Colombo government, the Tamil families say.