Wild elephants deployed by Colombo’s forest department claim lives of Tamils in Batticaloa
Sri Lankan Forest Department, in recent weeks, has brought in a number of wild elephants from Sinhala areas into the jungles adjacent to Koa’ra’laip-pattu South Division of the Batticaloa district, where uprooted Tamil people have resettled after the end of war. The Divisional Secretary of Koa’ra’laippattu South, Mr Thanabalasundaram, when contacted by reporters in Batticaloa, admitted that two Tamil civilians have been killed within the last 30 days by the wild elephants that have gone amok on the villagers and their properties. The lives and the livelihood of 3,000 Tamil villagers are threatened by the presence of more than 50 wild elephants of the Sinhala forest department.
Two innocent men, one in Punanai West, and a young boy in Kudumpimalai have been killed by the elephants and many got injured in addition to loss of properties, according to the Divisional Secretary.
Tamil civil officials, citing similar episodes in which the SL Forest Department had brought in elephants into Vanni and pockets of jungles situated close to Tamil areas of Ampaa’rai district, blame the forest department of the occupying Sinhala State for letting loose wild elephants on Tamils to uproot them permanently from their interior villages to facilitate Sinhala colonisation committing demographic genocide on Eezham Tamils.
The wild elephants that entered into the Koarave’li village on 27 March 2013 have destroyed two houses causing extensive damage to the cultivation of the villagers.
The animals were back on their business the following day and the villagers, together with the Village Officer, had to struggle against the animals to drive them back.
The cultivation by the Tamil villagers includes various plantains, jams and vegetables. The elephants have also caused substantial damage to the coconut trees and mango trees in the villages.
Similar rampages by elephants are also reported in Aayiththiyamalai village in Vavu’natheevu of Batticaloa district.
The wild elephants brought in by the SL forest department in Kudumpimalai, Aththi-kaaddu-veddai, Thikili-vadduvaan and Meeraan-ku’lam villages have chains around their necks and a yellow identification tag fixed to their ears, the villagers, who have witnessed SL forest department officials bringing in wild elephants using heavy vehicles with security to provided to them by the occupying SL military.
Despite, their complaints to the Divisional Secretary of Koa’ra’laippattu South and to the SL Forest Department officials in Batticaloa district, the practice of bringing in more wild elephants into the jungles near their villages is continuing, the villagers complain.
The reports of wild elephants of SL Forest Department going amok on Tamils in Batticaloa comes following the reports of similar attacks reported last month in Ampaa’rai district.
Last year, people in Mullaiththeevu district of Vanni clashed with the occupying SL military for defending the SL Forest Department officials who were bringing in wild elephants from the South into the jungles of Vanni causing immense destruction to their agriculture in addition to the threat of life.