After tactically promoting the Sinhala Buddhist extremist Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a ruling UPFA ally of the Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, to file a legal suit against a key post-Tsunami resettlement village of the Tamil-speaking Muslims in Digawapi in Ampaa’rai, the colonial state apparatus in Colombo is now scheming a demographic change in Ampaa’rai to create a Sinhala division covering the Digawapi area with other areas, civil sources in Ampaa’rai say. Digawapi is a Buddhist ‘Sacred Zone’ is the argument promoted by the exclusivist JHU and the genocidal elements in the Colombo establishment. The new Sinhala Buddhist division would be carved out from four divisions, informed civil sources Ampaa’rai say.
The new Sinhala division would also target access to sea, the sources further said.
The plan of Colombo is to create a division connecting areas where Sinhala workers in Oluvil port reside, the Digawapi area – which it claims as ‘Sacred Zone’ of Sinhala Buddhists with some of the areas from the Sinhala division of Damana division, the sources said. The demographic pattern of Chammaanthu’rai, Addaa’laich-cheanai, Eragama and Damana divisions would be changed, if Colombo’s plan was allowed to go through, they say.
Ampaa’rai has been subjected to demographic changes on several occasions earlier. Therefore, seeing everything from a historical perspective with the right context is key to understand the genocidal intent of the Colombo in the East, civil society activists campaigning for Tamil–Muslim unity said.
Following the December 2004 tsunami, houses were constructed for Muslim people affected by the catastrophe in Ninthavoor, Addaa’laich-cheanai and Oluvil at Nuraich-choalai located in Akkaraippattu DS division in the Ampaa’rai district with the funds provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Muslim settlement, established in 64 acres of land, 7 km east of Ampaa’rai town, consists of 540 houses, a mosque, a hospital, separate schools for boys and girls, a wedding hall and other infrastructure facilities.
However, when the village was about to be handed over to tsunami affected families in the year 2008, the Sinhala extremist JHU filed a legal suit arguing that the site is considered as a ‘Sacred Area’ for Buddhists and the settlement should not be limited to one community alone.
Since then tsunami affected families have been undergoing immense sufferings without basic facilities and the affected people allege that the Sinhala extremists were also blocking NGOs from providing humanitarian aid to the affected people.
Digawapi area in Ampaarai district was a place where Tamils and Muslims lived in large numbers even four decades ago. Later, Tamil families were chased out from the area, leaving Muslims alone and now the Muslims are also confronted by the concept of ‘Sacred Zone’.