The occupying Sinhala military of Colombo, stationed in more than 10 military bases along the villages in Batticaloa district in the area bordering Polannaruwa district, has enforced Eezham Tamils to register their households and their lands. The enforced registration is carried out in a military operation style, is claimed to be under the so-called ‘Eastern Province Development Plan’ of the Mahaweli Development Ministry. The intention is to appropriate excess lands to be distributed among ‘landless’ people, a SL military intelligence officer involved in the project said when confronted by the villagers. The enforced registration is being carried out without involving the SL Government Agent of Batticaloa district and the divisional officers under him.
The residents, who were entirely uprooted in 2007 and resettled in their lands after 2009, now fear that the registration of their names by the SL military intelligence unit is to appropriate their lands, claim these as ‘no man lands’ and to distribute the appropriated lands to Sinhala farmers from the South.
The location of Kudumpimalai (Barren’s Cap) from Batticaloa and Vaazhaich-cheanai
The ‘operation’ began ten days ago and is being carried out in Kudumpimalai, Pa’l’laththuch-cheanai, Ilumichchaik-kudaa, Thadaa’nai, Eachchaiyadi, and Katkulaach-choalai in Koa’ralaip-pattu South DS division by a team of two Sinhala military intelligence officers, seven Sinhala male and a female official.
Names of residents, extent of high lands, paddy lands, their annual income and expenditure, number of trees, wells and cattle found in each plot of land are also being registered.
The military team is using five different forms to register all the details.
Farmers’ societies have condemned the move and have urged Tamil politicians to safeguard their region from Sinhalicisation.
The move is taking place without involving the local officials of the agrarian department.
Villagers who have resettled in their lands after displacement have already been neglected by the SL authorities that have not provided them with any basic facility. The families have therefore opted to do cultivation in high lands during Maha season. Once it is over they leave and stay in urban areas until next Maha season, except a few members of the families who take care of the properties.
But, Colombo is scheming an infrastructure to provide all the necessary facilities to the Sinhalese who will be occupying the lands permanently, the Tamil villagers complained.
To facilitate the Sinhalicisation, the occupying SL military has changed the names of junctions into Sinhala and has completed construction of Buddhist temples.
Tamils say their free movement in their villages is restricted by the presence of these camps of the occupying Sri Lanka Army.
SL military camps at Periyavedduvaan, Pa’l’laththuch-cheanai, 5th Mile Post, Tharavai, Miyangku’lam, 9th Mile Post, Kudumpimalai, Ampumalai junction, Aththik-kalveddai (intelligence unit camp), Kumarakalveddai, Mazhama’ndi (training camp) have encircled the entire border region of Tamil villages.
Vehicles entering the region have to be registered with the SLA camps.
Tamil NGOs are not allowed to enter the area.