The Commission for Justice and Peace of The Catholic Diocese of Jaffna urged the President and Members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the island, who recently visited the North, to do justice to the existing realities by working for addressing them in the right direction. Cautioning against ideas of cosmetic development and “enforced rehabilitation” as solutions to the conflict, and listing out some of the fundamental and practical issues faced by the Tamil people, which might not have been “visible” to the Bishops during their short visit, the Catholic organization in its statement on Thursday said that “If the present situation continues we fear that it will be paving way for another cycle of violence. The country cannot afford to pay such a heavy price as in the past.”
Talking on the long-standing issues, the Jaffna Catholic peace commission was highlighting the issues of the militarisation of SL rule over Tamils, the military’s land grab and colonisation from the South, besides the issues of accountability and political prisoners.
“Systematic state-funded colonisation of the Sinhalese of the South is changing the demography of the Tamil areas so that in course of time the Tamil community will become a minority in their homeland,” the Catholic commission’s statement told the Bishops of the island.
Some of the recent developments listed out by the Catholic peace commission of Jaffna were the people’s right to remember their dead, the issue of the Jaffna University students, the plight of young Tamil girls recruited to SL military and the plight of the doctor who went for their help, appointment of SL soldiers to teach Sinhala in the schools of Vanni, militarisation of school education and activities, monitoring of church functions by the SL military and the inherent attitude of the SL security forces towards Tamils.
Addressing a jointly organized Christmas function along with the Commander of the occupying Sinhala forces in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe, the Catholic Bishop of Jaffna, Rt Rev Dr Thomas Saundaranayakam said on 02 January that he was grateful to the SL government and its military “for all the beautiful services they rendered to our people.”
The Jaffna Bishop, requesting acceptance of Tamils as equals, was praising SL government’s ‘development’ in Jaffna and the only problem he saw was domestic violence among the local youth.
The Commission for Justice and Peace of the Catholic Diocese of Jaffna that has addressed the Bishops of the island on Thursday is an organization affiliated to Catholic Church. It functions from the Bishop’s House in Jaffna and the Bishop of Jaffna is its patron.