Hundreds of people, braving the hurdles put up by the Sri Lankan military, gathered on Wednesday in front of the District Secretariat in Jaffna, protesting against the systematic seizure of their already SL-military occupied lands in Valikaamam North, transforming the former ‘High Security Zone’ area into a permanent Sinhala Military Zone (SMZ). The successful protest, for the first time saw active participation of law students and activists, news sources in Jaffna said. Despite the deployment of SL military, intelligence operatives and the SL police in blocking peoples’ participation, around 500 people gathered in front of the District Secretariat passing a strong message to not only the occupying military, but also to the powers abetting the continued LLRC-based structural genocide.
The occupying SL military had entered the premises of the camps of the uprooted people from Valikaamam North already on Tuesday night, threatening them not to take part in the protest. New military check posts were deployed on Jaffna – Point Pedro Road, blocking the uprooted people from Valikaamam from taking part in the protest.
Several participants walked to the District Secretariat, avoiding the military check posts to take part in the protest from 11:00 a.m to 1:00 p.m.
The protest comes in the wake of an official announcement by the occupying Colombo, through its Land Acquisition Officer attached to the District Secretariat in Jaffna, of the steps for the ‘legal acquisition’ of lands of around 6,381 acres and 38.91 perches in 11 GS divisions in the two DS divisions, Valikaamam North (Thellippazhai) and Valikaamam East (Koappaay), encompassing the Kaangkeasanthu’rai (KKS) harbour and Palaali airport. The entire area is being transformed into a Sinhala Military Zone (SMZ).
The protest, organized by the Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF) was participated by NSSP leader Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne, S. Bhaskara of the Democratic Peoples Front (DPF), Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian S. Sritharan, former TNA parliamentarian M.K. Sivajilingam, who is a political leader of the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO), TNPF leaders Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and Kajendren Selvarajah.
Mahinda Rajapaksa says he liberated Tamils. But, from who is not clear, said Dr Vickramabahu Karunaratne addressing the protesters. “But, it is clear that there is a military rule after his genocidal war,” he said.
The war, which consumed the lives of 150 000 people, destroyed a civilization, Dr Karunaratne said.
“We must have an island wide struggle against the dictatorial regime. We must get rid of this ruthless enemy of the people and install a regime that can establish autonomy to the Tamil people,” the NSSP leader claimed.
The protest also saw the participation of Packiyasothy Saravanamuttu from the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), a Colombo-based NGO outfit.
Following the TNPF initiated protest on Wednesday, the TNA has also vowed to stage protests in the coming days.
In February, a peaceful protest was attacked by SL military operatives who were co-mingling with and camouflaging as protestors in front of Thurkkai Amman temple in Thellippazhai, after the SL Opposition Leader Ranil Wickramasinghe, who participated at the token fast, had left the site of the protest.
The SL military has also stepped up its attacks against journalists and newspapers in Jaffna for their coverage of the protests.