Deputy Elections Commissioner of Batticaloa District, RMAL Ratnayaka, has recently instructed Paddippazhai divisional secretariat to register the Sinhalese, who have recently encroached into the public lands in Kevu’liyaa-madu, on the voters’ registry of the district, civil sources in Batticaloa said adding that Sinhalicisation of Batticaloa district is being accelerated while the Sri Lankan Government Agent of Batticaloa Ms PSM Charles, who is a Tamil, is on vacation and the SLGA of Ampaa’rai district, Mr Neel de Alwis, is tasked by Colombo as the acting SLGA of Batticaloa district. The Deputy Elections Commissioner has recently visited the Sinhala encroachers and handed over forms to register in voters’ registry for 25 families.
Earlier, a stay order was issued by the courts against the encroachment into public graze land. The court had named the encroachers. Some of them had returned. But, those who stayed have been given brand new houses in the housing scheme by Colombo through a Sinhala Buddhist extremist NGO named Helabima with the active participation of a former SL military officer now in charge of ‘development’ in the district and the Buddhist prelate of Batticaloa Mangalarama Vihara.
Following the opposition by civil officials in the district against the systematic encroachment of public lands, construction of new houses has been suspended till further notice in Kevu’liyaa-madu.
The SL Governor of Eastern Province who is a former military commander, Rear Admiral (retd.) Mohan Wijewickrama, has been encouraging Sinhala officials in the East to carry on Sinhalicisation, Tamil civil officials in Batticaloa further said.
Also, the divisional secretary of Uhana in Ampaa’rai district with GS officials under him, is interfering in the affairs of Batticaloa district.
The Sinhala officials have been arguing that 2% of the lands that were under Ampaa’rai in 1981 had been provided to Sinhala settlers.
There were only a few Sinhala families in Kevu’liyaa-madu before the war.
Now, the Sinhala officials claim that there were 89 Sinhala families, Tamil officials in Paddippazhai say.