Thriving alcohol business ‘licensed’ by genocidal Sri Lanka in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils, especially after the end of the LTTE-run civil administration, is conceived as a potential ‘counterinsurgency’ and structural genocide weapon, besides sucking money of a war-torn people, commented social activists in Batticaloa district. Responding to an incident that took place in the district this week, in which a poor, female-headed family, brewing country liquor was shot by raiding Sinhala police of a State that promotes its alcohol business, the social activists were coming out with the larger dimensions of the alcohol crisis in the district.
On a monthly average, 414 million rupees are being spent by the Eezham Tamils in the district to buy alcoholic drinks from 60 pubs that operate with SL government license to sell alcoholic drinks.
There are 29 bars in Ma’nmunai North division alone, according to Ms Selvi Manohar, who is the chairperson of the Rural Development Society of Women in that division.
The women rights groups have recently reacted against the unusual number of licenced pubs that are allowed operate in the district.
While the official allocation for pub licenses in the entire Eastern Province are limited to a total of 84, how could the SL authorities provide licences to 60 pubs in one district alone and that too only among the Eezham Tamils, the activists further question.
6,700,000 bottles of Lion Lager, the high selling beer, is sold every month in Batticaloa district.
Excluding the Muslim families in the district, there are 115,555 family units in the district. The average spending on alcohol is around 3,580 rupees per family among the Eezham Tamils, the women rights groups say. They have been demanding the SL authorities to close down the pubs situated near schools, temples, main junctions and in the residential areas.
While the average poverty rate in the entire island is reportedly around 8.5 per cent, the poverty rate prevailing in the Batticaloa district stands at a shocking 21.6 per cent.
Along with poverty, the number of young students committing suicide is also on the increase in the district.
Tamil activists concerned in the welfare of the Eezham Tamils in future should come forward to create social movements at grass root level to counter the destructive trend in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils, the activists told TamilNet on Wednesday.
When the LTTE-run civil administration was ended in the Batticaloa district in 2007, it was projected as ‘liberation’ of people from ‘international terrorism’.
The USA and India were in the forefront in welcoming the Sinhala military occupation of the region. The then US ambassador, Robert Blake was one of the first to run to the district. Currently India is actively engaged in the region.
All the process ultimately ends in psychologically breaking a people, depriving them of their land and power, degrading them to poverty level and making them alcoholics – this is what called ‘genocide and development,’ the actual practice of the ‘culture and development’ theory hatched in the universities of the imperialist Establishments, commented Tamil activists for alternative politics in the island.