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Home > Tamil National Forum > Selected Writings - V.Thangavelu > On Ranil Wickremasinghe & the UNP
On Ranil Wickremasinghe & the UNP
8 June 2007
"...There are a few Tamils who seem to have an insatiable love for Ranil Wickremesinghe and who accuse the LTTE/LTTE advisors for not allowing Thamil voters to caste their votes for Ranil Wickremesinghe. They conveniently forget what the Thamil people suffered under UNP governments. The attacks of 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983 took place under the UNP. The colonization of the Northeast is the brainchild of DS Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake and Gamini Dissanayake. (In January 2002)... Prime Minister (Ranil Wikremasinghe) responded (to a Buddhist Bhikkhu delegation) saying "We have never accepted the homeland concept... the homeland concept will never be accepted...We have always clearly expressed our stand on this issue.”... I reiterate what I have been saying many years. It is slow death or death in instalments for Thamils under the UNP. The SLFP is an open enemy. Mahinda Rajapakse as president is unwittingly helping the division of the country as today's expulsion of hundreds of Thamils from Colombo to North and East shows."
There are a few Tamils who seem to have an insatiable love for Ranil Wickremesinghe and who accuse the LTTE/LTTE advisors for not allowing Thamil voters to caste their votes for Ranil Wickremesinghe at the Presidential Elections in 2005.
They conveniently forget what the Thamil people suffered under UNP governments. The attacks of 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983 took place under the UNP. The colonization of the Northeast is the brainchild of DS Senanayake, Dudley Senanayake and Gamini Dissanayake.
The state sponsored Sinhala colonization of Allai, Kantalai, Morawewa, Padaviya in Trincomalee district and Gal Oya and Maduru Oya were carried out under the UNP regimes. These colonization schemes drastically altered the demography of Northeast.
In the Eastern province the Thamils were reduced to a hopeless minority. The exception is Batticaloa district.
Let me elaborate on the Manal Aru Sinhala colonization that took place under the very nose of the IPKF.
It was Gamini Dissanayake who named Manal Aru as Weli Oya and ethnically cleansed the Thamils from Manal Aru. By an extraordinary gazette notification dated 16th April, 1988, Manal Aru area in the Mullaitivu and Vavunia Districts was proclaimed the 26th District of Sri Lanka and for administrative purpose brought under the jurisdiction of the Government Agent, Anuradhapura. For election purpose it was included in the Vavuniya Electoral District.
A total of 13,288 Tamil families living in 42 villages for generations including Kokkulai Grama Sevakar Division (1516 Tamil families), Kokku –Thoduvai Grama Sevakar Division (3306 Tamil families), Vavunia North Grama Sevakar Division (1342 Tamil families), Other Divisions of Mullaitivu District including Naiyaru and Kumulamunai ( 2011 Tamil families) were asked to vacate their homes and farmlands within 48 hours on pain of eviction by force in case of default. This threat was issued by the army over the public address system.
Simultaneously land given to 14 Tamil entrepreneurs, including Kent Farm and Dollar Farm, on 99 years lease was also cancelled and taken over by the government. Settlements in the Weli Oya began in 1984 as a dry zone farmer colony under the land Commission, but it was later acquired by the Mahaweli Economic Agency in 1988 and declared as the Mahaweli ‘L’ zone.
The Mahaweli ‘L’ zone was established specially for coconut cultivation and each Sinhalese family was given 5 acres of land consisting of ½ acre for residence, one-acre of irrigated land and 3 ½ acres for coconut.
The Mahaweli Economic Agency (MEA) financed all development projects while Mahaweli Engineering and Construction Agency (MECA) handled all the construction works such as roads, electricity, houses etc. In 1998 alone Rs. 72 million was allocated for construction of roads.
The Sinhalese army did translate its threat and used force as promised. Thousands of Tamil villagers, some of them Hill country Tamil refugees victims of earlier Sinhalese violence in 1983, were driven out or they on their own fled in terror. Some were murdered by the army. One night alone 29 Tamil villagers were killed at Othiyamalai, a hamlet situated north of the Weli Oya colony.
The evil-minds and the driving force behind the Weli Oya Sinhalese colonization were Messrs. Gamini Dissanayake, Minister for Mahaweli Development, Lalith Athulathmudali, Minister of National Security, Cyril Mathew, Minister of Industries and Scientific Affairs and N.G.P. Panditaratne, Chairman Mahaweli Development Board.
The ‘gang of four’ openly advocated the colonization of the North and East in general and Weli Oya in particular by Sinhalese settlers after driving the Tamils out by using the Sinhalese army.
Industries Minister Cyril Mathew diverted millions of rupees allocated to various Corporations under his Ministry to finance Weli Oya colonization scheme. In addition institutions like All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, Bhikku Peramuna etc. helped in providing financial and other material aid to the Sinhalese settlers.
From 1988-89 Sinhala colonization of Weli Oya was put on a war-footing. A total of 3364 families, most of them ex-convicts brought straight from prisons, were settled in Weli Oya. A further 35,000 persons comprising 5, 925 families were also settled under the same scheme. It is in recognition of the ‘yeoman services’ rendered by the top elite of the Sinhala army, especially that of Major General Janaka Perera, the Tamil village of Thannimurippu was re-named Janakapura in his honour.
Today, as mentioned earlier, the Thamils have been reduced to a hopless minority in the East. Batticaloa is the only district that still has Thamil majority. In addition under Ranil Wickremesinghe's dispensation -
8) It was Ranil Wickremesinghe who initiated the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) agreement with U.S. that allowed Sri Lanka to transfer and exchange logistics supplies, support, and re-fuelling services during peacekeeping missions, humanitarian operations and joint exercises.
9) When Ranil Wickremesinghe was the Prime Minister, a delegation of hard-line Buddhist Bhikkhus led by Most Ven. Agga Maha Pandita Madihe Pannasiha Mahanayake Thera of the Amarapura Sri Dhammarakshita Maha Nikaya at the Siri Vajiragnana Dharmayatanaya, Maharagama urged him to continue the colonization of Thamil areas in the north and east. Ven. Pannasiha requested the Prime Minister to create settlements in selected jungle land in the North-East and settle people in them according to the communal ratio. He also told the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that the homeland concept is a historical misconception.
I reiterate what I have been saying for many years. It is slow death or death in instalments for Thamils under the UNP. The SLFP is an open enemy. Mahinda Rajapakse as President is unwittingly helping the division of the country as today's expulsion of hundreds of Thamils from Colombo to North and East shows.
Those Tamils who persist in their folly of singing hosannas for Ranil Wickremesinghe should drop any pretence of donning the Thamil nationalist garb and join the UNP.