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INDICTMENT AGAINST SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka's Undeclared War on Eelam Tamils
[see also Sinhala Colonisation of Tamil Homeland ]
On 30 May 2007, the Government of Sri Lanka gazetted Regulation No. 2 of 2007 in Government Gazette Extraordinary No: 1499/25 which declared Muthur-East / Sampoor a High Security Zone (HSZ) (see map alongside).
What exactly is this HSZ? HSZs are vast areas of land in the Tamil homeland that have beenconfiscated by the Sri Lankan military over the last three decades after evicting the Tamils who had been living there for many generations. These are used by the Sri Lankan military, and the GoSL refers to them as HSZs. These areas are more accurately called military zones (MZ). These MZs have been the cause of great insecurity - not security - for the Tamil people, but are referred to by the GoSL by the very oxymoronic phrase “High Security Zones.”
The latest declaration of an MZ in Mutur-East in the Trincomalee district, mentioned above, will confiscate private land from the Tamils who were displaced from their homes by indiscriminate shelling and bombing in late 2006. This confiscation of lands is taking place while the owners are languishing in refugee camps in appalling conditions. Thousands of Tamil families, who have been historical inhabitants of several ancient Tamil villages in this area of Muthur, will be affected by this latest declaration.
It is very revealing to note the census statistics taken in 1881 for this newly declared MZ. This MZ area was then known as Kottiarpattu AGA Division. According to the 1881 statistics, there were 3027 Tamils, 1673 Muslims, 38 Veddas, 13 people of European descent and 11 Sinhalese in this MZ. There can be no doubt that this area is a Tamil/Muslim area. Despite this historic inhabitation by Tamils, even the Members of parliament for this area were not consulted before making the MZ declaration.
The declared MZ in Muthur-East covers half of the present Muthur Divisional Secretariat, which is 179.4 square kilometers in territory. Thus the confiscated area covers 90 square kilometers, which is a very large area. The GS divisions within the declared MZ and the population from these divisions are listed in the Table above.
This area includes 19 schools, including the leading school for this area, the Chenaiyoor Central College. There are 18 Hindu temples and one Methodist church. The area has 88 water tanks that are used for irrigating farmlands and grazing land for livestock. About 2000 hectares of such land are owned by the people. [1 hectare = 0.01 square kilometers] There are many fishing villages in which people depend on fishing as their main livelihood. Two hospitals, Sampur Hospital and Paddalipuram Hospital, are situated in these newly declared MZ.
Details of Schools
Details of Temples
Irrigation tanks (main)
Such MZ declarations over the last three decades are a much ignored phenomenon. Their sociological effects in the Tamil homeland have not received adequate attention.
Land confiscations through MZ declarations have created more than 300,000 long term refugees. The statistics in the Table below gives some idea of the loss people have suffered through these MZ declarations. People lose their homes and their possessions, agricultural and grazing land, coconut tree estates, fruit trees, other trees that sustain the nutritional needs of the people, and coastlines used for fishing which for many is their livelihood. The violation of children’s rights caused by the MZ displacement is yet another dimension. Many schools that fall inside the MZs are permanently lost to the children.
The Mutur-East MZ declaration swells these already existing statistics.