Colombo: Three Tamil politicians on Monday complained to India that the government was settling Sinhalese in Sri Lanka’s dominantly Tamil north without resolving the festering “ethnic problem”.
The submission was made to Indian Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai when he met V Anadasangaree, D Siddharthan and T Sritharan at the India House as part of his interactions with political players in Sri Lanka.
The three accused the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa of trying to pit one ethnic group against another following the end of the military conflict in May 2009, “to change the demographic pattern of the (northeast)”.
They said Tamils were “highly perturbed” that the armed forces were busy building army villages, mini army camps and war memorials in the middle of Tamil settlements.
“The government has no plans for demilitarisation, contrary to which the forces are involving more and more in civil administration.”
“The people cannot (hold) any function without the participation of some Army personnel. The people are terrified over the presence of army personnel in every nook and corner of the north.”
They criticised the government’s move to have all lands re-registered as “unjustifiable”.
“Why should the government do it in areas where people have not yet properly settled, some have not yet identified their lands, and some had gone aboard?”
“Above all, a lot of people died during the war. What and what property and where these lands are, is still not known. The government must abandon the move.”
“All this mess is created due to the government’s failure to find an early solution to the ethnic problem. A solution acceptable to the minorities should be found.”
Anandasangaree, Sitharthan and Sritharan represent the Tamil United Liberation Front, People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam and the Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front respectively.