The Eastern Provincial Council (EPC), which is now under the control of ruling United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA) passed a resolution unanimously Tuesday against the appropriation by the Sri Lanka Army of the entire traditional Muslim village, Karimayilaiyoottu with a century old mosque. C.Thandayuthapani, the opposition leader in the EPC who represents the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) extended full support to the motion saying that no one would tolerate the appropriation of a traditional Muslim village and the mosque by the Sri Lankan military. The resolution was brought by Ameer Ali, a ruling party member, at the monthly meeting of the EPC.
Karimayilaiyoottu village is situated in Ve’l’lama’nal GS division of Trincomalee DS division.
More than one hundred Muslim families had been living in the village. Thei main livelihood is fishing. The mosque at their village was built in the year 1838.
When the Indian military arrived in the North-East in 1987, a camp of the IPKF was set up in the village. The residents were evacuated and were given temporary shelter elsewhere during the IPKF stay. The villagers returned after the IPKF left.
Thereafter, in 1994 the occupying Sri Lanka Navy constructed a camp in the village and introduced a ‘pass’ system for the residents to move in and out of the village, fully restricting their livelihood.
The uprooted Muslims then organized a protest demanding that they should be allowed to resettle and to continue fishing without any interruption by the Sri Lanka Navy. However, when the Sri Lanka Navy said it would leave the village, the Sri Lanka Army without any notice walked into the village in January 2012, setting up a camp and dashing the hope of Muslim residents that they could at last return to their village.
Mr.Ameer Alia made a plea that it is high time that the EPC should take immediate steps to send away the Sri Lanka Army from the village and allow the uprooted Muslim people to resettle in their lands and pray in their centuries old mosque.
Mr.Thandayuthapani, urged all members of the EPC, irrespective of their party affiliations, to support the motion.
The opposition leader further said that the EPC also should look into the untold sufferings of the Tamil people who have been uprooted from Champoor in April 2006 following massive military operation by the Sri Lankan military.
The uprooted Tamil people are now languishing in temporary shelters for the last several years without being allowed to resettle in their own lands, Mr.Thandayuthapani appealed.
He pointed out that Champoor uprooted people are currently housed in four temporary shelters in Paddiththidal, Ma’natcheanai, Ki’liveddi and Kaddai-pa’richchaan.
SL authorities are refusing relief assistance to the uprooted Tamils of Champoor and they are undergoing untold sufferings due to recent rains.
The EPC should take up their case with Colombo and provide relief by allowing them to resettle in their traditional villages, Mr. Thandayuthapani urged.