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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Colombo brings Sinhalese to culture prawn in Jaffna marshlands

Sri Lanka’s government occupying Jaffna has taken over 350 acres of coastal marshland along the Jaffna Lagoon in Kaarainakar, Ma’ndaitheevu and Araali for prawn culture laboured by Sinhalese brought from the South. Even though said as developed for freshwater prawn culture, the project will ruin the groundwater table in the above places
where local people already face difficulties in getting drinking water. Such environmental disasters were already experienced in Puththa’lam. The ultimate aim of such projects is to demographically confiscate the coasts from Eezham Tamils, make their traditional villages environmentally uninhabitable and swindle the resources of their sea and land, academics in Jaffna said. The Sinhalese fishermen brought from the South target items of export value such as conches, sea cucumber and prawns.

Converting the public lands along the coast of Jaffna lagoon for the marshland prawn culture was ‘masterminded’ by presidential sibling Basil Rajapaksa in collaboration with SL minister Douglas Devananda, news sources from Jaffna said.

Significantly, strategic locations where the occupying Sinhala military has major naval bases, such as Kaarainakar and Mandaitheevu have been selected for the projects involving Sinhala labour from the South.

Both places guard the two entrances into the Jaffna Lagoon from the north and the south. Araali in the middle of the lagoon, where there are both SL Army and Navy operations, has a strategic jetty important to the communication between the peninsula and the islands off it.

People and fishermen of Jaffna will be choked up with their sea communications, not only by the occupying Sinhala military but also by the Sinhalese settled in the strategic places in the guise of fisheries.

Very soon Tamil Nadu fishermen in the Palk Bay will be seeing not Eezham Tamil fishermen but Sinhala fishermen. Already they experience it in the composition of the SL Navy created sea-paramilitary that encounters them in the Palk Bay.

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Environmentalists in Jaffna have already pointed out the disaster to the fragile groundwater table and other health-related problems in the densely populated parts of the Jaffna Peninsula by the mining of limestone and the re-functioning of the KKS cement factory.

Prawn culture in the marshlands of ancient villages is another disaster.

For instance, people of Kaarainakar Island for a very long time now, have built dams to prevent sea water coming into their marshlands and grasslands, so that the groundwater table would improve to get potable drinking water, paddy could be cultivated and grazing could take place. But now all their decades of labour would be spoiled if the coastal marshes become prawn ponds.

Kaarainakar, one of the closest points to the Tamil Nadu coast was a densely populated island. More than 60, 000 people were living there in the early 1980s. It also had an extensive population migrated to the other parts of the island. Conservative estimates place the number of Kaarainakar-origin migrants and diaspora members to nearly 100,000 today.

Kaarainakar people were one of the first people displaced in the 30-years-war due to military operations in the strategic island. One of the first responses of the Kaarainakar diaspora when people started returning was caring for the water supply.

The prawn farms in the marshland are totally opposite to their perception of development of their own land. Today, potable water in Kaarainakar has already become a commercial item coming from outside, even though the population is smaller compared to the 1980s.

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Keeping politics and development away from the people is the strategy of the imperialists, agent-imperialists in Colombo and the sub-agents in Jaffna.

India constructing houses in a line-model is a good example how culture and development is ignored in alienating people from land for the structural genocide and for the ‘development’ of the imperialists.

The entire show is Multipurpose Cooperation of Corruption.

Who has given them the right to think about models for the development when Eezham Tamils are denied of the right of their nation to plan for their development is a question, but the Tamil National polity is kept feeble to raise the question.

Eezham Tamils are aware that the Sinhalese too are facing similar plight about their lands and seas.

But, the Sinhalese elite, adamant in conceding due sovereignty to Eezham Tamils, and is directing the ordinary Sinhala folk to colonise the country of Eezham Tamils, is the main culprit against any meaningful reconciliation to face the common threat.

Sinhalese will soon realise that their own ‘heroic’ military, awarded ‘Asian Nobel Peace Prize’ in Philippines was nothing but a despicable agent to vicious forces working against the norms of civilized humanity.

The diaspora and outsiders who travel by the A9 highway or fly to Palaali and spent their time in the Jaffna city or semi-urban enclaves don’t see anything.

In facing the structural genocide today, one of the main problems of the Eezham Tamil Nation is the lack of vision and coordination in Tamil National polity.

A classic example is that when there was a brutal SL military attack on the Eezham Tamil fisher folk of Naavaanthu’rai in the coastal suburb of Jaffna, just a couple of km away another set of people and diaspora visitors were congregating in congestion for the Nalloor temple festival.

The nationalist polity, both in the island and in the diaspora, instead of mobilising the masses to rise up for a people’s struggle, is sitting on it believing that imperialism would do something. Imperialism will care only the agents in Colombo unless its tentacles are twisted appropriately.

While Tamil polity, engaged in playing stooges to one or all of the oppressors, is wanting in coordination and in mobilising the masses in the island and in the diaspora, people are silently aware of everything.

Contrary to what is campaigned that it is the diaspora that wants Tamil Eelam and not the Tamils in the island who are ‘reconciling’, it is the Eezham Tamils in the island, who have seen the realities and who have intelligently identified the real enemies, are firm in their cause.

The US and India, pretending ignorance of colonisation and genocide and fail in approaching the national question appropriately, will see the consequences soon, say veteran Tamil political activists in the island, pointing to what even ordinary people think about the two powers and about their attempts to bail out their genocidal crimes by pre-emptive hoodwinks.


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