11 C
Monday, May 27, 2024

If not we will start civil disobedience campaigns – full text of the Sampanthan’s speech

”In regard to matters of immediate concern for our people, high security zones,demilitarization, housing, livelihood, all that type of things ,and these deliberate, diabolical actions by some people with influence, they must be stopped. If they are not stopped, we will start civil disobedience campaigns in those areas. I will lead that campaign. I will take my people there. We will defy the Government. I want to make that perfectly clear to you.”
14 July 2011, 1:19 pm
By Rajavarothayam Sampanthan
The following is the full text of the speech made in Parliament on July 5th 2011 by Tamil National Alliance leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan in support of the urgent adjournment motion moved by him
(The Hon. R. Sampanthan)
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I am sorry some precious time has been taken.

I have given notice of the following Adjournment Motion.
I move:
“Whereas Sri Lanka from shortly after it attained Independence in 1947 has been in the crucible of ethnic violence which occurred in 1956, in 1958, in 1961, in 1977, in 1980 and in 1983, wherein the Tamil people numerically in a minority were the victims.
And Whereas the principal cause for such violence has been the consistent demand of the Tamil people for just and equal treatment as citizens of Sri Lanka and the fundamental right to live in security and dignity fulfilling their legitimate political, social, economic and cultural aspirations.
And Whereas this demand has since 1956, been consistently endorsed by the Tamil people residing preponderantly in the Northern and Eastern Provinces through their democratic verdicts, at every election to Parliament and at all the other elections at the provincial, district and local authority levels.
And Whereas it has been the dismal failure of successive governments to recognize and respect these democratic verdicts of the Tamil people and the persistent demand of the Tamil people for just and equal treatment as Sri Lankan citizens that has been the root cause for such ethnic violence to be unleashed against the Tamil people.
And Whereas the political agitation of the Tamil people for just and equal treatment as Sri Lankan citizens has from the time of Independence, until about the mid 1970s been perfectly peaceful and non-violent.
And Whereas the continuous violence unleashed against the Tamil people and the failure to politically accommodate the legitimate political and other aspirations of the Tamil people and the repeal of the Constitution under which the country attained Independence and the enactment of a new Constitution without the consensus of the Tamil people led to the demand of the right to self-determination and Tamil youth taking to an armed struggle which lasted for almost three decades.
And Whereas this armed struggle led to unbridled violence, inflicting immense harm on the civilian population in the country of all ethnicities and the assassination of both domestic and regional leaders and the legitimacy of the struggle of the Tamil people for justice and equality as Sri Lankan citizens being blurred by this spectre of unbridled violence.
And Whereas this armed struggle has been defeated and has come to an end in May, 2009.
And Whereas more than two years have elapsed since the end of the armed conflict.
And Whereas the Tamil people have expressed their willingness to live as equal citizens within a united and undivided Sri Lanka.
And Whereas several processes had been commenced to address the core issue of the conflict and evolve an acceptable political solution to the long festering conflict.
And Whereas this task yet remains to be fulfilled.
It is the objective of this Motion to invite the attention of this House, the Government and the country to the imperative need to address the core issues of the conflict and to evolve an acceptable political solution that will bring about genuine reconciliation and harmony amongst the different communities and peoples who inhabit Sri Lanka. Indeed the only way to ensure permanent peace is to evolve an acceptable political solution that will address such genuine reconciliation and harmony amongst the different communities and peoples inhabiting Sri Lanka.
And Whereas since the letting of violence in 1956 and its continuance thereafter, a large number of Sri Lankan Tamils have fled from Sri Lanka and become migrants or sought refuge in other countries, all
over the world.
And Whereas it is necessary to arrest this trend and enable the Sri Lankan Tamil people to continue to live in Sri Lanka, the country to which they belong as indeed they are legitimately entitled to.
And Whereas this is achievable only if there is an acceptable political solution that ensures their security, restores their dignity and enables them by having access to powers of governance to fulfil their legitimate political, social, economic and cultural aspirations.
And Whereas throughout the armed conflict particularly during the
final years and final stages of the armed conflict very large numbers of Tamil civilians were killed or maimed, several hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians were displaced, their houses and other assets destroyed and they were rendered destitute and, who have not been able to recommence their lives with basic facilities.
And Whereas there is no structured programme of action to address
The urgent needs of this large mass of people to enable these people to rebuild their lives without having to fend for themselves which in their present position they cannot do.
And Whereas there are several actions by the State and its Agencies and others with political influence, pertaining to land, to places of religious worship, to cultural places, to development activities, and to other areas of importance to the affected Tamil people, in territories which they have historically inhabited, which have an adverse impact on them, politically, economically, socially and culturally and which unless remedied
could in the long-term cause much harm to the future well-being of these people.
And Whereas it is the duty of the Government to take appropriate action to address all these issues.
It is urged that urgent steps be taken
(i) To expeditiously evolve an acceptable political solution that addresses the core causes of the conflict.
(ii) That a structured programme be implemented urgently to enable the displaced and affected people to meaningfully rebuild and recommence their lives
(iii) That immediate action be taken to reverse, rectify and redress the several actions that have adverse political, economic, social and cultural consequences to the Tamil people.”
Having moved my Motion, Sir, before I commence to say a few words in support of that Motion, I want to make it abundantly clear that this Motion is not being moved by me in any spirit of confrontation. But, this conflict in this country has gone on from shortly after the country attained Independence. The conflict has been with us for more than six decades.
And during this time there have been stages when all people in this country have suffered as a result of this conflict, the Sinhalese people, the Muslim people, the Tamil people and all others who lived in this country. But, throughout this entire period of the conflict, the Tamil people have suffered and they have suffered the most. I do not think they can continue to suffer and the consequences of the conflict has been that a very large number of Tamil people who hold this country very dear and who could have rendered much service to this country over the decades since the 1950s have left this country and became migrants abroad or sought refuge abroad.
This happens to be a continuing trend which must not continue. It is not in the interest of the Tamil people and it is not in the interest of this country, but it tends to continue and therefore, Sir, it is absolutely fundamental that there must be a just and peaceful resolution of this conflict that will enable all the people in this country to live in dignity and security and be in a position to fulfil their political, social, economic and cultural aspirations.
Very many people, Sir, from different parts of the world, from the international community, from powerful countries which are close to Sri Lanka, from powerful institutions and organizations, have expressed views in regard to the nature of our political solution.
But, I do not propose in the course of my speech today in this august Assembly, to refer to any one of the statements made by such persons.
I propose, Sir, to place before this House what His Excellency the President himself has stated in regard to what he considers to be the contours of a political solution and the nature of the solution that we must have because His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa is today the President of this country.
He will be the President of this country for the next six years. And, for the first time since the late President J.R. Jayewardene, His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa enjoys a two-thirds majority in this House. That enables him to act meaningfully in regard to the resolution of the conflict by being able to implement the required Constitutional amendments to bring about such peaceful resolution of the conflict.
Therefore, Sir, rather than quote other persons from other countries however important they may be, I propose to place my entire submission on statements which had been made by His Excellency the President and I want to urge this House and the country to follow the essence of the statements that had been made by His Excellency the President and to work with commitment towards achievement of a political solution.
I want to appeal to all the Hon. Members in this House, irrespective of party affiliation, whether they belong to the Government or the Opposition, whether they belong to the UNP, the JVP or any other party, that the time has come in the interest of this country, even more than the Tamil people, considering all the international developments that we have seen occurring in recent times, for us to seriously address this question without any prevarication or procrastination continuously.
His Excellency the President, Sir, at the Presidential Secretariat on the 11th of July 2006, addressed the All Party Representative Committee and the Panel of Experts which is a multi-ethnic committee of experts he appointed to aid the APRC in regard to the evolution of a just and acceptable solution. His Excellency the President made a very thoughtful speech on that occasion and I am prepared to categorically state on behalf of the TNA that we are prepared to work for a solution within the contours of this policy enunciated by His Excellency the President on that occasion. To put this matter completely beyond doubt, I want to state that, Sir, on the Floor of
this House.
In fact, His Excellency the President made a structured speech and he dealt with what he said under different headings. This is what he said under the caption “unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
“The unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty of our country must be preserved. This cannot be open to bargain. Our approach has been widely endorsed by the international community, notably India and the co-chairs have clearly stated and have clearly ruled out any form of division of this country. Our objective must be to develop a just settlement within an undivided Sri Lanka. Each party represented here has its own solutions to the national question. We will discuss and synthesize these different approaches and develop our own Sri Lankan model. We must explore past attempts from the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact onwards. We must draw appropriate lessons from the experience of other countries. I will not impose a solution on the country. But, you will through your developments,
through your deliberations provide a solution to the national question.”
These were the words of His Excellency the President under the heading “Unity, territorial integrity and sovereignty”.
Further, the President in his speech under the heading, “Devolution for the people by the people” said: “ People in their own localities must take charge of their destiny and control their politico-economic environment. Central decision-making that allocates disproportionate resources has been an issue for a considerable time. In addition, it is axiomatic that devolution also needs to address issues relating to identity as well as security and socio-economic advancement without over-reliance on the Centre. In this regard, it is also important to address the question of regional minorities.” These were the words of His Excellency the President in regard to the quality and the quantity of the devolution proposals that he had in mind.
Then under the heading, “Some Concluding Thoughts,” this is what His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa said: “Any solution must be seen as one that stretches to the maximum possible devolution without sacrificing the sovereignty of the country. Given the ground situation, given the background to the conflict, it therefore behoves on particularly the majority community to be proactive in striving for peace and there must be a demonstration of a well-stretched hand of accommodation.
Any solution must therefore address these expectations as well. The role of the All Party Representative Committee, as well as the Panel of Experts is to fashion creative options and satisfy the minimum expectations that I had enumerated earlier as well as provide a comprehensive approach to the resolution of the national question”. In conclusion Sir, the President wished the All Party Representative Committee and the Panel of Experts well and urged that they formulate a political solution that would be in keeping with the needs of this country.
Now, Sir, this was the statement made by the the President on a very solemn occasion when he appointed the All Party Representative Committee and the Panel of Experts before they began deliberations on their tasks. As the Head of State, he addressed them and defined what in his assessment would have been the contours of any political solution.
These are not words to be taken lightly. These are words uttered by a person elected as the Executive President of this country and entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with the grave issues facing the country, including the national question.
I would next refer, Sir, to another historic speech that His Excellency the President made when he addressed this august Assembly on 19th May, 2009 after the war had come to an end. When he announced to this august Assembly that the war had come to an end, and reading his speech I get the impression – unfortunately I was not here on that day – that he spoke with a great deal of feeling for the country and for all the people who inhabited the country; in fact with a great deal of feeling for the Tamil people who, he said, had been the victims of violence for a long period of time and he also talked about a political solution. He also talked about what should be the future.
I am reading, Sir, from the Hansard of 19th May, 2009 which records in full the speech made by His Excellency on that occasion in all three languages. I quote:
“Hon. Speaker, it is necessary that we give to these people..” – the Tamil people.
“..the democratic freedom that is the right of people in all other parts of our country. Similarly, it is necessary that the political solutions they need should be brought closer to them faster than any country or government in the world would bring.”
He goes on, Sir:
“Therefore, it is necessary that we find a solution that is our very own, of our own nation. It should be a solution acceptable to all sections of the people.”
The President further states:
“I believe that the solution that we who respect and value the qualities of Mettha (Loving kindness), Karuna (Compassion), Muditha (Rejoicing in others’ joy) and Upeksha (Equanimity) based on the philosophy of Buddhism can present, can bring both relief and an example to the world. Similarly, I seek the support of all political parties for that solution.”
He not merely talked about a political solution, he talked about a political solution that will be guided by the tenets of Buddhism. The people of this country being substantially Buddhists, I do not think anyone would be in disagreement with me if I say that Lord Buddha would have certainly wanted a just resolution of this conflict in such a manner that all the people who live in this country, irrespective of their ethnicity or religion, would be able to live with self-respect and dignity fulfilling their legitimate aspirations.
I consider this speech, Sir, yet another speech delivered on a very important occasion when His Excellency the President came to Parliament on the 19th of May when the war had ended. He wanted to be sure that the war had ended once and for all and finally, he talked of a political solution in keeping with the tenets of Buddhism because he knew, he realized and he accepted that only such a solution could bring an end to this conflict and enable this country to live in peace and prosperity.
The third statement I wish to place on record, Sir, is a statement made by His Excellency the President yet on a very important occasion when he met with the most-senior and powerful international civil servant on the 23rd of May, 2009. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of UN, had come to Sri Lanka shortly after the war came to an end and he had a meeting with His Excellency the President where I am sure, they discussed the war and also discussed the future of Sri Lanka. The Joint Statement released by the Government of Sri Lanka and the UN Secretary-General states that President Rajapaksa and the Secretary-General agreed “that addressing the aspirations and grievances of all communities and working towards a lasting political solution was fundamental to ensuring long-term socio-economic development. The Secretary-General welcomed the assurance of the President of Sri Lanka contained in his statement made in Parliament on 19th May, 2009 that a national solution acceptable to all sections of people will be evolved.
President Rajapaksa expressed his firm resolve to proceed with the implementation of the Thirteenth Amendment as well as to begin a broader dialogue with all parties including the Tamil parties in the new circumstances to further enhance this process and bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka”.
That is what the President wanted to do when he met the Secretary-General of the United Nations hardly 10 days after the war came to an end; not even 10 days, just four days or five days. This is the statement he came up with: that he wants to enhance the political process, have discussions with all the political parties including the Tamil parties and come up with a solution that will bring about lasting peace and development in Sri Lanka.
I have not the slightest doubt, Sir, that these were the true intentions of His Excellency the President; that these continue to be his true intentions and these are the reasons why we are emboldened to engage in this process because we feel very strongly that the President of this country, having committed himself in this way, will keep his commitments and if he will keep these commitments we want to help him to fulfill those commitments. That is our position, Sir.
There was also another paragraph in this statement which I might read. That is the last paragraph in that statement. It states that “Sri Lanka reiterated its strongest commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights in keeping with the international human rights standards and Sri Lanka’s international obligations; the Secretary-General underlined the importance of an accountability process for addressing violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law and the Government will take measures to address those grievances”. That was the ultimate paragraph of the Joint Statement made by the President of Sri Lanka and the Secretary-General of the UN when he visited Sri Lanka just a few days after the war had come to an end.
So, this is why I said, Sir, at the beginning of my speech that I will not refer to statements made by various people from the international community in regard to what should be a political solution, but that we will go by what the President himself has said.
I do not want to burden this House with the number of interviews that he has given to people on different occasions. I have chosen three statements he has made:
one to the All Party Representatives Committee and the Panel of Experts at their inaugural meeting when he appointed them and entrusted them with this task; one he made to this august Assembly from where you are seated, Mr. Speaker, when he addressed this House on the day on which the war came to an end – on the 19th of May, 2009; and the other one is the Joint Statement that he made a few days later, on the 23rd of May 2009, when the highest international Civil Servant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring that the international system is preserved and the country had its due place, visited our country and talked to the President about the future of this country in relation to what happened in the past. I have placed that Joint Statement before the House.
So, that is the position. It is a position which everybody must remember. I think we have come to a stage when we cannot take extreme positions any longer. The interests of the country and the interests of the people who live in this country demand that we adopt a moderate position and that we make every sincere effort to evolve an acceptable solution within the framework of a united country.
Having stated, Sir, His Excellency’s position as contained in these three statements that I have read, I want to briefly state to this House what in my assessment is the Tamil position. On this question, as demonstrated by various events that have occurred in the past – not only in the distant past but also in the recent past – I do not want anyone to take offence at what I might have to say. I might have to place some facts with candor before the
House to enable everyone to understand the position. This is not indicative of any hostility or any confrontation, but a need for us to be able to understand each other on the basis of truth.
There is, Sir, a widely held view amongst the Tamil people in this country that the war was conducted with a view to subduing, subjugating and suppressing the Tamil people. This view holds the position that while the war was conducted, to destroy the LTTE which was waging an armed struggle against the Sri Lankan State in the name of the Tamil people, at the same time yet another objective of the war was suppressing and subjugating the Tamil people and thereby negating the need for a political solution. This is a question to which an answer should be forthcoming and it can come only from the Government.
The answer should be in the form of credible and tangible action that demonstrates the Government’s commitment to a just and acceptable political solution. There can be no other answer to this grave question, Mr. Speaker.
It cannot come in the form of words; it must come in the form of an action that demonstrates the Government’s commitment to an acceptable and just political solution.
The Tamil people have complained that from after Independence they were subjected to discrimination, deprivation, inequality, injustice and exclusion and that the democratic verdicts of the Tamil people for a change in the structure of governance was not duly recognized; that governance was not with their free will and consent and that the fundamental and human rights of the Tamil people were being violated with impunity. This commenced shortly after Independence and has continued ever since. The Tamil people have lived in this country for as long as any other people. They have preponderantly lived in the Northern and Eastern parts of the country, they have their own civilization, culture, customs, language and by religion of largely Hindus or Christians. They have thus lived together as a people while being willing wholeheartedly to be a part of the Sri Lankan polity, they treasure their rich Tamil identity and wish to preserve it. The Sinhala people themselves have their own rich identity and wish to preserve it.
Since Independence, the Tamil people have begun to realize that they were not treated as equal citizens. The Tamil people were driven to feel that they were second-class citizens who would not be treated as equal citizens by the State or even given necessary protection by the State when they were victims of wanton violence by those who wanted to subjugate them. They were discriminated against in the fields of education, employment, economic opportunity and utilization of resources in the districts which they historically inhabited and denied their basic fundamental human rights such as even the right to life. They were denied equal protection under the law.
Since the 1956 Elections, the Federal Party was overwhelmingly returned in the North and the East at every General Election: in March 1960; in July 1960; in 1965 and then in 1970. The Tamil people voted overwhelmingly for the sharing of powers and governance and for regional autonomy in the North and the East. The Federal Party in its Election Manifesto in 1970, renounced a separate state and called upon the Tamil people to vote against any candidate who contested on a separatist ticket – all such candidates were defeated. But, the democratic verdicts of the Tamil people were not recognized in any effective way. The Sinhala people were able to decide on their governance; they were able to exercise their sovereignty. The Tamil people, by reason of their being numerically a minority in the whole country, were not able to have a say in their governance in keeping with their democratic wishes even in the areas in which they were a
They were denied their sovereignty. They were being governed without their consent and against their will. The Tamil political leadership made every effort through peaceful and non-violent means to bring about a change in the structure of governance. The Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957; the Satyagraha – a peaceful non-violent civil disobedience campaign in 1961, by which civil administration in the North and the East was crippled for several months and in which tens of thousands of Tamil civilians; men, women, youth and children participated., the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1956; the National Government of 1965 – 1970, when we were a part of the national Government and the contribution of the Federal Party at the Constitutional proceedings of 1970 – 1972 for a reasonable accommodation of Tamil aspirations, which was denied, when it was sought to replace the Constitution under which the country attained Independence and which provided certain fundamental safeguards for the minority people with the new Republican Constitution and the consequent walkout of the Federal Party from the Constituent Assembly are amongst the milestones along that path.
The enactment of the 1972 Constitution and the provisions contained therein relating particularly to the structure of governance, religion and language breached the compact under which the country was granted Independence in terms of the Soulbury Constitution. It was the enactment of the 1972 Constitution and the entrenchment of the unitary character of the State, which was not contained in the earlier Constitution, and which was in distinct contravention of the Tamil proposition for a system of Government that incorporated arrangements for the sharing of powers of governance; the removal of the safeguards provided in the earlier Constitution for the protection of the rights of minority people; the language and religion of the majority community being accorded supremacy and the various acts of discrimination and deprivation and the violence unleashed against the Tamil people that led to the demand for a separate state; that led to the demand for self-determination and total sovereignty in 1976.
The 1977 General Election was contested by the Tamil United Liberation Front on the basis of this demand and all Tamil Members of Parliament elected from the North and the East, barring one, were from the TULF.
The TULF, particularly under international advice – in fact I do not mind saying that the late Prime Minister of India Shrimathi Indira Gandhi was one of the persons who advised the late Hon. Amirthalingam very strongly not to persist on any demand for a separate state, but to seek autonomy and power-sharing arrangements because India would not be able to back a demand for a separate state, but India would support a demand for autonomy and the power-sharing arrangements and it was such advice which made the TULF willing to make a compromise on the demand for a separate state. My leader, the late Hon.
Amirthalingam, who was the leader of the TULF and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament stated this fact both in Parliament and outside shortly after the inauguration of the 1977 Parliament. So, Mr. Speaker, this is the position as far as the Tamil people are concerned.
I do not think one should disregard this position because the Tamil people are once again, as during the time of Mr. S.J.V Chelvanayakam, demanding a solution within the framework of a united country, an undivided country. We are prepared to discuss this matter with the Government and come to an arrangement with the Government. I do not think this opportunity must be missed because it is an opportunity that should not be missed.
As the President himself has said in one of his speeches recently, you do not have to wait very long to reap what you sow. You will have to do it in your own lifetime. I recall the President said this in the course of one of his recent speeches. So, we must not assume that everything in this country will be hunky-dory, and that we can carry on endlessly, not bothered about this grave question. I think the time has come for this grave question to be addressed. I want to say this, Sir. If the LTTE was regarded as an impediment on the Tamil side to the evolution of a political solution, the LTTE is not here any longer. It is absolutely fundamental that the forces of nationalist brinkmanship should no longer influence the political agenda on the other side. We are strongly of the view that this is a continuing phenomenon, this must be quickly arrested and contained and that it is only the Government which has the power and the authority to do so.
I have not the slightest doubt that the vast majority of people in the country – Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims – are amenable to an honourable, acceptable and peaceful political solution.
Sri Lanka achieved its Independence without a shot been fired. None of the peoples in Sri Lanka opposed Independence. All peoples in Sri Lanka extended their cooperation to achieve Independence. Why did the country over a course of 60 years have to degenerate to the present position? We did not achieve Independence by militarily vanquishing our colonial rulers. We did not achieve Independence through non-violence and civil disobedience campaigns such as the Satyagraha Campaign waged under the leadership of the late Mahatma Gandhi in India. We achieved Independence because we, the peoples who inhabited Sri Lanka – though diverse and from different historical backgrounds – were united ,and because the international system and international laws would no longer condone colonial rule. People under colonial rule were entitled under international law to the right to external self-determination. The United Nations was the guardian of the international system and international law under which we became entitled to receive Independence.
The United Nations is the guardian of the international system, the international laws, of international conventions and practices. Such a custodian is necessary to preserve the international system and ensure compliance with international laws and international conventions and practices.
I am sorry to state that – I am not being offensive but I am stating a fact – today this country misuses the strength of its Independence to exclude a section of the people based on ethnicity from the benefits of that Independence and to reduce them to the level of inferior citizens. These are people who did not oppose Independence.
They supported Independence. We call high officials of the United Nations, “terrorists”. We threaten to arrest them. We villify the Secretary-General of the UN,because the UN wants us to comply with commitments that we have made.
This is not going to help our country. I think the people who are engaged in such efforts must rethink their strategy and realize, Mr. Speaker, that this cannot go on. I will at this point, Mr. Speaker – since I do not want to take all the time given to my Party – refer to a few matters in regard to itemsNo. (ii) and No. (iii) of my Motion.
In regard to No.(ii), I will not speak at length because I think there are other Members who may be more aware of the situation in regard to housing, livelihood, occupation, food and other urgent necessities of the people who have been displaced and today are living in very difficult conditions in some parts of the North and the East, most particularly the Vanni.
Before I conclude, Mr. Speaker, I would like to refer to some incidents that have taken place recently in my own District, Trincomalee, ever since the war came to an end, which are clearly indicative of an agenda that has been implemented by certain persons with political influence. They may be persons with political authority. I am not saying that this is being done by the President; certainly not, but these actions are happening and they continue to happen. There can be no question about it. My Colleagues will refer to other matters in other areas where such things are continuing to take place. There have been, Sir, the destruction and desecration of the relics of an ancient Lord Shiva (Sivan) Temple at Agasthyar Sthapanam in the Village of Kanguvelli within the Mutur Divisional Secretary’s Division in Trincomalee District. There have been trespass and forcible cultivation of paddy lands owned and cultivated by Tamil and Muslim farmers at Paddukadu, Kanguvelli in Mutur DS Division, in the Trincomalee District. There has been trespass and forcible cultivation of Kanguveli Tank bed in Mutur DS Division in Trincomalee District. I sent a letter to the President in regard to this matter on the 29th of May, 2010. To save time, Sir, – I am tabling* that letter and I earnestly request you to include that in Hansard at the end of my speech.
There has been an effort, Sir, to desecrate the Seven Hot Wells at Kanniya and the Pilliyar Temple situated in close proximity. The Seven Hot Wells in Kanniya have a history. Lord Ravana came here to Sri Lanka several centuries ago. He saw the beautiful Koneswaram Temple and he was so impressed by the Temple that he wanted to take the “Siva Lingam” for worship by his mother and cut the rock at a certain place. That cut can still be seen when one goes to the Koneswaram Temple. It is still called the “Ravanan Vettu” or the “Ravana’s Cut”. Lord Shiva was so enraged, as history goes, that with his big toe he shifted the rock and Ravana got trapped by the rock.
His mother who was in India and to whom he wanted to take “Shiva Lingam” thought that he had died and she herself died. Then, Ravana pleaded with Lord Shiva and asked for pardon. Lord Shiva pardoned him and released him. Ravana wanted to perform his mother’s 31st day rites close to the KoneswaranmTemple. He went to a place called “Kanniya” and dug with his spear in seven different places. There were seven springs that sprouted, each spring with a different temperature of hot water and he performed the 31st day ceremony for his mother at that site. That is the history of the Seven Hot Wells.
Tamils and Hindus, not merelyfrom Trincomalee, from even other places come there and perform their 31st day rites for several centuries. I, from the time I was a little boyas a little boy have been there several times to perform these rites. Now, that whole place is being disturbed unfortunately by a monk from a close-by temple who wants to exploit the seven hot wells for economic purposes. The seven hot wells provide excellent opportunity for economic exploitation and he is disturbing
that area. I have written to the Hon. Basil Rohana Rajapaksa, Senior Adviser to the President, in regard to that matter on the 20th of July 2009. I am tabling* a copy of that letter and I would request that that be included in Hansard at the end of my speech.
There is a proposal to allocate some land in the Kuchchaveli DS division for tourist purposes. Fifty one blocks of land were identified earlier. Now, the plans have been changed and a new plan has been drawn. This is now being handled by the Tourist Board. All the land is to be given to the persons of the majority community.
There has been no public advertisement and no one has been informed of the fact that such land was available. Privately and secretly persons are being chosen and they are going to be given the land.
Each block of land is said to be eight acres in extent. One perch of land in that area is worth Rs. 100,000 and the eight acres would be worth Rs. 128 million. It will be given for almost nothing. I have written a letter to the President in regard to this matter on the 16th of May 2010. I am tabling * that letter and I would kindly request you to include that in Hansard at the end of my speech. I have no time, Sir, to deal with the contents of these letters in detail.
This is something which surprises me a great deal. There was a proposal to construct a saltern called the Raigam Saltern at Periyakarachchai in Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretary’s Division. I spoke to the President personally about it. When I spoke to the President, the Hon. Basil Rohana Rajapaksa, Minister of Economic Development, was also there. They both told me that this project will not be commenced and it will never take place. But, it has taken place. The saltern has been opened. Two thousand families of Tamils and Muslims who were doing prawn farming on this Periyakarachchai land and over 500 other families who benefited from subsidiary employment related to prawn framing have been pushed out and some person from outside has come there and has started a saltern. This is extremely unfair. This is 95 per cent a Tamil-speaking AGA Division. But, contrary to the wishes of the people and totally disregarding their wishes and their economic future, this is being done. I wrote to the President again in regard to this matter, Sir, on the 29th May 2010. I am tabling* that letter. I would earnestly request that it be included in Hansard at the end of my speech.
The most recent of things, Sir, is that there is a move to hand over over 3,000 acres of land as a sacred area for the Thiriyai Buddhist Vihara. That Vihara has been there for a long time. It has been there throughout the war and when that area was not even under the control of the army, the Vihara continued. When I go to Thiriyai, I go to the Vihara. I go and pay my respects at that Vihara. Last time I went to the Vihara with the former Government Agent. Suddenly as a bolt from the blue – I have with me the tracing of that matter – there is a proposal to demarcate it. The exact extent that will be handed over as a sacred area in Thiriyai would be
3,069 acres, 2 roods and 15 perches of land.
I want to bring this to the notice of the Government and tell the Government to stop this matter. I will be writing to the President shortly in this regard. Similarly, in a place called Sembimalai in Kuchchaveli DS Division, again land has been identified to be declared as a sacred area or as Pooja Bhumi to Sitthiyakiri Purana Rajamaha Vihara. I do not know why all these actions have been taken. If there are Buddhist people living there who want land, there can be no problem in regard to that and they can be given land but there are no Buddhist people living there who want land. But, steps have been taken because these steps have been promoted by certain interested parties who want to ensure that they are able to have their own way.
I want to refer, Sir, before I conclude shortly, to the Sampur High Security Zone, which has still not been dismantled and a large number of families, 1,486 families, are still living in various refugee camps two years after the war. These people own a total extent of 2,795 acres of land in this area. This is their private land; land they hold on deeds; and land they hold on LDO permits. So, how can they be deprived of these lands? It cannot be done. It is immoral.
It is illegal but these people are being kept out and they are not being allowed to go back. I want to discuss this matter with the President shortly. I have already discussed it with him and the Hon. Basil Rajapaksa several times. In fact, I invited the Hon. Basil Rajapaksa to go with me to this area and see for himself the position and come to a decision but nothing has happened.
In fact, the President, Sir, in the course of his speech delivered at the 55th Anniversary celebration of the SLFP on 4th September, 2006, declared that our armed forces have captured Sampur for the welfare and benefit of the people living there. This was what the President said: “Our armed forces have captured Sampur for the welfare and benefit of the people living there”. but people cannot go. People cannot do their farming. People cannot do their animal husbandry. People cannot do their fishing. This must change, Sir.
Then, Sir, awful things are happening. I find my good Friend, the Hon. Minister of Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities, here. Sometime recently, about 10 days ago, someone called me in the morning and wanted me to raise this in Parliament. In an ancient Tamil village called Puthukkudiyiruppu, there are 30 houses to be constructed for the people. I have no problem with regard to that.
This is predominantly a Tamil area, predominantly a Tamil-speaking Divisional Secretary’s Division. The foundation stone was laid recently. Twenty four houses are for the majority community, four for Muslims and two for Tamils in a majority Tamil-speaking area. Roads are being cut as they like through our paddy fields, through our residential lands from Thambalagamam to Surangal, all over from Sampur to Kuchchaveli. Roads were cut as someone pleases through our paddy fields through our residential lands. Our private lands are being taken over and no compensation is paid. Recently a road has been cut from Thambalagamam to Surangal through the rich paddy fields of the people in Thambalagamam.
Thennamarvadi, Sir, is the northern most village in my district.
People have not yet been resettled. Nothing has been done to enable them to resettle. They have come from Mullaitivu. They were displaced in December, 1984; they were driven out in December, 1984. They have come back; they have returned. They want to resettle but they cannot.
They cannot even go to the village. The area is overgrown with shrub jungle. There are no roads, no houses, some of their paddy lands have been encroached upon by others who are forcibly cultivating them, no electricity, no irrigation facilities and from December their rations have been stopped.
How can these people settle there? How can they live there? These people lived as refugees from 1984 until 2009 in Mullaitivu. They were driven out of Tennamarawadi Now, they all have come back and tried to settle. They have not been able to settle.
Most of them are going back to Mullaitivu and trying to do something
there to eke out an existence.
These are matters, Sir, in regard to which the Government must engage with the Member of Parliament of the area, the person elected by the people. When you go there and talk to our people, you go there as their masters or as their superiors. Here we are, elected by our people. We are answerable to them. They can ask questions which we must answer. We must ensure that their interests are looked after.
You go there with a couple of officials, some senior army officials, military officials and police officials and just give them a lecture and come back while people are suffering. This cannot go on, Sir.
Around 500 families from this village are suffering for the last two years and in fact I do not want to go and meet them. There are 452 families comprising of 1,635 people, 800 males and 835 females who have not been looked after, nothing provided. How long can this go on, Sir? This must stop.
At a place called Echchilampattai, the army is occupying the lands of 51 families and the people cannot return to those lands. People have tried their very best to get back the lands. Why is the army occupying those lands? The army has plenty of other lands to occupy. Those are the lands which these people owned. They are unable to occupy them now. In a place called Gopalapuram, there is a hotel which belongs to a man called S. Shivakumar. I happened to know his father well. That hotel is being run by the navy. The navy has taken over the hotel and they are running it. That man is kept out. He constructed the hotel in the hope that he can start a business and make some money. But, he is being kept out and the hotel is being run by the navy. The land that was used as a cemetery by the people of the village is also being occupied by the navy.
So, these are the problems we are having. Our people cannot go on like this. There must be an end to all these things. Under Item No. (iii) in my Adjournment Motion, we have referred to this matter and there are a whole lot of other matters that my Colleagues will talk about.
If there is to be reconciliation in this country, if there is to be harmony in this country, if we are to put all our past issues behind us and look towards the future, all these things must be remedied, they must be rectified, they must be redressed. There can be no question about it. But, you are paying very little attention to these things. In fact, in regard to the Sivan Temple I talked about, I have got the pictures of that Temple here with me, the pictures of the destroyed idols. I do not want to trouble you by asking you to include this in the Hansard. But, please include my letters to the President and to the Hon. Basil Rajapaksa in the Hansard.
What is happening in some of the areas is scandalous, to say the least, it is absolutely diabolical and deliberate.
These acts are being done by some persons with Government influence,
with political influence. In fact, recently, the Hon. Vasudeva
Nanayakkara has sent me a letter he wrote to the President saying that the incident in Jaffna has happened as a result of some persons of the armed forces not wanting a rapprochement between the Government and the TNA. He has not tabled, he said, the letter he sent to the President. If you want rapprochement, if you want reconciliation, if you want harmony, if you want peace in this country, these questions must be addressed. Let us meet
him, let us meet you. Please discuss with us.
Let us go to our different districts and talk to our Government Agents or whoever. In Trincomalee, we have an army officer as the Government Agent. We have a navy officer as the Governor of the Eastern Province. We have an army officer as the Governor of the Northern Province. Where else do you have an army officer as a Governor? Why is it only in our areas? The Hon. Basil Rajapaksa is smiling. – [Interruption.] Sir, after the 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord, when they wanted to appoint a Governor for the North-East, I recommended my friend, Mr. Shelton Ranarajah as the Governor for the North-East.
Mr. Amirthalingam agreed with me and we were quite willing to appoint Shelton Ranarajah as the Governor of the North-East. -[Interruption.] Keep your mouth shut. You are talking nonsense. This is the position, Mr. Speaker. I will not – [Interruption.]
(Mr. Speaker)
Order, please!
(The Hon. R. Sampanthan)
I will not take your time, Sir. I must thank you for all your indulgence and I would earnestly request that my four letters be included in the Hansard at the end of my speech. I have tabled them. Some of my other Colleagues will speak after me and they will refer to the other matters.
We appeal to the Government – not merely in regard to a political solution – to please work with commitment in regard to that. We will give you our cooperation. In regard to matters of immediate concern for our people, high security zones,demilitarization, housing, livelihood, all that type of things ,and these deliberate, diabolical actions by some people with influence, they must be stopped. If they are not stopped, we will start civil disobedience campaigns in those areas. I will lead that campaign. I will take my people there. We will defy the Government. I want to make that perfectly clear to you.
Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.


Latest news

Related news