‘Militarization’ in North Sri Lanka – Don’t believe stories. Go and see for yourself
Posted on September 28th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

 The accusations of ‘militarization’ of North Sri Lanka are many. They come from the same culprits converging to meet the requirement of their funding sources with the ultimate goal of generating enough negative publicity so that the Government is forced to reduce/relocate its military from the strategic posts that it now protects. While, it is within the sovereign rights of a government to station its troops where it likes based on the national security needs of the country, what we need to do is to find out how truthful these allegations are. This will expose the liars. The best way for anyone who wants to know if there is any truth in the allegations of ‘militarization’ is to visit the North and see for themselves.

 Jaffna is the main city of the Northern Province and has a population of close to 89,000 in an area of 20.2 km².

 What people will see in Jaffna:

  • Cargills Square, a shopping mall located opposite the Jaffna hospital, holds the Cargills supermarket (74,000sq.ft) and a KFC restaurant, as well as a 3screen Cineplex for 1200 people, food court, bank, range of shops and a basement car park.
  • Banks – HSBC became the 1st foreign bank to open in Jaffna in 2010 while there are close to 30 commercial bank branches that have opened throughout North since 2009.he number of hotels and guest houses increasing is evident of the demand with rising numbers of both locals and foreign tourists visiting the North.

·       There are scores of Hindu temples to visit and Tamils are regularly engaged in Hindu customs though Christian priests have become the mouthpiece and go-between the LTTE and GOSL, North Sri Lanka remains a majority Hindu populace though many in the LTTE converted including its leader(s).

·       There have been regular music festivals, trade fairs, film festivals, kite festivals, indigenous art competitions, chess competitions, sports competitions and numerous other programs throughout the North – all signs of normalcy showcasing how people are going about with their lives contrary to what is being projected via biased reports.

·       Number of cars have increased dramatically. Today most of the people in the North own at least a mo-bike and virtually all have a push-cycle.

 There are plenty more sites to see and it is worthwhile that visitors to the North see images of what the North looked like immediately after the terror ended as well as photographs of how luxurious the LTTE bunkers were compared to the way the people had to live. It is also good for people to see the office locations of the UN and other international agencies virtually adjoining LTTE offices, give statistics of the scores of agencies that were operational in the North when LTTE ruled a defacto area so that people can begin to question the bonafides of these entities and wonder exactly what they had been doing in the North.

Anyone visiting the North and not visiting the North via the reports compiled by entities funded to carry out a campaign to denigrate the forces, humiliate their presence and create a global scenario that their presence is not wanted will be in for some rude shocks. The people, these are the people living in the North have not shown or said anything to the effect that the Sri Lankan forces are not welcome.

 Those that have are a handful of supporters of the TNA, the TNA politicians most of whom are happily living in Colombo but complaining that Sinhalese are coming to the North. How fair is it for Tamils to say that Sinhalese are not welcome in the North when they are buying land, running businesses, sending children to school and not a politician has questioned why minorities can complain of discrimination when they openly say they do not rent or sell to Sinhalese!

 How fair is it also for the Tamils to watch silently as the Sri Lankan troops built homes, toilets for Tamils, toiled in the hot sun repairing damaged railway tracks, helping build roads, bridges, renovating kovils and other religious sites and simply allow a handful of TNA politicians carrying a hidden objective to continue the Vellala system of ruling Tamil low-caste/low class as the TULF aspired to do via the ‘boys’ who ended up hijacking the plot and then aligning themselves to geopolitical agendas with time. Should they remain silent or less come out and tell the truth?

How many Tamils honestly and sincerely accept the TNA demands that Sinhalese and Muslims cannot live in the North, when Tamils know that they are regularly streaming into South Sri Lanka and in particular Colombo to purchase land, build houses, send children to school, run businesses and make areas of the South their home?

 The ‘militarization’ of the North is nothing but a bogus scare scenario being created and is well within the lies and distortions that the same players have created in other parts of the world.

 Therefore, without believing what the reports say, or what people convey through reports sourced from third parties or people living overseas, holding foreign passports and people who have never been to Sri Lanka, it is better to visit the North and see how far the military is influencing or working in partnership with the citizens of Sri Lanka. Visitors should also ask not spokesman for the TNA, officials of the INGOs/NGOs or UN or even anyone working in a paid role but simply ordinary people about what their opinion of the military presence in the North is. Those that do so will be in for some surprises as all those who had been spoken to praised the military, thanked them for their service and many said they even feel safe in their presence. Obviously, these facts are hard for people with agendas to accept but it is worth the effort to visit the North and find out for oneself if there is such an overwhelming military presence as being projected. Whether people like it or not, troops are not stationed to meet the likes or dislikes of people. Troops are stationed for a specific reason and that reason has to do with national security therefore bringing up scenarios of the people not liking the presence of the military has no valid grounds for their removal.

8 Responses to “‘Militarization’ in North Sri Lanka – Don’t believe stories. Go and see for yourself”

  1. AnuD Says:

    Yaapanaya should be yaapanaya in every language.

    Why do we accept the language of those who could not pronounce the word yaapanaya ?

  2. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    PRESIDENT OBAMA. NO NEGOTIATIONS WITH TERRORISTS: LETHAL FORCE IS WHAT THEY UNDERSTAND.

  3. Ananda-USA Says:

    I have just done what Shenali recommends: Gone to Jaffna to see for myself, and it is just as Shenali has said!

    I toured the Northern Province, and the former War Zone, by bus with a group of Peradeniya eFac batchmates.
    Jaffna is BOOMING! The entire Northern Province now has a SUPERB ROAD NETWORK that puts the roads in the South to shame! Later, on two separate trips, I also visited Seruwawila near Trinco on a family Buddhist pilgrimage to view recently discovered dhatu, and the Eastern Province coast around Arugam Bay on vacation.

    I spoke to many local Tamil people in the North and East. They have no problems with the Army. In fact they are GLAD THAT THE ARMY is there to prevent the return of the LTTE goons! They complain that TNA operatives are always there threatening them with dire consequences if they do not cooperate with them in elections, claiming that they control the provincial government now and in the future as well, and they had better do as the TNA says if they want to live in the North. The people complain that there is essentially no political opposition to the TNA, and the elections are being won by the TNA by DEFAULT due the ABSENCE of an organized and effective political opposition.

    The North is suffering from the drought, and it is the Army bases that supply them with water using Army bowsers!

    It seems to me that the settlement of Sinhala people under the protection of the Armed Forces is NEEDED to turnaround this situation; it will LIBERATE the local Tamils from the grip of the TNA as well. Ethnic Integration led by the GOSL is ESSENTIAL if this problem is to be solved once and for all.

    BTW, the Armed Forces run several very nice hotels in the North (Thalsevana in KKS, Hammerlien Fort Hotel in Karainagar, Sandy Golf Links Hotel in Trinco and many more) that are not overly expensive to stay at. I patronized all of them, partly to support the Armed Forces.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lankan Army Keeps Close Watch to Nip LTTE Revival in Bud

    Oct 02 (NIE) KILINOCHCHI- Civilians in the North Sri Lankan Tamil-speaking district of Kilinochchi keep complaining about ubiquitous surveillance by the army and state intelligence agencies, and say that the former “war zone” is today an “open prison”.

    But security forces justify spying on the grounds that it was necessary to prevent the recrudescence of the terrorist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and ensure a peaceful life.

    “What is ‘spying’ for you is ‘being aware’ for us. It is a thin line which divides spying from being aware,” said Major General Sudantha Ranasinghe, commander of the Security Forces, Kilinochchi District.

    Justifying the compulsory presence of military intelligence personnel in civilian functions and meetings, he said: “We do not interfere with the proceedings. We just listen to find out if anyone is promoting terrorism and anti-state activities.”

    The general then produced a book of Tamil poems on the Tamil separatist movement written by a Catholic priest, Fr Anton Stephen, with provocative headings, one of them being ‘Bloody History’.

    A Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP had asked government schools to place this seditious book in their library. The TNA dominates the Northern Provincial Council under which the schools come.

    “The politico tried to put the germ of terrorism in young impressionable minds. We prevented this from happening,” General Ranasinghe said.

    “The army is working for peace and development. It is giving 2,275 scholarships to school students. Forty-five university scholarships are also given, with each beneficiary getting `3,000 per month for four years. And, every month, my soldiers collect `1,30,000 from amongst themselves to pay for the education of local children,” General Ranasinghe said.

    He pointed out that LTTE cadre who had been rehabilitated by the army and released into society have not indulged in any disruptive activity. “Cadre like Appan and Gobi, who were caught trying to revive the LTTE, had not gone through rehab,” the general pointed out.

    Asked about the Tamil National Alliance’s demand that the army quit the North, he said: “If a referendum is held on this, the people will vote for the army to stay because it has ensured a peaceful, crime-free district.”

  5. Marco Says:

    Ananda-USA
    I’m so pleased that you visited the North and Eastern Province and saw for yourself the progress made over the past 3 to 4 years. Although your turn of phrase – Jaffna is BOOMING is rather unfortunate!.
    Naturally, as a visitor time constraints allow you to witness at a cosmetic level. Interestingly, you made no mention of the local populace fending for themselves and being very entrepreneurial regardless of obstacles.
    I say that because many if not all visitor to the N & E provinces is struck by the sheer hard work, graft to fend for themselves after being under the jack boot of the LTTE.
    I agree that ethnic integration is important and vital to those regions but not on a forced basis which is only a short sighted political tool/ploy and not for the long term unity of Sri Lanka.
    Finally, i would disagree that TNA win elections by default. However, i would agree that UPFA and its constituent tamil parties lose elections by default.

  6. Lorenzo Says:

    Tamils are RACISTS. It is a FACT. That is why TNA wins by default.

    How to do ethnic integration when Tamils are racists?

    There is only one way – FORCED COLONIZATION.

    This is what WORKED in the east and this is what will WORK in the north as well. The solution must be as forceful as the problem. Otherwise it fails.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    Marco,

    I was struck by the by the extent of the big infrastructure projects completed by the GOSL. The GOSL has not only built the big ticket items like roads, bridges, railways, administration and hospital buildings, restored irrigation systems etc, but also has done the less noticeable things like reviving the post offices, bus stands and markets essential to the lives of ordinary people.

    Strangely, I saw little evidence of Tamil Diaspora money at work, that is so much in evidence in Colombo and its suburbs. The big business buildings and big commercial activity is almost exclusively of NATIONAL ORIGIN: Cargills Food City, John Keels, Laughs gasoline, Arpico, Dialog, and national banks … BOC, Seylan, HNB, Sampath, Peoples, LB Finance etc … all well established Southern businesses.

    The next rung down in business activity were the vibrant small enterprises operated by local Tamil people. But where are the big enterprises that the much balleyhooed Tamil Diaspora money should have brought to the North, and to Jaffna in particular? I saw very few if any. This REBUTS your contention that the ECONOMIC ACTIVITY in Jaffna and the North is PRIMARILY DUE TO THE HARD WORK of the local Tamil people. The EDICENCE does not support that view … the GOSL and businesses from the South are leading the revival of the region.

    Without a doubt, behind this business boom evident in the town and city is the growth in Jaffna peninsula’s rural agriculture fueled by the demand from the MARKETS in the South of the country, now FREELY ACCESSIBLE without the barriers erected by the now defunct LTTE, again debunking the view that separatism is good for the Tamil people.

    One more thing: I saw many houses boarded up and unoccupied, but yet no “For Sale” signs erected on the properties themselves, or evident in the newspapers and the web, unlike for properties elsewhere in the South of the country. Clearly, the properties must belong to absentee owners now residing abroad, but why are they not being advertised for sale in the mass media? Is this the DISCRIMINATORY Thesavalamai Law restricting sale to Tamils-only at work? I wonder!

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    “Is this the DISCRIMINATORY Thesavalamai Law restricting sale to Tamils-only at work?”

    YES it is.

    Govt. should take over these UNUSED land and put to good use.

    Tamil diaspora investments are in Colombo.

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