Sinhalese should be allowed and encouraged to settle in the North
Posted on October 26th, 2017

Chanaka Bandarage

 Introduction

The Sinhalese are continuously being denied from settling in the North by Tamil politicians.  This has been a systematic, very successful campaign by them for more than 60 years.

The irony is that the Southern politicians do not want to acknowledge and rectify this racist policy.

The recent rhetoric of some TNA MPs and the Chief Minister of the  Northern Provincial Council is clear that they are hell bent on preventing  the Sinhalese from relocating to the North and establishing homes there.

The Elagu Tamil Movement was established under the patronage of the Northern Chief Minister, whose primary aim is to stop Sinhalese settlements in the North.

Press the links below and view the video clips that show how two TNA MPs opposed the return of a Sinhala woman (born and bred in Jaffna) to the North after the end of the war (www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKfrUStwIs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWfucC_o270).

Herein, she was fighting the right to live in the North for herself and her fellow Sinhalese (obviously without any assistance from the Government and NGOs). The remarkable thing is that she speaks better Tamil than the two TNA MPs!

History

A foolish acknowledgement in the Indo-Lanka accord (1987) was the recognition that the North and the East are the historic habitation of the Tamil speaking people.  Even though he was under extreme pressure of the foreign power, the then leader should not have agreed to this recognition, as it is a fabrication of the country’s history.

Upon Vijaya’s  arrival the Sinhalese civilization was established in Sri Lanka. This happened more than 2500 years ago. Vijaya himself landed in the North – Thambbapanni, located in the present Mannar district.

Upon Vijaya’s rule, the Sinhalese population expanded rapidly and they were initially confined to the North, North Central, Wayamba and Eastern provinces.  The Sinhalese citadel was established in Anuradhapura.

It is a fact that Sangamitta Theri reached Sri Lanka (around 290 BC) after landing in Jaffna – Dambakola Patuna.  Thereafter, she and her fellow nuns walked along the Malvatu Oya (via Mannar) to Anuradhapura, where the King, Devanampiyatissa lived.

Gradually, the Sinhalese settlement expanded to the South. During the time of Elara rule (an invader from South India), the Sinhalese kingdom  was moved to the South (Ruhunu) in Thissamaharama.  King Kavantissa’s son, Dutu Gamunu (107 – 77 BC), killed Elara and reinstated the Anuradhapura  kingdom.

From Anuradhapura and later from other capitals, the Sinhalese kings ruled the entire country including the North and the East.

In the early 16th century the North was ruled by the kingdom of Kotte. Prince Sapumal, the son of  the Kotte king, 6th Parakramabahu, was planted as the ruler of Jaffna (Yapa Patuna).

Since the mid 16th century, the North was intermittently ruled by the Portuguese who firmed their grip in1591.

When Sri Lanka received independence in 1948, the British acknowledged that the North and the East are parts of the Sri Lankan state and never contemplated an India/Pakistan type partition, to give the North to the Tamil (this was their unequivocal acknowledgement that Sri Lanka has always been a One Nation).

The Tamils never made such a demand either – that the North be given exclusively to them. Though they now make a loud claim, they want the East too (from the Sinhalese), the Tamil knew it was a futile attempt to demand a separate state from the British. They simply could not produce a case for such a demand.

DS Senanayake was accepted by all as Sri Lanka’s first head of state and he ruled the entire country. Henry Monck-Mason Moore was  the Governor General, appointed by King George VI of Great Britain.

It is believed that when the Sinhalese were ethnically cleansed by Prabhakaran in late 1970s and early 1980s, there were at least 50,000 Sinhalese permanently living in the Northern province.  Today, beyond Vavuniya and disregarding the Sinhalese villages from Bogaswewa to Janaka Pura in largely Vavuniya District (Veherathenne, Nandimithragama, Namalgama, Welioya and HelambaWewa included),  this number could not be more than 500.

We should not forget that soon after the war ended around 150 ex Northern Sinhala families returned to the North and camped in the former Jaffna Railway station demanding their Northern lands back.  The then government forced them to return to the South. Some were promised with 2 acres of land in Mihinthale should they give up the demand. Most of them were repatriated to the South within 6 months of arrival in the North in SLTB buses. Some ‘hardcore’ Sinhalese ex Northerners dogged on. It is through their valiant effort that the Nawatkuli Sinhala Village was established (in 2010), about 7 km south of Jaffna.

The then government in 2009 soon after winning the war had the golden opportunity to allow the Sinhalese and Muslims to live in the newly liberated North. Instead, that government showed an extreme desire to maintain the existing provincial council system (13th Amendment) and to establish a new Northern Provincial Council, knowing well that the new Northern provincial government will be a threat to the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The government was not brave and forthright in thinking about the country’s future as One Nation – that, it is our paramount duty to preserve the country’s sovereignty, and for this the 13th Amendment should be abolished by way of a referendum; furthermore, that both the  Sinhalese and Muslims must be allowed to settle in the North, if they wish to do so.

The then leadership so desperate on holding CHOGM, very much wanted to hold the Northern Provincial Council election mainly to please the western world. The government knew that holding of the Northern Provincial Council election meant  giving power to a TNA led Northern Provincial Council that will not allow the Sinhalese to buy land and/or live in the North. We all know CHOGM ended as a publicity disaster for the then government and the new Northern Provincial Government as expected has become racist. One example is that it does little to stop elements from trying to remove Buddha statutes from their current places of religious worship. There is a virtual ban on erecting new Buddha statutes in public places of the North. Examples of racism that the Sinhalese have suffered in the North since 2013 (after the establishment of the Northern Provincial Council Government) will be elaborated in a future article.

Even today there are thousands of ex Northern Sinhala residents who are earnestly wanting to return to their lands in the North. But, they do not receive any assistance from the government in this regard (the Nawatkuli Sinhalese built their own houses (59) without the Government’s help– some still have tin like sheds, some do not have any funds to erect their houses; in contrast the Tamils of the area received assistance both from the Sri Lankan and Indian governments. They live in comfortable houses).

A racist policy

Tamils are able to freely move in the country and live and work wherever they like. Today they live in almost every part of Sri Lanka, even in the remote South such as Hambanthota and Thissamaharama. There is nothing wrong with that. But, the same rationale should apply to the Sinhalese.

The Sinhalese who wish to establish farms, businesses or those who simply want to relocate to the tranquil North to live there  with their families should not be prohibited or discouraged from doing so. But, this is exactly what is happening today.

This is totally contrary to the concept of ‘Sanhindiyawa’ (reconciliation), loudly propagated by the present government. These days the television and radio stations constantly ask people not to be racist and engage in Sanhindiayawa. This is very good. But, Sanhindiyawa must work in both ways, not one way only (do they promote this ideology only among the Sinhalese, especially the school children, or do they spread the message equally among the three ethnic groups?).

It is important to bear in mind that Freedom of Movement is implied in our Constitution. It is also embodied in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 1966, which Sri Lanka is a signatory.

By disallowing and discouraging the Sinhalese from living in the North the governments and Tamil politicians are breaching both domestic and international laws.

Why Sinhalese settlements in the North are required?

The North and East consist of 1/3 of Sri Lanka’s land mass and about 2/3 of the coast. These are the best parts of Sri Lanka and where empty land is available in plenty.  The South is chock-a-blocked, and people build houses even on 2 perches of land.

Basically, there is hardly any new land available in the South for citizens of Sri Lanka to live except in the North and East. The situation will become very grave in the future, given that the South’s population is ever increasing. The South’s natural environment has almost been destroyed and the forest cover has been reduced to the minimum. There is an enormous amount of pollution (air, water, soil, noise etc) in the big cities like Colombo, Kandy, Kurunegala, Anuradhapura, Galle and Mathara. Garbage disposal has become a nightmarish issue.

Furthermore, we need more population living in the North, which is still sparsely populated, to halt any future Tamilnadu invasion. This population can only be provided by the South (most of the Northern Tamils have migrated to various parts of the world).

Historically we have been subjected to Tamilnadu invasions commencing from Elara to Soli, Pallava, Kalinga-Magha invasions. They had caused enormous destruction to the country.  There is still a lot of sympathy in Tamilnadu for the creation of the Tamil Eelam. The current waves of poaching by Tamilnadu fishermen is a major problem faced by the country.

Knowing well about the Tamilnadu threat, it was a decision by the British in the early 20th century to populate the North and the East with Sinhala colonists.  The North and the East then had an extremely small population.  The British did not want to fill these two provinces with indentured labour  from Tamilnadu (using coolies who were brought to work in the tea plantations), but only from natives of the land, the Sinhalese.

Like in Australia, the British in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) too believed  that a ‘populate or perish’ policy is required to save Sri Lanka.

The British also wanted to develop the rice cultivation of the country. They knew of the vast tanks that are located in the North and the East that would irrigate thousands of rice land.

The British handed the colonization task to DS Senanayake, who had served in their government as the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Lands (since 1932). He carried out the British policy meticulously well, where thousands of hardworking Sinhalese from the South were settled in the new settlements of the North and the East (eg Padaviya, Sri Pura, Helamba Wewa, Kanda Kaduwa, Ampara, Gal Oya, Seruwila, Kanthale, Gomarankadawela etc).  During the war period, these areas were called the ‘marginal villages’.

After he became the Prime Minister, DS Senanayake continued with the British’s policy. His son, Dudley Senanayake, who was also the  country’s Agriculture Minister and later the Prime Minister continued with the same policy. It was SWRD Bandaranaike who stopped the Sinhalese colonization program after he came to power in 1956.

A sad misconception

There is a misconception among the Sinhalese that the wet zone that they largely live in is the country’s best zone, it has the country’s best agricultural lands and that the North is an arid, unproductive and an uninhabitable area. It has been embedded into the Sinhala DNA (in the last 60 years), that they should not even think of settling in the North.

Very few Sinhalese now visit the North even for a holiday. Soon after the war ended thousands of Sinhalese travelled to the North every week hiring buses, especially to see LTTE memorabilia. The then government destroyed or removed most of them including Prabhakaran’s houses, his swimming pools, underground bunkers and the Sea Tiger’s submarines etc. Now the Sinhalese believe that there is hardly anything for them to see in the North except Nagadeepa and Naga Viharaya (this is another misconception on their part – there is so much to see in the North). The emergence of violent gangs in the North has also frightened the Sinhalese.

True the North has a plenty of dry, arid land, but, what the Sinhalese do not know (or do not want to know) is that it has some of the best fertile and productive lands of the country.

The North consists of hundreds of   tanks. It is believed they were built by Sinhala Kings like Mahasen (334 – 362 BC) and Wasambha (127 -71 BC).  There are scores of tanks in Vavuniya alone – along the North – Eastern boarder. The vast area around Mannar’s Yodha Wewa is named as the country’s Rice Bowl.  The land around the tanks in Iranamadu and Kalmadu (Kilinochchi) and Vavunikkulam (Mulatiwu)  are excellent agricultural lands of Sri Lanka.

The areas beyond Elephant Pass towards Point Pedro (including Jaffna) are excellent for setting up industries plus for the development of fisheries and tourism. Due to less population, unlike the South, these are fairly neat and tidy areas. There is less pollution in the North.

The North has a fine forest reserve, a large saltern, the potential to grow cotton on a large scale, lots of precious mineral sands and metals; its natural beauty often surpasses that of the South.

Encouraging and assisting the settlement of people of all three nationalities  in the North and East is the best remedy to prevent an impending population explosion in the South, to achieve self-sufficiency in food, and most importantly to safeguard the Country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity

Future settlements in the North comprised of the three ethnic groups should be encouraged, this is a policy that will best serve Sri Lanka. Adaptation of such a policy will be in the best interests of the country.

Tamil politicians who genuinely love the country should support this policy rather than oppose it. It is important to bear in mind that this will not disadvantage the Tamils but will assist them too.

It will be the best medicine for ethnic reconciliation. If Tamil politicians of the North really believe in ‘Sanhindiyawa’, why do they not consent to establishing a ‘Sinhala Wellawatte’ and a ‘Sinhala Kotahena’ in Kilinochchi and Mulatiwu respectively?

This article has articulated that allowing and encouraging the Sinhalese to settle in the North will benefit Sri Lanka enormously, including the Tamils. It will be one of the best ways to prevent the emergence  of another terrorist war – we have just come out of a 30 years long civil war. The war  happened largely because less Sinhalese live in the North. It is well known that Prabhakaran and his cohorts had little knowledge about the Sinhalese, very few even spoke Sinhalese. If the governments desperately try to keep the Sinhalese away from the North, which is unfortunately the policy of all the recent governments, the Northern Tamils will hardly have the opportunity to get to know them. And, that is the worst recepie for Sanhindiyawa.

2 Responses to “Sinhalese should be allowed and encouraged to settle in the North”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Under the Proposed NEW TRAITORS CONSTITUTION of Sri Lanka, the National Government of Sri Lanka would not have the power to DISMISS a MERGED Northern and Eastern Provincial Government from DECLARING INDEPENDENCE UNILATERALLY, as the Central Government of Spain INTENDS TO DO under Spain’s Constitution to stop Catalonia from EXERCISING the independence it DECLARED UNILATERALY …. today!

    Sri Lanka will not have the POWER to PROTECT ITSELF from DISINTEGRATION as Spain DOES under its Constitution! Are we PATRIOTS going to ALLOW the Yamapalanaya to ENACT this TREASON??

    …………………………..
    Catalonia declares independence from Spain, direct Madrid rule looms

    By Sam Edwards and Angus MacSwan

    Reuters•October 27, 2017

    BARCELONA/MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish government moved to impose direct rule over Catalonia on Friday, stripping the region of its autonomy less than an hour after its parliament declared independence in a stunning show of defiance to Madrid.
    Related Searches
    Catalunya SpainSpain Catalonia IndependenceSpain Catalonia ReferendumMap Of Spain CataloniaCatalan Spain

    Although the Catalan declaration appears to be a doomed gesture, both sides’ moves take Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades to a new and possibly dangerous level.

    Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for calm and said the rule of law would be restored in Catalonia, where secessionists have long cherished the dream of a separate nation.

    A crowd of more than 2,000 independence supporters gathered in the Ciutadella Park outside the regional parliament in Barcelona, shouting “Liberty” in Catalan and singing traditional songs as the independence vote went through.

    The motion passed in the parliament after a passionate debate from advocates and opponents of independence said Catalonia constituted an independent, sovereign and social democratic state.

    Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont left the chamber to shouts of “President!” and mayors who had come from outlying areas brandished their ceremonial batons and sang the Catalan anthem “Els Segadors” (The Reapers).

    “Catalonia is and will be a land of freedom. In times of difficulty and in times of celebration. Now more than ever”, Puigdemont said on Twitter.

    But immediately after news of the vote, which three opposition parties boycotted, Spanish shares and bonds were sold off, reflecting business concern over the turmoil in the wealthy region.

    Within an hour, the upper house of Spain’s parliament in Madrid authorized Rajoy’s government to rule Catalonia directly — an unprecedented move in Spain since the return of democracy in the late 1970s.

    In Brussels, the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said the independence vote changed nothing and the EU would only deal with the central government.

    The United States, Britain, France and Germany also swiftly dismissed the declaration and expressed support for Rajoy’s efforts to keep Spain united.

    FIRING THE GOVERNMENT?

    Rajoy’s cabinet was meeting on Friday evening to adopt the first measures to govern Catalonia. This could include firing the Barcelona government and assuming direct supervision of Catalan police forces.

    “Exceptional measures should only be adopted when no other remedy is possible,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said in an address to the Senate on Friday morning.

    “In my opinion there is no alternative. The only thing that can be done and should be done is to accept and comply with the law,” said Rajoy, who has staked out an uncompromising position.

    How direct rule would work on the ground – including the reaction of civil servants and the police – is uncertain. Some independence supporters have promised to mount a campaign of civil disobedience.

    The main secessionist group, the Catalan National Assembly, called on civil servants not to follow orders from the Spanish government and urged them to follow “peaceful resistance”.

    “Tensions are likely to rise significantly over the coming days,” Antonio Barroso of Teneo Intelligence said in a note.

    “Demonstrators might try to prevent the police from removing Catalan ministers from their offices if the central government decides to do so. This increases the risk of violent clashes with the police.”

    The crisis unfolded after Catalonia held an independence referendum on Oct. 1 which was declared illegal by Madrid. Although it endorsed independence, it drew only a 43 percent turnout as Catalans who oppose independence largely boycotted it.

    The crisis has split Catalonia and caused deep resentment around Spain. National flags now hang from many balconies in the capital in an expression of unity.

    Catalonia is one of Spain’s most prosperous regions and already has a high degree of autonomy. But it has a litany of historic grievances, exacerbated during the 1939-1975 Franco dictatorship, when its culture and politics were suppressed.

    The chaos has also prompted a flight of business from region and alarmed European leaders who fear the crisis could fan separatist sentiment around the continent.

    NOT EASY

    “It is not going to be easy, it is not going to be free, it is not going to change in a day. But there is no alternative to a process towards the Catalan Republic,” lawmaker Marta Rovira of the Junts pel Si pro-independence alliance said in a debate leading to the vote.

    After the debate, lawmakers from members of three main national parties — the People’s Party, the Socialists and Ciudadanos — walked out. Members of the pro-independence parties and the far-left Podemos then voted 70-10 in favor in a secret ballot aimed at hindering any attempt by Madrid to lay criminal charges on them.

    Spain’s constitutional court said it was reviewing the vote. The state prosecutor and other parties have three days to open a case.

    Montserrat Rectoret, a 61-year-old historian, was among the crowds in Barcelona.

    “I am emotional because Catalonia has struggled for 40 years to be independent and finally I can see it,” she said.

    (Additional reporting by Paul Day, Julien Toyer and Jesus Aguado, writing by Angus MacSwan, editing by John Stonestreet)

  2. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Dutch brought tamils from tn to work in tobacco plantations in the north and the east.
    British brought tamils from tn to work in tea plantations.
    Then a lot of kallathonis came from tn to save their lives from the severe famine there in the 60s.
    Now all 3 lots paying back handsomely trying to dismember Mother Lanka. Ungrateful traitors!
    The fact they live in the north, the east, up country and the coastal belt alone is evidence enough to see how they came to be here. Now the traitor lot is being pushed to a corner by fast multiplying mussies. Mussies are
    multiplying like …. and taking over the country.

    Today they all claim to have thousands of years of history without an ancient brick to substantiate their claims.
    Simply no Anuradahpuras, no Polonnaruwas etc. etc. Maybe their mythical kings used to live in ice castles?
    These histories exist only in books and www. It isn’t surprising as all these guys are practising religions of
    conveniences which don’t regard killing, lying, stealing etc. etc as sins when all honest 2-legged creatures accept
    them as sins. Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution destroyed the creator god myth. Still these people believe in
    mythical gods and keep sinning. As a result of their sinning, they won’t be two-legged creatures in their next
    lives. Good for Mother Lanka as these ungrateful liars won’t be her sons and daughters in their next lives.

    Stop living a lie. These liars’ hearts, minds and loyalties are in tn. That’s where they belong if they don’t want to
    change. If they don’t want to change they should pack and leave for their beloved tn!

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