Discrimination that the Sinhalese face in the North and the East
Posted on March 31st, 2020

Chanaka Bandarage

After the war, all governments have miserably failed to settle the displaced Sinhalese (numbering about 50,000) in the Northern province.

 In the past five years, the governments have embarked on a massive ‘Sanhindiyawa’ campaign, placing lots of onus on the Sinhalese to embrace Tamil culture and Tamil way of life. For this, a ministry of National Language and Social Integration was created. It ran racist policies against the Sinhalese.

State-owned TV and radio stations promoted ‘Sanhindiyawa’ day and night in the Sinhala dominated South. Even on Sinhala TV channels, cheap Thamilnadu movies were shown with Sinhala subtitles.

After the then government was very keen to establish the Northern Provincial Council (in 2013), Wigneswaran became the Chief Minister and his provincial government adopted racist policies one after another, against the Sinhalese.  Wigneswaran implied that he did not want the Sinhalese visiting the North even on short stays; he objected to the Sinhalese worshiping Buddha statutes in the North placed in the open.

The Jaffna railway station failed to announce the arrival of the train from Colombo in Sinhala. The writer is informed that Wigneswaran had directed that massive billboards in the province (including on A9) must not display a single Sinhala word. Even some premier Sri Lankan Banks who had their headquarters in Colombo had to advertise in the billboards sans Sinhala. In North/Jaffna, Sinhala was purposely omitted from many street name boards. 

In Madhu Road, Mannar, Sinhalese living there were deprived of the only Sinhala school that they had for more than 30 years. That was close down in January 2019. Sinhala people in Mannar (Madhu Road, Nari Kadu and Seelawathura), have no cemetery to bury/cremate their dead. They take the corpses to Anuradhapura.  The Hindus would not allow them to use their cemeteries.

Shops in the newly built shopfront near the Madhu church were given to Tamils and some Muslims only.  This happened despite the Sinhalese’ request that they also are given at least a shop or two.

In the Eastern province (Trincomalee) the Sinhalese were chased away from the paddy lands that they had cultivated for several years (in 2015).  These lands were later allocated to Tamils who were brought to the area only recently.  The Order to do this had been given by a prominent Eastern Province based Tamil politician who is much venerated in the South. 

Tamil divisional secretaries work to block the Sinhalese from resettling in the North (former Northern Sinhala settlers).  In Navatkuli, Sinhalese who were engaged in small businesses were deprived of continuing with their activities. A person running a breakfast food cart (string-hoppers) was unfairly stopped from his operation. A Sinhalese man, well experienced in making ice cream in Anuradhapura, was prevented from starting the same business in his Navatkuli home. These Sinhalese are mostly 2nd or 3rd generation Sinhalese, who speak fluent Tamil.

There are instances where newly arrived Sinhalese have been discouraged from settling in the North by Tamil Grama Seva Niladharis.   In the Tamil speaking areas of the North, all government offices work only in Tamil language.  Those who do not understand Tamil face huge difficulties as a result. But, in the South, Tamil is strictly enforced as a National Language.

However, the previous government forced Sanhindiyawa down upon the Southerners. Due to this many people (especially the children) have lost their patriotic feeling about the country. Sinhala songs such as ‘Me Sinhala Apage Ratai, Hela Derane Kandula Susuma, ‘Api Okkoma Rajawaru’ etc were removed from radio broadcasting.

The previous President proudly announced that his government reduced the acreage held by the Army in the North and the East from 84,523 to 14,769 – a reduction of  83%.

In the East, large numbers of Buddhist archeological sites are being discovered regularly. None of the governments since the ending of the war have shown a keen desire to preserve them and identify them as Sinhala Buddhist cultural sites.

In order to satisfy the minorities and win their vote, Sinhala history has been distorted in history books. Children are now taught that Vijaya and Mahavansa maybe myths. That, Buddhism may have arrived in the country before the arrival of Ven Mahinda.  The Sinhalese have been heavily indoctrinated to believe that King Ravana, a fictitious/mythical character in Hindu books, had indeed existed in Sri Lanka, more than 4,000 years ago. This has given Tamils the opportunity to make the false claim that Ravana was a Tamil, thus they are the first arrivals of the country. Wigneswaran got in the bandwagon to state that King Devanampiyatisa was a Tamil and his correct name is Devanampiyatissam! Until about 20 years ago, Ravana was totally a non-entity in Sri Lankan history. The Great King, Dutu Gamunu, was described in a famous movie (produced mainly for the children) as ‘Dushta Gamini’.

Given the acute land shortage in the South, the government must allow non-Tamils to live in the North and the East (1/3 of the country). Those are the only areas where land is now freely available to live.  The South is congested with Tamils (Wellawatta, Kotahena, Muttwal are just a few examples).  There is nothing wrong with this, but the Sinhalese must also be allowed to live in the North and the East (currently they cannot seek properties even on lease). It is time that the government corrects this serious anomaly. All citizens should be allowed to live wherever they wish to live. This is a right enshrined in our Constitution (Article 14 (1) (h). Article 12 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which Sri Lanka is a signatory also prescribes this.

The writer is an International Lawyer

[email protected]

One Response to “Discrimination that the Sinhalese face in the North and the East”

  1. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    Traitor anti Buddhist, anti Sinhalese, anti Sri Lanka, minority worshiping, Mother Lanka dismembering GooandPee
    aka UNPatriotic_rats party is responsible for making Sinhalese pariahs in their own country. The traitor low lives,
    starting from traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) thambi mudiyanselage [email protected], then traitor alugosuwa
    (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) lk porisada [email protected], traitor alugosuwa (to Sinhalese Buddhists only) die hard catholic
    token Buddhist mega thief mega thakkadiya mass murderer (Sinhalese Buddhists only of course) mega liar
    Batalande wa(n)dakaya Pol Pot [email protected]_leech wickrama Sinhala killer all promoted tamils and mussies for their votes
    destroying Sinhalese, Buddhism and Sri Lanka.

    GooandPee aka UNPatriotic_rats killed 60,000+ jaathidhrohee vermins’ party aka jvpers without mercy. They
    were burnt in tyre pyres, headless corpses in rivers etc. etc. Reason for the brutality: 99% for being Buddhists,
    1% terras. Die hard catholic token Buddhist with its catholic top police brass (Sinhala modayas check their first
    name and it will give a clue) and top catholic deshapaluwas were instrumental in the Buddhist massacre. Did
    Sinhala modayas ever wondered why die hard catholic token Buddhist’s catholic buddy barrel hitler mala
    paharan’s catholic tigers were only given a slap on the terras.

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