Buddhist monks assault Tamil and Muslim cattle-herders in Batticaloa
Three cattle-herding Tamil and Muslim farmers were brutally assaulted on Tuesday by Sinhala Buddhist monks at Maathava’nai pastureland, situated in Koa’ra’laip-pattu South (Kiraan) division of Batticaloa district. Three monks in robe emerged from Mayilaththa-madu camp of the occupying Sinhala military while the Tamil and Muslim farmers were feeding water to their cows at Maanthalai-aa’ru river. The violent monks seized the tools from the farmers before assaulting them. 69-year-old Poopalapillai Selvam, a father of six from Pearillaa-ve’li, 30-year-old Kulsum Ansar, a father of four and 25-year-old Manikam Nadarajah, a father of two from Chiththaa’ndi 2nd and 3rd cross streets, were the cattle-herders who sustained injuries.
The injured Tamil and Muslim farmers said the intruding Sinhala monks and Forest Department guards have been harassing the cattle-herders for a long time.
The Sinhala colonists led by Buddhist monks and the occupying military have put up 350 houses in Maathava’nai area, the farmers further said. Some of the Sinhala colonists seem to have vacated from the houses, they said. The Sinhala colonists have established Buddhist temples and are engaged in slash-and-burn cultivation in the pasturelands.
Sinhalese are being brought from Polonnaruwa and other places to seize forest and pasturelands and change the entire area into agricultural Sinhala settlements.
In the meantime, SL Forest Department and SL ‘Mahaweli Department’ officials have been harassing the Tamil cattle-herders demanding ‘pass’ documents from them to access grazing lands.
Mahaweli system B, running across Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa districts, will be interlinking the reservoirs while SL Archaeology Department, Buddhist monks and SL military will be putting up Buddhist viharas in the lands that are being occupied.
Under the UNP and SLFP regimes, foreign governments have been funding the Mahaweli ‘development’ programme, while Colombo government was wedging the territorial integrity of Tamil homeland at several key locations as atMa'nal-Aa'ru (Sinhalicised into Weli Oya) and Kokku'laay in Mullaiththeevu district, Pulmoaddai, Moothoor and Kantha'laay in Trincomalee district. Sinhala settlers were also being brought into Ampaa'rai and Batticaloa districts under the Mahaweli project.
Already by May 2015, more than 12,000 acres of pasturelands had been seized in Maathava'nai area inKiraan DS division alone, according to the figures provided by Mr Karthirgamathamby Kurunathan, a retired Land Commissioner of the Eastern Province