by M.Shamil mohamed
20 years back Muslims in Jaffna lived a satisfactory life in terms of peace of mind ,wealth, they were well-off in running business and were self sufficient , they were 10 % in Jaffna city limits dominating MC -municipal council sometime as mayor and sometime deputy mayor of Jaffna municipality , According to department of Muslim religious and cultural affairs there were 17 mosques in Jaffna but according to prominent Muslim scholar there were 21 mosques, Muslims were 5% in the Northern Province. They were engaged in trade, teaching and skilled trades like tailoring, etc. The Jaffna Muslims were lived four densely populated wards of the Jaffna Municipality. Moor streets, and New moor streets (Bommaively) ,Town mosque street ( here streets are not justa a street but name of densely populated wards) and bhora place were their areas.
Former civil servant and Zahira Principal AMA Azeez, Supreme Court Judge Andul Cader, Appeal Court Judge MM Jameel. Education Director Munsoor etc being some leading lights of the Jaffna Muslims. There were deputy – mayor , Municipal Councillors and Abusalai hajiyar, MMC Basheer , sulthan ,and were mayor , deputy – mayor and acting mayor of Jaffna. after Ethnic Cleansing of Jaffna Muslims in October 1990 They were reduced to begging Total population of Jaffna Muslims were evicted out of northern Sri Lanka when the LTTE widely started ethnic cleansing of Muslims in north and east of Sri Lanka in 1990, killing scores of Muslims, looting their homes, taking over their farmlands and attacking places of worship.
According to Wikipedia The first eviction was in Chavakacheri, of 1,500 Muslims After this, Muslims in Kilinochchi and Mannar were forced to leave their homeland. The turn of Jaffna came on October 30, 1990.
One hundred thousands of Muslims forced to leave their homes, has been living in camps for nearly two decades. Some 18000 thousand Muslims are living in the Puttalam camps among them 30000 thousand are Jaffna Muslims .
“Jaffna Muslims were left with no option when the LTTE came and asked them to leave within two hours at gunpoint. or face death, all of them were evicted They were later branded as informers, traitor , conspirators by LTTE and LTTE supports. before the eviction of Jaffna Muslims, the LTTE was busy to create a plot against Muslims more than 50 were put in LTTE jail which was called “no escape no return” , many Muslim youth were put to death, in Jaffna. there were some Muslim LTTE members they too were disarmed before the eviction ,among them were second lieutenant Rafi, and Hazaal, Imthiyas, all of them were put in LTTE jail later killed , when LTTE ordered Muslims to exit there were less than 1500 Muslim only in Jaffna , all of them were old men and women , Childers and disabled, The rest of Jaffna Muslim population already left Jaffna because of LTTE bombardment on Muslim areas, LTTE started launching shells on Muslim area from 07.10.1990 and kidnapping Muslim youth all those started to happening before LTTE started the brutal eviction, Then the well planed eviction -Ethnic cleansing was on October 30, 1990 when all remaining Muslims in Jaffna were ordered to assemble to Osmania college’s play ground and well known LTTE leader Anjaneyar or elamparuthy ordered all of them to leave the city within two hours. They were only allowed to carry 50 rupees each , and take with them only the clothes and slippers they were wearing on. The LTTE looted almost all possessions in the Muslim houses. Many houses were stripped off tiles, wooden frames, doors, windows, etc.
Muslim’s Lands Forcibly Occupied by the LTTE after Ethnic Cleansing of Jaffna Muslims in October 1990 are 1256 lands, Muslim Residential Houses Destroyed by the LTTE are 1,391 Houses, valued Rs.497,859,750.00, according to the People’s Secretariat report in 1990 , Muslims Properties Robbed by LTTE were 2,430 robberies, valued Rs. 694,607,633.00 according to the People’s Secretariat report in 1990 ,total Muslim population in Jaffna municipal area was more than 15 thousands in 4800 families now they are doubled in number , According to the People’s Secretariat 7200 jaffna muslim families are living in 28 camps in puttlam
This was the most notorious act, ever memorable and never forgettable painful memory of Jaffna Muslims.
years 2006 rehabilitation ministry had initiated a project to rehabilitate 18,240 northern Muslim families living under inhuman conditions in these camps, six hundred houses under the project have been handed over to manner families and another 600 are getting ready.. As the LTTE intimidation is over, most of these Muslims want to return to their native towns evicted by the LTTE, resettlement process already started for Tamil IDPs, the resettlement process is in slow progress for muslims in mannar , vavuniya but Jaffna and kilinochi Muslims feel abandoned as blindfolded in a desert , Forcibly evicted Jaffna and kilinochi muslim since 1990 that they have been abandoned in camps who are still living in an uncertain life in inhuman, The negligence and the inattention in handling Muslim IDPs problems is caused by the non-existence of special political decision as law that can be used as guidelines in handling Muslim IDPs. Jaffna Muslim IDPs who they are still living in an uncertain life with uncertainty, and disappointment,
Muslim Diaspora should take care of this matter of Muslim IDPs in common and particularly Jaffna and Kilinochi Muslims IDPs they feel their voice was muted , their eyes were blindfolded , and they abandoned in a desert .
كُنتُمْ خَيْرَ أُمَّةٍ أُخْرِجَتْ لِلنَّاسِ تَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَتَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ وَتُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَلَوْ آمَنَ أَهْلُ الْكِتَابِ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَّهُم مِّنْهُمُ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَأَكْثَرُهُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.-3:110
By Noor Nizam
The announcement made by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa that there is no room for a re-merger of the North and East provinces as a political geographical land mass entity and human settlement in Sri Lanka is a reality of contemporary politics in Sri Lanka . The president said this to editors N Vithiyatharan of Sudar Oli and Devaraj of Virakesari at a breakfast meeting with the heads of media institutions on the 25th., of November, in Colombo this week.
Rajapaksa ruled out north-east re-merger and said the merger of the two provinces had been a demand of the LTTE and there was no question of entertaining it now.
The President Rajapaksa was echoing the same political stand he took while attending the special cabinet meeting at Temple Trees on September 1997 that was called by then president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunghe to discuss the devolution of power proposals.
Rajapaksa said to the editors that he had to keep in mind the interest of the Muslims, who, he said, were in a majority in the Eastern Province , and who, as such, would not be happy to be merged with the Tamil-majority.
The Muslims of Sri Lanka and especially of the Eastern Province thank Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa for ruling out the North-East re-merger and declaring his decision publicly through the media representative with whom the President had a cordial breakfast meeting.
The two provinces, which were united following the India-Sri Lankan Accord of 1987, were de-merged by a Supreme Court decision based on technical grounds in 2006.
Political analysts and Muslim academics have more than once highlighted the perils of the Muslims of the Eastern province. Muslim politicians have stressed the situation of the Muslim majority in the East, with no avail for any consideration, both during the presidency of late JR. Jayawardene and Madam Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunghe.
Colombo’s elite Muslim politicians who have treated the Eastern Muslims in a step-motherly manner, have argued the point that in the entire Eastern Province the Muslim population was around 30 per cent, but only 12 per cent of them lived in the Eastern Province. In the runner-up to the “Devolution of Power proposals (many forms were on the table), the late Hon. Ashraff’s called for a separate South-Eastern Council which was challenged by Cabinet colleague A. H. M. Fowzie at that time.
The de-merger by a degree of the laws courts of Sri Lanka in 2006 enabled the government of Mr.Mahinda Rajapaksa to call for provincial elections. The Rajapakse regime has multi-lateral objectives towards the Eastern province. With the popularity of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Colombo Muslim elites reached out to the Eastern Muslims as their brethren in a very honorable manner. Understanding and UNITY is now strength for advocacy of the “Muslim Factor”.
The Eastern Province is now a separate Province for all administrative and political over view. Secondly, there was a need for an intensive military campaign to be waged to drive away the LTTE from the territory it controlled in the East. The East was the shore of the setting of the sun “Paduvaankarai” as referred to by Tamil writers who believed in the theory of a Tamil Eelam. For the government, making this “Paduvaankarai” free from the clutches of the LTTE was important.
But the East has vast natural resources like ilmenite (used for nuclear energy), silicon dioxide (used for making glass), sea weeds (for use in pharmaceutical products), fishery resources and the development of tourism which are a few to name. A comprehensive plan to develop and exploit these resources would be of great political and socio-economic stability to the government and to the upliftment of the Eastern province population who had been pushed to extreme poverty since independence. Added to this was the dominating attitude of the Northern Tamils, who considered the Eastern Tamils as second class citizens, a norm that was seen by the infiltration and dominance of all public service positions and the control of the business and private sector segment of the East by Northern Tamils. The Eastern Muslims were also battered by this unethical practice of the Northerners. This was also a reason for Karuna Amman to break away in March 2004 from Prabaharan and helped the government forces to clear the East from the LTTE presence. The government as a result the demerger, called for an Eastern provincial council election which took place on May 10, 2008 to elect members to the new Council.
Thanks to the peculiarities of the proportionate representation voting system more Muslims than Tamils were elected as Eastern provincial councilors. 18 of the 35 elected councilors were Muslims. Of these eight were in government ranks. Only ten of the
elected councilors were Tamils. Of these only six were from the TMVP. But the biggest loss was for the Muslims when they lost “lock stock and barrel’ the possibility of having a Muslims Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council. Was this due to petty selfish regional politics or political selfishness and greed for positions by neglecting the overall benefits to the Muslims in the East or due to the failure of political “CUEMANSHIP” by a certain Muslim political leader? Failed political strategy could be a better analysis of this disaster that the Muslims of the Eastern Province will have to live with until the next Provincial Council elections, to get our legitimate rightful “Representative brokerage political leadership Chief Minister of the Eastern Province”.
So what is all this about the re-merger of the North East a time when the citizens are deeply contemplating about the presidential elections that has been announced?
Political analysis clearly indicate that the forces that they be, still supporting an unreasonable political resolution to the realities of the Sri Lankan ethnic conflict, even in the defeat of the LTTE on May the 17t., are still manipulating their visions for consideration in the political play ground at this Presidential Elections too. The so-called minority Tamil speaking political parties/representatives gathering in Zurich, the International West against the GSP+, the UN cry for HR and concerns about the IDP’s in the Wanni and the instigations of the Tamil diasporas in the West to come down to the streets in protest and now pitching the best General against the President, are some of the methods that has been adopted to bring pressure on Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa to bow down to the forces that are detrimental to the wellbeing and prosperity of a Nation so small, but ever determined to move forward, what may come, to be another developed Nation. It is sad that Sri Lankans of the caliber of the leader of the opposition and a group of unpatriotic politicians have joined to covertly support these enemies of Sri Lanka .
Talking to the President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a covert manner, even through journalistic questions at a breakfast meeting is a strategy adopted by the UNF to deprive the legitimate Muslim Chief Minister of the Muslims in the future, by trying to influence the Government to make a promise of a re-merger, suggesting that it will bring the Tamil votes from the UNF to President Rajapaksa and to pitch the Muslims of the Eastern Province against the President.
The Muslims of Sri Lanka and especially of the Eastern Province thank the President Mahinda Rajapaksa for ruling out the North-East re-merger and declaring his decision publicly through the media representative with whom the President had a cordial breakfast meeting.
The writer was a former SLFP District Organizer for Trincomalee District for a long time and later SLMC, Deputy District Organizer Trincomalee.
By Noor Nizam
Now that there is a presidential election declared, who will win is the question in the minds of the electorate of Sri Lanka , be it the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and or all others who have the right of franchise in Sri Lanka , the right to vote. Respecting the political trend and analysing the build-up of all political/governance issues facing the Nation since the presidential elections of 2005, what ever may come, Mahinda Rajapaksa will win again. Mahinda Rajapaksa has proven himself as a statesman who can withstand and overcome any challenges both nationally and internationally, even in adverse situation and polarize the trust of the people and the Nation. The pity of Sri Lankan politics in the present scenario is just petty selfishness and greed of some of the national politicians, to be dreaming to sit in the chair of President, PM or Executive PM who have now grouped themselves to lead an opposition. They are not the least bothered about the progress and prosperity of the nation at large and the people in general, be they Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burgers or others.
Why this political presidential election question has arisen today in the history of Sri Lankan, when peace and prosperity has begun to blossom in the little island of Serendipity since may 17th., 2009, where the terrorist have been eradicated and the war against terrorism won. Sri Lanka winning he war against terrorism was never even in the thoughts of the mighty USA , the UK , France , Israel , Germany , and Russia that Sri Lanka would ever win this war. Even the Irish, the Norwegians, the Swedes and South Africa , believing in the potential of the might of the LTTE, now only proven as the paper tiger it was, believed that little Sri Lankan had no way other than coming to books with the international community and the INGO and NGO brokers to share the land of Serendipity under ceasefire and peace accords for devolved governance in the future. Nevertheless, countries like India, Pakistan, Iran and the Maldives did believe, that if the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa was given the help needed, in whatever way possible, the war against terrorism can and will be defeated in Sri Lanka.
For the so-called international community’s security forces that has challenged the Cheneyan rebels in Russia, the Maoists in Nepal, Hamas and Hizballah fighters in Palestine, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias in Colombia, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Gaza, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba in Kashmir, Krudistan Workers Party in Kurdistan, Al Qaida in Iraq, Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia and the Bhabbar Kalsa (Sikhs movement) in India, what the Sri Lankan security forces achieved in defeating the LTTE over a period of three and a half years, since Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office, as the President in 2005, was unbelievable. This was an arms conflict that was going on for 3 decades where even the Indians lost around 1000 peace keeping forces fighting the LTTE.
Then what was the miracle that made the Sri Lankan security forces to make such a victory over the world’s most ruthless and well-armed terrorist organization in the world?
The LTTE was a terror organization in operation since 1983. They had thousands of military trained cadres and ran their own military training camps both in the jungles of the East and Northern regions of Sri Lanka . They were privy to the most lethal sophisticated military hardware, workshops to manufacture indigenous explosive devices and bombs not second to the ones built in ammunition factories of the west and operated a fleet of rouge merchant vessels that brought in all required supplies, whatever the maritime barricades the nation’s legitimate navy employed.
News items, video clippings, photographs, digital images released both by the local news media and international news correspondents covering the conflict zones have recorded the vast amounts of arsenal and military hardware the LTTE had at its disposal, hidden in the jungles to fight the conventional Sri Lankan security forces who faced so much resistance that many thousand soldiers had to pay a supreme sacrifice to save the nation from the ruthless terror group. The Army media unit confirmed the presence of these arsenal in the hands of the LTTE and the international media published photographs of many of the arsenal captured by the security forces from the LTTE or left behind in the Wanni when they were fleeing during the last stages of the battles in March, April and May 2009.
Among the many things President Mahinda Rajapaksa mentioned during the elections campaign in 2005, was that the government will fight against the LTTE terrorism and free the Sri Lankan citizens, specially the Tamils from the claws of the LTTE tiger. On winning, he revamped the Army with the induction of his brother younger brother Lt. Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as the Secretary Defence. The President ensured the necessary funds to update the war machinery with new and modern military hardware and resources. The international diplomacy that was put in place to enable countries like Pakistan, Iran, China, USA, UK, Israel and India supply required military items and materials to support Sri Lanka in its war against terrorism as planned and implemented by the Ministry of Defence, was an approach of accomodative diplomacy, but also realistic in it’s approach, giving priority for the nation to find an indigenous resolution to the issue.This approach enabled Sri Lankan security forces to obtain even the best radar system to track down low flying objects and high speed watercrafts from Canada, a nation that was more biased towards the LTTE, due to the presence of the largest Tamil population living outside Sri Lanka. In addition, the human resource capacity of fighting soldiers were increased with more recruitment and training. But the biggest strength President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave this national cause was harnessing the fullest backing and the support of the people, be they Sinhalese, moderate Tamils, Muslims or Burghers, free of political party loyalties, behind the forces.
Yet, the man of the hour was Lt. Colonel Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who played the pivotal role by coordinating the matters with Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence Forces and giving vision to the political thoughts of the President by striking a balance between patriotism and nationalism. This enabled Army, Navy, Air Force, Police and Civil Defence Forces to contribute the very best towards making the victory of the fight against the LTTE a success and victory for the Nation of Sri Lanka on May the 17th., 2009.
It was the partnership and the well coordinated efforts of this endeavour that was indeed the miracle that made the Sri Lankan security forces to make such a victory over the world’s most ruthless and well-armed terrorist organization in the world.
If that be so, then again the principles of this victory will definitely be radiated in the forth coming presidential elections. There is no doubt that, as a result, what ever may come, Mahinda Rajapaksa will win again.
Let me stress at this point that there are definitely many issues that concern the Sri Lankan Muslim Community, both in the North, North Eastern and South of Sri Lanka and in general that of the Muslim Community. The issues of the IDP’s in Puttlam specially and in general in the East and the land issues in the Eastern Province , specially in the Ampara District are of priority. It is my opinion that the Sri Lankan Muslim Community should support MR, who is a strong candidate and a good political leader to WIN in this election. We should NOT be subjected to deception again by the UNP or UNF, as we were taken for a ride on the Peace Process by Ranil and the Norwegians which is one of the many good examples to remember. I was one of those who strived hard since 1977 and then worked closely with the Chandrika government and Mangala Samaraweera’s “SUDU NELUM” movement since 1995 to bring about PEACE in Sri Lanka . The Devolution of Power proposals were sabotaged by certain selfish politicians and academics, including, and as a result of the “deceptive politics” of Mr. Mangala Samaraweera.
History should not repeat to the minorities.