‘Lasting solution to North East is a mirage’-Mullivaikkal residents

21 May 2024 01:54 am – 0      – 154

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Bereaved mothers weep while placing flowers at a remembrance plaque at Mullivaikkal

 

The constant battle of the people in the North to survive each day and live with freedom and dignity is a far cry from what is perceived and propagated in the South, people of the North remembering the dead on May 18 at Mullivaikkal said.

Those bereaving the loss of their dear departed marked the day with a heavy heart.
It was not only a feeling of great sadness, but also fear in the air that the peaceful commemoration would be brought to an end by force.
“We have never had a proper and peaceful day to remember our lost ones,” said a weeping mother who had lost both her sons to the war.

The recurring question among the residents and participants on this day of remembrance was when would the day dawn to be free from suspicion and repression?

“We are not against the Sinhalese people in the South. It is the oppressive regime that we detest,” said S. Yagaraja, a father of three from the area refuting views about having peace in the North. He said peace is a myth and would remain a mirage as long as divisive politics continues in the country.
People from all walks including some from the South were present to be in solidarity with the victims of the protracted war.

A lasting solution to the national issue is paramount if the country is to see no recurrence of unrest in the future.
However social unrest taking place in the future cannot be ruled out as there is no national forum for the Northern community to express their views according to youth speaking at the post-remembrance discussion in Mullivaikkal.

They said many in the North are not yet able to raise their heads economically despite the lapse of 15 years after the conflict.
‘Promises to revive livelihood and boost local industries sound bizarre and far-fetched,” Ramesh Jegan, a youth from Kilinochchi said.

The domineering attitude and certain moves by the government such as turning a blind eye to the woes of dairy farmers in the East who had lost their traditional land for grassing herds to forceful encroachments will further distance the people of the East from those in the South.

Militarisation, instilling fear, construction of Buddhist temples and depriving ancestral land for livelihood haven’t stopped since the war ended. Uncertainty and insecurity loom large among people who have lost hope.
‘We don’t know what’s in store for us, but one thing is clear. Don’t assume that we have lost the battle and we would give up the struggle for freedom,” S. Sivakumaran, a resident from Mullivaikkal said.

“Why do we have to live like this? Are we not part of this land? Don’t we have the right to live peacefully and engage in an occupation of our choice and live with dignity,” Sivakumaran asked those present at the discussion.
He said that the problems of the people in his community will go unheeded and un-addressed for generations to come under rulers who are hard-hearted and never want to see an end to the burning issues of the minority communities.

The ‘Sinhala-Buddhist majority’ is used by politicians in the South as a strong political weapon to garner popular support and crush the aspirations of the Tamil community in the country, participants from the area said.
It is so unfortunate that many in the South go by what the government says and add fuel to the fire of racism which doesn’t help heal the wounds of division, a community leader said. This individual added that the constitution states that every citizen irrespective of cast, creed or race must be treated equally. The individual asked whether anyone can find that courtesy extended to the people in the North and the East.

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