Forced conversion to Sinhala Buddhism deployed as tool of genocide in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Sunday, 27 August 2017, 23:06 GMT]
Occupying Colombo, its military and the exclusivist Sinhala Buddhist Theravada Establishment have jointly adopted the Western colonial model of religious conversations of poverty-stricken people at the lowest echelons forcing the Tamil people to convert to Buddhism and start learning Sinhala language. The forced religious conversions are being staged at two separate locations, Navatkuzhi and Puththoor, in the occupied Jaffna peninsula. High-ranking monks including the Chief Prelate (Mahanayakas thero) of the Asgiriya chapter have been scheduled to inspect the genocidal project of Sinhala-Buddhicisation at Puththoor in Valikaamam East and at Naavatkuzhi, informed sources in Jaffna told TamilNet on Sunday.

This is the result of genocidal ‘reconciliation’ being promoted by the West, based on a counter-insurgency model of ‘development- and environment’ diplomacy that operates hand in hand with the Sinhala ‘Army and Archaeology’ against the interests of the occupied nation of Eezham Tamils, commented Tamil political observers in Jaffna.

They also blamed New Delhi, which has been legitimizing Colombo's culture of genocide through its continuous appeasement of Buddhist links with the South and its lopsided approach that has failed to restore the parity between the Tamil and Sinhala nations in the island towards a negotiated settlement to the Tamil national question. It is New Delhi, which is going to be the ultimate loser, once again, they further commented.

Naavatkuzhi is a major junction located 5 km east of Jaffna city, where the two highways A9 and A32 that come from the south join and enter into the city.

More than 300 uprooted, war-affected and poverty-stricken Tamils have been languishing without a housing scheme at Naavatkuzhi while a Sinhala colony forcibly launched at the locality by the occupying military and extremist Sinhala Buddhist groups such as ‘Sinhala Ravaya’, has been accorded with housing scheme from Colombo’s ‘National’ Housing Development Authority (NHDA) in January 2017.

Colombo has also provided the Sinhala colonists with infrastructure assistance. A Buddhist Vihara is being rapidly erected at the key junction.

When the housing scheme was introduced, Colombo deceived ITAK leader Mavai Senathirajah with false promises. Mr Senathiraja was instrumental in silencing the NPC through C.V.K. Sivagnanam, the Speaker of NPC.

The argument put forward by the Sinhala NHDA officials was that the Tamil families languishing at the locality would be awarded with 100 houses as donation if Tamil representatives agreed not to object the construction of 50 houses to Sinhala colonists. The ITAK politicians also silenced NPC Councillor M.K. Sivagilingam who had vowed to protest against the Sinhalicisation.

However, no housing scheme was given to Tamils.

Now, the Sinhala colonists are visiting the huts of Tamil families with a new promise. If the Tamil families converted to Buddhism and enlisted their children to study Sinhala, they would be given brand new houses, they tell. Some poverty stricken Tamils are being deceived by this new tactic.

A Tamil settlement named ‘Ketpali’ was created during the times of the LTTE, between 1990-1995 at Naavatkuzhi. Later, the people were displaced due to the war. After 2009, they have been struggling without proper housing, infrastructure and livelihood assistance. In the meantime, some Sinhala families brought from South with claims of earlier residence at various locations in Jaffna due to their past employment, were brought to Navatkuzhi by the SL military during the regime of Rajapaksa.

There are two camps of the SL military and one STF commando post to protect the Sinhala colonists.

At the same time, Sinhala Buddhist monks are also concentrating on converting the poverty-stricken Tamil families at Vaatharavaththai, a locality in Puththoor of Valikaamam East division in Jaffna, into Theravada Buddhists.

A monk from ‘Sri Nagavihara’ Establishment in Jaffna city regularly visits Vaatharavaththai to teach the Tamil children Sinhala language. It is a second attempt to Sinhalicise the Tamil people at Vaatharavaththai.

Already in 1978, the late SL President R. Premadasa, while he was prime minister in the government headed by J.R. Jayewardene, was trying to achieve the same objective at Vaatharavaththai.

Monks were deployed and a school named ‘Puththoor Madige Panchaseela Vidyalaya’ accompanied with a Buddhist temple were launched in 1978 aiming to convert the Tamils into Theravada Buddhists and to transform them into Sinhalese.

However the 1978 attempt of Sinhala Buddhicisation didn't succeed as the Sinhala monks had to withdraw from the peninsula due to rise of Tamil militancy.

Now, the Sinhala Buddhist Establishment is again trying to victimise the poverty-stricken, war-affected Tamils, especially those at the lowest echelon of the society, by supplying tools, clothes and other forms assistance with the attached condition that they should convert themselves and become Theravada Buddhists. The monks are also trying to put up a Buddhist temple at Puththoor, news sources in Valikaamam East said.


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