Sri Lanka is pushing more Sinhalas into the north and eastern provinces of the country with the aim of displacing the Sri Lankan Tamil population from these regions, a Sri Lankan Tamil parliamentarian said here on Wednesday. Addressing media and civil society figures at the Press Club of India, C.S.V. Wigneswaran, Member of Parliament of Sri Lanka said that the Sri Lankan system prioritises ethnic and religious links and is an “ethnocracy”.
“The Sri Lankan Tamils are a buffer between India and pro-China Sinhalas from southern Sri Lanka. But over the years, the Sinhala population has been encouraged to move into the northern and eastern territories that belong to the Tamil population which has historically been close to India because of cultural affinity,” said Mr. Wigneswaran. He is leading a team of civil society individuals from Sri Lanka who are here to highlight alleged incidents of discrimination faced by Sri Lankan Tamils.
Mr. Wigneswaran said that the Sri Lankan government has several projects including the Mahaweli development projects that have been utilised to slowly edge out the Tamil population in the north and the east. “Sri Lanka is an ethnocracy like Israel,” said Mr. Wigneswaran. He alleged that Colombo has a long term plan to increase the Sinhala population in Tamil dominated areas and that the Tamils have been losing property to Sinhala groups. Mr. Wigneswaran is the former Chief Minister of the now-defunct Northern Provincial Council
Members of the delegation further accused the Sri Lankan government of gradual “Buddhisation” of the Tamil areas of Sri Lanka. In a press note released after the interaction, they stated that the Sri Lankan state machinery has destroyed at least 1800 temples.
“Tamils are desperately looking towards India to provide, protection, security, and justice; promote economic development and connectivity projects in the Tamil Homeland; secure the right of self-determination and protection for the Shiva Bhoomi; ensure full implementation of the Indo-Lanka accord,” the press note stated after the event.