07 August 2017
Tamil Tiger Legacy
‘During our times they were fearful and hence followed some of the protocols. Now they are free to express themselves’ Member of Vaddukoddai community.
The above was the observation by Vaddukoddai senior about the youth of junior castes one of whom said to me on Saturday, 05 August, that he would smash my face flat.(Appendix).
As per Ceylon Today report:
[Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) C.V.K. Sivagnanam has said that generalization and coming to the conclusion that a revival of the LTTE is taking place in the country especially in the North is false.
He stressed that connecting the entire lot of rehabilitated LTTE militants with recent criminal activities in Jaffna is malicious and unreasonable and urged all concerned to refrain from doing so. ]
When the LTTE chose the armed pathway to express on behalf of the Tamil Community and did so without our approval, what choice did we – those who had invested in the lawful pathways to realising our Sovereignty, have, of protesting against such representation which was taken advantage of by the Government and its supporters? If one part is damaged it affects the whole and rightly so.
The guy who spoke to me the way he did – is the type recruited actively by the LTTE. Many of the villagers here did not think it was unusual. They are used to hearing such language from their own sons and younger brothers. Many said to me when they saw my distress, that the guy did not know to talk. My response to them was – ‘That is fine; But don’t go asking for funds if you want to remain ‘free’ and ‘special’ as per YOUR standards’.
Had the guy attacked me physically to protect himself from any attacks by me – that would have been less painful to me than this. This guy was DISRESPECTFUL to a lady who has at all times conducted herself as a lady while staying here. But all that seemed lost on this guy and others – including the mothers and sisters in this community. As per their ‘vision’ respect is a commodity that they ought to be able to trade-off for money.
Since that experience, through which I stood alone, except for the support of my husband who kept calling me from Sydney to find out whether I was ok and to listen to what I had to say, I have been standing alone and that is how the Northern Provincial Government which regularly receives my communications failed the test and certificate of Good Governance from me – a Sovereign citizen. Had they sought to be good governors – they would have found the opportunity to discipline those who were breaching Jaffna’s traditional protocols.
On Sunday when the young son (about 12 years of age) of toddy tapper caste who now studies at Jaffna College – took his turn to assist the priest, inside the altar of our temple – I became tearful due to my mind still hurting from the above experience. Allowing the lower caste into the temple altar to assist the priest of higher caste was no mean achievement. I was emotional due to the show of ‘loss’ of respect by that other guy on Saturday. When one is disrespectful and no one takes a public stand against it – it feels as if the whole is disrespectful. So what was my return for eliminating the barriers of caste to establish merit based system of allocating status? – DISRESPECT.
To that community LTTE leaders were respectable. If Velupillai Prabhakaran were to come here – these guys would stand up and salute. That is now our current culture. As I said over the weekend – if they were to mention ‘Thunaivi’ to Chief Minister Wigneswaran – he was likely to ask ‘Thunaivi? Where is it?’ But he was the chosen one to open the cultural hall built by a member of their Community Diaspora in Switzerland in honour of his late father. Our coordinator whose son was chosen by me to take his place inside the altar to assist the Priest – personally assisted Mr. Wigneswaran during the ceremony. I became a nobody despite living here through all these security risks and innumerable physical inconveniences that I go through when staying here. But, the systematic approach through which I established that I would not be told that my property was common property – ‘free for all’ uses by this village of toddy tappers is the real value to the Tamil community and to Sri Lanka as a whole. I may get killed in the process – directly or indirectly by the villagers, due to these guys being clueless as to how I would receive their communications and how their actions and communications would be received by me through my natural mind structure which is very different to theirs – more different than that of their parallel within the Sinhalese community. Once my self-respect goes down, my self-confidence goes down and my natural immunity against such threats goes down. THAT is the problem when we are ‘free’ without being conscious of higher status and the protocols that go with it. We infect each other.
In post-war Northern Sri Lanka – if LTTE are celebrated as heroes – then the likes of me who invested in the non-violent pathway of Peaceful Assembly to express my earned rights – become foreigners – as I have here in Thunaivi which is possessed by Toddy Tapper caste who condemned the Farmer caste on the basis of unjust discrimination but are themselves now treating me as an outcast.
As I kept saying to the folks here in the process of getting ready to complete this project – the guy Vasee was only the last piece through whom the common sentiments of the whole village were expressed. If I am an ‘insider’ then I am treated like any other parent – especially mothers in this community and as per that community – the mother is ‘told’ by sons who are physically strong. If I am outsider – then when I am not here – my property becomes the property of those who use it through their physical powers to occupy and possess.
LTTE and other militant groups promoted the junior caste youth to senior positions due to their cleverness in using arms and ‘winning’ to show. Post war society has to now live with that with little recourse to higher caste status through which authority would flow from senior to junior. Ex LTTE and their supporters are not the only ones suffering due to common debits. Eliminating the caste system without a merit based system of allocation of status disconnects us from our roots where seniors were respected by juniors. When we respect – we naturally inherit the structures of seniors.
This is the reality at this place for this generation. There is a structure through which they could learn how to integrate with wider society or continue as if I was never here. My project has become ‘Research’ project for all concerned and the real return for me is the ‘position’ of outsider allocated by this community which has no vision towards a better structure than they already have today. As I explained to our coordinator, the law abiding citizen and the law breaking citizen cannot be ‘free’ at the one place at the same time. One has to go for the other to survive. This applies to others involved in post-war development as a special project. The Truth we discover through such experiences – however painful they may be, becomes our Guru from then on.
6 August 2017
OIC Vaddukoddai Police
Break and Enter / Trespass and Apprehended Violence Complaint
I am Mrs Gajalakshmi Paramasivam and when I come to Thunaivi, Vaddukoddai, I live at our cottage in our private temple grounds. Some youth have been giving us problems by coming into the temple to use their phones, chat and shout and show rowdy behaviour. Due to some damage when I came in May this year, I instructed that the gates be kept locked except for when someone wanted to pray. Part of the damage was to the fence constructed at a cost of around Rs.200,000 and the loss of solar light worth Rs.40,000
Yesterday, around 5.45 a.m. – Mr. Rathinam who is in charge of locking the gates and turns on and off, the lights at our temple in Thunaivi drew my attention to the damage to our wire fence. While I was inspecting, Mr. Rathinam’s grand daughter Mrs. Atchutha Senthil who lives next door to me – also came out and she pointed to the fence further away from us and said that she saw a ‘gap’ there also. I looked but could not see the gap. When Mr. Rathinam and I went close to that part of the fence, we noticed the damage there also. Then I came back close to where Mrs. Atchutha Sentil was on the other side of our fence and asked her whether she was able to see that far. Mrs. Atchutha Senthil then said that she could.
A little later, Mr. Jegan, our Electrician cum plumber came and I was talking to him about more lighting for the area. The Mr. Vasee Vadivel came from the direction of Mr. Senthil’s home and he was carrying an electric drill in his hand. He has been warned many times even before we locked the gates – for him not to come to the temple except for praying and/or meditating. After the gates were locked they did not use the temple grounds as walkway. But yesterday, when I asked Mr. Vasee what he was doing inside my compound, he said that he was using the Common Pathway. He entered through one gap on the side of Mr. Senthil’s home and walked towards the other gap close to his (Mr. Vasee’s Home). I reminded him that it was private property and that he was acting unlawfully even after I had specifically asked them not to use our property. Then Mr. Vasee turned around and went back towards the gap in the fence through which he had entered.
I then said that his entry would have been recorded in the camera and that that also would be submitted to the Police along with my complaint and that might lead to thoughts of whether he had played a role in damaging our fence. Then Mr. Vasee shouted at me and asked ‘Are you saying that I cut the fence?’ I said I was saying that there was evidence that he had entered our premises unlawfully. Then Mr. Vasee said in a loud voice ‘I will smash your face flat’. I turned around and continued with my conversation with the Electrician – Mr. Jegan. I heard Mr. Vasee talk in a loud voice to the people who quickly gathered outside fence.
I have now taken footage of the above incident from our Security Camera. The night ones when the fence was damaged do not have enough lighting. Both are available and could be submitted to the Police if needed.
I am very concerned for my safety and if something happens to me I want the Police to take the above into consideration. We donated land to the People for post-war rehabilitation and this is what we get in return. I have complained previously also to the Police but they seem to not be concerned about it. I have not been able to sleep and I keep a knife and a hammer to attack any intruder. The Government has failed to value my services here and since I don’t seem to be able to make a difference to the lives of these folks, I am seriously considering to reduce my service here to a minimum. I seek to publish this – so that others will be warned of the risks here. As I have said many times last week to these folks – one day they are likely to have a case similar to the rape and murder of Miss Vithya Sivaloganathan.
The Women’s Association which was given the keys to the Development Secretariat – do not seem to do anything about these threats in the area. All they seem to do is to look for how to get funds and loans. That was not the purpose for which we donated part of the temple land. The conduct especially of youth in this high risk area – needs to confirm that the funds donated have been used on needs basis - the fundamental need being to prevent future militancy.
The other complaint I have is the menace of pigeons that are groomed by Mr Senthil and Mrs. Atchutha Senthil along our boundary wall. The pigeons come and dirty our front veranda and I am tired of cleaning the place again and again. As you are aware – prevention of Dengue is Government’s priority in Health Service – and this pigeon problem enhances the risk of all types of health problems. I believe that one person’s pet should not be another’s nuisance.
CC: GA – Jaffna
The Hon C.V.Wigneswaran,
Chief Minister, Northern Province
The Hon Ananthi Sasitharan
Minister of Women Affairs, Rehabilitation, Social Service