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Sinhalisation of captured Tamil areas by the Defence Ministry website



by a Special Correspondent from Oslo, Norway

(October 02, Oslo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Constitutionally President of Sri Lanka is the Commander in Chief of the Defence Forces in Sri Lanka. The President’s brother Gotabaya Rajapakse who was a former military officer is the Defence Secretary who is exercising the delegated responsibilities of the President.

Whilst the President stood in the United Nations in New York and made some effort to speak in Tamil to appease the international community, his Ministry of Defence website was engineering a campaign to change the names of Tamil areas captured by the government forces from the LTTE into Sinhalese names.

The Defence Ministry files its own news and reproduce news copied from other media in its website.

The news generated by the Defence Ministry does not give any regard to the sensitivities of the Tamils. These special news of the government, explicitly reflect the underline feelings of the extremists in the government who wants to see liquidation of the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka. Changing the names of Tamil villages is a practice the successive governments have systematically promoted since independence of Sri Lanka from the British.

Many Tamil names have been changed in a calculated manner to Sinhala names by the methodical campaign of the government in the Tamil inhibiting eastern Sri Lanka.

In the news filed in the Defence Ministry website on 1 October 2008 under the caption ‘Jets raid LTTE gathering point-Kilinochi’, the Tamil name Piramanthalkulam has been changed to Sinhala name as Piramanthalkulama. By simply adding the letter ‘a’ at the end of the Tamil name a new name in Sinhala is created at a stroke.

Another news titled ‘LTTE’s clandestine airstrip located by troops – Mullaittivu’, the government website has deliberately added the letter ‘a’ at the end of the Tamil names to make them Sinhala. The Tamil name Vannivilankulam has been deliberately spelt as Vannivilankulama and Mankulam as Mankulama and Pankikkankulam as Pankikkankulama.

Once these distortions take its official legitimacy through government sources, the extremist Sinhala nationalist parties like Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) would further a process to establish stories to claim authenticity to the new Sinhala name. They will prop up creative stories to legitimize the changed name into Sinhala.

So long as these underlying causes of Sinhala hegemony and racism are not stamped out by the government, any volume of speech of the President or any Sinhala leaders to the international community in Tamil will not have any meaning and will not heal the deep wounds of this long suffering community in Sri Lanka.
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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