“This is the most shameless and ill thought out settlement of people in the history of this country,” says Anura Chandrasekara.
He is a farmer, originally from Anuradhapura. He now speaks to us in his one acre plot of land in a distant corner of the Vavuniya District.
“These are the ancient forests of the old Rajarata kingdom they cut down to settle us. There haven’t been human settlements here since the kingdom shifted to Polonnaruwa. Tell me, what culture are we preserving when they do things like this?” he asks.
The main Bogaswewa/Mahakachchikodiya road to the Sinhala settlement of Bogaswewa is smooth and carpeted. Leading off this main road are narrow muddy gravel roads which lead into the villages like the one Anura Chandrasekara calls home. The first of the Bogaswewa villages lies further East; it was one of the original settlements forced through by then Minister of Industries Cyril Mathew in the early 1980s that led to increased tensions between Sinhala and Tamil communities. This colony of Sinhalese settlers that Anura belongs to were brought here in 2012 to enforce the principle of a united country under the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. An affirmation that after Rajapaksas re-election in 2010, the recently ‘liberated’ North needed to be resettled by Sinhalese.
The lessons of the past have clearly been learnt.
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