Forced eviction remembered

13 November 2010 11:23 pm - 33     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Sri Lanka will today mark the twentieth anniversary of the forced eviction of Muslims from the North by the now wiped-out terror outfit- Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.


The official commemoration will be held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute under the patronage of President Mahinda Rajapaksa with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Minister Rishad Bathiudeen (former Minister of Resettlement), and FAO (UN) Resident Representative Patrick Evans, in attendance.

On October 25, 1990 Northern Muslims were ordered out of LTTE-controlled area, which led the entire Muslim population of Jaffna, and Mannar numbering roughly 100,000 persons to leave within 48 hours.

According to Researcher Sharika Thiranagama the orders for the Muslim eviction came from the highest rung of the Tigers.

“This was an LTTE-only military operation, and there is no evidence of civilian collusion; no ordinary Tamils participated in the eviction. Neither was any reason for the operation ever offered. Did the LTTE, faced with a numerically and politically stronger Muslim minority in the east, simply decide to evict a much smaller and more politically vulnerable Muslim minority in the north? Precise reasons are difficult to establish. What is certain is that this was a decision to remove an entire community, and without any attempt to legitimise the action through popular campaigns,”

On October 1990, throughout the five districts of Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna, the Tiger terrorists announced that all Muslims living within the Northern Province must leave within 48 hours. On Mannar Island, the LTTE announced that all Muslims must report to the LTTE office by October 24, and leave by the October 28. Despite protests by moderate Tamils and the Catholic clerics, the rebels sealed off Erukkalampiddy town in Mannar on October 28, and forbade all further dealings between Tamils and Muslims.

On October 25, in the Mannar mainland, the rebels announced that the Muslims must surrender their possessions, register with the LTTE office, and leave on 25. They were allowed to bring five traveling bags per family, one gold sovereign and maximum of 2000 rupees. At the final checkpoint leading south, in Vavuniya, all additional items were confiscated.

Muslims from Puthukudiruppu, Tharmapuram, (Mulaithivu) Uppukulam and Erukkalampiddy were subsequently assembled on the beach without food, water or sanitation facilities, and forced to begin their outward journey.

In Jaffna town, where the majority of the Northern evicted community is derived from, Muslims were summoned to the grounds of Osmania College on October 30for a meeting where they only ordered to leave by noon.

The Jaffna Muslims made their exit through a route carefully laid out by the Tigers, which took them through LTTE checkpoint after checkpoint. At each they were searched and more and more of their possessions removed. Jewellery was taken from the women. The thefts form some of the bitterest recollections of the Jaffna Muslims. In the end, the evictees had only the clothes we were wearing.

By November 1990 the Muslims were gone from the north; the LTTE had succeeded in converting the area into the Tamil-only territory for which it was fighting. This ethnic cleansing has since come to be known as the Eviction, and the community of Muslims created by this act, formally known as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refer to themselves as ‘northern Muslims’ and ‘ahathi’ (refugees). The Eviction created a whole new demographic, created in the aftermath of an unthinkably traumatic event that broke one set of communities in the north and created another-that of the refugees. Through peace processes and ceasefires, the right of Sri Lanka’s northern Muslims to return-together with an LTTE guarantee that they will not be evicted again–has never been given adequate priority.

Meanwhile Jaffna District Secretary (Government Agent -GA), Imelda Sukumar said in an event held on November 6 at Jaffna Osmania College that Jaffna Muslims evicted 20 year ago will be soon resettled in their own places.

The event was organized by nearly ten Muslim organizations in Jaffna in memory of the evacuation in 1990. Sukumar added that government of Sri Lanka was correct in asserting that there is no place in Sri Lanka for any race to claim exclusive rights to it.

She further added that several Arabian countries had directly approached offering funding for the resettlement of Muslims in Jaffna.  (

  Comments - 33

  • shace-UK Sunday, 14 November 2010 12:28 PM

    No bcoz muslims dont give any money like the LTTE gives to all NGO's

    mohan Monday, 15 November 2010 05:11 AM

    govt was trying to take political mileage then and now

    Hussain Monday, 15 November 2010 05:19 AM

    It will take another 12 years to resettle ?

    Karthik Monday, 15 November 2010 05:57 AM

    LTTE chased them to get the support of BJP government since BJP is a anti Muslim party

    ampare son Sunday, 14 November 2010 02:36 PM

    I feel sorry for them. still they suffering.

    No Name Sunday, 14 November 2010 12:59 AM

    Muslims are our brothers like. I fully oppose the eviction that took place. I am a Jaffna resident

    Asanka de Silva Sunday, 14 November 2010 01:44 AM

    Will Western countries and NGOs bothers to protest on this on this?

    ajanth Sunday, 14 November 2010 02:47 AM

    as every body known by using ltte name muslims only getting advantage.they have received lands in puttala, they are going resettled in jaffna.

    Kadira Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:00 AM

    We need to have this remembrance for all forced evictions.

    meranchi Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:27 AM

    If Mahinda rajapaksa did not come to power in srilanka not Muslim Sinhalese burger marley have to find the some other country as refugee, some politician also involve now they are very clean sin wash away.....

    Sanhida Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:28 AM

    You, Tamils will never lean a lesson. Even here what you try to sow is hatred and jealousy. Please remember "what you sow is is what you get !"

    Sanhida Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:48 AM

    Tell this to Dee Muu Jayaratne - our PM - He remembers all religions all all the time and visits Kovils, Mosques and Churches too often... Think before you speak ! Al least give some opportunity to others to make their voices heard !

    joke Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:51 AM

    great...lets also have a remembrance fo all thos tamils evicted from anuradapura and other parts
    and remembrance for victims of 83 riots

    nihal Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:55 AM

    You people living in abroad thank to the crisis situation created by LTTE could not imagine the extend of suffering under going by these refugees. At least you do not know the place where they are living, writing as "PUTTALA". You are tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka by doing all sort of illegal activities in foreign countries

    tissa Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:55 AM

    We thank Mahinda, Gota, SarathF and SLA, SLAF, SLN, and each and everybody who contributed by whatever means to eradicate terrorism in Sri Lanka and now it is the responsibility of all of us to build our nation with mutual respect, tolerance, and harmony

    Fair N Square Sunday, 14 November 2010 04:35 AM

    why is it called forced eviction and NOT Ethnic Cleansing? it was just one ethnicity who were ORDERED to leave with just a 100 rupees and NO cash or jewelry.Did the so called west, including the Media and the likes of ICRC, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch come to the rescue of those people. Even after 20 yrs they still live in Refugee camps.Now they are internally Displaced People ( IDP's). Let them be resettled and their belongings as in Land n property returned back . Let the mahavira's families pay a nominal rent for using their houses. The Mahavirar's families knew that it was NOT their property even tho they were given free by a terrorist group.

    hemj Sunday, 14 November 2010 04:41 AM

    What about Increase in Tamil population in Colombo (>35%), Kandy etc.. That's scilent settlements/migrations... did Sinhalese oppose? You guys try to live in abroad with natives there like brothers?
    Why not welcome "resettling" of muslims or sinhalese (those who lived there 25 years ago) with good heart???

    hemj Sunday, 14 November 2010 04:42 AM

    Well said!

    ajanth Sunday, 14 November 2010 06:29 PM

    as everybody known jaffna recaptured by government 1994. then most of the tamils were resettled once peninsula captured. why it took long period to resettled muslims accordingly?

    sham Sunday, 14 November 2010 05:18 AM

    Are you mad or what?

    Ruhunu Puthra Sunday, 14 November 2010 06:14 AM

    These people have suffered enough. Settle them back in their original villages. These celebrations do nothing to these people other than enabling some to take political milage.

    Hassan Sunday, 14 November 2010 06:25 AM

    The Muslims must be re-settled giving priority to them. The government should make more reprentation in parliament for Muslims because Muslims are the fasted growing religion in the world. One day Sri Lanka will be a Muslim country.

    NADARAJAH SETHURUPAN Sunday, 14 November 2010 06:28 AM

    Tamils also wiped-out by terror but 16 years before government re-captured Jaffna.

    KD Sunday, 14 November 2010 06:33 AM

    But ruthless LTTE still chased the muslims away.

    KD Sunday, 14 November 2010 06:36 AM

    It's quite clear though you uses a muslim name, you are not a muslim. You are just another hate monger.

    Mahmood Ashraf Sunday, 14 November 2010 07:14 AM

    well said

    mohan Sunday, 14 November 2010 07:22 AM

    i agree lets also resettle the tamils in anuradapura among others and compensate them for all the property damage so they live in harmony with their sinhalese and muslim brothers and sisters
    it is all fair and square

    Dinesh Monday, 15 November 2010 12:51 AM

    "What you sow is what you get" appy to you as wel

    Sammy Sunday, 14 November 2010 07:27 AM

    Whilst this commemoration is appreciated, would the government also commemorate the July, 1983 pogrom on the Tamils, by some Sinhala thugs with covert support of elements in the then government, on this scale.

    Saradial Sunday, 14 November 2010 07:39 AM

    well said

    Saradial Sunday, 14 November 2010 07:42 AM


    xlntgson Sunday, 14 November 2010 09:36 AM

    Impossible. This is Islamophobia, how can they live in two places at the same time, what is the vested law of registration powers to public administration officials?
    Even if they have two houses- bought on their own money- they can't have two identity cards, voter's registrations etc.

    Mushi Sunday, 14 November 2010 10:10 AM

    Whoever the sri lankan who was displaced for whatever reason unfairly should be resettled in their original native places irrespective race,cast or religion as they all are sri lankans

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