Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Protest to stop expansion of SLNS Gotabaya

By Manekshaw – 20.4.2017

The civilians in Mullaitivu have launched a protest against the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) expanding its presence in the Mullaitivu District by acquiring nearly 617 acres for the expansion of the Navy presence in the Mullaitivu District.

The civilian protest is led by the Wanni Electoral District, Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian, Dr. S. Sivamohan in the vicinity of the Navy base which was established in the Mullaitivu District close to the Nanthikadal lagoon in September 2013.

The SLN base has been named SLNS Gotabaya after former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa .
Since the LTTE creating its 'Sea Tiger' unit to expand its strength to intercept Naval vessels heading towards the Jaffna Peninsula and to thrive in its gun running activities by unloading the weapons which were brought by the vessels of the outfit via South East Asian countries, the Mullaitivu coastal belt remained strategically important until the outfit had seen its 'waterloo' in the areas adjoining Nanthikadal, Vattuvaikal and Mullivaikal in the Mullaitivu District.

The location of the SLNS Gotabaya Base and the 617 acres of coastal land surveyed to be acquired for the Navy had largely remained inaccessible to the civilians even when the Mullaitivu District was in the grip of the LTTE.

The natural canal located in the Vattuvaikal area which connected Nanthikadal lagoon with the Bay of Bengal remained a safe passage for the LTTE boats which had reached the Sea Tiger locations, entering the Nanthikadal lagoon.

For the passing naval ships Mullaitivu coastal belt remained a death trap when the war was in progress. Several sea battles had taken place off the coastal areas of Mullaitivu between the SLN vessels and the LTTE gunboats which came from their hideouts around Nanthikadal lagoon.

The SLN with the support of the Sri Lanka Air Force fighter planes had sunk several LTTE ships which were bringing lethal cargo into the Mullaitivu Sea via international waters to be collected by the outfit's small boats.

It was on the coastal belt of Mullaitivu the headquarters was established by the sea tigers to train the cadres in sea battles.

Sea Tigers creating their own dockyard in Mullaitivu had even built their own gun boats with the machinery and weapons brought from abroad.

So, as far as the sea-borne challenges are concerned the SLN Mullaitivu remains a strategically important coastal region after Trincomalee in the Eastern coastal belt.

Therefore, realizing the significance of the Mullaitivu coastal area with the end of the war in 2009, SLN had established a base in the Mullaitivu District naming it as 'SLNS Gotabaya'.

Elara Naval Base

Elara Naval Base which is named after the highly respected Tamil King of South India's Chola dynasty remains as the foremost naval base in Karainagar in the Jaffna Peninsula.

Originally naval detachments in small numbers were established in the Northern Province to deal with the smuggling activities and the illegal immigrants from South India entering the Island.

However, the protest which is now being held in Mullaitivu against the Sri Lanka Navy's latest move to acquire 617 acres of land adjoining the SLNS Gotabaya Base is expected to aggravate in the back drop of the Tamil National Alliance's latest talks with the Defence Ministry circles last week.

During the talks the Leader of the Opposition and TNA Leader, R. Sampanthan had with the Defence Secretary Eng. Karunasena Hettiarachchi and other senior officials of the Security Forces on the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena, the Leader of the Opposition had pointed out that because the LTTE threat was no more there, there was no need for Security Forces acquiring more lands in the North and the East.

Already, the people of Keppapilavu in the Mullaitivu District have launched a protest demanding the lands in the possession of the Security Forces to be released.

Responding to Sampanthan, Army Chief Lt. Gen. Chrishantha de Silva had said, the Security Forces had no intention of forcibly acquiring any land in the North and the East and had gone on to say that if the President agreed to release the lands the armed forces would abide by his decision.

So it was a few days after Leader of the Opposition holding talks with the Defence hierarchy, the attempts made towards acquiring 617 acres of land in Mullaitivu District to expand SLNS Gotabaya Base has highlighted the government's 'double standards', in dealing with the land issue, towards the very people who had voted for a good governance to live in peace in their original places.

According to the TNA Member of Parliament for Wanni, Dr. S. Sivamohan who is heading the protest against land acquisition that the land areas which have been surveyed to be taken over by the SLN adjoining the Nanthikadal lagoon will hamper the livelihood of the Mullaitivu fisherfolk.

Dr. Sivamohan added that the Nanthikadal lagoon was famous for its jumbo prawns and once the SLN base was expanded free access of the fishermen to the lagoon was likely to be affected.

As far as tourism is concerned Mullaitivu Sea with its high waves has been considered as a paradise for sea surfers in the Eastern coast after Arugam Bay in the Eastern Province.

As the Leader of the Opposition emphasizing on the release of lands from the Security Forces, citing there was no threat from the LTTE any more, acquiring more lands in the North and the East without even releasing the lands already in the possession of the Security Forces will certainly create an impression among the civilians in the North that they had voted for the new government to be continuously in a militarized atmosphere.