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The Australian reports “Tamils fear bout of ethnic cleansing”

June 1, 2009

The Australian : Tamils fear bout of ethnic cleansing
In the wake of President Mahinda Rajapakse’s declaration of victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam last month, Sinhalese Sri Lankans danced and waved the national flag, which bears the Sinhalese lion.

Most Tamils stayed behind closed doors. In the town of Trincomalee – part of the eastern province liberated from the Tigers in 2007 – reports emerged of bashings and of Tamil families and businesses being obliged to donate money for a celebration feast.

…”The LTTE killed off a lot of moderate Tamil voices,” the diplomat said. “A lot of Tamils hated the LTTE but it was the strongest voice for Tamil rights, and now that it’s gone there’s a fear that they are powerless against what many might see as a different form of terror.”

…Rights campaigners and aid workers have reported large numbers of people, including at least 80 former LTTE child soldiers, have gone missing from internment camps in the northeast, which now house more than 280,000 displaced people. “The problem in this country is terror and impunity,” an exhausted aid worker said. “There are never investigations.”

…Observers fear the Government will see the mass displacement of Tamils as an opportunity to change the demographics of the north by offering incentives to Sinhalese people.

…Statistics from the government Census Department show the Sinhalese population in the east rose from 5 per cent in 1921 to 25per cent in 1981, after decades of state-sponsored irrigation and land policies that offered state land to tens of thousands of Sinhala peasants from the south and the central hills.
Read more here.

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