Tamil-Muslim Tensions and Coexistence in Mannar: Land Disputes in Sannar and Uppukulam | Unrest | Government

TAMIL-MUSLIM TENSIONS AND COEXISTENCE IN MANNAR

LAND DISPUTES IN SANNAR AND UPPUKULAM

MIRAK RAHEEM AND PRIYA THANGARAJAH
CENTRE FOR POLICY ALTERNATIVES

! ! ! Tamil'Muslim!Tensions!and! Coexistence!in!Mannar:!! !
Land!Disputes!in!Sannar!and!Uppukulam!

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Mirak!Raheem!and!Priya!Thangarajah! March!2013!

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! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! The!Centre!for!Policy!Alternatives!(CPA)!was!formed!in!the!firm!belief!that!there!is!an! urgent! need! to! strengthen! institution'! and! capacity'building! for! good! governance! and! conflict!transformation!in!Sri!Lanka!and!that!non'partisan!civil!society!groups!have!an! important! and! constructive! contribution! to! make! to! this! process.! The! primary! role! envisaged!for!the!Centre!in!the!field!of!public!policy!is!a!pro'active!and!interventionary! one,! aimed! at! the! dissemination! and! advocacy! of! policy! alternatives! for! non'violent! conflict! resolution! and! democratic! governance.! Accordingly,! the! work! of! the! Centre! involves!a!major!research!component!through!which!the!policy!alternatives!advocated! are!identified!and!developed.! ! Address! ! :! 24/2!28th!Lane,!off!Flower!Road,!Colombo!7,!Sri!Lanka! Telephone! :!! +94!(11)!2565304/5/6! Fax! ! :! +94!(11)!4714460! ! Web!! ! :! www.cpalanka.org,!facebook.com/cpasl,!twitter.com/cpasl! Email! ! :! info@cpalanka.org!

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Table&of&contents&
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Executive&Summary& Overview& Background! Post'War!Context! Key!Actors! Sannar& Background! Post!war!situation! Interventions!in!an!intensified!dispute! Current!situation! Ways!forward! Uppukulam& Background! Interventions!in!an!intensified!dispute! Current!Situation! Way!forward! Overall&Recommendations&

4! 7! 7! 9! 12! 15! 15! 16! 18! 19! 20! 22! 22! 24! 27! 28! 29!

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Executive&Summary&
! Although!there!has!been!a!range!of!positive!developments!facilitating!the!transition!from! war!to!peace,!there!continue!to!be!a!number!of!critical!issues!where!there!has!been!limited! or!even!no!progress!in!the!post'war!context.!In!the!war'affected!areas!one!of!the!key!issues! is!that!of!land.!There!are!a!variety!of!problems!relating!to!land!that!prevents!and!limits!the! ability!of!civilians!to!exercise!their!full!rights!over!their!land!and!to!build!back!their!lives.! One!such!problem!is!that!of!competing!claims!over!land!where!two!or!more!parties!claim! ownership! over! the! same! plot! of! land.! Some! of! these! disputes! are! between! two! sets! of! civilians! or! between! civilians! and! an! actor! from! the! State.! Disputes! between! members! of! different!ethnic!or!religious!communities!can!prove!to!be!more!contentious!and!intractable.! The! disputes! may! not! just! impact! individuals! or! families! but! entire! communities,! hence! these! disputes! have! far'reaching! implications,! including! for! relations! between! communities,!even!at!the!district!level.!Thus,!addressing!land!issues!is!crucial!towards!re' building!trust!and!confidence!between!ethnic!communities!in!the!post'war!context.!!!!!! In! the! post'war! context! there! have! been! a! number! of! inter'community! disputes! in! the! Northern!and!Eastern!Provinces.!In!Mannar!district,!two!of!the!more!high!profile!disputes! have! been! in! Sannar! (Manthai! West! DS)! and! Uppukulam! (Mannar! DS),! pitting! the! Tamil! community! against! the! Muslim! community.! Each! case! study! demonstrates! the! dangers! of! not! resolving! such! disputes,! especially! with! regards! to! ethnic! relations.! In! Sannar! the! dispute! is! centered! on! the! competing! claims! between! Muslims! and! Tamils! over! the! same! plots!of!land!in!the!village.!Even!while!there!is!no!disagreement!that!the!State!provided!land! to!both!communities!in!the!village!prior!to!the!war,!the!dispute!centres!over!the!individual! plots.!Although!there!is!some!alternate!land!available!the!dispute!is!focused!on!areas!seen! to! be! prime! land! in! the! village.! The! occupation! of! land! by! the! military! has! only! farther! complicated! the! land! issue! but! publicly! at! least! neither! community! is! demanding! the! withdrawal! of! the! military.! In! Uppukulam,! the! dispute! is! over! padus! or! landing! area! for! fishing! boats! where! the! Muslims! are! claiming! original! and! continuing! ownership! and! the! Tamils!from!Joseph!Vaz!Nagar!who!are!originally!from!Vidathaltheevu!and!have!been!using! this!padu!over!the!last!decade,!insist!that!they!now!have!rights!over!it!even!though!they!did! pay!rent!to!the!Muslims!during!certain!periods.!Given!that!the!disputes!are!not!just!about! individual!families’!claims!but!also!about!community!rights!they!have!become!increasingly! ethnicised.! The! Uppukulam! dispute! became! violent! in! mid'2013! resulting! in! damages! to!
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fishing!equipment,!court!cases,!the!arrest!of!fishermen!and!charges!of!political!interference! in!the!judiciary.!!! While! Mannar! has! a! rich! history! of! coexistence! and! there! continue! to! be! strong! linkages! between! the! communities,! the! war! had! a! powerful! impact! on! relations! between! these! communities.!With!the!war!suspicions!and!tensions!intensified!between!them,!but!with!the! expulsion! of! the! Northern! Muslim! community! in! October! 1990! by! the! LTTE! there! was! a! rupture! in! relations.! The! long'term! displacement! of! the! Muslim! community,! the! dynamic! situation!on!the!ground,!including!with!regards!to!displacement!and!settlement!of!Tamils! within!Mannar,!and!challenges!to!civilian!administration!created!and!exacerbated!disputes.! In!the!post'war!context!Tamils!in!the!district!attempted!to!build!back!their!lives!after!the! devastation!of!the!war,!Muslims!also!attempted!to!return!and!reclaim!their!rights.!While!in! some!instances!individuals!and!families!were!able!to!mediate!or!arrive!at!solutions!to!their! competing!claims!in!others,!this!can!prove!more!difficult!in!cases!where!the!resources!are! limited! and! communities! or! individuals! are! unwilling! to! compromise.! The! underlying! suspicions!each!community!has!of!the!other!have!only!intensified!these!tensions.!!!! Addressing! these! disputes! has! proved! increasingly! challenging! as! the! involvement! of! political! and! civil! society! actors! has! in! fact! complicated! and! politicised! some! of! these! disputes.!Actors!from!the!Central!Government!proved!unable!to!provide!a!solution!during! the! early! post'war! period,! although! there! were! efforts! by! the! District! Secretariat! to! organise! meetings! to! arrive! at! a! compromise.! In! Mannar! two! of! the! more! powerful! local! actors! are! Minister! Rishard! Badurdeen! and! Bishop! of! Mannar,! Ryappu! Joseph! who! are! perceived! to! be! involved! in! disputes! backing! members! of! their! own! community.! This! has! meant!that!arriving!at!a!solution!is!more!difficult!and!that!a!settlement!has!as!much!to!do! with! the! affected! communities! as! these! prominent! individuals.! The! post'war! period! has! seen!both!actors!attempt!to!assert!their!influence,!which!has!also!resulted!in!a!weakening! of!potentially!autonomous!bodies!such!as!the!Citizens’!Committee!playing!a!proactive!role! in! mediating! such! disputes.! The! Central! Government’s! ineffectiveness! in! creating! an! environment! and! framework! for! resolving! such! disputes,! including! in! developing! a! legal! and! administrative! process! for! addressing! land! problems,! has! also! contributed! to! this! problem.!The!military!is!a!key!actor!in!the!post'war!context!in!areas!of!the!North,!including! in!Sannar!raising!concerns!as!to!what!their!exact!role!and!will!be!in!the!post'war!context,! especially!given!the!constraints!on!local!civil!society!groups!and!actors.!!! Even!though!the!two!disputes!are!currently!position!in!different!places,!both!highlight!the! need! to! focus! on! the! underlying! relationship! between! the! communities.! In! Sannar! the!
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disputes! have! been! ‘resolved’! through! the! Muslims! opting! for! alternate! land! and! a! road! being!constructed!to!facilitate!their!access.!Nonetheless,!relations!remain!tense!and!some!of! the! Tamil! families! feel! that! the! deal! is! not! in! their! favour.! As! this! case! shows,! even! while! practicable!measures!can!be!arrived!at,!the!underlying!relationship!needs!to!be!tackled,!or! there!is!a!danger!that!the!tensions!will!persist!and!flare!up!again.!Furthermore,!issues!such! as!development!and!the!provision!of!resources!need!to!be!dealt!with!conflict!sensitivity!or! else!it!is!possible!that!the!dispute!may!re'emerge.!In!Sannar,!the!sitting!of!public!buildings! will! need! to! be! dealt! with! carefully! to! avoid! either! community! feeling! marginalised.! In! Uppukulam,!even!while!the!Tamil!fishermen!have!agreed!to!an!alternate!location,!there!is! difficulty! in! finding! an! agreeable! alternate! site! and! one! of! the! proposed! sites! is! being! contested!in!court,!making!clear!that!in!the!effort!to!provide!a!solution,!additional!problems! and!disputes!may!be!created.!! The! need! to! focus! on! the! issue! of! Muslim'Tamil! tensions! and! coexistence! is! not! acknowledged!by!all!actors.!Some!within!the!Tamil!community!assume!that!this!issue!will! sort! itself! over! time! while! others! recognise! its! importance! but! see! other! more! pressing! issues! that! need! to! be! prioritised,! thereby! relegating! this! issue.! Within! the! Muslim! community!there!is!greater!acknowledgement!that!there!have!to!be!steps!taken!to!address! this!issue!but!there!is!also!a!lack!of!interest!among!some!who!see!more!value!in!focusing!on! securing!recognition!from!the!Government!and!other!actors.!Both!communities!want!some! form!of!acknowledgement!from!the!other!community!of!the!suffering!they!endured!during! the! war! and! their! current! grievances,! which! they! see! as! essential! to! building! back! both! their! lives! and! relations! between! communities! and! to! avoid! intensifying! suspicions,! tensions!and!problems!on!the!ground.! & &

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Overview&
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Background&
The!last!three!and!a!half!years!have!seen!a!host!of!developments!that!have!had!a!significant! impact!on!the!transition!from!war!to!peace!in!the!war'affected!areas.!However,!there!are!a! series!of!issues!that!have!been!only!partially!addressed!or!remain!unresolved.!One!of!the! most!complex!issues,!that!is!both!central!to!ensuring!the!rehabilitation!and!development!of! families! in! the! area,! and! to! addressing! the! ethnic! conflict! is! that! of! land.! This! is! a! highly! politicised! and! ethnicised! issue! that! contributed! to! the! development! of! the! conflict! in! the! post'independence!period.!During!the!war,!land!issues!became!more!complex!as!a!result!of! the!targeting!of!civilian!populations,!forcible!evictions!of!communities,!multiple!and!long' term! displacement,! destruction! of! and! damages! to! buildings,! loss! and! damage! to! documentation! and! land! records,! challenges! to! the! functioning! of! the! civilian! administration,!the!involvement!of!armed!actors!and!others!in!seizure!and!distribution!of! land,!secondary!occupation!by!civilians,!among!others.!! The!post'war!context!has!provided!an!overall!context!for!addressing!these!land!issues,!but! there! has! been! limited! progress.! The! Government! has! the! primary! role! in! providing! a! framework!and!a!process!for!resolving!these!issues.!In!2011!the!Government!did!present!a! Circular,! ‘Regulating! the! activities! regarding! management! of! lands! in! the! Northern! and! Eastern! Provinces! to! establish! a! process! for! resolving! problems! such! lost! documentation! and!land!claims’,!however!this!was!withdrawn!following!a!legal!challenge.1!In!January!2013! the! Government! has! put! forward! a! new! circular,! ‘The! Accelerated! Programme! on! Solving! Post! Conflict! State! Lands! Issues! in! the! Northern! and! Eastern! Provinces'! Land! Circular! 2013/01’,2!focusing! on! problems! relating! to! state! land.! However,! given! the! variety! and! scale!of!land!issues,!it!is!evident!that!there!need!to!be!parallel!processes!which!will!respond! to!other!land'related!problems,!including!relating!to!private!land!and!military!occupation,!
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1!Bhavani!Fonseka!&!Mirak!Raheem,!‘A!Short!Guide!to!“Regulating!the!activities!regarding!management!of!!

lands!in!the!Northern!and!Eastern!Provinces”!Circular!:!Issues!&!Implications’,!Centre!for!Policy!Alternatives! (CPA),!September!2011!http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/65756001?access_key=key' 2n9juixwucpeaun7qe09;!Bhavani!Fonseka!&!Mirak!Raheem,“Land!in!the!Northern!Province!Post'War!Politics,! Policy!and!Practices,”!CPA,!December!2011.! 2!Centre!for!Policy!Alternatives,!Brief!Commentary!‘Accelerated!Programme!on!Solving!Post!Conflict!State! Land!Issues!in!the!Northern!and!Eastern!Provinces,!Land!Circular!2013/01,!March!2013! http://www.cpalanka.org/commentary'on'accelerated'programme'on'solving'post'conflict'state'lands' issues'in'the'northern'and'eastern'provinces/!accessed!on!13/3/2013!

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but! also! attempt! to! address! the! underlying! relationships! between! competing! claimants,! particularly!when!the!parties!are!from!different!communities.! Unresolved! and! contentious! land! issues! have! the! potential! to! seriously! undermine! the! efforts!to!strengthen!the!post'war!peace,!including!in!terms!of!inter'!and!intra'community! coexistence!and!could!also!serve!as!a!trigger!for!‘new!conflicts’!and!localised!tensions!and! violence.!Land!is!one!of!the!key!issues!that!are!a!source!of!contention!between!Tamil!and! Muslim! communities! in! the! North! and! East.! For! instance! in! the! Northern! Province,! even! while! both! communities! have! experienced! displacement,! sometimes! multiple! times,! the! long'term!displacement!of!Muslims!following!their!expulsion!from!the!North!by!the!LTTE! in! October! 1990! has! meant! that! land! issues! are! more! intractable! as! annual! permits! and! other! land! claims! have! not! been! renewed! nor! transferred! (for! example! from! father! or! mother! to! child! or! spouse),! properties! have! been! occupied! by! other! civilians,! boundaries! are! no! longer! recognizable! and! the! claims! of! returning! Muslims! are! questioned! by! local! government!officials!and!Tamil!residents.!Following!the!expulsion!some!lands!claimed!and! owned!by!Muslims!were!distributed!by!the!LTTE!to!Tamil!civilians,!in!some!instances!with! the! active! involvement! of! the! district'level! civilian! administration.3!In! turn! Tamils! who! have! attempted! to! secure! land! and! build! up! their! houses! and! livelihoods! during! the! war,! now! find! returnee! Muslims! demanding! their! land.! Some! of! the! suspicions! of! both! communities! of! the! other! remain! or! have! been! even! deepened! in! the! post'war! context! in! districts!such!as!Mannar,!which!used!to!be!home!to!the!largest!population!of!Muslims!in!the! Northern!Province.!! Some!of!the!individual!disputes!have!become!more!ethnicised!and!politicised,!and!have!had! a!far'reaching!polarizing!impact.!In!the!post'war!context!there!is!little!substantive!focus!on! examining!and!addressing!Tamil'Muslim!tensions!and!coexistence,!despite!its!importance! both!in!terms!of!local!communities!and!macro'level!trust!building.!Hence,!it!is!evident!that! in!addressing!these!issues!a!two'fold!solution!is!required!to!address!the!problem!at!hand! through! legal! and! administrative! measures! and! the! relationship! between! the! disputing! communities,! or! there! is! a! risk! that! practical! measures! are! found! and! compromises! are! made!but!that!the!tension!and!hostility!will!remain.!Hence,!there!is!a!potential!for!some!of! these!disputes!to!re'surface.!
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3!For!a!more!in'depth!explanation!of!the!expulsion!of!the!Northern!Muslim!community!and!the!current!issues!

faced!by!this!community!see!“The$Quest$for$Redemption:$The$Story$of$the$Northern$Muslims”,$Final$Report$of$the$ Citizens’$Commission$on$the$Expulsion$of$Muslims$from$the$Northern$Province$by$the$LTTE$in$October$1990,$Law$ &$Society$Trust,$2001$

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The!tensions!and!violence!relating!to!the!clash!in!Uppukulam!in!Mannar!July!2012!made!all! too! clear! the! dangers! of! allowing! these! land! disputes! to! simmer.! This! report! looks! at! the! dynamics!around!two!land!issues!in!Mannar!district!–!Uppukulam!and!Sannar!and!attempts! to!provide!suggestions!of!how!these!disputes!can!be!addressed!and!what!steps!need!to!be! taken! to! address! relations! between! the! Tamil! and! Muslim! communities.! Interviews! with! key! actors,! community! leaders! and! humanitarian/human! rights! organizations! were! conducted!in!Mannar!in!February!and!March!2013!with!actors!involved!in!the!disputes.!! &

PostFWar&Context&
Tamil!and!Muslim!relations!in!post'war!Mannar!have!become!increasingly!strained,!despite! the!historical!coexistence!and!strong!relations!between!the!communities!prior!to!and!even! during! the! war,! and! continuing! local! level! ties! between! communities! on! the! ground.! In! general!it!needs!to!be!noted!that!Tamil'Muslim!relations!in!the!post'war!North!are!at!the! very!least!complicated,!if!not!uneasy.!Although!the!Muslim!community!is!generally!far!more! likely! to! acknowledge! these! tensions,! the! Tamil! community! is! less! willing! to! either! acknowledge!that!there!is!a!significant!macro!problem!or!that!there!is!a!need!to!address!it.! It! is! striking! that! almost! all! papers! written! by! Sri! Lankans! on! Tamil'Muslim! coexistence! tend! to! be! written! by! persons! with! Muslim! names.! Interviews! with! Tamil! civil! society! actors!suggests!that!while!there!may!be!issues!between!these!two!communities,!these!will! be! and! can! be! resolved! without! specific! political! or! community! overtures,! ironically! reflecting! the! position! taken! by! some! Sinhalese! with! regards! to! substantive! measures! to! build!trust!with!the!Tamil!community!as!the!former!see!development!and!the!provision!of! equal! rights! being! a! way! forward.! There! are! other! Tamil! political! and! civil! society! actors! who! feel! that! it! is! an! important! issue! that! needs! to! be! taken! up! but! that! there! are! more! pressing! issues! confronting! the! Tamil! community,! hence! this! issue! cannot! be! prioritised.! On! the! Muslim! side! also! there! are! some! who! feel! that! little! can! be! achieved! through! confidence!and!trust!building!measures!and!that!the!focus!should!be!on!strengthening!the! position! of! the! Muslim! community! through! development! assistance! and! administrative! measures.!There!have,!however!been!a!handful!of!initiatives!to!address!this!problem,!both! at!a!more!macro!level!and!by!groups!working!in!the!districts!and!communities.4!

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4!‘Statement!on!Reconciliation!by!Muslim!Civil!Society!Individuals,’!Transcurrents,!17!February!2012,!

http://transcurrents.com/news'views/archives/8144;!‘An!appeal!to!the!Tamil!Community!and!its!civil!and! political!representatives,’!Island,!06!January!2012,!http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article'

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For!the!Muslim!community!the!lack!of!attention!to!Tamil'Muslim!relations!has!contributed! to! a! feeling! of! marginalization! and! a! perception! that! there! is! a! lack! of! recognition! on! the! part!of!the!Tamil!community!of!their!historical!experience,!especially!of!the!expulsion.!The! lack! of! empathy! and! cooperation! on! the! part! of! Tamil! public! servants,! humanitarian! workers! and! other! civilians! to! returnee! Muslims! is! therefore! seen! not! merely! as! seen! as! indifference!but!even!hostility.!!The!refusal!by!key!Tamil!actors!to!acknowledge!Muslims’! claims! to! land! in! areas! that! they! fled! in! 1990! is! viewed! as! evidence! of! the! resentment! towards! Muslim! return.! Although! Mannar! was! an! area! where! the! period! given! to! the! Northern! Muslims! to! evacuate! in! 1990! was! longer,! due! in! part! to! the! large! size! of! the! Muslim! population! in! the! district! but! was! also! indicative! of! the! strong! relations! between! the! communities,! there! are! fears! that! sections! of! the! Tamil! community,! including! the! district!level!administration!and!the!Catholic!Church,!may!be!supportive!of!the!outcome!of! the!expulsion!even!if!they!did!not!agree!with!the!means!of!how!it!was!done!and!that!they! are!attempting!to!weaken!the!position!of!the!Northern!Muslims!in!the!North.!Thus,!the!loss! of! land! documents! in! the! Kachcheri! (District! Secretariat)! is! seen! as! willful! by! some! Muslims.! There! are! accusations! that! some! of! the! land! records! have! been! deliberately! destroyed!and!that!individual!pages!have!been!torn!off.!! For! the! Muslim! community! there! is! a! general! desire! to! have! the! Tamil! community! acknowledge!the!expulsion!and!to!recognise!its!impact!and!that!of!protracted!displacement! on!the!return,!including!in!the!slow!rate!of!return.!In!practical!terms!this!would!mean!that! the!civilian!administration!dominated!by!Tamils!would!be!more!willing!to!assist!returnees,! including!female'headed!households,!with!their!land!documents!and!claims!for!instance.!It! needs! to! be! noted! that! there! is! significant! pressure! on! Northern! Muslims! to! return,! including!from!their!politicians!who!want!to!establish!their!vote!banks!and!sections!of!the! local!population!in!Puttalam!who!feel!that!the!Northern!Muslims!have!stayed!long!enough! and!should!return!to!the!North.!! While! there! are! sections! of! the! Tamil! community! who! have! welcomed! and! been! cordial! towards!returnee!Muslims,!there!are!others!who!have!suspicions!of!the!Muslim!community.!
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details&page=article'details&code_title=42559;!‘Let!Our!People!Free:!Joint!Statement!of!Tamil!and!Muslim! Parties,’!Transcurrents,!01!October!2009,!http://transcurrents.com/tc/2009/10/let_our_people_free.html.! The!Mannar!Women’s!Development!Federation!(MWDF)!that!brings!together!women!from!the!Tamil!and! Muslim!communities!in!Mannar!initiated!a!model!village!where!housing!would!be!provided!to!Tamil!and! Muslim!women!in!Mannar!town!(it!was!blocked!by!the!then!GA!due!to!a!heavy!pressure!asserted!by!a!church! motivated!group!due!to!this!the!housing!had!to!be!provided!to!each!ethnicity!in!separate!villages.!The!MWDF! also!served!a!model!for!other!districts,!leading!to!the!establishment!of!the!Mullaitivu!Women’s!Development! Forum!bringing!together!both!Tamil!and!Muslim!women!in!the!district.!!

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A!common!issue!raised!by!Tamils!is!that!Northern!Muslims!are!not!actually!going!to!return! to!the!North!but!are!merely!using!the!region!to!claim!humanitarian!assistance,!when!their! standards!of!living!in!areas!such!as!Puttalam!are!perceived!to!be!significantly!higher!than!in! the! North.! Muslims! are! seen! to! be! exploitative! of! state! resources! and! economic! opportunities.! There! is! also! a! sense! that! the! Tamils’! suffering! is! not! recognised! and! acknowledged! by! Muslims,! and! that! Muslims! are! not! supportive! of! the! demands! of! the! Tamil!community!particularly!on!issues!of!human!rights!and!the!political!solution,!and!are! supporting! the! position! of! the! Government.! Furthermore,! the! direct! involvement! of! Minister! Rishard! Badurdeen! in! assisting! the! Muslim! IDPs! through! his! Ministry! and! connections!within!government!is!seen!as!providing!inequitable!assistance!and!the!support! of!the!central!government!to!the!Muslim!community.!! Even!while!there!are!these!tensions!and!suspicions,!it!also!needs!to!be!noted!that!there!are! individuals! and! groups! who! are! empathetic! and! attempt! to! understand! each! other’s! positions.!For!instance,!some!Muslim!returnees!and!also!activists!expressed!that!while!they! have! suffered! as! a! result! of! expulsion! in! particular,! they! cannot! compare! their! suffering! with!that!of!the!Tamil!community!who!have!endured!much!more.!This!along!with!a!history! of!coexistence!pre'dating!the!war!does!provide!a!foundation!for!re'building!trust!between! the!members!of!the!Tamil!and!Muslim!ethnic!communities.! Nonetheless,!in!the!current!context!the!potential!for!issues!to!become!highly!ethnicised!and! politicised!is!very!high.!For!example!in!February,!Tamil!and!Muslims!have!objected!to!the! criteria!for!the!selection!of!beneficiaries!and!the!list!of!beneficiaries!and!chosen!villages!in! the! Indian! Housing! Project! (IHP).5!Tamils! have! alleged! that! more! than! a! fair! number! of! houses!have!been!allocated!to!the!Muslims!and!that!there!has!been!political!intervention!in! this!regard.6!This!resulted!in!the!housing!project!being!temporarily!suspended!in!Mannar! town,! Musali! and! Manthai! West! due! to! these! tensions.! While! in! some! areas! the! housing! project! has! been! recommenced! with! the! addition! of! a! few! more! Tamil! villages,! in! other! areas!it!appears!that!the!beneficiary!lists!are!being!re'examined.!There!are!also!accusations! within! the! Muslim! community! that! it! is! largely! villages! which! support! All! Ceylon! Makkal!
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5!‘Tamils!in!Northern!Sri!Lanka!protest!against!Muslim!Minister,’!Colombo!page,!30!January!2013,!

http://www.colombopage.com/archive_13A/Jan30_1359534536CH.php;!P.K.!Balachandran,!‘TNA!Protests!of! Pro'!Muslim!Bias!in!Allocation!of!Houses!Under!Indian!Housing!Project!are!Incorrect!and!Misleading!says! Indian!Diplomat,’!09!February!2013,!http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/16249;!‘Lankan!Muslims!Seek! Quota!in!Indian!Housing!Project,’!Outlook!India,!21!March!2012,! http://news.outlookindia.com/items.aspx?artid=756633! 6!Balachandran.!P.K.,!TNA!Protests!of!Pro'!Muslim!Bias!in!Allocation!of!Houses!Under!Indian!Housing!Project! are!Incorrect!and!Misleading!says!Indian!Diplomat;!http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/16249!accessed!on! 14!March!2013.!

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Congress!(ACMC)!headed!by!Minister!Badurdeen!that!have!been!selected.!Those!involved! in!designing!and!implementing!the!IHP!should!have!taken!measures!to!avoid!this!situation! and! learnt! from! other! development! project! experiences! including! the! Puttalam! Housing! Project! (PHP)! where! there! were! tensions! relating! to! the! allocation! for! Northern! Muslims! and!the!local!population!from!Puttalam.7! &

Key&Actors&
In!the!post'war!period!there!have!been!some!significant!changes!in!the!context!in!Mannar.! In! particular,! the! Central! Government! has! established! its! control! and! various! actors! from! the!Government!and!the!State!have!asserted!their!dominance!in!the!affairs!of!the!district.! Prior!to!the!last!war!(2006'9)!the!LTTE!directly!controlled!two!of!the!five!DS!divisions!in! Mannar!but!exerted!significant!influence!over!government!administration!throughout!the! district.! The! defeat! of! the! LTTE! has! had! a! far'reaching! impact! also! in! terms! of! ethnic! dynamics! in! the! district,! as! those! with! connections! to! the! Central! Government! have! been! able!to!assert!their!claims,!and!those!who!are!seen!to!be!more!sympathetic!to!the!LTTE!now! are!in!a!weaker!position.!Hence,!the!post'war!period!has!seen!a!quiet!power!struggle.!! Following!the!end!of!the!war,!the!military!has!established!its!position!and!is!also!involved! in!the!administration!in!the!district,!particularly!in!areas!that!were!formerly!controlled!by! the! LTTE.! In! addition! to! the! occupation! of! land,! including! villages! such! as! Mullikulam,! Sannar! and! Silavathurai,! the! military! is! even! involved! in! activities! such! as! mediating! disputes! between! communities,! running! shops! such! as! the! one! in! Thirukeswaram.! The! District! Secretariat! under! the! District! Secretary,! J.A.! Sarath! Raveendra,! is! the! relevant! civilian!administration!at!the!district!level!but!it!is!vulnerable!to!the!machinations!of!other! more!powerful!actors!in!the!district.!! Another! actor! who! has! strengthened! his! position! with! regards! to! administration! in! the! district! is! the! Member! of! Parliament! and! Minister,! currently! for! Industry! and! Commerce,! Rishard! Badurdeen.! In! his! previous! capacity! as! Minister! for! Resettlement! he! played! a! significant! role! in! issues! relating! to! displacement! and! return,! including! in! Mannar,8!and!
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7$“The$Quest$for$Redemption:$The$Story$of$the$Northern$Muslims,”$$Final$Report$of$the$Citizens’$Commission$on$

the$Expulsion$of$Muslims$from$the$Northern$Province$by$the$LTTE$in$October$1990,$Law$&$Society$Trust,$2001! 8!Mohamad!Naalir,!‘Home'sweet'home!for!dislodged!Muslims,’!Sunday!Observer,!02!August!2009,! http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2009/08/02/pol04.asp;!Wilson!Gnanadas,!‘IDPs!flourish!while!locals! languish!in!Puttalam,’!Nation,!27!April!2008,!http://www.nation.lk/2008/04/27/newsfe2.htm!

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continues! to! provide! humanitarian! assistance.9!He! is! also! the! chairperson! of! the! Vanni! Development!Committee10!which!gives!him!additional!influence!and!power!with!regards!to! resettlement!and!rehabilitation.!In!addition,!it!is!alleged!that!he!is!able!to!assert!his!power! through! the! district! administrative! system.! His! focus! on! assisting! Northern! Muslims! has! raised! concerns! that! he! is! ignoring! the! Tamil! community,! which! has! also! faced! multiple! displacement! and! human! rights! violations! during! the! war,! but! there! have! also! been! criticism! that! Muslim! communities! who! support! other! political! actors,! such! as! the! SLMC! have!been!marginalised.!He!has!a!support!base!among!Northern!Muslims!as!he!is!seen!as! the! most! active! among! the! politicians! working! on! issues! central! to! the! community,! particularly!relating!to!humanitarian!and!development!assistance.!! The! most! powerful! civil! society! institution! in! Mannar! is! the! Catholic! Church.! Both! during! and! after! the! war,! the! Church! played! multiple! roles! including! in! speaking! out! against! violations!and!issues!faced!by!the!Catholic!and!Tamil!communities.11!The!Bishop!of!Mannar,! Ryappu! Joseph! has! been! an! outspoken! leader! who! has! attempted! to! highlight! the! challenges!faced!by!his!constituency!but!is!also!seen!as!a!controversial!figure,!particularly! by! other! minorities! in! the! district! such! as! Muslims! and! Tamil! Hindus! who! feel! that! he! is! attempting! to! strengthen! Catholic! control! over! the! district,! including! through! the! administrative! service! and! secure! control! over! more! land.! Thus,! there! appears! to! be! a! struggle! for! power! in! the! post'war! context! between! the! Bishop! and! Minister! Badurdeen! and!they!both!exert!a!polarizing!impact.!The!Tamil!National!Alliance!(TNA)!is!the!dominant! political! group! representing! the! Tamil! community.! Mannar! falls! into! the! Vanni! electorate! and!there!are!a!number!of!politicians!including!MP!Selvam!Adaikalanathan!who!have!been! involved!in!highlighting!the!community’s!concerns.!! While!these!various!political!and!civil!society!actors!have!been!involved!in!addressing!and! highlighting!problems!faced!by!their!communities,!in!some!instances!their!involvement!has! complicated!and!even!exacerbated!these!problems.!“Certain!issues!are!either!livelihood!or! land! issues.! But! they! become! political! and! then! the! Muslims! and! the! Tamils! are! seen! as!
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9!Jayasuriya!R.;!“Mannar!Bishop!Rayappu!Joseph!Alleges!Minister!Bathiudeen!of!Racially!Discriminating!

practices”;!http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/8313!,!Accessed!on!15/3/2013.!See!also! http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/9180,!accessed!on!15/3/2013! 10!‘Finance!allocated!to!provide!relief!to!the!affected!Vanni!people!by!floods,’!Online!Uthayan,!28!December! 2012,!http://onlineuthayan.com/english'news/uthayannews/533433l1h1h1r2! 11!The!Bishop!Rayappu!Joseph!appeared!before!the!LLRC!and!spoke!about!the!disappearances!in!the!Northern! Province.;!http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/05/13/mannar'bishop'grilled'on'disappearances/.!He!has! also!been!negotiating!with!the!Navy!that!has!occupied!land!in!Mullikulam.!;! http://groundviews.org/2013/03/15/mullikulam'restrictions'on'fishing'cultivation'access'to'the'church' and'school'continue/!

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opposing! each! other,! while! militarisation! and! other! means! of! land! occupation! go! unchallenged.”12!There!is!a!fear!that!the!ethnicisation!of!problems!between!the!Tamil!and! Muslim!community!not!only!makes!the!problem!more!difficult!to!resolve!but!it!strengthens! the!position!of!the!Central!Government!and!widens!the!gulf!between!the!communities!on! the!ground.! Mannar!has!a!number!of!civil!society!bodies!and!prominent!individuals!but!in!general!civil! society! remains! weak! (and! mostly! let! by! the! Catholic! clergies).! Some! civil! society! actors! have! been! able! to! take! up! key! issues! such! as! the! military! camp! that! was! to! be! built! in! Tharavankottai.! Representatives! of! the! Women’s! Rural! Development! Societies! from! nine! villages! protested! the! same! and! were! able! to! stop! the! construction! of! the! army! camp.13! However,! like! the! rest! of! civil! society,! they! feel! vulnerable! and! have! to! face! continuous! monitoring! and! also! harassment! from! various! actors! such! as! the! intelligence! and! the! military.!The!Citizens!Committee,!which!played!a!key!role!during!the!war,!both!in!raising! issues!and!mediating!solutions,!has!lost!the!position!it!once!occupied.!This!is!due!in!part!to! the!constraints!on!all!autonomous!civil!society!bodies!throughout!the!North!and!East!and! the!self'censorship!of!such!entities!due!to!fear!of!being!harassed!by!the!authorities,!but!is! also!a!result!of!the!loss!of!legitimacy,!particularly!within!the!Muslim!and!Hindu!Community! due! to! the! intervention! and! the! power! the! Catholic! Church! exerts! over! the! committee:! “There!is!no!real!space,!I!have!stopped!going!for!these!meetings.!The!citizens!committee!is! supposed!to!be!a!neutral!space!but!it!is!not.”14!It!is!also!difficult!for!civil!society!actors!to! remain! autonomous! as! there! is! political! involvement! from! the! dominant! political! actors.! Humanitarian!actors,!both!international!and!local!play!a!less!prominent!role!than!they!did!a! few!years!ago!and!many!have!withdrawn!from!the!district!or!closed!down,!leaving!only!a! handful!of!organizations.!! & & & & &

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12!Interview!with!human!rights!activist!in!Mannar;!5/2/2013! 13http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/4240!accessed!on!15/3/2013! 14Interview!with!Hindu!Priest,!4/2/2013!

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Sannar&
! !

&

& Background&
The! dispute! between! the! Tamil! and! Muslim! communities! in! Sannar! is! tied! to! the! debate! over!who!have!greater!claims!to!the!land.!At!least!in!terms!of!its!current!residents,!Sannar! is!a!relatively!recent!settlement!dating!back!from!the!1970’s!when!land!in!and!around!was! distributed!through!a!land!kachcheri!to!both!Tamils!and!Muslims.!The!Divisional!Secretary! of! Manthai! stated! that! the! Tamils! came! as! laborers! wishing! to! work! on! the! land! of! the! Muslims! living! around! that! area! and! settled! down! in! Sannar.! The! Tamils! claim! that! they! came! through! a! land! kachcheri! in! 1976.! At! that! point! 84! Tamil! families! and! 120Muslim! families!were!living!in!and!around!Sannar.!Sannar’s!Tamil!residents!are!largely!Catholic!and!
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a!few!families!are!Hindu.!While!some!households!are!on!the!main!highway,!the!A32,!much! of! the! main! village! is! away! from! this! main! road! but! there! is! access! through! a! secondary! road,! which! was! constructed! right! through! the! middle! of! the! village! and! serves! as! its! lifeline.!! The!Muslims!of!Sannar!claim!that!they!owned!agricultural!land!and!the!Tamils!worked!on! the! land! belonging! to! the! Muslims! as! daily! wage! laborers.! The! Tamil! community! asserts! that!the!Muslims!were!also!given!land,!but!that!they!never!settled!down.!There!was!also!a! small! number! of! Tamils! who! depended! on! fresh! water! fishing! for! their! livelihood.! Even! though! the! land! was! allocated! by! the! Government,! the! residents! of! Sannar! were! not! provided!land!documentation.!The!land!was!surveyed!in!1985.!However,!no!permits!were! given!to!the!Muslims!or!the!Tamils.!Seva!Lanka!built!houses!for!the!families!in!Sannar!for!a! few!Tamil!families!in!the!late!1980’s.!! Sannar!came!under!the!control!of!the!LTTE!in!early!1990.!With!the!LTTE’s!expulsion!of!the! Northern!Muslims!in!October!1990!the!Muslim!residents!of!Sannar!and!neighbouring!areas! were!forced!to!evacuate.!Many!of!the!Muslim!displaced!lived!in!protracted!displacement!in! sites!including!Puttalam.!The!Tamils!were!able!to!remain!in!the!area!through!the!war!until! 1998!when!they!were!forced!to!leave!due!to!the!escalation!of!fighting!in!Mannar.!In!2005! some!Tamil!families!were!able!to!return!and!settled!down!both!on!the!land!that!they!had! lived! on! prior! to! displacement! and! on! land! belonging! to! the! Muslims! as! well.! With! the! collapse!of!the!peace!process!and!the!renewal!of!the!war!in!2006,!the!residents!of!Sannar! were!forced!into!displacement!once!more!as!military!operations!commenced!in!late!2007! in!Mannar.!They!were!displaced!multiple!times!before!they!were!taken!to!Menik!Farm.! &

Post&war&situation&
Sannar! was! opened! up! for! resettlement! in! March! 2010,! first! for! the! Tamil! residents! numbering! 110! families,! many! of! whom! were! in! Menik! Farm.! Muslim! families! began! returning! in! 2010.! “We! lost! everything! due! to! the! war! and! were! displaced! several! times.! When!we!came!back!to!Sannar!we!had!no!help.!Trees!and!shrubs!had!grown!everywhere.! But!we!were!glad!to!be!out!of!Menik!Farm.”15!Around!600!Muslim!families!had!registered! as!returnees!by!2011!not!all!of!them!permanently!settled:!“It!took!us!over!2!years!to!begin! settling!down.!When!we!first!came!back!to!our!land!there!was!nothing.”16!Even!though!the!
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15!Interview!with!school!teacher!from!Sannar!10/2/2013! 16!Interview!with!Muslim!Male!from!Sannar!on!10/2/2013!

! Page!|!16! !

Government!had!informed!the!Muslims!in!Puttalam!to!return!to!their!original!place,!many! families! preferred! to! take! their! time! in! order! to! build! back! their! homes,! livelihoods! and! village,!especially!since!the!assistance!package!was!so!limited:!“So!far!we!have!received!no! assistance! from! any! organization.! How! can! we! settle! down! when! we! don’t! even! have! proper! houses.”17!According! to! a! humanitarian! agency! working! in! the! village! there! were! only!60!Muslim!families!permanently!residing!in!the!village!as!of!January!2013.!So!far!the! Muslims! have! not! been! provided! any! humanitarian! assistance! by! any! organisation.! However!they!have!been!provided!some!aid!through!Minister!Badurdeen.!! When! the! Muslims! returned! and! attempted! to! claim! their! land! tensions! arose,! especially! where! there! were! competing! claims! over! the! same! plot! of! residential! land! adjacent! to! which! there! are! large! agricultural! lands! and! water! resources.! While! Muslims! tried! to! reclaim!control!of!their!land,!the!Tamils!who!had!settled!earlier!made!counter!claims!and! for!the!most!part!did!not!vacate!the!land.!This!dispute!had!multiple!impacts!as!it!meant!that! some!Muslim!families!found!it!difficult!if!not!impossible!to!return,!while!others!struggled!to! rebuild!their!livelihoods,!particularly!in!the!case!of!those!whose!agricultural!land!was!being! used!by!others.!There!are!also!fears!that!they!will!not!be!able!to!access!assistance!provided! by!humanitarian!agencies!and!donors!as!their!projects!are!coming!to!an!end.!The!dispute! over! land! and! the! lack! of! alternate! land! also! means! that! actors! involved! in! providing! assistance! for! permanent! housing! will! be! wary! of! including! affected! families! as! beneficiaries.!! Currently!the!Muslims!who!have!returned!are!engaging!in!daily!wage!labor!as!there!is!not! enough!land!to!cultivate.!Land!behind!that!currently!occupied!by!Tamils!has!been!cleared! and! is! being! used! by! the! Muslims.! While! some! of! the! Tamils! in! the! area! do! engage! in! agricultural! work! they! also! work! as! sand! diggers! and! as! daily! labour.! In! addition,! the! dispute!also!impacted!relations!between!the!two!sets!of!returnees.!As!one!Tamil!resident! noted! “suddenly! there! were! so! many! people! from! ‘outside’! interested! in! what! was! happening!and!it!became!a!big!issue!and!we!felt!like!we!were!being!pushed!into!a!corner!by! the! Muslims.” 18 !ZOA,! which! works! in! Sannar,! has! attempted! to! ensure! that! its! developmental!activities!would!include!both!communities!however!the!lack!of!permanent! residency!by!the!Muslims!remains!to!be!a!challenge!when!deciding!beneficiaries.19!

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17!Interview!with!Muslim!Male,!Sannar,!3/2/2013! 18!Interview!with!Tamil!woman,!Sannar,!3!February!2013! 19!Interview!with!employee!from!ZOA!on!14!February!2013!

! Page!|!17! !

Even!though!both!sides!of!the!main!road!that!lead!up!to!the!A32!which!bifurcates!Sannar! village,!belonged!to!the!people!of!Sannar!currently!3,600!acres!of!land!on!the!west!side!of! the!road!is!occupied! by!the!military.!This!portion!of!land!is!attached!to!the!Sannar!Tank)! and!for!some!time!there!were!restrictions!on!access!for!fishermen!but!the!restrictions!have! since! eased.! ! The! military! has! constructed! a! big! camp! on! the! occupied! land.! There! have! been! no! negotiations! between! the! community! and! the! military! requesting! the! occupied! land!back.!Even!though!the!military!occupation!has!compounded!the!land!dispute!as!there! are! residents! who! have! lost! their! land! to! the! military! occupation,! many! of! these! families! have! instead! asked! for! alternative! land! behind! their! current! settlement.! The! land! behind! Sannar!is!under!the!authority!of!the!Forest!Department,!hence!permission!has!been!sought! from! them.! It! is! striking! that! both! communities! have! avoided! directly! asking! the! military! for!the!release!of!the!land!but!are!instead!involved!in!a!bitter!dispute!with!each!other.!& &

Interventions&in&an&intensified&dispute&
Initially! the! Muslims! demanded! their! land! back! but! were! also! willing! to! accept! alternate! land! along! the! A32.! However! the! Tamils! refused! any! land! re'distribution! which! would! result!in!them!losing!their!prime!position.!Various!actors!began!intervening!with!the!hope! of!reaching!a!settlement.!The!matter!was!also!exacerbated!by!these!interventions.!Several! meetings! were! held! with! the! involvement! of! the! military.! The! added! pressure! from! the! Government!to!resettle!all!IDP’s!as!fast!as!possible!and!the!increased!political!intervention,! particularly! during! election! time! has! also! complicated! the! situation.! In! 2010! and! 2011! three! major! elections! were! held! including! the! Presidential,! Parliamentary! and! local! authorities!and!politicians!made!promises,!sometimes!competing,!to!the!Sannar!residents! that!they!would!intervene!in!their!favour.!In!addition,!the!involvement!of!the!church!was! also!cited!as!an!added!factor!in!adding!to!the!tense!situation.!! On!26th!May!2011!the!Army!officers!from!Manthai!West,!the!DS!and!the!GA!held!a!meeting! in! Sannar! regarding! the! dispute.! No! settlement! was! reached! at! this! meeting.! In! the! same! month! due! to! escalation! of! tensions! the! military! reportedly! put! pressure! on! the! Tamil! residents! to! cede! control! of! some! of! the! land.! “The! Army! camp! brigadier! came! and! informed!us!that!we!will!be!forcibly!evicted!from!our!place!and!the!land!will!be!given!to!the! Muslims,!if!we!did!not!cooperate!and!give!some!land!to!the!Muslims.”20!Subsequent!to!this! meeting!in!May!several!negotiations!were!held!between!the!Tamil!community!and!the!DS.!
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20Interview!with!WRDS!President,!Sannar,!5/2/2013!

! Page!|!18! !

As! the! Tamils! did! not! have! proof! of! ownership! the! WRDS! collected! birth! certificates! and! other!documentation!to!prove!their!existence!on!the!land!and!petition!letters!were!sent!to! the! Northern! Land! Commission,! the! DS,! the! District! Secretary! and! TNA! MPs.! It! is! notable! that!the!Army!did!not!offer!to!release!some!of!the!land!they!occupy,!particularly!along!the! A32.!This!would!have!provided!a!win'win!situation!for!all!concerned.!! The! deadlock! was! broken! in! October! 2012! when! the! DS! of! Manthai! West! intervened! and! negotiated!with!the!communities!with!the!involvement!of!the!military!as!well.!Essentially! the!Muslims!conceded!to!a!settlement!where!they!Muslims!agreed!to!live!behind!the!Tamils! but!with!the!assurance!that!they!would!be!provided!access!to!the!main!road.!The!Manthai! West! DS! has! promised! to! create! a! road! between! the! two! communities! and! this! road! will! connect!to!the!A32!main!road,!which!is!the!lifeline!of!Sannar.!Land!within!the!Tamil!area! has!been!surveyed!and!142!Tamils!have!now!been!promised!permits!granting!them!½!acre! each!leaving!17!single!individuals!who!do!not!come!within!the!criteria!of!land!allocation.!As! of! 20th! February! 5! of! these! individuals! have! been! promised! land! as! they! are! young! individuals.!The!land!of!the!Muslims!has!not!been!surveyed.!However!the!Muslims!too!have! been! allocated! ½! acre! for! each! family.! The! Muslims! have! set! boundary! markers! on! their! own!even!though!they!have!yet!to!receive!official!government!approval!and!documentation! with!regards!to!their!settlement.!! &

Current&situation&
Even!after!the!negotiations!the!Tamil!community!feels!a!sense!of!powerlessness!and!that! they! have! been! done! by.! In! particular! they! fear! that! all! community! structures! such! as! schools! public! spaces! are! to! be! created! in! the! area! of! the! Muslims.! According! to! the! government!officials!it!make!sense!to!build!such!structures!in!the!Muslim!area!as!there!is! more!land!available!in!the!rear!portion!of!the!village.!There!has!also!been!a!request!for!300! acres!administered!by!the!Forest!Department!for!the!settlement!of!Muslims!primarily!and!a! few!Tamils!who!also!face!a!land!crunch!and!require!land!to!settle!and!build!houses.!“Now! that! the! land! has! been! divided! and! allocated! we! realize! that! we! [the! Tamils]! do! not! have! enough!land!if!we!want!to!give!land!to!our!children.!We!don’t!even!have!enough!land!for!the! families!that!are!here!now”21! The!Tamil!community!has!a!WRDS!and!RDS!already!and!the!Muslims!hope!to!create!their! own!independent!committees,!making!clear!that!there!is!a!very!real!separation!within!the!
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21!Interview!with!Tamil!woman,!Sannar,!3/2/2013!

! Page!|!19! !

village.! Members! of! the! WRDS! felt! that! it! is! best! to! have! separate! committees! for! the! “maintenance!of!culture.”22! &

Ways&forward&
There! continues! to! be! a! sense! of! forced! compromise! by! both! communities! even! though! there!has!been!a!settlement.!It!is!imperative!that!in!this!light!the!Government!should!take! steps! to! ensure! that! the! land! ownership! issue! is! clarified! and! that! documentation! is! provided.!Given!the!existing!tensions!there!is!a!need!for!conflict!sensitivity!with!regards!to! developmental!activities!in!order!to!ensure!that!neither!community!feels!excluded.!In!this! context,! Government! officials,! humanitarian! agencies! and! development! actors! should! ensure!that!developmental!activities!include!both!communities.!It!also!would!be!advisable! that! community! based! organizations! (CBOs)! include! both! communities! rather! than! the! creation! of! separate! societies! for! each! ethnicity! so! as! to! provide! space! for! greater! interaction.!Where!there!are!separate!CBOs!based!on!ethnicity,!at!the!very!least!there!have! to!be!some!effort!to!ensure!that!there!is!coordination!and!joint!planning!to!ensure!equitable! development! for! the! village! residents! as! a! whole.! It! needs! to! be! noted! that! there! is! interaction!at!a!personal!level.!As!one!staff!member!of!a!humanitarian!organisation!noted! “Even! though! there! was! tension! people! are! talking! with! each! other,! they! know! this! was! made! worse! by! those! ‘above’.”23!These! bonds! may! strengthen! on! their! own! accord! “Soon! when! the! Tamils! grow! vegetables! they! will! have! to! depend! on! the! Muslims! to! sell! it,! and! slowly!a!relationship!will!grow!out!of!that.”24!The!current!situation!could!be!influenced!by! local!dynamics!and!the!involvement!of!outside!actors,!including!projects!that!come!to!the! village.!! The!initial!demand!of!the!Muslims!was!for!the!division!of!the!land!into!3!blocks!covering! the! length! of! the! road! which! is! about! 1,200! m! by! 400! m! for! each! community'! Muslims,! Tamil!Catholics!and!Tamil!Hindus.!The!second!diagram!shows!the!current!settlement.!!

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22!Interview!with!WRDS!Secretary,!Sannar!3/2/2013!! 23!Interview!with!Humanitarian!worker,!Sannar,!3/2/2013! 24!Interview!with!humanitarian!worker,!Mannar!town,!3/2/2013!

! Page!|!20! !

!

! & &

! Page!|!21! !

Uppukulam&
!

!

& Background&
Uppukulam!is!a!fishing!area!in!Mannar!Island,!close!to!Mannar!Town.!Historically!the!area! has! its! own! padu! or! landing! area! for! fishing! boats.! In! the! pre'war! period! the! rights! for! fishing!in!the!Uppukulam!padu!were!with!the!Muslims!of!the!area.!On!either!side!are!padus! claimed!by!Tamil!fishermen!of!Pallimunai!and!Panangkattukottu.! There! were! originally! 200! Muslim! families! who! used! the! Uppukulam! Padu! and! had! built! houses!by!the!padu!area.!These!fishermen!claimed!that!historically!they!were!pearl!divers! who! later! switched! to! fishing! and! also! engaged! in! the! trade! of! dry! fish.! As! a! result! of! the! LTTE’s!expulsion!of!the!Northern!Muslims,!the!fishermen!of!Uppukulam!had!to!flee,!leaving! their!homes!and!livelihoods.!Following!the!military’s!capture!of!Mannar!Island!in!1991!the! Muslim!fisherman!began!to!return!to!Uppukulam.!Over!the!years!of!the!war,!however!only! a! handful! returned,! due! to! their! fears! of! the! LTTE! and! a! re'expulsion.! Fishing! in! the! area! also! became! increasingly! difficult! due! to! the! fighting! and! the! restrictions! imposed! by! the!
! Page!|!22! !

navy! and! other! armed! actors! on! permissible! times! and! areas! for! fishing,! coupled! with! restrictions!on!fuel!which!made!it!difficult!for!those!with!motor!boats.! According!to!the!Fisheries!Association!of!Uppukulam,!Tamils!from!Vidathaltheevu,!which!is! a! large! fishing! village! on! the! mainland,! came! to! Pallimunai! in! 1999! due! to! the! war.! Approximately!50!Vidathaltheevu!families!moved!to!Pallimunai.!The!majority!of!them!are! Catholic.! The! fishermen! from! Vidathaltheevu! were! able! to! share! the! Pallimunai! Padu.! However,!tensions!arose!over!the!fuel!allocation,!as!during!the!war!there!were!restrictions! on!the!amount!of!fuel!that!was!allowed!into!areas!of!the!north.!As!the!Navy!began!reducing! the! fuel! allocation! for! the! Pallimunai! fishermen,! the! latter! asked! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen!to!leave!and!they!moved!in!with!the!Panangkattukottu!fishermen.!However!the! same! problem! arose! there! as! well! and! the! displaced! community! found! it! increasingly! difficult!to!carry!out!their!livelihoods.!The!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!built!their!houses!in! Thottaveli!village!and!named!it!Joseph!Vaz!Nagar.!The!land!for!this!settlement!was!given!to! them! by! the! Bishop! of! Mannar! and! after! some! negotiation! through! the! then! LTTE! leadership!the!Uppukulam!people!agreed!that!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!could!use!the! Uppukulam!padu!for!their!fishing!activities.! In! 2002,! during! the! period! of! the! Ceasefire! Agreement,! the! Uppukulam! fishermen! were! summoned!by!the!LTTE!Fisheries!Association.!At!that!time!there!were!250!Muslim!families,! who!had!been!evicted!in!1990!from!Uppukulam!and!returned!from!Puttalam!in!stages!since! 1994.Several! other! Uppukulam! Muslims! remained! in! Puttalam.! The! head! of! the! Fisheries! Association! President! in! Uppukulam! entered! into! an! agreement! with! the! Vidathaltheevu! Fishermen! Association,! which! was! witnessed! by! the! LTTE! Political! Representative! of! the! Sea!Tigers,!Amuthan,!wherein!it!was!agreed!that!Uppukulam!padu!will!always!belong!to!the! Muslims!and!that!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!will!be!allowed!to!use!their!padu!until!the! latter!are!able!to!return!to!their!place!of!origin.!The!Joseph!Vaz!Nagar!Fisheries!Society!vice! president! claims! that! “in! 2002! when! we! came! to! Uppukulam! there! were! no! Muslim! fishermen! only! Muslim! villagers! living! around! that! area! who! demanded! rent! from! us! for! using! the! Padu.! We! didn’t! mind! paying! rent”. 25 !Although! this! arrangement! had! no! administrative! approval,! the! fact! that! rent! was! being! paid! suggested! that! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! did! recognise! that! the! Uppukulam! Padu! was! owned! by! the! Muslims.!!

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25!Interview!with!Joseph!Vaz!Fisheries!Society!President,!5/2/2013!

! Page!|!23! !

From! 2004! onwards! some! of! the! Vidathaltheevu! families! living! in! Joseph! Vaz! Nagar! returned! to! their! village! of! origin! while! 150! families! continued! to! stay! as! they! had! built! permanent!houses!and!wished!to!settle!permanently!in!Joseph!Vaz!Nagar.!Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! state! that! in! 2005! the! Sri! Lanka! Harbour! Corporation! claimed! that! the! land! belonged!to!the!Corporation!and!that!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!must!write!and!request! permission!to!use!that!area.!They!fishermen!claim!that!they!received!informal!permission! from!the!Harbour!Corporation.!! The!Department!of!Fisheries!in!April!2005!had!intervened!on!behalf!of!the!Vidathaltheevu! fishermen!and!asked!them!not!to!pay!rent!to!the!Muslim!fishermen!for!the!use!of!the!Padu.! The!Muslim!fishermen!see!this!as!an!ethnically!and!religiously!motivated!intervention:!“the! Department!of!Fisheries!was!headed!then!by!a!Tamil!Catholic!and!they!wanted!to!support! these!fishermen,!even!when!we!had!gone!out!of!our!way!to!support!them.”26!This!was!not! agreeable!to!the!Muslim!fishermen.!Since!2004!the!Muslims!fishermen!have!been!asking!for! their!padu!back.!However!due!to!various!reasons!and!negotiations!with!the!intervention!of! TNA!MP!Selvam!Adaikalanathan!on!behalf!of!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!the!use!of!the! padu!by!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!was!extended!through!an!informal!agreement!with! the!Uppukulam!fishermen!with!the!agreement!that!rent!will!not!be!paid.!! &

Interventions&in&an&intensified&dispute&
As!more!Muslim!families!returned!to!Uppukulam!in!the!post'war!context,!the!dispute!over! the! padu! deepened.! Currently! there! are! reportedly! 700! Muslims! families! in! Uppukulam.! While!some!families!engage!in!alternate!livelihoods,!such!as!daily!wage!labour!and!the!bulk! depend!on!fishing.! In!December!2011!there!was!a!meeting!held!with!the!District!Secretary!for!Mannar!District,! the! Divisional! Secretary! for! Mannar! Island! and! all! the! fisheries! societies! '! Uppukulam.! Vidathaltheevu,! Pallimunai,! Panangkattukottu,! Erukalampitti,! Thalaimannar,! Pesalai,! Thalvupadu!and!Thottaveli!It!was!agreed!that!the!Vidathaltheevu!fisherman!must!go!back! to! their! original! place! immediately! and! that! Uppukulam! padu! must! be! returned! to! the! Muslims.!! However!the!Vidathaltheevu!fisherman!did!not!leave!the!padu!as!they!preferred!to!reside! in!Joseph!Vas!Nagar.!They!claim!that!they!have!housing,!better!access!to!services!and!built!a!
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26!Interview!with!President,!Uppukulam!Fisheries!Association,!5/2/2013!

! Page!|!24! !

life!for!themselves!in!Joseph!Vas!Nagar!and!felt!that!it!was!not!economically!viable!for!them! to!move!back!to!Vidathaltheevu.!In!early!2012!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!state!that!the! Harbor! Corporation! attempted! to! survey! the! padu! area! in! Uppukulam! and! that! the! Uppukulam!Fishermen!resisted!the!Harbour!Corporation’s!attempt!the!survey!the!land!as! they!claimed!that!the!land!belonged!to!them.!! Tensions! intensified! around! this! issue! and! a! meeting! was! held! again! on! May! 2012.! The! heads!of!all!the!fisheries!societies!of!the!Mannar!Island!and!the!SSP!of!Police!attended!the! meeting.! The! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! requested! for! alternate! padu.! However! the! Pallimunai! and! Panangkattukottu! fishermen! held! that! there! can! be! no! padu! allocated! in! their!!area!for!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!as!there!was!already!a!!crunch!for!anchoring! fishing!boats!in!their!padus.!In!this!sense!all!the!fisheries!societies,!be!they!Tamil!or!Muslim! were!of!the!same!opinion!that!there!was!no!more!harbor!areas!that!could!be!allocated!to! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen.! Even! though! this! dispute! has! been! charaterised! in! ethnic! terms,!it!is!primarily!an!economic!contestation!over!resources!and!no!community!Tamil!or! Muslim!are!willing!to!cede!or!share!their!fishing!rights.!The!location!of!Uppukulam,!being! within!Mannar!Town!makes!it!prime!land!as!it!allows!for!easy!access!to!markets!and!fast! transport!to!Colombo!and!other!urban!centres.! As!there!was!no!consensus!another!meeting!was!held!in!June!2012,!which!was!attended!by! the! additional! GA,! the! DS,! a! leading! catholic! priest! and! the! military! commander! of! the! Thallady! Army! Camp.! ! The! district! administration! offered! the! area! around! 3rd! Mile! post! Erukalampitti! for! temporary! use,! which! it! claimed! was! State! land.! The! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! were! in! agreement! to! move,! however! that! site! was! also! disputed! as! a! private! individual! claimed! ownership! and! stated! that! the! land! could! not! be! allocated! to! the! fishermen.!This!individual!filed!a!court!case!in!the!Magistrates!Court!in!that!regard.!Due!to! this!dispute!the!relocation!of!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!came!to!a!standstill.!! There!is!a!strong!perception!and!it!is!increasingly!evident!that!powerful!actors!within!the! Mannar! District! are! involved,! including! the! Catholic! Church! and! Minister! Badurdeen.! As! one!Muslim!from!Uppukulam!noted!“the!people!from!Vidathaltheevu!were!willing!to!leave! [but]!the!intervention!from!higher!places!prevented!them!from!leaving.”27!There!is!a!feeling! among!the!Tamil!Pallimunai!Fishermen!and!Uppukulam!Muslim!fishermen!that!the!church! should! not! be! involved! in! such! a! manner! in! this! issue.! The! Muslim! resident! added! that!

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27!Interview!with!Muslim!Fisherman,!Uppukulam,!4/2/2013!

! Page!|!25! !

“Once! the! church! got! involved! and! our! padu! was! not! being! released! we! too! sought! the! intervention!of!politicians.”28& On! the! 13th! of! July! 2012! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! who! were! using! the! Uppukulam! padu!area!were!prevented!by!the!Uppukulam!fishermen!from!going!to!the!sea!from!there.! The! Uppukulam! fishermen! also! set! fire! to! some! fishing! equipment! and! huts.! The! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! filed! a! case! protesting! against! the! restrictions! and! demanding! compensation! for! their! lost! equipment.! On! the! 16thof! July,! the! Magistrates! Court! decided! that!nobody!could!be!prevented!from!going!to!sea.!!The!court!also!held!that!alternate!land! must!be!provided.!! While!the!hearing!was!underway!the!Uppukulam!fishermen!protested!in!front!of!the!Court.! The!protest!became!unruly!and!violent,!stones!were!thrown!by!some!of!the!demonstrators! damaging!windows!of!the!Court!building,!riot!police!was!deployed!and!several!fishermen! from! Uppukulam! were! arrested! immediately! and! arrests! warrants! issued! for! several! others.!A!case!of!contempt!of!court!was!filed!against!the!Uppukulam!Fishermen.!A!member! of!the!Uppukulam!fisherman!society!stated!that!“it!was!intended!to!be!a!peaceful!protest,! however!it!got!out!of!hand!and!we!are!sad!that!it!did.”29!As!a!number!of!the!fishermen!were! arrested! this! also! meant! that! the! families! found! it! increasingly! difficult! to! support! themselves.!Altogether!54!men!went!to!jail.!They!were!released!on!bail!subsequently.!The! case!against!the!attack!on!the!Padu!in!Uppukulam!and!setting!fire!to!the!equipment!is!still! being! heard! in! the! Magistrate’s! Court.! The! next! hearing! is! to! be! held! on! the! 10th! of! June.! Within! the! Muslim! community! there! are! perceptions! that! they! are! not! being! given! a! fair! hearing!in!court!and!that!not!all!of!those!arrested!with!regards!to!the!protest!are!guilty!of! the!charges.30!! The! Minister! himself! has! been! asked! to! appear! in! court! to! respond! to! charges! of! intimidating!Mannar!Magistrate!Anthonypillai!Judeson!on!two!occasions!regarding!the!case! listed! above.! The! Magistrate! alleges! that! the! Minister! demanded! that! the! court! take! no! action!be!taken!against!the!prevention!of!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!by!the!Uppukulam! fishermen.31!A! case! of! contempt! of! court! has! been! filed! against! the! Minister! which! is! still! pending!in!court.!These!series!of!incidents!further!deepened!the!polarization!between!the! Tamil! and! Muslim! communities! not! just! within! Mannar! but! also! among! other! groups.! A!
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28!Interview!with!Uppukulam!Fisheries!Association,!President,!Uppukulam!4/2/2013! 29Interview!with!Uppukulam!Fisheries!Association,!President,!Uppukulam!4/2/2013! 30!Findings!of!fact'finding!visit!to!Mannar!–!8th'9th!August!2012,!Citizens’!Commission!on!the!Expulsion!of!

Northern!Muslims!from!the!Northern!Province!by!the!LTTE,!August!2012.! 31!http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/07/29/clash'between'the'judiciary'and'a'minister/!

! Page!|!26! !

number!of!civil!society!groups!and!Tamil!actors!put!out!statements!calling!for!the!respect! of! the! rule! of! law! and! critiquing! the! Minister! for! his! alleged! intimidation.32!There! were! some!within!the!Muslim!community!who!called!for!support!for!Minister!Badurdeen,!seeing! him!as!the!only!political!actor!working!for!the!Northern!Muslims33!and!were!unwilling!to! critique!the!Minister.!That!the!issue!of!Uppukulam!was!the!trigger!for!this!crisis!was!lost!on! many!of!these!actors.!There!are!national'level!actors!who!have!attempted!to!intervene!such! as! the! Citizens’! Commission! on! the! Expulsion! of! Muslims! from! the! Northern! Province! by! the! LTTE! in! October! 1990! and! the! Human! Rights! Commission.! These! high! level! interventions!are!on'going!and!may!prove!integral!to!mediating!a!compromise.34!!!!!! &

Current&Situation&
Even! though! alternative! land! in! Thalaimannar,! Nayathuweli! and! in! Thallady! have! been! offered!the!Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!argue!that!they!are!not!suitable!alternatives!as!there! are! various! costs! or! obstacles! in! using! these! alternative! padus.! As! such! they! have! demanded! for! an! alternate! land! acceptable! to! them.! They! have! asked! for! coastal! land! in! Erukalampitti!and!Karisal!however!their!request!for!using!this!coastal!line!as!their!padu!(or! anchoring! boats)! has! been! denied! by! the! Fisheries! Corporation.! No! solution! has! been! reached!to!sort!out!this!dispute!so!far.!The!Joseph!Vaz!Nagar!Fisheries!Association!which! currently! uses! Uppukulam! states! that! the! community! is! keen! to! have! alternative! padu! as! the! community! is! in! a! state! of! huge! tension! and! the! political! intervention! has! made! the! situation!worse:!“If!alternate!padu!is!given!to!us!we!are!ready!to!leave.!We!don’t!want!to!be!

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32!‘Statement!on!the!Attack!on!the!Mannar!Magistrate!Court,’!CPA,!!30!July!2012,!

http://www.scribd.com/doc/101517129/Statement'on'the'Attack'on'the'Mannar' Magistrate%E2%80%99s'Court;!‘LST!Statement!Condemning!Attack!on!Mannar!Court!House,’!LST,!26!July! 2012,! https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:YtyWXG0bAe4J:www.lawandsocietytrust.org/PDF/LST%252 0Statement%2520on%2520the%2520Mannar%2520incident.doc+&hl=en&gl=lk&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESjm 2nI'8TDCl_KOWSOaf27qXAEaoiVhuHpbM4Jk3Q_ZGaBi0IMd5kf0I4_zsE8bn6nAp5qIa6ni_a3k' ZwPPyVThrqNrBzU54fgbASncx9y_t8dMJgqhSKquT079tTIPQQD5Uyu&sig=AHIEtbR9vR5oSIqw3OTvkfeiWcjd XlLXcw! ‘Lawyers!protest!attack!on!Mannar!Court,’!Daily!Mirror!Online,!19!July!2012,!http://116.12.93.24/caption' story/20435'lawyers'protest'attack'on'mannar'court.html! 33!‘Sri!Lanka!minister!gets!bail!in!fishing!settlement!case,’!BBC!News,!27!August!2012,! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world'asia'19392456! 34!Findings!of!fact'finding!visit!to!Mannar!–!8th'9th!August!2012,!Citizens’!Commission!on!the!Expulsion!of! Northern!Muslims!from!the!Northern!Province!by!the!LTTE,!August!2012.!

! Page!|!27! !

treated!like!this.”35!However!they!are!not!willing!to!move!until!the!alternative!coastal!line! provided!is!really!suitable.!! &

Way&forward&
The! Uppukulam! fishermen! feel! that! their! padu! should! be! returned! to! them! immediately! and! that! no! more! extensions! should! be! given! to! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen.! The! Vidathaltheevu!fishermen!have!also!agreed!in!principle!to!an!alternate!place!which!can!be! used!to!fish!while!they!remain!at!Joseph!Vaz!Nagar.!! There! is! also! a! need! ensure! that! the! situation! is! immediately! resolved! so! that! no! further! conflicts!arise!between!the!Vidathaltheevu!Fishermen!and!the!Uppukulam!fishermen!that! could! lead! to! violence.! The! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! are! currently! using! the! Uppukulam! Padu! amidst! high! tension! and! resistance! from! the! Uppukulam! fishermen.! Alternate! land! needs! to! be! immediately! found! for! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen.! There! is! also! a! need! to! provide!alternate!livelihood!projects!for!both!communities,!which!can!also!serve!as!a!tool! for!trust!and!confidence!building!between!the!communities.!With!regards!to!the!on'going! court! cases! it! is! important! that! all! concerned! receive! a! fair! trial! and! that! measures! are! taken! to! ensure! legal! representation! is! available! to! all.! Given! the! tensions! around! the! destruction! and! damage! of! fishing! equipment! of! the! Vidathaltheevu! fishermen! and! the! problems! relating! to! the! two! court! cases! faced! by! the! Uppukulam! fishermen,! that! legal! proceeding!alone!cannot!address!this!situation.!Hence,!in!dealing!with!this!issue!there!has! to!be!an!effort!to!provide!space!for!the!communities!to!acknowledge!their!mistakes!to!each! other!and!to!take!corrective!steps.!In!this!effort,!the!authorities,!politicians!and!civil!society! actors!need!to!play!a!facilitating,!rather!than!obstructionist!role.!!!!!! & &

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35!Interview,!President,!Joseph!Vaz!Fisheries!Association,!4/2/2013!

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Overall&Recommendations&
! Both!of!the!above!case!studies!require!specific!solutions!that!are!outlined!above.!However,! it!is!also!apparent!that!there!are!broader!recommendations!that!need!to!be!taken!forward.! Especially!given!the!gravity!of!the!situation!and!the!possibility!that!tensions!between!and! within!the!communities!may!escalate,!there!needs!to!be!a!more!holistic!and!reconciliatory! approach! taken! with! regards! to! civilian! administration! and! development.! In! this! context! the!following!measures!are!recommended!! • Greater! transparency! and! information! sharing! regarding! development! projects! to! the! affected! communities! and! the! beneficiaries! chosen! by! the! Government.! This! is! particularly!important!at!the!community!level,!through!the!GS!and!DS.!!!! • Humanitarian!agencies!and!donors!ensure!that!projects!in!the!district!are!conducted!in! a!conflict!sensitive!manner!and!that!efforts!are!made!to!understand!local!dynamics!in! order!to!avoid!exacerbating!conflicts.!!! • Political!parties!to!engage!in!confidence!building!measures!at!multiple!levels!with!other! ethnic! communities! than! the! one! which! is! their! main! support! base.! As! such! the! TNA! should!highlight!the!situation!of!Northern!Muslims!in!their!efforts!to!call!for!assistance! for! IDPs,! while! ACMC! and! SLMC! should! raise! concerns! of! Tamil! IDPs,! including! those! displaced! for! over! a! decade! in! their! efforts! to! demand! support! for! Northern! Muslims.! These! political! parties! should! also! increase! interaction! between! themselves! so! as! to! defuse!tensions.!! • The!Catholic!Church!should!reach!out!to!the!Muslim!community!in!Mannar!and!engage! in!trust!building!measures!including!through!its!humanitarian!arm.! • The!Central!Government!should!ensure!that!land!occupied!by!the!military!is!released!so! as!to!relieve!the!civilian!population!of!problems!such!as!the!inability!to!regain!control!of! land! and! restore! the! rights! of! those! affected.! In! exceptional! cases! where! land! will! continue!to!be!occupied!the!Government!needs!to!provide!information!as!to!how!long!it! will!occupy!the!land,!provide!assistance!to!those!affected!and!where!it!seeks!to!acquire! the!land,!take!steps!in!keeping!with!the!law,!provide!compensation!to!those!affected!and! ensure! all! measures! are! taken! to! ensure! that! durable! solutions! are! found! for! such! families.!
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Empower! and! depoliticise! the! citizen’s! committee! and! other! civil! society! groups! and! ensuring! that! these! committees! and! groups! can! take! steps! to! ensure! that! inter! community!tensions!are!prevented.!Currently!there!is!a!view!that!the!Mannar!Citizens’! Committee!is!aligned!with!the!Catholic!Church!and!TNA.!There!is!a!need!to!involve!non' religious! community! leaders! from! all! communities! to! ensure! that! the! mediation! and! steps!taken!by!the!citizens!committee!is!considered!nonpartisan.!Independent!Muslim! civil!society!groups!and!actors!may!need!to!be!supported!in!their!efforts!to!raise!issues! and!mediate!solutions.!!

Empower! divisional! secretaries! (DS)! to! make! decisions! on! key! issues,! including! land! allocation,! while! ensuring! that! DS! officials! provide! information! and! consult! with! local! communities.!

Mediation! Boards! that! largely! deal! with! ‘minor! disputes’! such! as! boundary! problems! should!be!strengthened!so!as!to!ensure!that!they!can!be!more!effective!and!proactive.!

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