Reopen Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya in Jaffna

Is the Government planning to release the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya in Jaffna to the private individuals or companies, instead of giving bit back to the Sinhala children and their teachers who have been compelled to do their studies in Anuradhapura and Kurunegala among other places?

This issue has surfaced in the light of the Government’s decision to release all buildings occupied by the Army in Jaffna. These include the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya building which the Army has decided to vacate. It is here that Sinhala children studied prior to the outbreak of LTTE Tamil terrorism in 1983.

Education Department officers have already visited the Sinhala Village in Nawakkuliya to find out how many children are here at the settlement. It is high-time that Education Authorities give serious attention to this matter so that when the school recommences all its students studying elsewhere will return to Jaffna. So will Sinhala Government Officers.

The pro-LTTE terrorist political party Tamil National Alliance, TNA have apparently ignored dubious Tamils groups encroaching on State land (some probably at the behest of Tiger sympathizers abroad). Among them has been the Church adjacent to the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya. The former has occupied part of the premises belonging to the Vidyalaya and established a Tamil Christian School after 1983.

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School Runs by the Christian Church at the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya Premises

The so-called international community too has turned a blind eye to this, despite the fact that the Government has handed back almost all Tamil schools occupied by the security forces during the war.

LTTE occupation eroded Sinhala identity in Jaffna during 1983 – 2009. The situation is bound to deteriorate further after full police and land powers are devolved to the Northern Provincial Council under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.

The civil society organization, North East Sinhala IDP Association- NESIA who is tirelessly working to make justice for those internally displaced Sinhala families in Jaffna, Vavniya, Mannarama and other Northern and Eastern two provinces have written to several government officials including Northern Provincial Council  to reopen the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya in Jaffna since all other Tamil and Muslim schools have been properly renovated, developed and reopened for the day to day school functioning.

NESIA has issued a press release demanding the government officials to reopen the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya. The full text of the press release is as follows;

උතුරු නැගෙනහිර අවතැන් වූ සිංහල ජනතා එකමුතුව 

NORTH EAST SINHALA IDP ASSOCIATION (NESIA)

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HISTORY OF THE SINHALA MAHA VIDYALAYA IN JAFFNA

Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya was established in 1937 with 6 students and by 1971, the number of students was over 600. The students were mostly from children of Sinhala families who were living there for decades, children of civil servants working in Jaffna as well as children from Tamil or Muslim families who were assimilated into Sinhala cultural ethos.

The Sinhala population in Jaffna district was 20402 in 1971 and by 1981 it was down to 5648. Therefore, the low level ethnic cleansing of Sinhala population was started during the 1970 decade and it was also the decade in which so called Tamil eelam struggle had started.  Conditions were created in Jaffna district in which the Sinhala people were subject to discrimination and harassment on daily basis. But despite the racist atmosphere against the Sinhala population, some families managed to survive until the premeditated program against the Sinhala population in July 1983.

In 1983, the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya was closed and the ethnic cleansing of the Sinhala population from the Jaffna district was completed.  After the defeat of Tamil terrorist invaders of the North & East of Sri Lanka, the conditions were created for the Sinhala IDP families to return and out of 150 families that returned in 2010 and took shelter in the then depleted railway station, only about 60 families managed to acquire a small plot of land at Navatkkuliya in Jaffna after a severe protest.

During the past several months, NESIA was extensively exploring the ways to get the Sinhala Maha Vidyalaya opened by highlighting the plight of the children of the Sinhala families resettled in their original homeland in the Jaffna district. The said children are still with their relatives attending to schools near Sinhala IDP locations.

NESIA has recently written to both the education minister (Attachment – 1) and to the Honourable Governor of the Northern Province and they have responded favorably (Attachments – 2 & 3).

Further, NESIA has highlighted to the above said authorities, the fact that sufficient number of houses must be built speedily at Navatkkuliya Sinhala settlement so that children could stay comfortably to carry out their studies. At present large number of Sinhala families are still living in cramped metal sheet huts.

Jayantha Liyanage,

The coordinating Secretary,

NESIA  - Press Release – 2

09.07.2015

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