The Displaced Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka: Special Problems and the Future

A.R.M Imtiyaz and M.C.M. Iqbal | Published on August 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm

ABSTRACT: It has been widely established as fact that ethno-political conflict and civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka have generated immense sufferings among the Tamil and Sinhalese ethnic groups at the level

The news of Pirapaharan's death gave immense relief to the Muslims of Sri Lanka, particularly the Muslims of the North and East

of the masses. However, very little has been discussed about the plights of the Muslims of the North and East, particularly the former who became victims of the Sri Lanka’s long running ethnic conflict.

In October 1990, the entire Muslim population of Jaffna, Vavumiya, Mullaitivu, Mannar and Kilinochchi districts in the northern region were evicted from their homes at gun point and turned into Internally Displaced Persons overnight by the Tamil Tigers (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). Muslims of the North claim that they have some basic and important problems to be solved. This study attempts to identify some of the special problems of the expelled Northern Muslims who are languishing in the state supported refugee camps in Puttalam district.

A questionnaire on the special problems of the Northern Muslims was circulated to the North Eastern youth, students, unemployed Muslims, and farmers. The population of the target group was selected randomly. More than 250 questionnaires were issued. Ninety percent of them responded to the questionnaire. Interviews were also conducted over the phone with an educated section of the Northern Muslims. Finally, solutions are suggested to the protracted ethno-political conflict based on power-sharing and easing the special problems of the Northern Muslims.

On 18 May 2009 the Sri Lanka’s Sinhala-dominated military announced that Velupillai Prabhakaran, the founder and leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), was dead. This development on the war front effectively signalled the end of an ethnic war which has killed over 100,000 peo ple, mostly minority Tamils, forcibly displaced hundreds of thousands more internally, and forced nearly a million Tamils to flee the country.

The news of Prabhakaran’s death gave immense relief to the Muslims of Sri Lanka, particularly the Muslims of the North and East. On 19 May 2009, sections of the Muslims of Colombo and their organizations organized a procession ‘to commemorate the war victory and end of the bloody war’.

Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict between the Tamils and the Sinhalese victimized the Muslims of Sri Lanka, particularly the Northern and Eastern Muslims: thousands of Muslims were expelled force fully from Jaffna in October 1990; 300 Eastern Muslims were killed at prayer time inside their mosque in 1991 and Muslim wealth was confiscated in the Jaffna, Baticolaoa, and Amparai districts of the North-Eastern Province (Imtiyaz, 2009).

This paper will review some special problems of the Northern displaced Muslims of Sri Lanka who comprise only 4 percent of the Tamil dominated Northern Province. To understand the problems of the Northern Muslims, this study will address the following questions: What are the special problems of the Muslims of the Northern Province? Could an arrangement of settlement in their original land be arrived at the present political context?

Journal of Asian and African Studies (46(4) 375 –389)

Please read the entire article below

The displaced Northern Muslims from JAS46_4_Final Issue PDF


1 Comment to “The Displaced Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka: Special Problems and the Future”

Post comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.



Report

The news of terrorist leader Pirapaharan's death gave immense relief to the Muslims of Sri Lanka, particularly the Muslims of the North and East

The Displaced Northern Muslims of Sri Lanka: Special Problems and the Future

ABSTRACT: It has been widely established as fact that ethno-political conflict and civil war between the Tamils and the Sinhalese in Sri Lanka have generated immense ...