After establishing military supremacy in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, the island nation is now imposing Sinhala and Buddhist culture among the Tamil population in the province. Under the pretext of reconstruction of the Northern Province, the military is settling Sinhalese families in the Tamil-dominated area and the government has started imposing cultural dominance in the everyday life of Tamils, said Lankan Tamils from the region.
Speaking to this reporter at the St Antony festival at Katchatheevu Island, which was attended by Lankan Tamils from the Northern and Eastern provinces, a Sri Lankan Tamil devotee said, “We fear that very soon the use of Tamil in public places will vanish.”
“In schools, students have to sing the Lankan national anthem only in Sinhala. The government also issued a circular indirectly asking us not to promote Tamil culture among the students,” said a Tamil teacher working in a government school in the Northern Province. Similarly, the government has censored Tamil history from school and college textbooks.
“While the history of Sinhalese is given in detail in the school textbooks, only a small portion is dedicated to Tamil history. In the case of college textbooks, the ancient and medieval history of Tamils is not included in the syllabus, citing the absence of archaeological evidence for our history,” said the teacher.
Instead, the government has made Sinhala the second language in all schools. “As the government has made it mandatory to learn Sinhala to avail of government jobs, we are forcing our children to opt for Sinhala as the second language in schools, but teachers refuse to teach the language to our children,” said a group of Lankan Tamils.
If a student is heard using the word Eelam, teachers immediately make a note of the child and warm him of dire consequence if he is heard uttering the word in the future, a source added.