Jaffna local body opposes Sinhala on buses
TamilNet, April 22, 1999 07:58 GMT
The Waligamam West Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) in Jaffna passed a resolution yesterday that passenger vans and buses in the peninsula should remove Sinhala from their destination boards. The local government body also passed a resolution that the SLA should immediately stop the census it is currently taking of the population in Jaffna.
Passenger vans and buses in Jaffna began carrying their destinations in Sinhala as well after the army instructed them in many parts of the peninsula to do so. The Sri Lanka army (SLA) is 99 percent Sinhala speaking. Only the Muslims and a few specialists and interpreters of the Sri Lankan security forces speak and understand Tamil.
SLA sources in Jaffna said that the instructions were issued to carry destinations in Sinhala too for the convenience of its soldiers manning the numerous sentry points on most roads and streets of the peninsula.
Tamil politicians in Jaffna who oppose this argue that the SLA is trying to reimpose Sinhala hegemony in the north. A member of the Waligamam West Pradeshiya Sabha pointed out that the democratic movement for Tamil rights was radicalized in the fifties by the movement launched by the Federal Party (the precursor of the TULF) against the use of Sinhala on vehicle number plates and government name boards. He added that there was no need for Sinhala in a place which is 100 percent Tamil speaking.