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Adi Vasis permitted to retain their right to the forest

Jul 31, 2011 12:12:22 PM - itnnews.lk

The president has said although indigenous people of the world are facing the threat of extinction, the Adi Vasis in Sri Lanka will not meet the same fate.

The President said that the Adi Vasis are now living without fear. At one time they had lost their right to go the jungle to extract honey from honeycombs and to fish in the village tank. He said that these rights should be established. The Adi Vasis of some other countries have lost the rights enjoyed by the Adi Vasis in Sri lanka. He said that it is the Adi Vasi generation that loves the forest. He said that the Adi Vasi Chief Vanniyalatto is permitted to carry his axe to the Temple Trees when all others are banned to carry weapons. It is because of the trust placed in these people who are also of our own. He said that villages are not destroyed under the Mahinda Chintana policy before uplifting. Villages are developed while preserving their heritage, traditions and art forms.
The function to celebrate the World Adi Vasi Day was held on the Sallativu coast in Vakarai under the patronage of the President. Addressing the Adi Vasis in Tamil, the President called on them to protect their traditions and not to forget their past history. The development process that was stagnant has now got underway in Vakarai. The Educational, health and transportation facilities are also reaching the Adi Vasis. The President also stated that Adi Vasis will be registered as such in the registration process. Addressing the gathering the Adi Vasi Chief Uru Varige Vanniyalatto said that although leaders of other countries forget about Adi Vasis after participating in world conferences it is not the policy of the President. He expressed his gratitude to the President for participating in a function connected to the Adi vasis. He also handed over a letter that contained problems and suggestions discussed at their ‘Variga Sabha’. An agreement was signed between the Wild Life Department and the Adi Vasis while several Adi Vasis were offered employment in the Wild Life Department. The President presented them with documents of permission to enter the forests and birth certificates. Vice Chancellor of the Colombo University Kshanika Hirimburegama handed over the report of the socio-economic survey carried out on the Veddah community. The President symbolically handed over the ownership of a house to them launching a housing project. The Adi Vasis performed the ‘Kiri Koraha’ dance to evoke blessings on the President. It was for the first time that Adi Vasis of all regions came together to celebrate the World Adi Vasi Day after terrorism was eliminated. Adi Vasis of Rathugala, Pollebedda, Henanigala, Dalukana, Dambana, Verugal, Kalkudah, and Pachchankarni were amongst those who participated. Ministers and Parliamentarians also graced the occasion.