2ND LEAD (Adds photos)
Eezham Tamil coastal areas intensively encroached by Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Friday, 01 July 2011, 05:34 GMT]
Occupying genocidal Sri Lanka opens up the coastal areas of Eezham Tamils for intensive ‘invasion’ of Sinhala fishermen and ‘tourism’ fat cats of the south. The latest target is the eastern coast of Mullaiththeevu and Jaffna districts as well as the islands off Jaffna, news sources from Jaffna said. While thousands of Sinhala fishermen, officially permitted by Colombo, encroach the eastern coast of the northern province to deprive local fishermen, the islands off Jaffna are encroached in the guise of tourism. A large block of prime land at Chaaddi in the Kayts Island, which earlier had the memorials of the LTTE fighters who laid down their lives for the independence of Tamils, is now claimed by John Keells, a Sinhala hotel corporate based in Colombo.
Thousands of Sinhala fishermen have now occupied the eastern coast of the Mullaiththeevu and Jaffna districts from Kokku’laay to Vadamaraadchi East. The local fishermen in these stretches are losing their economic opportunities and livelihood almost completely.
‘Permits’ issued by genocidal Sri Lanka’s defence ministry and fisheries department systematically facilitate the ‘invasion’ of the Sinhala fishermen.
The Mullaiththeevu coast is also turning into a ‘tourist’ place for the fishermen of the south.
Meanwhile, the islands off Jaffna in the Palk Bay are targeted for Sinhala colonisation in various ways ranging from military camps and Buddhist ‘pilgrimage’ to tourism catered by hotel groups in the south.
Large plots of private and public lands in the islands off Jaffna are now either taken over or encroached by some business firms of Sinhalese in the south.
The coastal strip at Chaaddi in the Kayts Island has white sand dunes stretching to a long distance. Chaaddi in Tamil means the land left to lie fallow. The cultivation lands and settlement at this place were abandoned long back due to creeping sand dunes.
But Chaaddi is an important archaeological site. Artefacts ranging from protohistoric and early historic period to the times of medieval Chinese trade were found at this place. The place is also a major pilgrim centre for Muslims and Christians of Jaffna.
The LTTE had a cemetery for heroes at this place, which was destroyed by the SL Army in the 1990s, but it was rebuilt during the peace years. The occupying SL Navy once again razed down the memorials recently. This land and the heritage stretches are now claimed and occupied by John Keells, a Sinhalese-owned hotel corporate having business in the island and in The Maldives.
The local people are shocked to see the new signboards planted at this place, announcing the building of a star tourist hotel by the Sinhala hotel group.
In many other places in the peninsula, camps and bases for the occupying military are built over razed-down cemeteries of the LTTE heroes. At Chaaddi, John Keells is doing the job, local people commented.
Besides John Keelles, many other groups from the south have also encroached the heritage lands at Chaaddi. The local people have no sea front now.
Snatching away the power of the nation of Eezham Tamils to develop their land in the way they like is what called ‘development’ and it is to this ‘development’ the diaspora is asked to ‘creatively’ collaborate by some in the West, said a social activist in Jaffna.
Meanwhile, The Netherlands embassy in Colombo that is funding the Army-Archaeology combination of Sri Lanka for the ‘tourism promotion’ of the Dutch fort in Jaffna is said to have proposed to extend its archaeological courtesy to Chaaddi also. Informed sources say that container-loads of tulips have gone from The Netherlands to grace a family occasion of Mahinda Rajapaksa recently.
Chaaddi in Kayts is not the only example. Similar situation prevails in the Kaarainakar Island and in the other islands.
Kaarainakar associations and individuals in the diaspora provide aid to improve water resources and to reclaim saline areas as agricultural lands in the island whenever they could spare money after spending on temple extravaganzas. But the SL Navy in Kaarainakar is planting mangrove in the island to ‘improve the environment’ for tourism or for the protection of its bases.
According to Sri Lanka Government Agent in Jaffna, Mrs. Imelda Sugumar, more than 350,000 ‘tourists’ come to Jaffna peninsula each month.
Apart from those who come from the south to see the ‘subjugated’ Jaffna, the number also includes the diaspora visitors.
Mrs. Sugumar said that the tourist hotels are needed for the visitors, but the coastal areas are getting polluted.
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