2ND LEAD (Update)

Monks object alienation of public lands to Tamils in border village of Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Sunday, 25 March 2018, 21:11 GMT]
A Sinhala Buddhist extremist monk has been threatening the civil officials in Poaaratheevup-pattu (Vellaa-ve'li) division of Batticaloa district against alienation of public lands to 15 poverty-stricken and war-affected Tamil families at Maalaiyar-kaddu village, located close to the border with the Uhana division of Ampaa'rai district. The threat initiated by the monk has been escalating into pressure from the authorities of the occupying Colombo, informed sources at the District Secretariat told TamilNet. Maalaiyar-kaddu is a remote Tamil village located 55 km southwest of Batticaloa city. The intruding monk and Sinhala colonists have built a Buddhist temple at Chinna-vaththai, a GS division to the north of Malaiyar-kaddu, at the lands that belonged to Irrigation Department.

Currently, there are 22 Sinhalese belonging to 9 families in the GS division of Maalaiyar-kaddu. The SL State has provided housing to all of them. There are 620 Tamils belonging to 173 families living in the division.

The latest move to allocate 10 to 20 perches of lands per family to around 15 Tamil families came after the war-affected Tamils were selected as recipients of a housing-scheme from the ‘National Housing Development Authority’.

It was the people of the village who initially identified a plot of land measuring around 3 acres for the housing scheme.

The officials at the Divisional Secretariat of Poaraatheevup-pattu reviewed the proposal on 03 March and informed the NHDA officials and the clearing of the plot was to commence on 07 March.

As soon as the work began, the extremist monk intervened and threatened the workers. He demanded a meeting with the Divisional Secretary Ms S.R. Rahulanayaki.

As a result of the threat coming from the extremist monk, the Divisional Secretary has temporarily suspended the project, the civil sources further said.

The monk was planning to construct a school at the lands that have been identified for the housing scheme by the civil authorities.

In the meantime, affected Tamil villagers have demanded TNA Parliamentarians Pakkiyaselvam Ariyanethiran and Seeniththamby Yogeswaran to secure the needed land for their housing scheme in the village.

The matter would be taken up in the forthcoming development committee meeting, political sources in Batticaloa said.

DS Secretary Ms Rahulanayaki was previously in charge of Koara'laip-pattu North (Vaakarai) division. Powerful politicians who were opposed to Eezham Tamils managed to transfer her away from Vaakarai following her stand on land issues.

The well-known extremist monk from Batticaloa city, Ampitiye Sumanarathna thero, who played a role in the recent anti-Muslim pogrom is also behind the Buddhist monk in Chinna-vaththai.

There are 195 Sinhala settlers belonging to 45 families in Chinna-vaththai GS division, which is also home to 1,185 Tamils of 347 Tamil families. The disputed land at Maalaiyar-kaddu is located 750 meters south of the Buddhist temple.

The monk from Batticaloa city is planning to take the monk from Chinna-vaththai to Colombo and demand the SL authorities to transfer the DS Secretary away from Vellaa-ve'li, the sources further said.

Following the involvement of Ampitiye Sumanarathna thero, Eastern Governor, CID officers and even Sinhala officials from the SL Presidential Secretariat have also started to harass the officials at the District Secretariat and the Divisional Secretariat, the sources further said.


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