Feature Article
2ND LEAD (Adds photos)

Colombo schemes Sinhala-Buddhicisation of Tamil heritage site in Vavuniyaa North

[TamilNet, Sunday, 19 August 2018, 21:33 GMT]
The occupying unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka has prohibited Eezham Tamils at Oldu-madu village in Vavuniyaa North from accessing 157-meter-high hill called Vedukku-naa'ri. The issue became a hot topic on 10 August, a day before the annual religious ritual of Aadi Amaavaasai (the new moon of the Tamil month July-August) observed in remembrance of the ancestors by the Saivites (Hindus). The SL Police blocked the Poosaari (non-Brahmin priest) of the village-deity, based on a complaint made by the SL Archaeology Department on 07 August. The SL Police has instructed Poosari and the villagers to keep away from the hilltop. Only after the repeated pleas, they were allowed to access their temple once on 11 August. Now, they have to face heritage genocide on their own, V. Poobalasingam, a grassroots leader in Olu-madu told TamilNet.

Vedukku-naa'ri




The current government in Colombo is violating the heritage rights of the Tamil people, he says, characterising the discrimination as a severe human rights violation.

“So far, we have been preserving the Vedukku-naa'ri Hill, which we regard as our ancestral heritage. Where has the Archaeology Department been all this time?,” asks Mr Poobalasingam in a video comment to TamilNet.

The hill of Vedukku-naa'ri is located in a jungle area 2 km close to Olu-madu village.

Ancient Tamil villages, Pan-ku'lam and Naavaladi, are also located very close to the hill, but mostly abandoned since the late 1940s.

However, the people from Olu-madu have continuously maintained their connection to Vedukku-naa'ri hill.

Vedukku-naa'ri


There are remains of ancient tanks and other constructions at the foothills of Vedukku-naa'ri.

Rock inscriptions connected to Tamil-Brahmi script is also preserved at least in two places in the hill, one 3 meters above the ground level and the other 30 meters above. The inscription at the highest elevation is somewhat fragmentary.

Video recording of the inscription text found at 3 meters height follows:



The inscriptions mentioning offerings/donations made to a Sangha, look similar to other inscriptions found throughout the island in the past.

“The SL State is not giving up even after pushing us into Mu'l'livaaykkaal. The right to live was denied [by the SL State]. The SL Forest Department was blocking us from clearing our lands during our resettlement after the war. Our temples were destroyed. Our religious freedom is gone. We are prevented from entering our properties, which are occupied under the so-called High-Security Zones and by the Mahaweli authority. Now, we are unable to protect our 2000 and 3000 years old site of heritage and cultural asset of our ancestors,” Mr Poobalasingam said.

Vedukku-naa'ri


The Tamil people in the area worship God Siva as their village-deity since times immemorial with seasonal rituals such as ‘madai’ and ‘anna-thaanam’ at the foothills.

Apart from the remains of ancient caves and a reservoir, there are also old structures that look like bunkers of a hill-based fortress at the foothill of the village.

The native people believe the hilltop was a place of the Tamil kings in the ancient times.

Vedukku-naa'ri


Vedukku-naa'ri
There is no pathway to get to the top of the hilltop across its three-layers. People use to climb to the elevation with the support of the cords of the outgrown plants.

The SL Archaeology department has been visiting the area after the Sinhala Village Officer had informed them, the villagers complain.

Tamil villagers allege that the move by the Colombo government to appointed a Sinhala GS to the Tamil area was part the of its scheme to preparing the villages for future Sinhala colonisation.

The allegations gain credibility as the SL State is intensifying Sinhala colonisation along the border of Vavuniyaa North.

Vedukku-naa'ri


During the final phase of the genocidal war, there were no civilians to access the temple, particularly between 2007 and 2009.

After 2009, when the people started to resettle, they witnessed the destruction of the Siva temple.

Later, when the Rajapaksa regime in Colombo was planning to level the grounds at the locality, they mobilised against the move to protect the site of ancient of heritage.

At that time, a construction firm from the South had exploited another hilltop, which was known as Vaa-veddi-malai in Oddi-chuddaan and the people in Olu-madu feared similar destruction to their heritage-site of Vedukku-naa'ri.

Vedukku-naa'ri


The Tamil villagers placed a new statue of God Siva and Pi'l'liyaar at the locality on 05 December 2017 and commenced poojas on Fridays as well as continuing the custom of marking Aadi-amaavaasai and Sivaratri at the location.

They also sought the help of the Northern Provincial Council, which visited the hill on 15 February 2018, and compiled a report.

The latest trauma experienced by the Tamil villagers had escalated as the Poosaari speculated difficult times ahead after conducting ‘floral astrology’ on 11 August when they were allowed to observe Aadi-amaavaasai at the locality.

Vedukku-naa'ri
Vedukku-naa'ri


Chronology:

 

Latest 15 Reports
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=79&artid=39164