Priests blame SL military for desecration of Catholic ashram in Vasaavi'laan

[TamilNet, Monday, 30 March 2015, 23:35 GMT]
Catholic priests who inspected the 90 acres of released lands in Vasaavi'laan East (GS Division of J/244) in Valikaamam North, Jaffna, say that proper resettlement is not feasible without getting the remaining residential and agricultural lands released. The access road, cut off by the SL military should be restored, they said. The Roman Catholic school and the main church of the village are still occupied by the SL military. The first indigenous contemplative congregation (Ashram) of the Catholic Church in Asia, has been released. But, it is fully ruined. The entire building has been robbed of everything, except the walls, Catholics priests in Jaffna said. TamilNet publishes a short video of the first visit by a section of Catholic priests to the convent of the Rosarian Sisters (nuns) in Vasaavi'laan East.

More than 700 families were living in the village till 1990. While 260 families were prepared for immediate resettlement last week, only 22 families have received their lands.

The villagers complain that the main church and the school have been fenced off by the SL military. The famous Thoalakaddi farm is not released to the owners.

Rev Fr Bastiampillai Anthony Thomas (1886 - 1964) established the first Contemplative Congregation of the Rosarians in 1928 at Vasaavi'laan. The nuns convent for Rosarian Sisters was built in 1948. The Catholic community in Jaffna regard him as first Saint of Eezham Tamils.

The SL military has fully destroyed the convent. All the construction materials, except the walls, have been removed.

A villager who accompanied the Catholic priests told TamilNet that the place was beautifully maintained like “Singapore” and that it is heartbreaking to see the place at the present state.

In the meantime, Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Savundaranayagam, who met the visiting Sri Lankan Prime Minister, has told him that the people wanted the SL government to hand over the churches and other places of religious vernation after reconstructing them.

The Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council, in his address to the visiting leaders of the new regime in Colombo said: “Unless Grama Sevaka Divisions 244 and 252 are released in full as promised earlier, what has been gingerly granted today would hardly be of any use to the few families now selected to enter their erstwhile denied lands.”

The CM has urged the SL State to address the issue of Land and Property on well-established international principles and rights as outlined in the Pinheiro Principles on Housing and Property Restitution for Refugees and Displaced Persons, Geneva Conventions and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



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