Feature Article

Kokku'laay-centric united action needed to counter Colombo wedging North-East

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 June 2019, 20:36 GMT]
The resettled Tamil residents of the strategic Thennai-maravadi village bordering the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the Trincomalee district are facing Sinhala colonisation and Sinhala Buddhicisation of Tamil heritage sites on two fronts, at Pa'nikka-vayal to its west and at Kanthasaami-malai, which extends eastwards into Kokku'laay lagoon. The Sinhala colonisation and the Buddhicisation of Tamil heritage site of Kanthasaami-malai are being accelerated under the Emergency Regulations and the situation prevailing after the Easter Sunday attacks that have triggered the extremist monks to escalate their chauvinistic schemes in the occupied country of Eezham Tamils. The two-pronged attack, which is being stepped up in the recent days, is part of a larger design of permanently wedging the territorial contiguity of the Tamil homeland along the narrow border between the North and the East.

Sinhala colonists from the nearby colony of Sinhapura (meaning the town of the Lion) located to the west of the village are occupying the farmlands of Eezham Tamils at Pa'nikka-vayal since 2011.

Recently, a Buddhist monk has started to set up a Buddhist temple at the main Pa'nikka-vayal junction in Thennai-maravadi.

Thennai-maravadi, Sinhalicisation & Buddhicisation
Sinhalicisation and Theravada Buddhicisation targets Thennia-maravadi and the border between the North and East. The intention is to wedge the territorial contiguity of the homeland of Eezham Tamils [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth, Legend by TamilNet]

When the residents contacted their civic councillors and met the SL Government Agent (District Secretary) N.A.A.Pushpakumara, a Sinhalese, he revealed that the four-acre land located near the junction which belonged to a Tamil civilian who perished in the war had now become the property of the SL State.

It was the Provincial Land Commissioner, D.D. Anura Dharmadhasa, also a Sinhalese, who had instructed him to hand over that land for the construction of a ‘Pansala’ (Buddhist temple), the Sinhala SL GA told the Tamil delegation.

Chandirarajah Vipooshan, a member of Trincomalee Town and Gravats Predesiya Saba, who led the delegation, said the response of the Government Agent, who must serve the interests of the residents without prejudice was rather hostile.

Furthermore, Mr Pushpakumara responded that the issue of Kanthasaami-malai was not under his domain and that the area was under the purview of the SL Archaeology Department.


If there are ancient ruins, the area must be preserved without any new construction. The new construction of an unspecified building has taken place violating the instruction of the elected Civic Council, and the Tamil people interpret the move as the construction of a Buddhist temple at their heritage site, where a temple of their village deity once stood.

The building project is now accelerated using the prevailing Emergency after the Easter Sunday attacks, said K. Shanmuganathan, the chairperson of Thennai-maravadi Farmers’ Organisation. He characterised the colonists occupying the farmlands as Sinhala chauvinists.

Thennai-maravadi buiding
The almost complete state construction of the building at Kanthaa-saami-malai, Thennai-maravadi.

Pa'nikkan-vayal junction
Pa'nikkan-vayal junction
Pa'nikkan-vayal junction
Pa'nikkan-vayal junction where a 4-acre land plot is allocated for the construction of a Buddhist temple
The land-grab at Pa'nikka-vayal is a major Sinhala occupation at the extent of 3,000 acres. The lands belong to several Tamil landowners.

“While we claim ownership to the lands, the Sinhala colonists from Sinhapura also claim it as their lands. They are also doing cultivation in the grounds of the Pa'nikkan-ku'lam tank. A new road has been put up towards Mullaith-theevu border across these lands. Moreover, the dispute has given rise to a question on the exact border of Thennai-maravadi village with Sinhapura,” Mr Shanmuganathan told TamilNet.

The Divisional Secretariat is dragging its feet in determining the exact border, he further said.

The occupying colonists from Sinhapura, with their paramilitary background, have been violently opposing the Tamils from engaging in agriculture in Pa'nikkan-vayal since 2011.

Thennai-maravadi is an ancient Tamil village strategically located between the north and the east provincial borders in the northern Trincomalee.

Thennaimaravadi was the seat of a Tamil Vanni chieftaincy until the Dutch times. The Thennaimaravadi chieftain was appointed and conferred with his title by the administration of Jaffna Patnam.

The traditional Tamil village was the scene of intense pogroms against the local population in 1958, 1977 and in 1983, and Sinhala colonization activities in 1984 conducted by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in a planned attempt to drive a wedge in the contiguity of the Tamil demography of the North and East.

The village has been the scene of intense militarisation by the occupying Sri Lanka Army since 1984 when the Tamil villagers were uprooted in their entirety.

Around 260 families were forced to flee their village fearing mob violence from the occupying Sinhala military and its ‘home-guards’ paramilitary in December 1984.

After the British left the island in 1948, several new Sinhala settlements, Padavi Sripura, Sri Tissapura, Samanpura, Gemunupura and Sinhapura, were established near Thennai-maravadi.

The colony named Sinhapura is located to the west of Thennai-maravadi.

The occupying Sinhala military was recruiting its paramilitary members from the Sinhala settler families or brought newly hired members from the South and settled them in Sinhapura facilitating housing schemes through the SL State to assist it. The paramilitary was known as the ‘home-guards’.

Out of the 260 uprooted Eezham Tamil families, only around 150 returned to their village after 26 years of displacement in 2010, a year after surviving the genocidal onslaught in 2009. Some of the surviving families continue to reside in Pon-nakar in Mu'l'liya-va'lai of Mullaith-theevu district in the Northern province.

Thennai-maravadi, Kanthasaami-malai
The board put up by the SL Archaeology Department at Kanthasaami-malai
Sinhalicisation and Theravada Buddhicisation targets Kokku'laay
Sinhalicisation and Theravada Buddhicisation targets Kokku'laay and the border between the North and East. The intention is to wedge the territorial contiguity of the homeland of Eezham Tamils [Satellite image courtesy: Google Earth, Legend by TamilNet]

* * *

In a video interview to TamilNet in July 2017, former Village Officer (GS) Abdul Salam narrated how the land grab in Pulmoaddai has been systematically stepped up and jointly waged by SL ministries, departments, Sinhala Army, Navy, STF commandos, Buddhist monks, ‘home guards’ paramilitary and the encroachers from bordering divisions of Trincomalee and Anurahapura since 2010. The interview is reproduced below:

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