Feature Article

After Naavat-kuzhi, Colombo targets Poonakari for Sinhala colonisation across Jaffna lagoon

[TamilNet, Friday, 03 July 2020, 19:28 GMT]
Strategically located Naavat-kuzhi in Jaffna peninsula and Poonakari across the Jaffna lagoon at the entrance to the peninsula in the mainland were systematically targeted for Sinhalicisation by occupying Colombo during the previous Rajapaksa regime. Politicians, including Rajapaksa family members, were directly involved in grabbing lands and farms in Poonakari. Sinhala colonists were brought to Naavat-kuzhi in Jaffna. The colonisation of Naavatkuzhi carried out clandestinely during the Rajapaksa rule gained “legal” status under the Sirisena-Wickramasinghe rule that followed. Sections of Sinhala nationalists who joined the US bandwagon, such as Patali Champika Ranawake, allocated lands and housing schemes to the colonists. They also completed a Buddhist stupa. Now, the Rajapaksa regime is back in business escalating the project into Poonakari, informed Tamil officials in Jaffna said.

Kearatheevu Changkuppiddi causeway

A secret move to identify 2,500 acres of lands along Kauthaari-munai and other areas of Poonakari (Pooneryn) is being schemed, the officials who didn’t wish to be named due to security reasons, said.

Two thousand five hundred acres of lands were being targeted for transformation into state-lands to be handed over to 250 families, at one-acre per family. Sinhala families from the South are also going to be among the beneficiaries, the officials said.

A team of five persons are involved in the Colombo-based move. Former Ki'linochchi District Secretary Suntharam Arumainayakam is a prominent member of this team, the officials said. Some officials in Jaffna have declined to take part.

SLFP politician Angkayan Ramanathan who collaborates with the Rajapaksa regime is also involved in the move, the officials said. Ramanathan has however not revealed any details of Sinhala colonisation.

The SL Forest Conservation Department has seized vast tracts of lands that belonged to private people. These lands are going to be alienated to create a Sinhalicised urban colony in the long run at Poonakari.

The scheme also includes areas where Tamils are already engaged in cultivation, according to the informed officials. There have been reports of Tamil landowners protesting against SL Forest Department officials who were claiming the lands as coming under the domain of their department.

SL Archaeology Department is also planning to enter the area in an attempt to depict the ancient Tamil heritage artefacts found in the area as belonging to “Sinhala Buddhist heritage,” the officials further said.

The Eezham Tamil legacy of Poo-nakari (meaning the town of flowers) and the region around it is of much antiquity going back to the times of proto-history and Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.

Subramaniyam Baskaran, an independent journalist from the region, when contacted by TamilNet, said the SL Forest conservation department and the Fisheries and the SL Department of Fisheries & Aquatic Resources, as well as influential politicians in Colombo, were involved in robbing the resources of Tamils.

More than 115 Tamil families are residing in Kauthaari-munai area, he said. The people lack the necessary facilities. There were also cases of traders from South buying lands from poverty-stricken Tamils.

The journalist said the people were generally opposed to the so-called “development,” which is used as the official explanation to accomplish the scheme.

The SL authorities were targeting Ponnaa-ve'li agricultural tract in addition to the coastal stretches of Kauthaari-munai and Ma'n'nith-thalai, Mr Baskaran said.

Poonakari, KKS & Palaali
[Satellite Image Courtesy: NASA, Visible Earth. Details & Legend: TamilNet]

Kauthaari-munai and the borders of LTTE and SL military controlled areas in 2008

Ma'n'niththalai sand dunes
The Ma'n'niththalai sandbar showing sand deposited by the Southwest Wind. This sand largely comes from disintegrated coral of Adams Bridge reef and is white in colour. [Satellite Image Courtesy: Google Earth]

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