Colonisation sparks communal passions
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Communal passions flared up when encroachment on state land in Trincomalee was discussed during the Trincomalee District Coordinating Committee meeting at the Trincomalee District Secretariat last morning, said sources at this eastern seaport town.
The meeting which was discussing security measures in the District was told by S. K. D. Chandradasa, Government Agent (GA), Trincomalee, that illicit encroachment on state land should stop forthwith.
T. Sampanthan, Member of Parliament (Tamil United Liberation Front - Trincomalee District), said he had brought the matter to the notice of Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga.
Unconfirmed reports say that intervention by senior government officials had prompted the GA to take a firm stand on the matter yesterday.
Mr. Sampanthan said that the Kappalthurai and Vilankulam areas, on the road from Trincomalee to Monkey Bridge ('Kurankup Paalam'), 12 km from Trincomalee, were being cleared by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) citing security reasons, but settled with Sinhalese civilians.
"We cannot be fooled by the army on this matter," said Mr. Sampathan.
Dayananda Jayaweera, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) party organiser for the Trincomalee District said that Tamils were being resettled in every part of the District, but there was opposition to Sinhalese being settled in the Kappalthurai area.
He cited resettlement of Tamils in areas like Aananthanakar and Niththiyapuri in the District as examples. He said that the settlements at Kappalthurai and Vilankulam were actually a resettlement of the 38 Sinhalese families which had once lived there, but had been displaced.
His words were acclaimed with cheering by M. Kodipilli, Chairman for the Trincomalee and the Gravats Pradeshiya Sabha.
This led to P. Suriyamoorthy, Chairman of the Trincomalee Urban Council to protest that the land at Ananthanakar and Niththiyapuri was not state land, but private land which had been donated by benefactors for the Trincomalee university project.
Since the project had been abandoned these lands were being used for resettling displaced persons. He said that here too Tamils were settled only to stop unscrupulous elements settling Sinhalese in the area.
The District Coordinating Committee meeting is held every month to discuss matters pertaining to security as well as issues on development and general welfare.
It is attended by MPs of the District, chairpersons of local bodies, regional chiefs of the security forces and police, and heads of government departments functioning in the district.
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