Sinhala settlers occupy Uyanthapadu beach in Trinco
[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 March 2003, 12:43 GMT]
An appeal has been made to the Hindu Affairs Ministry and Local Government Ministry of the United National Front (UNF) to take immediate steps to relocate Sinhala fishermen who settled illegally in the Uthayanpadu beach of the Back Bay sea in Trincomalee to their own homes in the outskirts of Trincomalee and to declare the beach a sacred area where Hindu temples in the east port town have been conducting their annual festivals and other religious rites for centuries, sources said.
Temple festival devotees struggle through the illegal village on the way to the shore
The Uyanthapadu beach, which is also called "Theertha Kadatkarai", located in the Back Bay sea of Trincomalee had been used by traditional Tamil fishermen to beach their fishing crafts till 1990. The Uyanthapadu beach
has also been named as 'Theertha Kadatkarai' for more than several centuries because it is used by several Hindu temples for their annual water cutting ceremonies (Theertha festival) and other religious rites, sources said.
Sinhala fishermen who were displaced from their houses in the outskirts of Trincomalee town following the arrival of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in 1987 were first given temporary accommodation
inside the Fort Frederick by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA).
When the IPKF withdrew from the northeast in 1990, the displaced Sinhala families were allowed temporarily to occupy the Uyanthapadu Kadatkarai until they were resettled
in their own lands in the outskirts.
Click on the map for a larger version
However, the Sinhala settlers have constructed permanent houses without permission from the local government
authorities and named their settlement 'Samudragama' depriving Tamil fishermen of their traditional beach. At the same time they maintain their own land and houses in the outskirts where they lived upto 1987. The Sinhala settlers now refuse to leave the Uyanthapadu beach, sources said.
The Trincomalee district branch of the All Ceylon Tamil Congress in its memorandum said that at present encroachers occupy the Uyanthapadu sea beach obstructing traditional Tamil fishermen to carryout fishing and cause
interruption to the holding of centuries old Theertham festival by Hindu temples in the east port town, sources said.
The All Ceylon Tamil Congress is a constituent of the Tamil National Alliance.
Once in twelve years chief deities of all Hindu temples in the east port town will assemble at Theertha Kadatkarai on the day of Masi Mahamagam for a holy dip in the sea, religious sources said.
Hindu temples also find very difficult to hold their annual water-cutting ceremonies in the Uyanthapadu Theertha Kadatkarai, as there is no proper roadway to take deities to the shore to hold religious rites, sources said.
The ACTC, Trincomalee district branch has informed its President and Jaffna district parliamentarian Mr.A.Vinayagamoorthy to take up this matter with
the UNF government.
Illegal sinhala village settlement in Uyanthapadu beach
Deity of Trinco Amman temple is being taken to
Uyanthapadu theertha kadatkarai with great difficulties through the sinhala settlement