Sinhala settlements in Batticaloa Tamil villages
[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 March 2003, 16:22 GMT]
Tamil people from Mayilankarachchi and Thiyavaddavan, near Ottamavadi in the Batticaloa district, who lost their belongings and their lands in past riots between Muslims and Tamils, have complained of attempts to create Sinhalese settlements in their village, and the construction of a Buddhist temple (Vihare) while they were displaced.
The displaced people temporarily found refuge in the LTTE-controlled Vakarai area and some Tamil villages in Valaichenai. In the current environment of ceasefire and improved Muslim-Tamil relations, the people are slowly resettling in their own lands. But there has been no attempt by the government to provide the basic needs of the people in these areas. No work on road maintenance, reconstructing the playgrounds, reconstructing the destroyed public buildings, etc. is taking place, the people told TamilNet.
However, when the Tamil people were displaced, the Sri Lankan military and extremist elements among have attempted to create Sinhalese settlements in the Tamil people’s lands, and have constructed a Buddhist temple (Vihare), the displaced people said. Strongly opposing such actions to change the Tamil and Hindu character of their villages, the people said that the Vihare should be removed.
The villagers complained that no Hindu organization, including the association of Batticaloa district Hindu temples, has taken any action on this. They say that the Minister of Hindu Cultural affairs and the senior officers of the Ministry should take up the issue with the authorities and ensure that this attempt to convert Tamil villages into Sinhalese Buddhist settlements does not succeed.