Displaced villagers struggle to revive Thennamaravadi

[TamilNet, Sunday, 04 May 2003, 11:58 GMT]
A group of displaced Thennamaravadi villagers trekked through jungles Saturday morning to visit their abandoned traditional Tamil village about seventy two km north of Trincomalee district and reported that the entire village had been destroyed and remnants of all civilian homes, school buildings and Pilliayar temple are overgrown with shrub jungles, sources said.

Manal Aru
Thennamaravadi (click for a larger map)
Another group of parliamentarians, representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO), government officials and media persons could not make their planned trip as the access road to Thennamaravadi has been made impassable by vehicles due to neglect and the shrub growth.

Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians Mr.R.Sampanthan and Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham, LTTE Trincomalee district political head Mr.S.Thilak, TRO group led by its co-ordinator Mr.K.Mathavarajah and Kuchchaveli Divisional Secretary Mr.K.S.Jeyachchandra later discussed with a group of displaced Thennamaravadi villagers about the rehabilitation and resettlement of the village. They were of the view that clearing work of the main road to the village should be done enabling displaced families to return to their village. Before resettlement takes place preliminary arrangement should be made to clearing abandon paddy lands ready for rain-fed paddy cultivation for this year Maha season, sources said.


Thennamaravadi
Paraiankulam anicut that irrigated paddy fields in Thennamaravadi village before 1984 Parliamentarians Sampanthan, Thurairetnasigham and LTTE district political head Mr.Thilak with irrigation and other government officials inspect the Paraiankulam anicut breach


In the meantime government officials concerned, parliamentarians, LTTE and TRO officials visited the breached Paraiyankulam anicut that earlier irrigated the Thennamaravadi fields before the displacement. They were of the view that breached anicut should be reconstructed before the commencement of the rainy season enabling farmers to obtain water for their rain-fed cultivation when the monsoon rain fails at the later stage. They also felt that the resettlement of displaced families in Thennamaravadi should take place after paddy fields are sown for Maha season, sources said.

Parliamentarian Mr.Sampanthan said the government should take immediate steps to rehabilitate the village Thennamaravadi and to resettle the displaced families who are languishing in camps and welfare centres in Mullaitivu for about two decades. He said he would be taking up this issue with appropriate authorities shortly. Normalcy should return to the lives of the displaced families without any delay, he added.

Thennamaravadi, located strategically between the north and eastern province borders was the scene of intense colonization activity in 1984 by the SriLanka Army (SLA) in a planned attempt to drive a wedge in the contiguity of Tamil presence across the provincial borders.

Thennamaravadi was the first Tamil village completely displaced in the Trincomalee district following the 1983 July pogrom. At that time more than two hundred Tamil families were living in the village, divisional secretariat sources said.

Several new Sinhala settlements, Padavi Siripura, Sri Tissapura, Samanpura, Gemunupura and Sinhapura, were established in state lands in the north of Trincomalee district close to Thennamaravadi village thus making the Tamil population a minority in the area, sources said.

Hundreds of families fled when soldiers of the Sinhala dominated Sri Lanka Army assisted by Sinhala home guards entered into Thennamaravadi on 1st December 1984, from the nearby Sinhapura, one of the new Sinhala settlements which is located close to the Thennamaravadi village under the state aided colonization scheme after the country gained independence, sources said.

The first day of the attack on 01.12.1984 five Tamil villagers were shot dead by army soldiers and home guards. Immediately rest of the village fled into the jungles to save their lives. When they returned to their homes soldiers had rounded them and shot them. Altogether at least thirteen Tamil villagers were shot dead by the army and home guards. On December 4 hundreds of families who fled to the jungle second time had started their journey with available belongings leaving their cattle and other valuable articles in their homes towards Mullaitivu district. First they reached Akkaraiveli, Kottakerni Pilliayar Kovil, Kokuthoduvai and finally arrived Mulliwalai where they put up huts and named it “Ponnagar”. Even now Thennamaravadi displaced families live at “ Ponnagar” in Mulliyawallai awaiting the day of resettlement in their own village, displaced Tamil sources recalled.

Thennamaravadi
Road turning towards Thennamaravadi village from Kokulai lagoon

Thennamaravadi
Thennamaravaddi paddy fields

 

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