SL Archaeology Dept steps up controversial construction work in Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 May 2019, 17:37 GMT]
The SL Archaeology Department, which had stopped the controversial construction of a building at the hill-top of Kanthasaami-malai in the strategically located ancient village of Thennai-maravadi at the provincial border between the North and East, has all of a sudden accelerated the building project hurriedly completing the building, violating the ban imposed by the Divisional Secretariat. Eezham Tamil residents, their Rural Development Society (RDS) and the trustee board of the 400-year-old Saiva Kanthasaami-temple, have complained on Monday and Wednesday this week. Thennai-maravadi was the seat of a Tamil Vanni chieftaincy until the Dutch times in the mid 17th century. The interior hamlet is situated in the narrow strategic corridor linking the Northern and Eastern provinces, 70 km north of Trincomalee city.

Thennai-maravadi, Kanthasaami-malai
Letter from three grassroots activists among the resettled Eezham Tamils at Thennai-maravadi village
Although those involved in the work had claimed that it was a building of the SL Archaeology Department, there was no official claim made by the department, civil sources told TamilNet.

In the meantime, Tamil residents who went to stage the temple feast in January 2019 were blocked from accessing the hill-top. The SL Archaeology Department had put a notice claiming it as a property coming under its domain.

After the people complained about this, Kuchchave'li Divisional Secretariat issued a ban against the construction of a building of unknown nature. Notices instructing the ban were put up in the building. Subsequently, the construction work had ceased.

However, for the past one week, unknown workers believed to be SL military personnel of the Civil Defence Force paramilitary from Sinhapura have been carrying out the construction almost completing the structure of the building.

The almost complete state construction of the building at Kanthaa-saami-malai, Thennai-maravadi
Construction of unknown building photographed in May 2019

Thennai-maravadi / Shivaratri
The controversial site of construction, photographed in March 2019 [TamilNet Library Photo]

Thennai-maravadi land
The place of construction photographed in December 2018 [TamilNet Library Photo]

Thennai-maravadi, Kanthasaami-malai
Letter from the trustee board of the Saiva temple
In the meantime, two Sinhala Theravada Buddhist monks from the nearby colonies of Sinha-pura and Arisi-malai are also scheming a Buddha vihara at Pa'nikkan-vayal junction. There was no Buddhist temple in their village in the past, and there has never been Sinhala Buddhists residing there, the Tamil residents have said in their letters.

Thennai-maravadi was the first Tamil village wholly displaced in the Trincomalee district following the SL state-sponsored Black July pogroms in 1983.

More than two hundred Tamil families were living in the village before they were entirely uprooted in 1984.

The Tamil people have started to resettle since 2010.

Three grassroots activists, V. Thambi Aiya, S. Kajendran and N Shanmugam, have urged all concerned to act to put an immediate end to the hostile projects.

The trustee board of Varasiththy Vinayagar temple and the Rural Development Society have also registered their complaints against the move.

Thennai-maravadi, Kanthasaami-malai
The first page of RDS letter
Thennai-maravadi, Kanthasaami-malai
The second page of RDS letter dated 29 May 2019

The location of Kokku'laay village and lagoon. [Satellite map courtesy: Google Earth]

Padavi Sri Pura demographic changes target Sinhalicisation of Thennai-maravadi and Pulmoaddai
Tamil village of Thennaimaravadi and Tamil-speaking Muslim villages in Pulmoaddai are being systematically targeted through demographic changes taking place through the bordering Padavi Sri Pura Sinhala division

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