Tamil-speaking Veddahs confront large-scale land grab in southeast Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 September 2019, 20:49 GMT]
The settlement pattern of the Tamil-speaking aborigines, who were looking after their own administrative affairs in the southeastern sector of Trincomalee district has been severely disturbed after 2010, says Nadarajah Kanagaratnam, the chairperson of Kuveani community organisation from the village of Nalloor. The villages of Veddahs are now riddled with various demographic changes carried out by the Sinhala-dominated SL State and the encroaching settlements facilitated by a section of the Muslim politicians in the East. The latest land grab was carried out by MLAM Hizbullah, the former SL Governor to East. After the controversial politician was forced to resign from the portfolio, the aboriginal people entered back into their lands in the hope of regaining them. However, a group of settlers from the nearby Thoappoor village have started to threaten the indigenous people in August 2019.

Land document issued by the British rulers in 1818 at Malai-munthal in Koddiyaarap-pattu, Trincomale
Land document issued by the British rulers in 1818 at Malai-munthal in Koddiyaarap-pattu, Trincomale
Land document issued by the British rulers in 1818 at Malai-munthal in Koddiyaarap-pattu, Trincomalee
The 97 acres of lands appropriated in Nalloor and Uppoo'ral by Mr Hizbullah were intended for the ownership of an organisation, those who came from Thoappoor had threatened the Veddahs.

Although the Divisional Secretary of Moothoor Division agreed in principle that the lands belonged to the indigenous people, he is yet to take any action.

The SL Police is still backing the claims of the encroachers.

The Veddahs from Paalaik-kaddai-madu, Koapaala-paddinam, Pinaadduk-kal, Malai-munthal, Ventha-kaaddu-veddai, Maavadi-oottu, Nalloor and Uppoo'ral are confronting the systematic threat of colonisation.

While the Sinhala politicians are trying to make demographic changes through departments and authorities of the occupying unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka, a section of Muslim politicians were causing communal disharmony by deploying large-scale settlement schemes.

The indigenous people have land deeds which were issued in 1918, 1935 and 1950.

The documents date back to the times of British rule when 89 families received their first land documents, Mr Kanagaratnam said.

Except for the internal displacement during the times of war, the aborigines were mostly able to look after their administrative affairs between 1935 and 2010, he further said.

The Veddahs are also deprived of fishing and agriculture-based livelihood in their area.

The Tamil-speaking aboriginal people are facing annihilation as a community since 2009 when the SL State destroyed the de-facto state of Tamil Eelam.

The genocidal war, waged against the nation of Eezham Tamils, was abetted by the regional and international powers, which were locked in the race for geopolitical access to the island in the Indian Ocean. One of their ambitions was securing naval entrance to Trincomalee harbour.

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