Feature Article

'Sinister move' of Colombo disrupting Tamil contiguity at Kokku'laay - TNA MP

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 June 2008, 11:14 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government's cabinet decision on Thursday to bring Kokku'laay, the Tamil coastal village of Northern Province under the administration of the Sinhala dominated Padavi Sripura division of Eastern Province is a "sinister move, officialising the separation of the Tamil contiguity of the North and East," said Tamil parliamentarian Selvam Adaikkalanathan on Saturday. "The International Community, especially America, Britain and India, who often harp on the theory of development in the East, before reaching a political solution, should take a serious note of what they are actually abetting in Sri Lanka," he further said.

Selvam Adaikkalanathan
Selvam Adaikkalanathan [Library Photo]
According to the MP, the government's decision is a culmination of a process that started nearly half a century ago. Even though Padavi Sripura is a division in the Trincomalee district of the Eastern Province, its people and communication are linked to the Padaviya division of the Anuradhapura district of the North Central Province. "The inclusion of Kokku'laay with Padavi Sripura, even as a temporary measure, will eventually pave way for the demographic and physical de-linking of the Tamil contiguity of the Northern and Eastern provinces."

"If it was only a genuine concern of the government to provide administration to the people of Kokku'laay, and no sinister motives are involved, the government could have very well thought of bringing the village under the adjacent Tamil division, Kuchchave'li of the Eastern Province instead of the Sinhala division of Padavi Sripura."

"Is it also the wish of the new provincial administration of the East that Kokku'laay should join with the Sinhala division," questions the MP.

The MP further asked that if the merger of Northern and Eastern provinces were against the constitution of Sri Lanka, how could the merger of a part of the Northern province with the East be constitutional.

Sri Lankan Media Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa addressing a press briefing Thursday to announce the cabinet decisions said the cabinet had approved a recommendation by the Lankan Home Affairs Minister Karu Jayasuriya to transfer the administration of Kokku'laay to Padavi Sripura DS. Minister Yapa said this is a temporary arrangement because villagers in Kokku'laay have been undergoing untold hardships to fulfil their basic and essential needs because of the war situation now prevailing in Mullaiththeevu district. Until the situation in Mullaiththeevu comes to normal, Kokku'laay has been brought under the Padavi Sripura DS administration. It's only a temporary measure, he added.

Government Agents of Mullaiththeevu and Trincomalee have agreed for the temporary transfer of the Kokku'laay civil administration with immediate effect.

There was no Padavi Sripura village in the northern boundary of the Trincomalee district when the country gained independence. With the state aided colonization and irrigation schemes implemented by the Sinhala dominated successive governments Padavi Sripura and several new Sinhala settlements had been created and later a new Sinhala DS division in the name Padavi Sripura was carved out.

Kokku'laay is a traditional Tamil fishing hamlet. However, migrant Sinhala fishermen from Negombo and other coastal villages of the Western Province were officially encouraged to engage in fishing in this eastern coastal lagoon of Kokku'laay, which is famous for prawn. Since then the demography of the village has been changing slowly. Thus, Sinhalicisation of the region was carried out from both fronts, coastal as well as inland.

Kokku'laay and Thennaimaravadi are adjacent villages divided by the boundary of Northern and Eastern provinces. Thennairamavadi is already a deserted village after 1987 military operation. In this background, annexing Kokku'laay with the Sinhala division can completely erase the Tamil presence and Sinhalicise this stretegic coastal stretch of the Bay of Bengal.

The location of Kokku'laay village and lagoon. [Satellite map courtesy: Google Earth]
Karaithu'raippattu division in the Mullaiththeevu district of the Northern Province, Padavi Sri Pura and Kuchchave'li divisions in the Trincomalee district of the Eastern Province and Padavia division of the North Central Province.


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