Feature Article

Thiraayk-kea'ni struggles to survive as Tamil village in Ampaa'rai

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 August 2016, 22:16 GMT]
Thiraayk-kea'ni, a traditional Tamil village situated in Muslim-dominated Addaa'laich-cheanai division, is still struggling to come to terms with the past. 26 years have elapsed after the village faced a brutal massacre in which 52 Tamils were hacked to death at the temple grounds and a 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped and thrown into the fire. The poverty-stricken villagers, resettled there after four years have been deprived of proper resettlement and livelihood. They were even unable to commemorate the 26-year remembrance of the victims at the temple on 06 August this year.

An 82-year-old survivor, Rural Development Society (RDS) chairman, a trade unionist and a senior Tamil politician in Ampaa'rai, in a video interview to TamilNet this month cited a number of reasons: lack of proper livelihood; Colombo's discrimination; Tamil National Alliance missing political focus; and opportunistic exploitation by organised Muslims who attempt to buy Tamils out of their traditional villages as reasons for the continued disintegration of the few surviving Tamil villages in the Ampaa'rai district.

The RDS chairman in Thiraayk-kea'ni, S. Karthigesu, cited the lack of proper resettlement and livelihood as the main reason for continued disintegration of Thiraayk-kea'ni.

40 among the survivors of the massacre were women and the families with large number of children were struggling to revive their resettlement. The resettlement assistance was very limited, he said.

The attackers in civil, who stormed the village on 06 August while the SL military was watching, captured the Tamil men and brought them to Periya-thampiran temple (now known as Ka'n'naki-Amman temple) and hacked them to death. The attackers, who desecrated the temple, also used the sacred trident to hack the Tamil villagers.

The brutal massacre came after the news of four or five Muslim villagers had been hacked to death at Pa'l'lak-kaadu, says 82-year-old Nagalingam, a survivor of the massacre, who lost his two children. The Tamil villagers had nothing to do with the killing of the Muslims, the victims say.

The SL military was present everywhere and was instrumental in encouraging the Muslim mob to carry out the massacre.

Thiraayk-kea'ni was a peaceful and successful agricultural village with palm trees before the massacre. Now, almost all of the villagers are dependent on daily wage work, according to the RDS Chairman.

While the octogenarian survivor was blaming ‘backwardness’ among the Tamils as the reason for others buying lands from Tamils at low prices and as a result Tamils were losing the lands and temples, Chelliah Rasiah, a former chairman of Kaaraitheevu divisional council and a long-term grassroots politician was arguing that Tamils, especially those in the Tamil diaspora and the temple establishments having enough wealth to buy the lands and utilise it for proper livelihood of the few Tamil villages struggling to survive in the district.

Mr Rasiah was blaming the Tamil National Alliance for not addressing the issue of opportunistic land grab with the leadership among the Muslims. The TNA politicians have completely abandoned the interests of the Tamil villagers, he said.

S. Loganathan, the president of All Ceylon General Employees Union, who also hails from Ampaa'rai urged the non-governmental organisations among Tamils to focus on the plight of marginalised Tamil villagers in Ampaa'rai.

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