Feature Article

New Sinhala police station disturbs peace in resettled Vadamunai, Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 August 2017, 22:25 GMT]
Some normalcy returned to Vadamunai village situated 65 km northwest of Batticaloa city two years ago when the occupying Sinhala military vacated its military camp, which was situated at a building of the Irrigation Department, which was located on the left bank of Vadamunai tank. Resettled Tamil women were continuously harassed by the Sinhala soldiers stationed at the irrigation building whenever the women went to the tank for water and bathing needs. A few days ago, a Sinhala policemen have stationed at the locality, causing trauma and fear among the resettled villagers. The Tamil people living in the interior village of Batticaloa district, is a border village to Polonnaruwa district of North Central Province. The survivors from Vadamunai village, who witnessed one of the brutal massacres, Mayilanthanai massacre in 1992, only managed to resettled back during the times of the LTTE.

But, the villagers were again displaced in 2007 during the genocidal onslaught on LTTE administered interior north-western hinterland of Batticaloa district, which is also known as Paduvaan-karai.

Oottuch-cheanai and Vadamunai
The locality of Oottuch-cheanai and Vadamunai in Paduvaankarai region

Despite limited assistance for resettlement and the fear of Sinhalicisation targeting their village from Welikande situated 4 km northwest of the village, 272 uprooted Eezham Tamil families have managed to resettle in the village.

The SL Police maintains that it wants to control ‘illegal activities’ despite having a large police station 4 km away in Welikande. Even if SL police wants to establish its branch under Vaazhaichcheanai Police, it could have chosen a different place without causing fear psychosis among the people, social activists in Vadamunai say blaming the Colombo regime for targeting their village for Sinhala colonization.

Ooththuch-cheanai is the neighbouring Tamil village situated east of Vadamunai. 347 families have managed to resettle in Ooththuch-cheanai.

The Colombo government has been planning to seize Vadamunai-Ooththuchchenai villages since 1978.

Mahaweli, System L and B
‘Mahaweli Master plan’ currently targeting Mullaiththeevu, Batticaloa and Ampaa'rai through System L and System B [Image courtesy:mahaweli.gov.lk]
Now, the entire area is also targeted through SL President Maithiripala Sirisena’s ‘Mahaweli Ministry’ under the so-called ‘development’ cum Sinhala colonization scheme known as Mahaweli ‘System B’.

Both the villagers of Ooththuch-cheanai and Vadamunai are still haunted by the memories of genocidal Mayilanthanai massacre on 09th August in 1990.

Following a landmine attack in Jaffna on 08 August 1990, in which several SLA officers including Major General Denzil Kobbekaduwa were killed, a group of Sinhala soldiers stormed Mayilanthanai village, which is situated near Vadamunai in Batticaloa the following day. At least 21 Sinhala soldiers took part in the brutal massacre that claimed the lives of 35 Tamil civilians. A 12-month-old baby was among nine children and six elderly women. More than 50 villagers survived the massacre sustaining injuries. 24 of them were seriously injured.

Following Mayilanthanai massacre, majority of the people from the interior villages were uprooted and languished in displacement in Vaazhaich-cheanai until 2002 when a section of them resettled. They were again uprooted in 2007 following attacks by the occupying Sri Lanka Army and the ‘home guards’.

As usual, an eyewash investigation process was staged under the SL judiciary. All of the Sinhala soldiers were acquitted from the charges by the SL courts despite being identified by the villagers.

A Sinhala speaking Jury brought a unanimous verdict of not guilty on all charges in 2002. The Jury brought the same verdict a second time in the same year when the SL High Court Judge directed the jury to reconsider their verdict as the prosecution had led sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.

Apart from the massacre, several killings were carried out by the occupying Sinhala military and police during the times of war.

After the war, the area has been subjected to repeated attempts by extremist Sinhala monks and the occupying military. The SL military has also been blocking Community Based Organizations and local NGOs from assisting the resettling people, also after 2009.

The Sinhala police station, coming under Vaazhaichcheanai police, has come into being since 20 July, 2017.

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