Sinhala Buddhicisation stepped up in Kumpu’rup-piddi of Trincomalee North

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 January 2018, 22:48 GMT]
The Divisional Secretary of Kuchcahve’li administrative division in the North of Trincomalee district has come under pressure—direct harassment as an informed civil source described it—from the SL Presidential Secretariat in Colombo this week. The harassment is meted out on Mr P Thaneswaran after he had questioned the legality of intruding Sinhala Buddhist monks, who fenced off a public bareland at Kumpu’rup-piddi East on 02 January. Kumpu’rup-piddi, a traditional coastal Tamil village with findings of pre-Christian pottery sites, probably from protohistoric period, has been subjected to systematic Sinhala Buddhicisation as well as corporate exploitation by the occupying Sinhala State, especially after the genocidal war on Vanni in 2009.

Kokku'laay to Trincomalee

The Eastern coast from Kokku’laay to Trincomalee [Satellite Image courtesy: Google Earth. Legend by TamilNet]

 

Raigam

The “Kingdom of Raigam” has full control over the lagoon and the environs of 1,800 acres north of Kumpu’rup-piddi for its saltern plant

Jungle Beach Resort

Jungle Beach Resort [Image courtesy: ugaescapes.com]

Kumpu’rup-piddi (Kumburuppiddy) is located 22 km north of Trincomale city along the Trinco-Pulmoaddai highway, between Chalappai-aa’ru and I’rakka’ndi bridges.

A corporate outfit from the South, “The Kingdom of Raigam” has seized at least 1,800 acres of lands at Periya-karachchi near Kumpu’rup-piddi to ‘develop’ the largest saltern in the island at Kuchchave’li. Although the ‘development’ is claimed to be eco-friendly and infrastructure-development of the area, the entire project is Sinhalicisation, the people in the area complain. The corporate outfit has invested 500 million rupees into the project.

The SL State, under Rajapaksa regime, took up the old Sinhalicisation agenda of Kuchchave’li “Tourism Development Zone” in 2012.

Apart from the land grab by the SL Navy and the corporate land grab of Raigam, another corporate outfit with close links with former regime, launched “Jungle Beach Resort” claiming it as a eco-holiday resort in 2013.

Switzerland-based Society for Threatened People (STP) published a report in February 2015 identifying the corporate and so-called eco-tourism-oriented land grab by the SL State as going against the interests of the local (Tamil) communities.

“It [The Jungle Beach Resort] claims to be eco-friendly, but it is certainly not people friendly. The local community not only hardly benefit at all from this resort but it was also built on their land,” said an article that appeared in groundviews.org website introducing the above STP publication. The local community not only hardly benefit from this resort, but it was also built on their land, the article further observed.

However, the STP was also adopting an ‘orientalist’ perspective of reducing the nation of Eezham Tamils as an “ethnic minority” in their own country. Kumpu’rup-piddi has been a Tamil area in its entirety.

Perhaps, the STP was also trying to orchestrate along the agenda-centric outfits such as the International Crisis Group (ICG), Tamil activists in Trincomalee commented.

Jungle Beach Resort

Jungle Beach Resort [Image courtesy: ugaescapes.com]

The “Jungle Beach Resort”, built in 2013 at Kumpu’rup-piddi is owned by Uga Escapes Pvt Ltd, which is owned by one of the corporate conglomerate from the South, the Finco Group.

Jungle Beach Resort

Uga Escapes claims it has invested Rs. 850 million into the resort at Periya-karaichchi. The land for “Jungle Beach” has been taken under a 99-year lease from the Rajapaksa government. The lands seized by the Colombo government and leased out to the corporate outfit belonged to uprooted Tamil farmers and fishermen of the Tamil village.

Jungle Beach Resort

Jungle Beach Resort [Image courtesy: ugaescapes.com]

 

Location of Pulmoaddai, Thiriyaay, Pudavaik-kaddu and Kuchchave'li

Location of Pulmoaddai, Thiriyaay, Pudavaik-kaddu and Kuchchave’li [Satellite Image courtesy: Google Earth. Legend by TamilNet]

Kuchchave'li

Landscape of Kuchchave’li. A Sanskrit inscription of 4th century CE is found in the rocks seen at the coast. [Satellite Image courtesy: Google Earth. Legend by TamilNet]

Now, the Buddhist monks from South have joined the Sinhalicisation project with the backing of Maithiripala Sirisena.

A similar attempt to install a Buddha statue was blocked by the DS officer last year. But, this time, the SL Presidential Secretariat seems to have been annoyed by his intervention.

The ancient archaeological site at the nearby Thiriyaay with Buddhist traces belonged to Mahayana Buddhism, a heritage which was largely shared by Eezham Tamils in the past. A rock at Kuchchave’li coast still bears a Sanskrit inscription of Mahayana faith. The Theravada Buddhist Sanghas of Sinhala monks are now claiming that these were exclusive to the Sinhalese.

Hundreds of Sinhala monks are roaming around the jungle area in Kumpu’rup-piddi, Tamil villagers say.

It is under these circumstances the Secretariat of the SL President has asked the Divisional Secretary not to intervene in the affairs of the Buddhist monks and to keep a low profile on the matter. The secretariat would be otherwise forced to conduct a ‘disciplinary investigations’, Mr Thaneswaran has been warned.

In the meantime, Sinhala seasonal fishermen from the South have also been occupying the livelihood of Tamil fishermen in the area.

Kuchchave'li Divisional Secretary P. Thaneswaran

Kuchchave’li Divisional Secretary P. Thaneswaran

The intruding monks have also hoisted Buddhist flags and are preparing to lay the foundation stone for a Vihara establishment on 31st January at the locality, the people further said.

Despite repeated complaints to Tamil National Alliance and R. Sampanthan, the opposition leader, there is no action forthcoming from the TNA, they said.

Mr Thaneswaran is serving as the DS of Kuchchave’li Divisional Secretariat since May 2015. Before that, he was in charge of Verukal division, where he was also confronting the same dilemma, the sources further said.

The Tamil-speaking Muslim people in the nearby Pulmoaddai have recently narratedhow Sinhalicisation is also targeting their division.

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External Links:

Groundviews.org: Tourism mega-development in Sri Lanka results in human rights violations
FT.lk: Exquisite Jungle Beach by Uga Escapes marks first anniversary
ft.lk: Uga Resorts rebrands as Uga Escapes

Chronology: