Sinhala authorities from Ampaa’rai district in the East have laid a brand new carpet road to the ancient Tamil village, Chuvaami-malai that comes under the jurisdiction of the Batticaloa district administration. The name of the village has been changed to Booja-boomi. New cottages are being built using beaten earth by Sinhala settlers with funds provided by the Sinhala Buddhist extremist outfit Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force), Tamil civil officials from Paddippazhai division of Batticaloa district told TamilNet Friday. At least 100 acres of lands have been appropriated at Chuvaami-malai for Sinhala colonists, the sources further said.
The extremist BBS has promised 100,000 rupees to each Sinhala family occupying the lands, the sources further said adding that around 100 new Sinhala families are to be settled in Kevu’liyaa-madu.
According to informed sources, the Sinhala officials have appropriated an extent of 120 acres of land from 40 Tamil families. These lands are being provided to Sinhala families settling in Kevu’liya-madu and Chuvaami-malai villages, which come under Paddippazhai DS division.
In the year 1956, when the Gal Oya Development scheme was underway, 305 Tamil families were allowed to settle along the Batticaloa – Amppa’rai border villages.
They were settled in the surroundings of the Navagiriya, Pulukunava, Thevalana ponds, which received water from the Gal Oya Development scheme.
However the SL authorities neglected Tamils in providing basic infrastructure facilities. Tamil schools were not established. As such the Tamil settlers could not continue to live in those lands. Nevertheless, they continued to engage in paddy cultivation.
During the SL State sponsored anti-Tamil pogroms in the years 1983, 1985 and 1990, and during the war in 2007, several dwelling units of these families and public buildings were destroyed.
Today, only 21 Tamil families live there without the basic amenities. They are unable to re-start cultivation in these areas.
Several complaints have been lodged at the Divisional Secretary office, Office of the SL Government Agent and the SL Human Rights Commission in this regard.
Even lawsuits were filed in the courts but lands that belonged to them were not restored so far, Tamil farmers lament.
After the end of war in the East in 2007, nine Sinhala families had settled in the lands. However, as lawsuits were filed against illegal appropriation of lands, 7 of them chose to leave.
There were only around 30 Sinhala families in 1956.
Today, even these Sinhala families complain that the activities of the newcomers from Pononnaruwa, Badulla and Moneragala affect the livelihood of the permanent inhabitants of the area.