While a section of 400 Tamil families, who had sought refuge in Tamil Nadu 23 years ago in 1990 from Parappuk-kadanthaan village in Maanthai West in Mannaar, are trying to come back to their village, 1,500 acres of their lands have been appropriated with the backing of an SL minister and 500 acres of these lands have been illegally sold to a Sinhala trader from South, who has been scooping gravel deposits in the village. The gravel deposits are part of a geological feature called Ira’nai-madu formation that bears crucial evidence for prehistoric human habitation in the island. As such gravel deposits are mostly found on floodplains, scooping the gravel could cause environmental disasters related to drainage, cautioned the local people living with the environment and knowledgeable about the consequences of gravel scooping.
But, the local officials subservient to the occupying SL State are helpless on one hand and self-centered on the other in collaborating with the irresponsible environmental destruction of the country of Eezham Tamils, the local people accused.
Although the Rural Development Society of Parappuk-kadanthaan had managed to block the building projects in the appropriated lands, the Sinhala trader from South had obtained a permit to scoop gravel through exerting pressure on the village (GS) officer.
Following the end of war in 2009, the agents of Colombo have been engaged in large scale scooping of gravel and sand dunes from the country of Eezham Tamils, causing environmental disaster in several parts of the Tamil homeland.
Two weeks ago, a Tamil man, who was confronting a similar exploitation at Kooraay was abducted and later ‘released’. The Sinhala trader had deployed 22 workers from South in sand-removal at Kooraay.
A young Tamil environmentalist, Ketheeswaran Thevarajah, who confronted such exploitation in Ma’nat-kaadu, Kudaththanai, was assassinated on the eve of 2011 New Year in Jaffna.
Large-scale sand scooping has also been reported in Ma’n’nith-thidal, which is a landmass of sand dunes, projecting towards Jaffna, from the Poonakari part of Vanni. Poonakari has become a major hub of Sinhala militarisation and colonisation.
Also in Batticaloa, the SL military has been issuing death threats after severely assaulting the Tamil villagers who protested against the environmental destruction caused by sand scooping at Chanthana-madu river basin in 2011.