"....When I landed in Colombo in
July 2007, a lot of changes were noticeable.
1. Galle Road has been made
into a one way road from Bambalapitiya junction to (towards) Galle Face
Green. And, from Kollupitiya Junction (Liberty theatre) to Bambalapitya
(Bullers Road), Duplication Road has been made into single way, for the
outgoing traffic. This single arrangement had taken the life out of
Galle Road. Similarly, a lot of other prominent roads had been made into
single, one way types.
2. New check points have
popped up all over the city. Between Wellawatte Bridge (Savoy) and
Kollupitiya junction, there are seven check points manned either by
police or Air Force personnel. From Indian Embassy (Railway bridge, in
front of Press club) to Hotel Intercontinental there are four check
points one manned by police and the rest by Army. Now, all these check
points are along the side of the road leading to City centre (Fort).
PM’s residence Temple Trees looks
like a high security prison, - with a newly erected 20 foot high wall
along Galle Road and about 20 armed guards along Galle Road side. At
both ends of the road side wall there are watch towers with heavy
machine guns pointing down towards the road and still heavier guns
pointing upwards (air defence). You could no longer get a glimpse (even
the roof) of Temple trees from Galle Road.
3. On the day after my arrival in the morning I had to go Indian
Embassy to get a visit visa for myself. So, I travelled by bus around
7.30am with my son. Standing just next to the bus driver in front, I
counted 81 service personnel along Galle road, from Shrubbery Gardens
(Hotel Greenlands- where I used to stay) to Galle Face Hotel junction.
(Yes, I may have missed a few servicemen too). This 81 includes the out
side guards at Temple Trees too). If you go by this number, I could
safely concluded that there must be around 100,000 armed service
personnel from Ratmalana to Katunayake. I saw a similar concentration of
armed personnel all around in Colombo from Ratmalana Airport to
4. Indian Embassy is very generous in giving visas now. They surprised
us by giving four years multiple visa for my niece in one shot without
asking any questions.
5. I was present in Colombo on the
day of the
Victory Celebration in Colombo. There were armed policemen as
well as Railway Security guards numbering more than a hundred checked
all the passengers inside the Colombo Railway station before allowing
them out... On that day, normal traffic rush in the morning was not
there. Galle road was empty and the buses were half empty. Everywhere
you could see more armed personnel than the civilians.
Around 10.00 am I was at Union
Place, where I noticed that all people on the road looked up with a
panicky feeling when a low flying plane passed by above with a huge
noise. Later it was known that the planes were part of the Victory
Parade. You should have been there to feel the tension at that moment!
Since there was no Tiger attack (bombs, landmines etc) in Colombo, most
Sinhalese believe Govt’s propaganda that the Tigers were weakened by SL
army as well as by the deeds of Karuna.
When I reached Batti in late
July half the displaced people had been allowed to go to their
villages or as they say ‘resettled’. Following are the damage done
1. Looting had taken place
all around in Paduwan Karai area. After the army had moved in, Sinhalese
from outer areas had come on tractor (with trailers) and other smaller
vehicle such as Kubota tractors(two wheelers) and taken all what they
could take. It had gone on for a week or so. So, majority of the people
(yes, all are in a way - my relatives) were left with nothing, even to
do the basic things such as cooking.
2. Half the tile-roofed houses were selectively bombed and burned. Now,
there are no landlords to assist the small time farmers with finance,
seed paddy etc.
3. Since this military operation
took place during the harvesting season, already harvested paddy were
stored in their residence and the rest were in their fields either yet
to be harvested or stored in the fields after the harvest. Army had
burned all the field that were not harvested along with koddu (Heaps of
harvested paddy plants).
Paddy stored at the residence
were either taken away by the Army and the looting Sinhalese or burnt
along with the houses. So, at present, any economic activity in Paduwan
Karai is dependent on outside assistance. Now the ordinary Paduwankarai
farmer will be at the mercy of Muslim loan sharks and rice mill owners
(mainly from Kattankudy) for their cultivation needs such as seed paddy,
fertilizers, weedicides, insecticides etc. Now that the army had moved
into Paduwan Karai, Muslims will move in en masse to take over the bulk
of trading and agricultural activities there.
4. Dairy industry has been
destroyed for good in Paduwan Karai. We have herds of mainly water
buffalos, mainly around Unnichai area. During Maha (Monsoon) cultivation
season, they used to take the herds to the highland forests around
Unnichai area and back into the fields after Maha cultivation. We have
shallow water ponds all over the places so that water buffalos could be
kept even in the villages too. Now, during the bombardment, people moved
away leaving their herds. The frightened animals moved into the woods
nearby and most were rounded up and driven away by the Sinhalese, half
were killed for food by the invading army. Muslims from Eravur are
having a feast of our buffalo beef, either sold cheap by the army to
them or they themselves slaughter the animals in the nearby woods for
Paduwan Karai area and also
Vaharai (North ) area had been the major supplier of cow and buffalo
milk (with average fat content of +10% - hence our curd have that
distinguish flavour and taste) for Milk Board as well as to Nestle (Sri
Lanka). Also it was the second major income earner (after Paddy
Cultivation Board) for residents of Paduwan karai. Sir, now this
industry is dead. The sad part is that none of our govt officials in
Batti are aware of these facts. These buggers are only interested in
their monthly pay and also would like to see their names and pictures in
the local news papers which reports that or this official had given or
distributed this or that to refugees. These so called high ranking Tamil
officials are the real bastards we have in bushels among us in Batti.
These water buffaloes are
very fond of muddy waterholes wherein they spend major part of the day.
So, wherever the Sinhalese looters had taken them or those animals that
were driven into the jungle, they would eventually return to their
favorite native water holes that are lettered around Paduwankarai. Thus,
there is a little ray of hope for this dairy industry in my area. Yes,
it may take around 10 years to get back to where it was before this
Kannaki Amman Temples
Every village here in Paduwan Karai
has a Kannaki Amman temple. Since the annual festival takes place during the
months of May/June, these annual festival never took place anywhere in
Paduwan Karai. Since Paduwan Karai is 99% Hindu, this had made a very
damaging effect towards Army and Karuna. It is a real blessing at this
juncture that Karuna does not belong to Paduwan Karai clan,(yes, my clan).
Because of this, Karuna never would get the support of Paduwan Karai.
(Sivaram too had written about this fact in one of his writings). Karuna
belongs to a clan, that is found only in Kiran, which is in Eluwan Karai.
Thantha Malai Murugan temple
This is a famous Murugan temple at
the top of a rock, south of Kokkadichcholai, I had earlier mention about
this, my favorite temple. Annual festival takes place in July along with
that of Kathirkamam. No festival this year.
During peace time, after the
signing of the peace accord, Karuna, being the then LTTE chief in Batticaloa
had allowed some high powered Sinhalese leaders to visit this temple
flying in on a helicoptor. I had thought then that they must had taken this
good will opportunity to bury a Buddha statue or two there, later to claim
this site as holy for Buddists. Now, they had built a big army camp at the
temple mainly using the many Madams that were built for the devotees.
I am very sure that very soon they will exhume this buried Buddha, with a
heavy media coverage and proclaim to the world that this was an ancient
Buddist holy site. Mark my words sir, this is going to happen soon enough.
Yes, they are the winners at
present. Amparai is already in their hands and are very strong in every
other field there. Now in Batti, they had driven out almost all the Tamil
academics as well as other affluent Tamils. With the recent bombardment,
Tamils’ economic back too has been broken. Now that they have a number of
Muslim ministers in charge of Rehabilitation, Education etc, and the govt
too is bent on destroying the Tamils in the East, Muslims are going to ride
on us. With some 12 or 13 Muslim ministers in the present cabinet,
Batticaloa is going to be their ministerial play ground.
With new army camps at places like Pullu Malai, Arughamam(tank area),
Karadiyan Aru, along Chenkallady -Badulla road, there is going to be a huge
settlements of Muslims in a very short time, mainly from Eravoor. Already
media reports had come out that Valaichenai-Oddamavady Muslims are fast
capturing and settling themselves down on vacated Tamil lands north of
I see now
that with the present plight of Batti Tamils, the support for LTTE has
soared. Everyone there are expecting LTTE to do something to correct the
situation. One thing is clear that in future that there will be no talk of
East without North. Thanks to the Rajapakse clan... They have already taught
the bitter lesson to Batti Tamils. One should be thankful to Karuna and
Rajapakse for re-uniting Eastern Tamil with that of the North.
Again, when you look at the
present situation in a different angle, it may seem that Rajapakse had
created a hostile situation in the East, which may lead to, or justify the
Tamils (LTTE) to evict all the Sinhalese (including those colonized even
from early fifties) from the entire East. Already, Sinhalese occupying five
Tamil villages around Manal Aru have vacated the villages last week. Similar
things may happen around Amparai and Trincomalee too. Regards..."