The Sri Lankan Army has completed the construction of another hotel, this time on the shores of the Nanthikadal Lagoon.
The Lagoon’s Edge is a luxury hotel, built entirely of teak and was built in a "place where thousands of war heroes, terrorists and others died", according to Sinhalese newspaper Mawbima.
Writing in the Huffington Post, author of “Still Counting the Dead”, Frances Harrison describes how the hotel “caters for Sinhala war tourists who want to see the last bastion of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels.”
|View from balcony of the military-built hotel - shores of killing fields can be seen across the lagoon|
Just across the lagoon, visible from the hotel, is the area where hundreds of thousands of Tamils were attacked by the Sri Lankan military in 2009.
“Right in the heart of what was rebel territory, the hotel overlooks the stretch of water that became the frontline during the final bloody months of the conflict, in which it's now estimated by the United Nations 40,000 or possibly 70,000 civilians died in a few months. Tamil survivors describe wading through the neck-high water, passing floating corpses and dodging bullets. Several children and injured or elderly people drowned in the water in the struggle to escape,” wrote the former BBC correspondent.
President Rajapakse during the opening ceremony and planting a holy Buddhist bodhi tree, with defence secretary Gotabhaya.
Pictures on the hotel’s Facebook page, show Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse and the defence secretary Gothabaya Rajapakse at the opening ceremony, along with Kandyan dancers, “totally alien to this exclusively Tamil part of the island”, said Harrison.
A picture also shows what appears to be a memorial frame with a soldier in a triumphal pose, with a machine gun in one hand and the Sri Lankan flag in the other.
|Sign at entrance to hotel, entirely in Singhalese|