On 24 September, 358 acres of land from Panikkanvayal to Thennamaravadi were confiscated by the Archaeological Department, including fields belonging to the Tamil people.
The community in Thennamaravadi have stated that the Department of Archaeology has acquired the land in their village at the request of a Buddhist monk, Thilakawansa Nayaka, from the surrounding Arisimale area. The archaeology department have arranged boundary stones midway of the land to commemorate the site.
After learning about the land seizure, the occupants of Thennamaravadi visited and questioned the Archaeology department, who had responded with claims that the area had been identified as an archaeological site.
Preliminary work on a Buddhist shrine has begun and the Civil Defence Force has been deployed for security. Villagers have expressed fears that the massive land acquisition may be to allow for great Sinhala settlements in the region.
Located on the Mullaitivu border and connecting the Northern and Eastern Tamil provinces of the island together, Pulmoddai is a majority Tamil speaking, Islamic town in the Trincomalee district. Known for its valuable mineral deposits of ilmenite, rutile and zircon, it has been subjected to concerns that the region is being exploited of its resources.
Since the end of the armed conflict in 2009, there has been a rise in complaints of Sinhala colonisation. Thilakawansa Nayaka, the chief monk in Arisimale is currently involved in seizing land from Pulmoddai to Thennamaravadi with the objective of constructing Buddhist structures.
Pulmoddai is currently cornered by heavy security forces including those belonging to the Army, Navy, and the Special Task Force.
Read more from PEARL: Sinhalisation of the North-East - Pulmoddai