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Report 11






Concentration of Security outfits:

We have mentioned in Report No 7, Chapter 8, that state aided /sponsored colonisation is not something intrinsically objectionable. There is controversy about it conception and execution in the immediate post independence years that we cannot resolve. An extract from a speech by D.S.Senanayake quoted from memory by his grandson which appears in H.Gunaratne’s ‘For a sovereign state’ was reproduced in our Report No 7 . This, if correct suggests an ideological agenda from the outset. But there is also considerable testimony from Tamil officials involved in these schemes which suggest that these schemes may have become in time exclusive Sinhalese affairs owing to default by Tamils. This was the case in the Gal Oya scheme in the Amparai district where the response to initial offers of land from Tamils was said to be poor.

However as the evidence suggests, from the 6Os onwards an ideological agenda became visible together with alarm on the part of Tamils that went unheeded. The ruling UNP having acknowledged the need to resolve Tamil grievances concerning this matter in its manifesto of 1977, once in power, made its operations disturbingly secretive as we have seen.

We give the facts pertaining to Trincomalee below avoiding comment as far as possible. These were compiled with the help of long term residents of Trincoma­lee.

The policy of all governments in Sri Lanka has been to alter the demography of the Trincomalee District in favour of the Sinhalese. With the gaining of independence in 1948, the government began the Kanthalai colonisation scheme where Sinhalese from outside the district were settled. This was followed by the Allai scheme in the early 1950s   and the Morawewa scheme in the 1960s. The Kanthalai tank originally irrigated the paddy fields belonging to the Thamplakam­am and Kinniya farmers. This was augmented to bring in thousands of Sinhalese from outside the district. The magnitude of the impact of this colonisation could be seen from the fact that the entire present Kanthalai AGA’s Division formed only a Village Headman’s (Presently in Grama Sevaka officer’s) Division, in the then Thampalaka­mam AGA’s division, in the early 190O’s. One Grama Sevaka officer’s division has been made an AGA’s division with 23 Grama Sevaka officers divisions in consequence of the colonization scheme. It is estimated that about 40,000 of the present Sinhalalese population of 86,000 in the district came in as a result of the Kanthalai colonization scheme. It accounts for about 46% of the Sinhalese population.

The Allai Scheme began by constructing an anicut across the Verugal river, a tributary of the Mahaweli Ganga. The entire region that received irrigation waters from this scheme was called the Koddiyar AGA’s division. Koddiyar was also called Koddiyarpurm. Tamils and Muslims had lived in this area peacefully from ancient times .There are now three AGA’s Divisions, located here. One is  presently called the Muthur AGA’s Division. The Seruvila AGA’s division was created in the late 196O ‘s when Mr W. Dahanahake was the Minister of Home affairs under the 1965- 7O Dudley Senanayake government. The third is the Verugal AGA’s Division, located at Ichchilampattai. This last AGA’s division was created in the mid 198O’s when Mr.K.W Devnayagam was the Home Minister. It is strange that this division has still not been recognized as a divisional secretary’s division under the recent administrative changes .

Several new Sinhalese villages have sprung up, swallowing many ancient Tamil villages consequent to the Allai irrigation scheme. The AGA’s division of Seruvila is located at Serunuvara, which was originally called Arippu. The old village of Kallar is now called Somapura. The Tamil village of Neelapalai is now called Neelapola. Part of Poonagar is called Mahindapura. Thirumangalai is now called Srimangalagama. Dehiwatte, Lankapatuna and Pulasthigama are some of the other new Sinhalese villages in the present Seruvila AGA’s division. This AGA’s division has a population of 20,187 with 17 Grama Sevaka officers divisions. It could be said that 99% of the 11,665 Sinhalese living in this division were outsiders colonized by the government.

Morawewa is the Sinhalese translation of the Tamil word Mudalikulam. The present Morawewa tank was called Mukalikulam by the local population for a long time. This tank became the centre of a colonisation scheme in the 1960s and included Tamils as beneficiaries [see below]. A new AGA’s division was created in the early 1970s for Morawewa, bypassing the priority list originally sent by the Government Agent,Trincomalee, for the creation of AGA’s divisions in the district. The proposal to create an AGA’s division at Nilaveli got shelved as a result of this move.

The Morawewa AGA’s Division has a population of 9271 and 10 Grama Sevaka officers divisions. The Sinhalese constitute 56% of the total population while the Tamils constitute 37%. A considerable percentage out of the present population of 5101 Sinhalese in the Morawewa are outsiders.

Mahadiulwewa colonisation scheme in the Morawewa AGA’s Division was another state-aided colonisation scheme undertaken in the 1980s. Funds received from the European Community were utilised by Mr.D.J Bandargoda, Govt. Agent, Trincomalee and Mr.Gamini Dissanayake, then Minister of Lands, Land Development and Mahaweli Development, to set up this scheme. This tank was called Periya Vilankulam by the local population.

Padaviya scheme was another major colonisation scheme undertaken by the state to settle Sinhalese in the Tamil speaking areas. This scheme was supported by Mr. who handled the subjects land and irrigation in the SWRD Bandaranayake government(1956-1959). This scheme played a key role in the 1958 riots and the activities of the Land Development Department employees during the riots had been vividly described in the book “Emergency ‘58 “, by Tarzie Vittachi.

Padaviya was the original grazing ground for the cattle of the local population. Mullaitivu farmers called this area ‘Padivil Kulam” - a tank that has no registration. The colonisation that was undertaken in this area has resulted in the creation of an AGA’s division at Padavi Sripura, with a population of 11,804, almost all of them are Sinhalese.

A senior highly respected former Tamil public servant from the late 40s onwards had worked on several schemes in the district, including Morawewa, Allai and Kanthalai.He had woeked with much satisfaction as District Revenue Officer into the 60 under Trincomalee’s first two post independent GAs Speldewinde and McHeyzer. He said that he did not work on a communal basis but on the principle of land for the landless. In the early 6Os he had many Tamils were settled on schemes for educated youth. Some of them, a number he clarified as negligible, either sold or abandoned their lands. Further he said, Tamil manigars leased out temple lands and Sinhalese, together with Tamils, encroahed on temple lands not cared for. As small as these phenomena were, they served to create an impression that there was a lack of demand for land locally. The resulting migration of Sinhalese into Trincomalee was thus, he said, partly the fault of the Tamils and their leadership. He added that this helped to lay the groundwork for an ideologically motivated induction of Sinhalese which began in earnest in the 70s.

Another highly commended public servant, now retired, gave a picture of some of the complexities involved in tthe creation of new AGAs divisions and how some became Sinhalised. Gomarankadawela (Kumaresan Kadavai) and Morawewa(Mudalikku­lam) were originally Katukulampattu West and Katukulampattu East, which included the present Kuchaveli division.

When the British closed their Trincomalee naval base in the late 50s there was  tremendous unemployment in Trincomalee. Rajavarothayam, MP, raised this matter with C.P de Silva, then minister for lands, and a plan to restore Mudalikkulam as the Ex Naval Base Workers Scheme was conceived and implemented in the early 6Os. The scheme included people living in the area together with retrenched naval workers. Many of the beneficiaries were Tamils. The implementation, he said suffered from two drawbacks. One was that the implementation was half hearted. Some were for instance  given paddy lands, but no housing land (at higher level) and such like. The other was that the naval workers were used to life in town, and given in addition the shortcomings of the implementation, some of them neglected their lands for the lack of housing, or cultivated while residing mostly in town.

However under Somapala Gunadhira as GA, Trincomalee, in the 60s the scheme prospered and food production reached a peak. The credit for turning Nilaveli into a model farming village, he said, should go to Gunadhira . At this point 7O% of those in Morawewa, including the Muslims at Rotawewa, were Tamil speaking. The closest village to the scheme was Pankulam, within the GS’s division of Panikkattimurippu which traditionally   had Tamil Headmen(now GS). The old head man’s son with a JSC in English then headed with the Panikkattimurippu Village Council(VC) which had one Sinhalese member for Thambankottai and a Muslim member for Rotawewa.

In the late 60s the government started the Air Force farm near the headworks at Morawewa, with a commanding position  over the use of water. From that time Tamils became subject to small scale attacks by airforce men and Sinhalese hooligans. The largest number of killings of Tamils took place along the Anudharapura Road and the matter was raised in parliament. This was the first instance in the island of the forces being stationed permanently in the middle of an agricultural scheme. The proportion of Tamils kept falling. More Sinhalese were brought in under the Mahadivulweva(Periyavilankulam) scheme and their proportion rose to 56%. With the violence of the 8Os the gradual displacement of Tamils became a retreat. The AGA’s office, since the outbreak of war has been shifted to the Sinhalese area of Mahadivulwewa.


How the demography of the Trincomalee District has changed as a result of state-aided colonization can be seen from the following population figures:             








17069 (60%)










17233 (57.8%)











































































Note:The sharp rise in the Sinhalese population between 1921 & 1946 was a result of workmen, mechanics and artisans seeking employment under the British navy in the naval dockyard, particularly during world war II. The rise in Sinhalese population between 1953 & 1963 owed mainly to the Allai & Kanthalai schemes and the Morawewa scheme from 1963 to 71. There is also an adjusted figure for 1981 which includes a further 14,OOO for Padavi Sripura, earlier enumerated under Anuradhapura.   

In the opinion of many Tamils, the objective the government   is to break the continuity between the Northern and Eastern Provinces. That is why the Padaviya and Allai schemes were started on the northern and southern sides of the district. The Morawewa scheme and the Kanthalai schemes become dangerous during periods of ethnic tension. They are located on the Trincomalee - Vavunia and Trincomalee -Kandy roads. The Allai and the Padaviya schemes  also causes problems on the Trincomalee-Batticaloa and Trincomalee - Mullaithivu roads. Trincomalee is virtually under siege now and there is no escape route for the Tamil population during communal riots.

The following schedule shows that all the governments that came to power in Sri Lanka since independence had been party to schemes which invariably altered the demography in favour of the Sinhalese.

Kanthalai Scheme         - D.S.Senanayake Government

Allai Scheme                  - D.S.Senanayake \ Dudley Senanayake                                                     Government

Padaviaya Scheme         - S.W.R.D Bandaranayake Government

Morawewa Scheme        - Srimavo Bandaranyake Government   

Mahadivulwewa Scheme - J.R. Jayawardne Government\Gamini                                                        Dissanayake

WeliOya                       – J.RJayawardane\R.Premadasa   Government                         

Concentration of Security outfits:

All the security forces have major camps and training academies in Trincomalee. This is rather unusual. The Sri Lanka Navy has its largest base outside Colombo in Trincomalee. This is understandable in view of the natural harbour found here. The Sri Lanka Navy has its Naval and Maritime Academy within the Trincomalee Dockyard. The Sri Lanka Navy also has its large agricultural farm at Kalumuttiyankulam . The Sri Lanka Air Force has a very large base at China Bay. The Air Force Academy is also located at China Bay. The Air Force has another base and a farm at Morawewa. Agricultural schemes with armed forces camps in middle were unique in Trincomalee. Tamils were progressively displaced from such areas .

The Sri Lanka Army has several camps in the Trincomalee District. The historic Fort Frederick houses one major base. There is another major camp and the Military Engineering College at Plantain Point. The buildings that housed the Sri Lanka Forest college at Monkey Bridge presently house another major camp of the Sri Lanka Army. There are innumerable smaller camps all over the district. These major bases and academies play a vital role at the time a population census taken every 1O years. All the servicemen, their families and recruits under training are counted during the census. It can be easily said hat at least 10,000 of the Sinhalese in the district’s population are military personnel or are military - related. This affects the complexion of the population very much.[Top]


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