What is happening in Kilinochchi town?
“There are only stones; sand and tears, but there are no signs to show that this is a town. They have destroyed everything. What is there in this tarred road? Where my view is concerned our town is totally deserted” says Pon.Kaanthan a poet and long time resident of Kilinochchi. He is sad and angry at the plight of his hometown.
“The Sinhala army after capturing Kilinochchi destroyed everything from the Liberation Tiger camps to administrative offices built for the public. Kilinochchi town resembled something like the town in the Sambar desert. The whole town was destroyed and the buildings were mere stone mounds. Why did the army destroy Kilinochchi like that? The face of our town has changed the town does not know me and I don’t know the town” says Arulnesan, a youth who belongs to Kilinochchi. He is sad at the present state of Kilinochchi.
What is shocking the people is that Kilinochchi town is destroyed and another town is to be built at the site.
Kilinochchi was in fact the shadow capital of the Tigers Kilinochchi which faced the brunt of the war continuously was leading the list of future Eelam towns.
Various administrative buildings of the Liberation Tigers were functioning there. It was Prabhakaran’s dream town. Kilinochhci was also considered a peace town. It was also the capital city of the Liberation Tigers. Talks on cease fire were held here. Many representatives of foreign countries met Prabhakaran and other Tiger personalities in Kilinochchi.
“Tamil Eelam Police, Tamil Eelam Courts, Tamil Eelam Law College, Tamil Eelam Treasury were all there at that time. But everything has been destroyed. Apart from saying whether it was right or wrong we had the satisfaction that it was maintained by our boys. We can’t forget those days. We did not even dream that they will destroy everything down to the earth” These are the words from 65 years old Thanikasalam of Kilinochchi.
The Sinhala soldiers are destroying the symbols of the Liberation Tigers which were in many parts of the town. This activity of the soldiers was in fact to erase the memories of Kilinochchi during the war from the minds of the Eelam people.
At present massive army camps are being constructed in many areas in the Kilinochchi town.
“We will leave the occupied lands this week and then the next week we were told. But now they say this place was won after spilling blood and cannot leave the place. We went to several places, climbed up and down the stairs and asked for our lands to be given back to us. We are going up and down the road but the army is hell bent on turning our lands into tourist resorts” says Sangeetha Thavamony.
Rajapakse government is engaged in campaigning that everyone in the refugee camps has been resettled and the resettled people are provided with every facility and the people live happily. But in the villages next to the Kilinochchi town people still live in torn up tents, and with great difficulties.
The peace secretariat of the Liberation Tigers, headquarters of the political division. Headquarters of the female cadres, which were important administrative sectors, functioned in Paravai Paanjaan in the Kilinochchi town. People who lived in those public places are not allowed by the army to be resettled. Now these places are shown to the Sinhala tourists who come there as places where Liberation Tiger’s top level offices functioned.
“It is 2 ½ years since we were resettled. We were given 12 sheets that is all, but how can we live in these tents?” questions Surendhiran Vasanthi, a mother of three.
If so, what is happening in Kilinochchi?
The Sinhala soldiers have constructed a massive military war memorial in the centre of Kilinochchi with the idea that memories of the tiger days should not come back to minds of the people. The government has ordered the public offices which functioned at that time to be moved to many other places.
During the last local government elections President Mahinda Rajapakse personally visited Kilinochchi and laid the foundation stones for the Kilinochchi market, Kilinochchi bus stand, agricultural department and a play ground in the name of development. It is nearly one year after the foundation laying had taken place.
At present the Sri Lankan government has let the Chinese to dig the main street in Kilinochchi and build a new road. Many Chinese are engaged in this road building activity. The Chinese presence in Sri Lanka is increasing day by day. The Chinese are building factories and ports in many places in Sri Lanka. Now china has started re-building the Main road in Kilinochchi.
This activity of destroying the complete identity of Kilinochchi is it development or destruction? It is a destruction of identity say the people of Kilinochchi.
“Don’t change Kilinochchi like the Sinhala town called Hambanthota. Leave Kilinochchi as it is. We want our old Kilinochchi. It is destroyed without its identity in the name of development. Walk down the main street and go to the villages. You will see the wonders of the development” says Maruthayanar Mohan.
People who saw the town of Kilinochchi captured by the Sinhala army after the war say that it was a great disaster and are expecting the Kilinochchi town to come back to its former glory, but the Rajapakse government is completely destroying the symbols and the memories of the town, the people are angry and sad at this, but can do nothing.
Tamilmaran from Kilinochchi for GTN.