Land issues in Kuchchaveli divisional area – Groundviews
Image Courtest nashaplaneta
Censuses of Trincomalee District taken in different years will show a slight numerical majority and a minority in its various communities. Yet, it should be noted that no ethnicity since the 1940s has been represented by a 50% majority in the district. “This is the most ethno-religious pluralist slice of Sri Lanka,” Tisaranee Gunasekara wrote in one of her columns. It speaks of the identity and spirit of the city, and even of the neighborhood, built on the multidimensional and multifaceted. The vibrant. He talks about the makeup of the communities that dot the region and make up its socio-cultural fabric. Although home to Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese, it is a city whose identity has strong Tamil and Saivite roots.
This identity is of course the one that
is meant to be erased and deemed irrelevant, then reinterpreted as alien and extraterrestrial artifacts that have supplanted a millennium of Buddhist dogma sorted into every nook and cranny of the island. Like the statue of Buddha which was spontaneously generated one night in the city center in 2005, (militantly advocated by a Galagoda Athe Gnanasara Thero) the progress made by the State after 2019, supported by a Presidential Task Force on Archeology in Eastern Province show a concerted and energetic effort to change the dimensions, demographics and identity of the province. A task force headed without a historian familiar with the language of the ancient Tamils, confined to the eastern province alone and determined to document the traces of Buddhist ruins and Buddhist ruins only in the midst of a historically diverse and sensitive province is curious to say the least. . It was not until late 2021 that the task force saw Tamil and Muslim representation.
Two members out of the 18 members to represent 70% of the Eastern Province.
While military and media moguls making questionable appointments to the task force, the main concern of communities on the ground in Kinniya, Kuchchaveliya or Kannneiri are the powers that the state-appointed task force has bestowed on people like Ven. Panamure Thilakawansha Thero, the chief holder of the Temple of Arisimale, a priest who has been at the center of illegal encroachment and forced settlements along the divisional area of Kuchchaveli. The Arisamala Viharaya and its principal holder claimed the land when, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Cyril Mathew (whose chauvinistic imprint on this country is well documented) as Minister of Industry made efforts to settle a number of Sinhalese communities and build Buddhist temples. in the area, thus tracing the Sinhalese settlement back to 1977. As the apparent rediscovery of Buddhist ruins in these areas led to more sections being cordoned off by the archeology department, more land was granted to Viharayas or Buddhist temples such as the Pichchamal Viharaya with estimates of 320 to 400 acres, according to a local. The Temple of Arisimale has thus expanded its reach and presence, promoting through a very detailed and professional website its historical claims to the region.
The home page of the Arisimale Viharaya
A curated selection of high-definition audio-visual content reveals a well-thought-out strategy to meet the needs and call to action of the Sinhalese Buddhist community to rally behind the noble cause of the temple, thus rolling out a brand of pilgrimage tourism.
local tourism, moreover, plays a larger than expected role in challenging the established cultural imprint that other communities have had since they first settled along the eastern seaboard in the early 19th century. Following their migration to safer areas during the hostilities that began in the mid-1980s, they found upon their return after the end of the war that their lands had been retaken. If not by the army, then by the forests and therefore cordoned off as a protected area by the Forest Department. When that proved insufficient, the prospect of artifacts and ruins scattered throughout the area prior to these settlements seemed appealing to some parties. A working group has been created. Travel vlogs streamed from the pristine eastern coast often tend to mention “foreign extremists” destroying lesser-known Buddhist cultural heritage in the east. The army, which still retains its grip on the area, if not through the dozens of roadblocks and manned bases, then through a facade of army hotels and army golf courses air, is also now present at important but controversial sites such as the Arisimale. beach or the Kuchchaveli Pichchamal Raja Maha Viharaya, entry to which requires prior permission from the Navy.
Although it is accepted by communities in the region that certain sections of land and coastline along the Pulmoddai road have historical and cultural value for Buddhist identity and should therefore be protected by law, this should not allowing everything that happened; a claim to land based on the belief that the jasmine flowers of a viharaya were offered to the Ruwanweliseya in the 1st century BC should not supplant the existing communities that settled and claimed the land for two centuries.
The Buddhist philosophy is not based on historical real estate.
In an area such as the Kuchchaveli Division which is and always has been a heavily populated area of Muslims, more temple lands are finally seeing the settlement of devotees to worship in temples, changing the demographics. These are in addition to their own lands being cordoned off and off limits by the Department of Forestry, Department of Wildlife and Conservation and Mahaweli authorities. Tensions run high as Trincomalee’s claim to be at the center of Sri Lanka’s pluralistic and multicultural identity continues to be reinterpreted as a place homogeneous to race, religion, ethnicity and a gathering place for the ethno-religious colonization of the 21st century.