Tamil Diplomat

31years have passed after Massacre, But Othiyamalai Village still in risky situation- A Spot Report

By K.Vasu 

Although, however much we talk about the war being over and about Good Governance and National Government, in reality the reconciliation had not been reached and a situation still prevails where the Tamil people who are living in the border villages are condemned to live in fear of occupation. Nearly seven years have passed after the end of armed occupational war another disseising war is being staged with the assistance of Government machinery. It is common knowledge that this war has extended from Vavuniya, Mullaitheevu and Mannar to Navatkuli in Jaffna.

The Border villages of Vavuniya and Mullaitheevu are in a dangerous situation of being slowly disseised.  The colonization which originated at Padaviya had spread like a Cancer. Othiyamalai is one of those crisis points.

Othiyamalai is one of the blood soaked places in the history of Tamils. It is an incident that cannot be forgotten by anybody. This was the month of December of the year 1984. It is an arena where, a genocide was committed against Tamil Nation. Othiyamalai is a village located on the Vavuniya – Mullaitheevu Border, which come under Oddichuddan Divisional Secretariat Division of the Mulaitheevu District. It also lies between the border villages of Sinhala and Tamil colonies. The Army which had robbed lands in Padaviya and Kalyanapura and created Sinhala Colonies, was engaged in attempts to drive these people away in stages, during the war years. The Massacre was a calculated part of this attempt.

Some persons who had come from Kalyanapura in army uniforms in the night of December 1st hid themselves in Othiyamalai area, and on the next day, 2nd December, entered Othiyamali Village at around 6.10a.m.ordered males and youths to assemble at the Community Centre. The innocent people of the village, who had got up in the morning, finished their morning rituals in a hurry, and went to the Community Centre. The Army men waiting there pulled off the sarongs and verities bound the hand and legs of the people with them and then went on to massacre the people cruelly by shooting and hacking. The Massacre was staged there with victims being shot through the heads and through the eyes.

Othiyamalai  (2)

27 met their fate on the spot and 5 were dragged towards Kalyanapura. The Village people say that they were also killed later.

32 innocent public from that area, including  K.Kanapathypillai, T.Kanapathypillai, T.Kasippillai, T.Supramanium, T.Sivagnanam, T.Velupillai, S.Shanmugam, S.Ketheeswaran, A.Thevarajah, S.Rasu, P.Theverasa, K.Paramalingam, K.Rasalingam, V.Thillainadarajah, S.Mohan, V.Chandran, K.Tharmalingam, N.Navaratnam, K.Ponnampalam, K.Kanagaiah, N.Sinnaiah, K.Selvarasa and S.Sabarathnam were massacred plunging the whole village into sorrow.

Othiyamalai  (4)In the context of the Memorial tower erected at the spot of the massacre in memory of the victims, being deliberately destroyed after the end of the war, the 31st anniversary was commemorated on the2nd of December in the Othyyamalai Pillaiyar Temple. In this event, which was sentimentally observed by the kins of the victims, the Vanni District Parliamentarian, Sivasakthy Anandan, and other like the members of the NCP, G.T.Linganathan and T.raviharan, participated.

The people who fled from the village following the Massacre, due to fear in 1984, resettled only in 1987.

With war and tension continuing to prevail, they again displaced in 1990 and after being confronted with several displacements and crises and finally they permanently resettled only in 2010. Of the 214 families who were living here, just around 42 families have resettled here. The reason behind the non-return of several families had to be studied.

The people of this area have not come out of the memories of the massacre which happened 31 years ago and fear psychosis the massacre had caused. The reason for this is that there is a land grabbing which is being staged without much fanfare. The Sinhala Colonies which were earlier around 15 kilometres had moved slowly to within three kilometres from the village.

The Agricultural lands of the Tamil people of the Thanikallu located near Othiyamalai in the Vavuniya North area are being grabbed under guise of construction of access road to Sinhala Colonization. Thanikallu and Vinnangampiddy are on the verge of being lost out right. The colonies of Kent Farm, Dollar farm, Ananda farm and Ceylon Theatres had created Kalyanapura and gobbling the lands of the Tamils. This fear Psychosis had prevented people from settling here.

Although, housing scheme had been given to these people electricity had not been provided to them. It is true that some electricity post had been erected at some places, theOthiya area people say that electricity had not reached them. Added to these, the transport facilities and road are in a dilapidated state. The Government which had constructed roads in uninhabited areas and where settlement is in progress, and provided transport facilities to these areas did not come forward to renovate the transport facilities of an ancient settlement. The people of this area undertake their life journeys, over a badly damaged road 10 kilometres long, filled with pot holes. Although there is a school here the basic facilities and resources are found to be lacking. As this school is operating with only the Principal, several students here trek several kilometres to attend school.

What is the reason for Othiyamalai being excluded in development?

The situations prevailing in these villages reveal that the exclusion in development of these border villages which are facing the threat of colonization is an attempt to expulse these people from their habitats and grab their lands.

Hence, it is the expectation of all concerned that,  the representatives of Tamil people and the NPC should pay attention to this matter, develop Othiyamalai village, stop the fleeing of the people, and save them from  disseising attempt.