Batticaloa SLFP office being turned into a restaurant


I walked around in Batticaloa meeting and speaking to people. Most people have stories to share. Some elderly women told me how former chief minister Pillayan who is now happily or unhappily ‘boarded’ at the Sri Lanka prisons or the government boarding house these days took revenge from the people living in a village ( I cant remember the name now) They said Pillayan took revenge because the villagers didn't vote for him, he refused to build roads in that village. They also laughed at the previous government and questioned " Pillayan was a child soldier. He never went to school. How come they allowed him to name a school in Batticaloa as ‘Sivanesan Chandrakanthan Vidyalaya’ I agree. It is one of the most ridiculous things. In another country, they would have renamed the school since he is in jail now. Aney Apoi Sri Lanka.

I was also also told that the underworld does not exist in Batticaloa since Pillayan and Karuna are out of politics . They said women feel safe in the area and could walk about freely in the nights in Batticaloa. However, there is a land grab continuing by the relatives of former LTTE terrorist Karikalan in the Jeba Thotam area. What is the Government Agent , Charles doing about it? Is she scared? She has earned the wrath of the people in the area. But, I am sure she is scared or supportive of the people who are harassing the innocent poor.

Many told me that they were happy , LTTE were long gone. Now, the struggle is to live and it is even a bigger battle for them. I wouldn't know how to describe Arun Tambimuttu anymore. Should I still describe him as the Sri Lanka Freedom Party organiser for Batticaloa or just Arun. I am saying this because he is turning the SLFP office in Batticaloa into a restaurant and construction work is under way. Is this the end of the SLFP in Batti? It is a tragedy that the SLFP has not used the services of Arun and not given him his due place. Arun says that Sri Lankan Tamils should forget ethnocentric politics and get involved in national politics in Sri Lanka. I agree. Not only Tamils, but Muslims and even some Sinhalese should do that. He says Sri Lanka should ban ethnocentric politics. I agree. We have to unite and rise as Sri Lankans and develop our country. However, even Arun does not know what his uncle Sambandan is up to ? Who would?

Arun says " We don’t have a proper minister to represent the East. We didn't have one during the previous government and we don’t have one now. There is no development during the last twelve months. Batticaloa is still neglected and that is the truth" He says there are nearly 40,000 widows in the East. "Why is everyone (foreign ministers etc ) been taken to visit the North? Both main political parties and the Tamil National Alliance and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress is misguiding the people" says Arun. Tambimuttu who is a cricketer himself complained that there isn't a single turf cricket pitch in the Eastern Province. What is the cricket board doing?

It is also sad that in Katthankudy they don’t allow Tamils and Sinhalese to establish businesses, several Tamil residents in Batticaloa told me. Isn’t it communal politics and creation of communal disharmony. I have seen so many people from Katthankudy running business in other parts of the country. What is the President and Prime Minister doing about it? May be Chandrika Kumaratunga who is in charge of reconciliation should crack the whip. Sri Lankans should be able to move about freely and do business and engage in activities in any part of this island.

Driver Nathan complains to me regarding the situation and harassment by the police in Eravur. He showed me how policemen at nine points along a distance of 7 kilo meters. I was surprised. May be we need some of them transferred to Colombo and other areas. Nathan said they harass motorists all the time.

Children walk miles to schools under difficult circumstances. In the same way people walk long distances, sometimes at 4 in the morning to fetch water from few wells. However, things have changed in other areas which saddened me. I was told that mothers don’t even cook but watch TV soap operas instead. A friend in Batticaloa described the situation "Earlier, Mothers in the traditional Sri Lankan Tamil homes would wake up at 5 in the morning, make Kolam outside the houses. Then they would clean the front yard well and throw turmeric water. But, today they wake up late after watching soap operas the previous night."

I told my friend it happens in Colombo and other areas too. But, it hurts more when the village is destroyed. There is no planning in Sri Lanka either. Most Municipal Councils are corrupt. Urban Development Authority isn't doing enough. They let businesses to creep in to residential areas whilst accepting fat salaries and disturb the peace of ordinary Sri Lankans.

My friends took me to show two expensive boutique hotels in the area. They were beautiful and well patronised by foreign and local tourists. They showed me a new boutique hotel owned by a big gun of the Joint Opposition.

It is in Batticaloa that you get the best string hoppers and Kiri Hodi, According to Arun string hoppers and the special kiri hodi is the ‘ national’ food of Batticaloa. You also get the best of condensed milk tea in Batti. I did enjoy it several times and I cannot forget the nice restaurant at the 28 mile post in Valachchenai and the very simple and beautiful girl without make up who served us Indiappa, Paratha, Hodi, pol sambol and Kiri thay (milk tea)

Wish I could get there again soon!

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